New Book Explains How to Build a Photography Business

Are you among the many people who imagine it would be super-cool to be a full-time professional photographer? And, sure, it can be mighty tempting to give it a shot—particularly if you suddenly find yourself “self-employed” (unintentionally or by design).

But many aspiring pros fail to consider is that building a sustainable business as a photographer is hard work. It requires much more than a passion for photography, a good camera, and some software.

To get a taste of what building a photography business entails, read the new book by Skip Cohen and Scott Bourne. Entitled “Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer,” the book explains some of the steps involved in converting your passion into a business. In addition to mastering the craft, you must have the patience and perseverance to execute a well thought-out business plan and know how to use both social media and traditional marketing tools, such as press releases, advertising, and direct mail.

In the book’s introduction Bourne and Cohen remind readers that, “Being a professional photographer carries with it a great deal of responsibility, especially when working with clients. They’re putting their trust in you to capture everything they’re not going to have time to see, especially at an event like a wedding. A commercial client is looking for you to show the essence of a product in ways that can promote and grab the attention of the public. A photojournalist has a responsibility to freeze a moment to share with the rest of society with a full commitment to truth in imaging.”

The authors of “Going Pro” provide practical advice on choosing your niche, putting together a portfolio, pricing and showing your work, positioning your brand, and planning for diversification.

Even if you’ve been a working pro for awhile, you may want to read the book’s sections about how to use social media to build an online presence. The book includes checklists for promoting your blog, explains how to use Twitter Search to find clients, and discusses why properly adding keywords to your photographs can be the single best thing you can to get your work seen on the Internet. The chapters in the 240-page, gorgeously illustrated book suggest some things to consider before turning pro:

  • Chapter 1: Define Your Niche
  • Chapter 2: Be the Best Photographer You Can Be
  • Chapter 3: Test the Water and Show Your Work
  • Chapter 4: Marketing
  • Chapter 5: Social Media Marketing for Photographers
  • Chapter 6: Use Twitter to Grow Your Photo Business
  • Chapter 7: Blogging: Your Online Presence
  • Chapter 8: The World of Search
  • Chapter 9: Old-Fashioned Marketing
  • Chapter 10: Expand Your Business
  • Chapter 11: Outsourcing

Photographer Scott Bourne, of the Bourne Media Group, is the publisher of and an expert in social media. According to, Scott is the most influential photographer on Twitter. He notes that, “Prospecting for new clients in a lifetime job for professional photographers, and Twitter Search is a powerful tool that can help you find clients and generate business.”

Skip Cohen, the president of Marketing Essentials International, previously served as president of Rangefinder Publishing, where he oversaw Rangefinder and AfterCapture magazines, the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Association and the WPPI trade show.

In “Going Pro,” Skip reminds readers that “The fastest way to grow a healthy network is to attend every workshop, class, convention, and trade show you can. These events give you a chance to meet other photographers and talk about the challenges of everything from technology to customer service. This is about communication on the most basic level.” He offers a series of pointers on how to grow and maintain your network and get the most out every photography event you attend.

Throughout the book, “Going Pro” offers tips and some amazing images from 25 of the best-known names in the photography business, including Chase Jarvis, Vincent Laforet, Matthew Jordan Smith, Jeremy Cowart, Jules Bianchi, Bambi Cantrell, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Kevin Kubota, Jerry Ghionis, and more.

Published by Amphoto Books, “Going Pro” is scheduled for release October 18. You can pre-order the book on or through links on the Going Pro blog:


Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer

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