A tangential answer to a reader request and a revisitation of a good book about the marketing and business side of commercial photography.

After the (unexpected) success of my first two books the folks at Amherst Media asked me to try my hand at writing a book about Commercial Photography. I was happy to oblige because I felt that after two practice rounds I had finally found my voice and, after nearly thirty years of being in and around the business, I felt pretty certain that I finally understood the things that worked (for me) and the things that didn't.

I had experienced professional photography from the other (client) side having spent nearly eight years working with photographers as a creative director in an ad agency. I understood the issues of copyright and licensing after having been indoctrinated for years by the ASMP and having recently served as a chapter president.

While the book was enthusiastically picked up by several colleges as a primer on the business of photography the more generally audiences seemed to be underwhelmed by the whole idea. And I guess it's fair because so many of my readers don't do photography for a living. Why should they soldier through the ins and outs?

But today, after a post on Fear, which was a thinly veiled post on marketing, Malcolm (a VSL stalwart) suggested that I pen a book on the subject. So this post is my response. It's my way of saying, "I already did" and I like it the very best of all the books I've written and illustrated for Amherst Media and wish it had the mighty sales legs of the Minimalist books.

If you want to be a photographer, or you run any sort of small service business, you might really enjoy and benefit from reading it. I think it reads-----nicely.

If you are dead set against works of non-fiction I can happily point you to the novel, THE LISBON PORTFOLIO. Either way we can hardly go wrong.


  1. I also think your "Commercial Photography Handbook" is your best Amherst book, and in fact is the best book on the subject I've ever read -- and I've read most of them over my long career. I consider your "Minimalist Lighting" book your second best and is one that I have personally found very helpful.

  2. Thanks Dave. I totally agree about the Commercial Book. It's the one I pull out if I want to guide someone in the business. Much appreciated.

  3. I'm an amateur, with no intent to become a pro (unless I must, maybe after my retirement). But Kirk is right - this is one of his finest, and I recommend it whole-heartedly even to amateurs. May I cite some lines from the chapter of business ethics for instance? He writes:

    "It's easy to gain market share if you give your work away. It's easy to destroy a competitor by lying and slandering him. You can make a quick buck by selling a proprietary shot to your client's competitor. You can keep more money if you cheat on your taxes, but it's not right..."

    Priceless advice, for all of us. Thanks Kirk.

  4. When I saw the cover of the book the first thing I thought was " that doesn't look like Kirk Tuck!" I thought he was older and greyer than that...

    The layout kind of implies that your name on the cover relates to the picture of the guy above it..

    Or maybe its just me.

    Or maybe it IS you and you've had some work done.



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