Author: Kirk Tuck

Publisher: Amherst Media Inc

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

It was said that after Napoleon, every French corporal carried a field marshal’s baton in his haversack. Similarly, many photographers who have captured great images have wondered about becoming professionals. However, a collection of great images is not enough to earn a living as a photographer. Even Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon had to worry about contracts, marketing, billing and taxes.

In Commercial Photography Handbook: Business Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers,Kirk Tuck presents us with a guide to some of the techniques that a commercial photographer will have to use if he or she wants to have enough money to live on. After discussing some best practices, like always having signed contracts and never selling one’s copyright in a work, Tuck explains the major variations on commercial photography from architecture to portrait photography, including special considerations like equipment and methods of breaking in to the particular genre. He emphasizes the importance of marketing, advises on the importance of ethical standards, and suggests ways to set up one’s business. He covers pricing and the danger of poor financial strategies like under-capitalization and clogged cash flow.

The author’s style is informal but clear. He doesn’t try to cover everything the businessperson-photographer must know, but rather emphasizes the most important lessons he has learned. No one book can tell you everything that you need for photography business, but he has a bibliography that includes just about all of the books I would recommend for someone starting out. The only thing missing was a recommendation for a manual on Quick Books.

The book is limited to commercial photography, so if you are interested in earning a living in fine arts photography I’ll make a recommendation. Don’t quit your day job! In fact, you would probably do well to set yourself up in one of the fields Tuck discusses and find a way to fit your fine art photography into any open space.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store