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Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers Paperback – September 21, 2009
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"Kirk has changed gears a bit to outline for photographers of all levels of skill and ambition what commercial photography is all aboutwhat the important principles are, how commercial photographers work, and, last but not least, how you can make money in these 'down' times." theonlinephotographer.typepad.com
"Gives you nothing but real world 'stuff' that author Kirk Tuck has learned in making a successful business out of his photography for more than 20 years." sacramentoreviewofbooks.com
"An outstanding primer on starting and running a photography business." Prophotoresource.com
About the Author
Kirk Tuck is an award-winning advertising photographer whose clients include Dell, Elle magazine, IBM, Motorola, Pharmaco, and Time Warner. He is the author of Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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In a photographic world filled with what sometimes seems like aimless shooters (shoot everything and shoot it a lot) Mr. Tuck's book asks us to examine our talents and drive in a more cogent manner. Perhaps just as importantly his voice of experience told me a lot about handling essentials such as model releases, property releases, contracts for paid jobs, tax planning and insurance. All things a lot of us overlook in our rush to shoot, shoot, shoot.
Consider this book a "What Color is My Parachute" for photographers with a lot of other solid advice thrown in for good measure.
Another consideration he covers at length is to carefully consider managing the rights to our images. Do we give clients originals or not for example? You may not agree with his outlook on it, but regardless of how you do it this should thought through. Do you have a business model that separates you from competitors? Another thing worth considering before you hang out a shingle.
More questions to consider. Should I go to a photo school? Become an apprentice to someone? Join professional associations?
Kirk Tuck obviously speaks with his experience and shares it in this book. After reading it I'm considering a lot more essential areas that could have caused me issues down the line, and that alone is worth the price many times over. His writing style is down to earth and spending a day combing his thoughts would be invaluable to both beginners and a lot of professionals as well. Good stuff.
Kirk blends the technical, practical and interpersonal elements of photography assignments and he shares them as if he were sitting across the table at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. He includes a lot of information about marketing, business basics, pricing and ethics. If you are a photographer who believes that your images alone will do the leg work for you, then you really need to read this book.
Kirk's book is appropriately illustrated with visual examples that support his words; he doesn't just use images to take up space or "make up" for lack of content.
One especially useful chapter guides the reader to carefully identify his/her strengths and weaknesses as a photographer, thus helping the photographer to select the kind of work that is the best fit.
I have recommended this book to two commercial photographers in my community - an established photographer who is struggling with the economic downturn and another who is just starting to seriously pursue photography as a profession.
Just being able to technically produce a photo is not enough to stay in business. You must learn how to find the customers, woo the customers, deliver, and keep them happy, all the while navigating various sharp reefs which can easily sink your business.
Tuck's book gives you a map, as well as a mentor that can guide you - because he's been there before. All this is delivered in a fun, easy to read format that's clear and concise.
My only regret? That the book ended. I wanted more. More stories, more lessons, more wisdom. Luckily, we have his blog for that:
This book has also helped me think through and find a niche market to get started without needing the most expensive equipment available. Really an excellent overview to understand and then focus on this business - followed by references for further study.
The photo business can be a daunting and overwhelming business to get started in. This book brings it to a comprehensible level of understanding that is encouraging and exciting.
Kirk's writing style presents this wealth of information in an easy to understand and approachable format. There's a lot to cover but the way the content is broken up into bite size pieces makes this a great book to pick up at any point.
Based on the great information in this book I've also ordered Kirk's Minimalist Lighting for Location Photography book too. Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography