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Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition [Paperback]

John Harrington
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 28, 2009 1435454294 978-1435454293 2
A follow-up to the successful and acclaimed "Best Business Practices for Photographers", this updated and expanded edition serves as an even more comprehensive guide to achieving financial success and personal satisfaction in your business as a photographer. Included in this new edition are sections on licensing your work, making the career change from a staff photographer to a freelancer, surviving an IRS audit, and more. This book includes best practices in interacting with clients, negotiating contracts and licenses, and business operations. "Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition" is the key to a successful career in photography.

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Editorial Reviews


Introduction. Part I Nuts and Bolts of Your Business. Chapter 1 You Are a Business Now Lets Get to Work! Chapter 2 Professional Equipment for Professional Photographers. Chapter 3 Planning and Logistics: Why a Thirty-Minute Shoot Can Take Three Days to Plan. Part II Financial and Personnel Considerations. Chapter 4 Working with Assistants, Employees, and Contractors: The Pitfalls and Benefits. Chapter 5 Pricing Your Work to Stay in Business. Chapter 6 Overhead: Why What You Charge a Client Must Be More Than You Paid for It. Chapter 7 Whos Paying Your Salary and 401K? Chapter 8 Insurance: Why Its Not Just Health-Related, and How You Should Protect Yourself. Chapter 9 Accounting: How We Do It Ourselves and What We Turn Over to an Accountant. Part III Legal Issues. Chapter 10 Contracts for Editorial Clients. Chapter 11 Contracts for Corporate and Commercial Clients. Chapter 12 Contracts for Weddings and Rites of Passage. Chapter 13 Negotiations: Signing Up or Saying No. Chapter 14 Protecting Your Work: How and Why. Chapter 15 The Realities of an Infringement: Copyrights and Federal Court. Chapter 16 Handling a Breach of Contract: Small Claims and Civil Court. Chapter 17 Resolving Slow- and Non-Paying Clients. Chapter 18 Letters, Letters, Letters: Writing Like a Professional Can Solve Many Problems. Chapter 19 Attorneys: When You Need Them, Theyre Your Best Friend (or at Least Your Advocate). Part IV Storage and Archiving. Chapter 20 Office and On-Location Systems: Redundancy and Security Beget Peace of Mind. Chapter 21 Digital and Analog Asset Management: Leveraging Your Images to Their Maximum Potential. Chapter 22 Stock Solutions: Charting Your Own Course without the Need for a Big Fish Agency. Part V The Human Aspect. Chapter 23 Care and Feeding of Clients (Hint: Its Not about Starbucks and a Fast-Food Burger). Chapter 24 Education, an Ongoing and Critical Practice: Dont Rest on Your Laurels. Chapter 25 Striking a Balance between Photography and Family: How What You Love to Do Can Coexist with Your Spouse, Children, Parents, and Siblings if You Just Think a Little about It. Chapter 26 Charity, Community, and Your Colleagues: Giving Back is Good Karma. Chapter 27: Why License Your Work? Chapter 28: Model Releases and Trademark Releases. Chapter 29: Invoices, Purchase Orders, and Receipts. Chapter 30: Fine Art Photography. Chapter 31: Expanding into Video Services. Chapter 32: Surviving the IRS Audit.

About the Author

John Harrington has worked for more than 16 years as an active photographer in Washington DC and around the world, working with both editorial and commercial clients. His photography business has been successful, with income rising ten-fold since he started. He has spoken at courses and meetings of The NPPA's Northern Short Course, The White House News Photographers Association, Smithsonian Institution, Corcoran School of Art and Design, American Society of Media Photographers Capital Region, University of Maryland, Northern Virginia Community College, Trinity College, and the Northern Virginia Photographic Society. Editorially, his credits have included the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, The National Geographic Society, USA Today, People, MTV, and Life. For corporate and public relations clients, John has successfully placed images with the wire services (Associated Press, Reuters, Gannett, Agence France Presse, and UPI) over three hundred times. Commercially, John has worked with well over half of the top fortune 50 companies, and even more of the top 500. Ad campaigns for Seimens, Coca Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Freddie Mac, to name a few, have been seen worldwide.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 2 edition (September 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435454294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435454293
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I love photography. I can't believe my good fortune that I get paid to do it. It's not a job-but there is work involved. I often get asked what I do, and my stock response is "except for people without clothes, just about anything...' and that's true, and it's what makes photography so much fun for me. Every day is different. Sure, the White House some days, a Hollywood-type the next, but if I had do either of them all the time, it'd fry me. Sure, I even do an occasional wedding, but because it's not that often, it's another really great assignment for me. The proverbial "variety is the spice of live" rings so true.

During college, one of my professors was an editor for The World & I magazine, so I showed them my portfolio. I pitched five stories I'd shoot during summer break between Junior and Senior year, and lucky me, they published one. Then, I proposed to shoot the Bush-Gorbachev Summit at the end of my Senior Year, and they agreed. Come September, I was told that the magazine's photographer was leaving, and he said if I wanted the staff job it was mine. That same week, a limousine company (did I mention I used to be a tour guide/chauffeur and a DJ in Georgetown as well?) offered me a job managing the company.

I called my mom, as any newly graduated son should do, for advice. My dilemma? The magazine paid $15k, the limo company $40k. my mom gave me the best advice-she said "I'm sorry, I can't help you on this one, you're going to have to figure this one out on your own."

So I did. She did that because all my life I had chosen the path of economic, I chose the path of least economic wealth and most


Then, after 5 years at the magazine, I went out on my own, and hoped the phone would ring. It did, and (thank God) still does. I'm busier than I ever thought I'd be.

Three or so years later, I get this funny call. It's from a woman at the National Museum of the American Indian. After the initial pleasantries, she asks "...are you Native American?" I respond that I am, and she further asks if I'm a full time photographer? "Yes" I respond, and she then says she's in the book division of the NMAI and why hadn't I called the museum to work for them? I said I'd figured I'd stop in once the museum opened, and see what was going on. She asked me to come in, so I did. I get there, and she and her boss, the head of the book division, seemed perplexed that I'd never come to them, and they said they thought they knew every Native photographer. At this point, I sensed that I wanted to put this to rest, so I pulled out my tribal card, talked about going to pow wows, and said that I'd love to work for the NMAI, but I didn't feel I should come and sell myself as a Native photographer and expect something, but rather, somehow, I'd see if my skills could just help me find my way there. My grandmother, as I recounted this story to her, smiles and says that's just how the Great Spirit works, and how I came to be working with the museum is fitting as it is the Indian way. Three books later, being one of the official photographers for the Museum's opening, and shooting the portrait of outgoing Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell for the magazine's cover, I'm excited about giving back to my culture.

Oh. Did I say photography is so much fun and I can't believe I am making a living doing it? So far, it's been about 17 years. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I read a book some time ago, by Nelson DeMille, and one of the things that stuck me was something he had written. "The problem with doing nothing is that you never know when you're finished." So, I am always trying to do something.

Also, another author, David Morrell, wrote in one of his books which has a fictional character that's a photographer - "The day you're satisfied with your work is the day you'll stop being an excellent photographer." I think there's some truth to that statement. I'll keep on trying.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Business November 15, 2006
Here's a well written photography book that most photographers will not want to read. That's because it's aimed at professional photographers who already have at least a little business experience under their belt. Moreover, it's aimed at assignment photographers, rather than studio or fine arts photographers, although some of the people who shoot in these genres may benefit from discussions of things like rights, pricing and insurance. It's all business, with no photographic technique or vision (although Harrington certainly does describe business techniques and vision). Finally, even though it's an excellent book, it does not deal with every aspect of the business of photography.

The author begins by reminding the professional photographer that he is in business. There is a brief discussion of equipment in which the author urges the readers to get the best equipment he or she can afford, and a warning that the professional had better consider the logistics of every job.

In another part Harrington discusses working with assistants, employees and contractors as well as pricing, including consideration of factors like retirement accounts and insurance. He discusses hiring accountants and lawyers. To me, the meat of the book is in the discussion of contracts. Besides furnishing the reader with samples of his own documents, he explains essential provisions. There are also chapters on infringement and enforcing contractual rights. There's a brief tour through archiving images, although the essence of Harrington's message is, read Peter Krogh's "The DAM Book", a point with which I heartily agree. The author also touches on the market for stock photographs.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Valuable Book October 3, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading "Best Business Practices..." and I must say, from my perspective of 40-plus years in the business -- as shooter, picture editor and director of photography -- the book is fantastic. I've recommended it to several colleagues, and suggested to a friend who teaches at Brooks Institute that it be required reading for every one of his students. I'll certainly also recommend the book to students at workshops I teach. Harrington deserves thanks for putting such balanced and varied wisdom on paper. It's a great service to photographers and everyone in the business -- all the more necessary in today's extremely volatile photography market. -- Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for photographers October 3, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Harrington has added so much information in his second edition that is relevant to the business climate of photography today. The new edition will be especially helpful to photojournalists who need to be prepared for the future in a changing profession. This needs to be on the bookshelf of every student and photographer.

