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Advertising Photography: A Straightforward Guide to a Complex Industry Paperback – October 23, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1598634068 ISBN-10: 1598634062 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598634062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598634068
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

If you have a keen grasp of the obvious you've gathered that the book is about the advertising photography industry. But not from a pedantic do-these-things-to-become-successful perspective. I write about many of the stupid things that I did that you shouldn't do. There is no correct way to become a successful photographer, but there are all kinds of things you can do to tank yourself. Also featured is the work of twelve other successful photographers and their stories about how they got into, and succeeded in this fabulous business.

About the Author

Lou Lesko started shooting fashion photography in San Francisco in 1984 when he was 19 years old, and he has also worked as a successful photojournalist and commercial director. He is currently the managing editor at the National Geographic Assignment Blog. Lou is one of the founders of PhotoCine News and the founder and chief chaos master at Blinkbid Software, business software for creative professionals.

Bobbi Lane is a commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location. Bobbi¿s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 30 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. She shoots primarily people on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts as well as photographing "real people" and travel for stock. Her stock photography has sold worldwide for ads, posters, and billboards. Bobbi's clients include: Warner Bros., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung, Bose Corp., Neutrogena, Ricon, Mattel, Maui Music Festival, McDonnell/Douglas, Sears' Tower Skydeck, and the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. She is a regular contributing photographer to both Ridgefield and Bedford Magazines. As a dedicated photo educator, she brings insight and enthusiasm to her hundreds of students every year. Bobbi's excellent rapport and communication with her students inspires and motivates, while her straight-forward teaching style reaches students of many different skill levels. Bobbi teaches at the Santa Fe Workshops, the Maine Workshops, the Julia Dean Workshops, and the International Center for Photography in New York City. She is the Chair of the Education Committee for Advertising Photographers of America, and the creator of their Successful Emerging Photographer¿s program. Bobbi is a Contributing Editor to Photo Techniques magazine, and author of the book, Creative Techniques for Color Photography, published by Amherst Media. Her new instructional DVD, Portrait Lighting Techniques with Bobbi Lane is available through Calumet.

More About the Author

Lou Lesko is a writer who started as a fashion photographer back when Depeche Mode was on the radio. He likes vast bodies of water, good coffee, and gin martinis.

He's thrilled and thankful for the honors bestowed upon his photography. The most recent is a Lowell Thomas Gold for his photojournalism work in southern France. A few other career highlights that didn't result in prison time include; commercials directing, two published books, and a managing editor stint at National Geographic Assignment.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The stories that Lou tells are great.
Stephanie Rothwell
His writing style is super easy to read and makes the reading entertaining!
The Evolv Group LLC
I got this book the day it came out and read it in one sitting.
Brandy Joone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By matt haines on February 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a professional portrait photographer, and I specialize in children and family photography. But I've been wanting to delve into the fashion and commercial side of things. As this is my second career and with a family to support, I don't have the 'luxury' of going to photography school or assisting for ten years. How then to understand, even a little, the mysterious world of ad agencies and commercial image production?

Thankfully, I just stumbled upon Lou's book. It really was laser-sited right where I needed it to be. No fluffy art talk, no photographic technique (which is better covered somewhere else anyway). It's all about the business of commercial photography. Sure it has some really great images, including descriptions of how some of them came about. But it's not a book about how to make those images. It's a book about how to sell them, how to be in the position to sell them, and how to get hired to make images in the first place.

My only complaint is that the book ended too soon. It's not a small book. It simply was such a good read, I didn't want it to end!

OK, that's not a real complaint. I did find that the one area the book didn't really cover was how to get started small. How to target agencies and/or projects that were appropriate for my particular skill set (or lack thereof). Not that it's likely to happen, but I wouldn't want to have my portfolio book called in, get the job, and then find out it's a three-day shoot involving 20 models, circus animals and a portable ice rink. How does one get started with the small (but paying) gigs?

But that aside, it's an incredibly valuable book. When I finished, I actually toyed with the idea of starting it over. I only have one other photography business book that's ever made me feel that strongly about it.

Oh and Lou is darned funny too! And no I don't know him, have never met him, and have no connection to him or his publisher.

- Matt Haines Photography
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Holte on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Louis Lesko draws you into the life of a commercial photographer- navigating the reader through the damaging gossip, the scheming clients, and the overbearing art directors. Lesko's writing style is accessible and easy going. His stories about the advertising industry make this a good read for anyone, not just photographers. You wouldn't expect a photographer to be so forthcoming about his mistakes, but to his benefit it makes this book the most entertaining "how to" text I've ever read.

While Lesko is entertaining he's also informative and brutally honest- he leaves no nasty surprises to the green photographer entering the commercial field. Lesko continually writes, "if you don't think you can handle [blah blah] then you may want to pick another field". There's lots of advice on getting into the profession, avoiding traps, dealing with clients, finding a good work routine, and staying afloat when you're not getting jobs. There's also rare technical advice on developing usage contracts and working a bid estimate.

Each chapter centers on a specific task with an interview at the end with another photographer- providing a fresh view of the topic and getting into the business. Lesko says there's no one way to maneuver through the commercial world, each person has their own way of doing things, and it's good he gives the reader a chance to explore other viable options. One piece of advice I found invaluable is to never degrade yourself by being embarrassed by making ends meet or having a side job. Never say, I waitress, but I'm really a photographer. Just say I'm a photographer.

After I finished reading Advertising Photography, I quickly began planning my own commercial career. I was too excited to wait!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn M on February 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have worked in the photo industry as a professional photographer for over 17 years. Lou's book tells it like it is in an honest, straightforward and detailed way. He covers everything including important issues like estimating and pricing jobs, copyright ownership and how he has dealt with difficult clients. His writing style is witty and engaging which makes the book a really enjoyable read. This book should be required reading for anyone considering entering the field of commercial photography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kimberley Lovato on November 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
It is really refreshing to have someone tell it like it is, and in doing so, really teach you something. No bull, no boring prose, just real life experience. There is no better teacher than that. If you can't join the photographer on the shoot, then this book is the next best thing to being there. Plus..it's funny, and the photos are specTACular.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gustavo Fernandez on November 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having read and laughed through many of Lou's published articles i looked forward to reading his new book. I picked it up at Photo Plus Expo (which he graciously autographed for me) when it was released and enjoyed every bit of it. He tells it like it is and gives u a real life perspective on the process of the advertising photography world. Lou uses many of his experiences and examples of his colleagues to tells us the story that we really want to hear. Not the ones taught to us in textbooks but the real life scenarios that actually do matter the most. We learn through his mistakes and enjoy every minute of it giving his never ending honesty, humor and shrewdness.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Rosen on October 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book at Photo Expo the day it came out and could not put it down. Having graduated a year ago with a degree in photography and looking to make the transition from assisting to commercial work this book provided clear and helpful advice on how to navigate through the difficult commercial industry - it explained everything I wish I had been taught in school! It is incredibly well written (with a great sense of humor- I laughed through most of it!) and easy to read and to relate to. I highly recommend it.
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