11 Killer Marketing Books & Resources for Photographers:

by Gavin Seim: If all you want to do with your photography is buy new gear, go on photo walks, make a few prints and get friends to say “ooh aah”, then that’s Ok and spending all your time learning better photography techniques is fine.

If however you want to be a profit making professional you need to think business. It’s the cold truth, but a known fact that being a successful pro is more about business sense than about art. Sure amazing images turn heads, their great and I love making them too. I’m not saying a photographer should ignore skill building, but most budding artists would be better going to a marketing school while practicing their art, then going to to an art school expecting to graduate and make a profit.

Here’s some things I’ve found to get my business mind thinking (share your own favorites in the comments). Some of these are books and some are free resources. Try making a commitment to getting into at least three of them (all would be even better). This is stuff I’ve tracked down over years of learning and talking to other photographers. Take time to learn something fresh every week and you won’t regret it.

  1. The Purple Cow.
    Seth Goden’s book focuses on making a client experience that is memorable. It’s a short book with advice that could be considered simple, but a lot of people overlook it. I’ve gleaned a mindset of service from this book. You can get in on Amazon as well as on Audible as a convenient Audiobook.
  2. David Ziser.
    If you don’t know the name you need to read more and there’s no time like the present. David has been in the business for a long time and his blog is a great one to follow. To get you started check out… The Portrait Consultation Part1 and Part2 and The 14 step plan for a successful sales presentation. Then start browsing thru the rest of his great business tips.
  3. The Ultimate Sales Letter.
    Writing good copy is valuable in any business. Some of the examples in this book may feel more like a car salesman than a photographer, but the principles can be used to help you market better. I have not found an audiobook, but you get get the print edition on Amazon.
  4. 19 Tips for 300 Client Inquiries.
    This is a guest article Matt McGraw wrote for PPS. While every tip on the list may not work in your situation, you’re sure to get some ideas in a very short read.
  5. How to Sell Anything to Anybody.
    If we can do what the title says we’re good. Seriously though selling high end photography is about knowing how to sell and this book will give you a few ideas. Here’s the Amazon link.
  6. 22 immutable laws of marketing.
    This is a short easy read that interesting. It looks at big brands in past years and analyzes successes and fails. You may not be the next Coca Cola, but the concepts used in big marketing the effects the way you approach your own. You can find it here on Amazon. and there’s also an Audible version.
  7. Selling Large Wall Portraits.
    This is an article I wrote that’s a primer of some of the best selling techniques ever that I learned from very intensive workshop. The ideas described in it totally work and if you truly took everything in that I say here you would go out and sell, but going to a workshop like the one mentioned in the article will get you rolling even better.
  8. Harry Beckwith’s marketing books.
    There’s four or five in this series you may not have time for all of them but their well known to have valuable information. As a photographer giving a great client experience is key and I  like things that keep me thinking in that direction. You can find the series on Audible as well as on Amazon.
  9. How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds.
    I’ve been thru this at least once. I’ll be the first to say it has some cheesy elements that delve into almost imaginary powers, but it’s filled with information on interacting with and reading people which is a powerful tool for a photographer. You can find it on Amazon as well as Audible.
  10. Dane Sanders.
    Dane is a fun guy who knows his stuff. Ask Dane is a series of videos that focus on marketing. They vary in length and guests but are free and all have in common that they’ll get you thinking. You can also find some of the earlier episodes here. Also check out Dane’s book, Fast Track Photographer. As of this post, there’s a new revised version about to come out that even I don’t have, but you can order a copy on his site, or on Amazon.
  11. Pro Photo Show Podcasts.
    Last but not least is our own Pro Photo Show photography podcasts. We don’t just do written content here, in fact it all started with the podcast. If you’re a pro or aspiring photographer you should be listening. The are many topics, but we get great guests and panels and are always looking at ways to improve photography business. You can also find them on iTunes.

Let me close by saying there’s a massive amount you can learn today with little or no cost. We photographers can often get hung up on going to the latest workshop or convention. Don’t get me wrong, they can be a great thing, especially multi day intensive workshops. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of not learning at all because we don’t know where to start or it’s not in the budget to have someone hand feed us the knowledge. “I need to learn such and such…” I sometimes catch myself saying. Then I realize that if I really want to learn it, all I need to do is stop talking and jump into it.

There’s countless of resources like the ones talked about today that can transform the way you do business and there’s similar resources dedicated to shooting techniques so you can grow those at the same time. If you maintain dedication to growing your abilities and profits you can do just that. I know because I’ve done it and continue to approach my business from the same perspective.

Have fun… Gav