I am in the middle of writing my sixth book. This one is about the convergence of digital photography and video. I think I'll call it Minimalist Video for Photographers. All of the books I've written are about photography. Two are about lighting technique (Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography and
Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Studio Photography) and they have been very popular books when it comes to sales. Another book I wrote is all about lighting equipment. It's mostly about what's available out there and why you might want to use it. It's entitled, aptly enough: Photographic Lighting Equipment. And sales of that book are also good. In fact, anything I write that relates to equipment either sells well or, in the case of this blog, is a big reader magnet. I guess that says something about the interests of my audience. The fifth book is a comprehensive look at LED lighting and it should come out this Winter, from Amherst Media.
But the best book I've written to date is the one that seems to always be languishing on the shelves and getting chummy with the remnants on the Amazon shelves. And it's sad for me because I think that in addition to being well crafted it is by far the most important book I've written for the greatest number of photographers. It's called: Commercial Photography Handbook. Let me explain.
The web is full of inaccurate mythologies about the business of photography. From breathless stories of thin fashion photographers making millions from every dispassionate push of the shutter to the idea that giving away work to mega-industries for free doesn't harm the industry for everyone. There are great, encyclopedic books by writers like John Harrington that get in to the nuts and bolts of pricing but none have really tackled the history behind the way our industry works and the nuts and bolts of deciding what to do and how to price your work. My book attempts to do that and, according to feedback from dozens of people in the industry who've read it and applied what I wrote to their businesses, it really does work.
An architectural photographer whose business was languishing told me recently that he applied my marketing suggestions verbatim and went from despair to having one of his best years ever. Another working photographer in a different state wrote to tell me he read the book, took a leap of faith and bid a job with the information he read in the book and walked away with the job and a budget that was five times larger than what he would have previously asked.
Okay. So the book is great for people who are already in the business or entering the business but maybe (probably) you're an ardent, well heeled hobbyist and you're already making a fortune in the non-related business of your choice. Aren't you curious about how this business works? Do you ever have friends and family come to you and ask for your help in finding a photo resource or do you ever get pulled into doing a small job and wish you understood the pricing models a bit better. Maybe you're just an industrial history buff. I think the book is a good read. And I really would like to see what I consider some of my best work in wider distribution. With a recent price drop at Amazon it's hardly more (and in some cases less) than a beautiful glossy magazine from Europe.
I'd love to see Amazon sell 1,000 of these books this month. That means that if just one in ten of the daily average number of my blog readers pull push the "buy now" button on Amazon I'll make that goal. I know this sounds mercenary but I rarely get pushy and commercial like this. It just irks me to feel that all we've come to care about are the toys but not the actual business. And I would hope that you find my writing and my point of view worth a couple of tens....
If you hate buying books from Amazon you could buy a copy from Precision Camera for about the same price. You'll need to ask for the manager, Gregg, and he'll fix you up with an autographed copy. They have about 25 copies in stock and I expect them to go faster. The store number is 512-467-7676.
I'd love to hear what you have to say about the book. And I'd love suggestions about getting this book out to a wider market. Will "social marketing" work? It sure would make my day.
Thanks. Now go buy a copy. Buy two and give one to a young photography start-up you know. I'll be grateful.