Even in the online world, photography business books are still a thing.
Update December 2020: Here’s what I read in 2020.
While I link to a lot of great resources for photographers throughout my articles here, I occasionally get asked for recommendations of a more analog variety, specifically photography business books that are current and relevant.
Books are great for broader, more evergeen topics given that there’s usually a fair amount of time between a book’s concept, printing, and distribution. If you’re looking for the latest technique for a brand-new social network, you probably won’t find it in a book, but when it comes to more expansive topics such as online marketing, social marketing, and business for photographers, there really are some great books available.
Here’s a selection I’ve pulled together; all are available from Amazon.com (and if you buy after hitting these links, a small commission helps keep Tech Photo Guy in business). I’ve read nearly all of these books, and the ones I haven’t were recommended by close trusted associates:
Online Marketing Books
- UnMarketing: Everything has Changed and Nothing is Different – Scott Stratten – the second edition of his first book, a great primer on how to think differently about marketing in a world of two-way conversation. There’s a reason that the Professional Photographers of America chose Scott as the opening keynote for their 2019 convention.
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content – Ann Handley – a book to answer the “but I’m a photographer, not a writer” objection I often hear when photographers realize that online writing is a key component of a successful online presence. This has become even more important over the past five years: for search rankings, you can’t beat long, well-written articles.
Social Network / Social Media Books
We’re at a point where there aren’t many definitive books on this topic, with online information being the best resources… that said, there’s one I want to recommend from someone who’s been deep in this world.
- Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too – Gary Vaynerchuk – We’re past the point of introductions to social media, but this book does a great job of giving real-world practical examples from across many industries using a bunch of social media platforms. Even online veterans will pick up new techniques to become more effective.
General Business Books for Photographers
- Best Business Practices for Photographers, Third Edition – John Harrington – the third edition of a classic, this is a photography business bible with a broad look at various issues with clients, licensing, and profit.
- Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making and Selling Images – Bert Krages, one of the authorities on legal issues for photographers, dives into various topics that one should know when getting into the world of professional photography. An ounce of legal prevention prevents many (expensive) headaches in the future!
- The quality of our life and business depends on the combination of decision-making and luck. Learn how to make better decisions with Thinking in Bets.
I also want to recommend a pair of books by Seth Godin (although almost anything he writes is fantastic).
- This is Marketing – Seth Godin’s newest book, bringing together his core material into one place. Covering topics including permission marketing, stories, how people think, and more, this should be on every photographer’s bookshelf.
- Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? – A collection of writings that were originally blog posts by Godin (who blogs daily). I learned of this book a couple years ago while hanging out at a conference with Becca Courtice and she mentioned she reads one small article every day. It’s a great resource with a ton of evergreen ideas and inspiration for marketing, selling, and serving your people.
If you have any additional recommendations for photography business books that you’ve found useful, leave a comment to share with others.