As a college professor, I require this book for all my upper level photo classes. It should be required reading for every student who wants to be a photographer. Harrington has provided a valuable insight at how to be successful in the business of photography.

I own the first edition, and couldn't wait for this new edition. When I got the second edition, I was pleased to see how much Harrington has added. Even if you own the first edition, you'll want this if you are making your living as a photographer or are even thinking about it.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Pricing, contracts, copyright -- even IRS audits: If you are going to walk through the minefield that is the business of being a professional photographer, you'll want a good map. And "Best Business Practices..." is exactly that.

David Hobby
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must Have Photo Biz Reference Book October 13, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Harrington's revised edition of his Best Business Practices for Photographers goes beyond a few timely updates. Using his own business experiences John has adjusted his business practices to the changing photography industry. Addressing topics such as "Pricing your work to stay in business", the first hand - "Insights into am IRS audit", and the timely "transitioning to Freelance", for the newspaper staffers entering the self-employed business world. This book delivers the business information many of us have learned at the "school of hard knocks" and most photo schools don't even offer, but with this book readers can learn how to build a successful career."

~ Richard Kelly, Photographer, Educator & President ASMP
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Rules" for photographic relationships September 1, 2009
As a former client of John's (as head of a PR team at a major agency, I hired him), I want to comment on the reviewer (of the first edition) who said that if you implement his approach, you need to have good diplomacy skills. Interestingly, he is so professional, buttoned up and clear about the value of and rights to his work, that he seems even MORE attractive than photographers who aren't so demanding. First you assume his work is really really good if he can be that adamant about protecting its rights, and second you know for sure he won't be late, sloppy, embarrass you in front of a client, charge you for add-ons you weren't expecting, etc. While he is a very good photographer, there are others around. The combination of being a good photographer and a good businessman, however, puts his business up a few levels from competitors.

Just as "The Rules" was correct in its rather annoying assumption that playing hard to get seems to get people wanting you more, Harrington's rules for photographers will make any professional photographer more attractive to his/her clients.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is saving my life.
This book is changing my life and my business practices immensely and for the better. All the questions you always wanted to ask, or the questions that you asked and could not find... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Elizabeth D. Leitzell
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting!
This book is really good! I'm a photographer with 5 years of experience and this book is helping me to structure much better my business. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Rodrigo Moreira
4.0 out of 5 stars He really knows his stuff!
I have only glanced through it so far, but it looks like I'll be able to get a lot of gooood info from it. Wish I'd of bought it a long time ago.
Published 1 month ago by photo music guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Business Practices for Photographers
A lot of good information on how to determine your pricing, and accounting for expenses. It also helps you with insurance and lawyer needs and contracts. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, I teach with it.
I teach photography business practices. I use this book as the back bone in my class. This book is a great resource that will help you do things right- from the start. Read more
Published 3 months ago by ICONMAKER
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated, dated, dated
I tend to buy a lot of books, and made the mistake to trust the rave reviews for this one without paying attention to the table of content. Ouch! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Guillaume Wolf "Prof. G"
5.0 out of 5 stars Photographers Buy This Book!
John Harrington's book Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition , is the book to have if you're considering even selling photography as a hobby. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Packman
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good information!
Great resource. Lots of great information. Now if I only had time to follow all of it. Wonderful reference regardless!
Published 4 months ago by Andrew Kurcan
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Business practices for photographers
My son, in developing his photographic career, found this book full of practical information. It deals with some aspects of a photographic business that he had not thought of. Read more
Published 6 months ago by PC
5.0 out of 5 stars Every photographer and studio should own this book!
Truly a must-have for any photographer. This book is considered required reading at our office for all new staff. I cannot wait for the updated edition to arrive!
Published 7 months ago by romarosie
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