photography business tips

2 Great Books for Commercial Photographers

By Allen McEachern

I recently completed reading two excellent books that I think all photographers should read THE 48 LAWS OF POWER and THE ART OF SEDUCTION. Both are part of a five part series by American author Robert Greene, that also includes: MASTERYTHE 33 STRATEGIES OF WAR, and THE 50TH LAW. All are available on (yep - affiliate links!).

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER: I loved reading this book because of what it conveys. Power has always been a human pursuit through our collective history. People will try to bend situations to their favour, to manipulate, and take advantage. Cynical, I know, but unfortunately true as well. THE 48 LAWS OF POWER defines tactics for power accumulation framed within historical references. I recommend this book to photographers (or any freelance creative) due to a few reasons: 1. We often work within our own bubbles so it can be hard to be objective at times about the actions of others. 2. We are in business, so we need to understand the market and who is in it. 3. Recognizing when someone is manipulating you can swing the odds in your favour.  Consider client relations or negotiating. 4. Understanding the actions of others makes it easier to offer them what the are seeking. I could go on and on...simplified version...THE 48 LAWS OF POWER helps you discover the motives behind the actions of others in business and life.

THE ART OF SEDUCTION: Who doesn't want to be more charming, or seductive. A soft approach can be inviting. Again, Greene uses historical references to highlight the various character types employing seductive tactics. I recommend this book to photographers / creatives because of the power of the message. People use seduction to influence others. Understanding the personalities of seductive people will  better prepare you to defend against manipulation and offer you tools to achieving your goals. It all sounds  evil in a way, I know. But i think that the more we understand about others, the easier it is to communicate our goals, and needs. Communication, understanding, and competence are relevant in good business practice. Especially when offering services to create content for marketing and sales. 

Have you read either of these books or others by Robert Greene. Let me know your thoughts.


Two Great Resources for Emerging Photographers

By Allen McEachern

Photography is a tough business that seems to be almost continually evolving; like anything dynamic i guess. Last week I was contacted by an aspiring photographer, and asked for advice, and insights on how to start in this business. I was happy to meet up and have a chat about different resources, and tactics for getting noticed. Here are two of the tips I gave out:

1. The American Society of Media Photographers ( ) I used this organization a lot when I was starting out. The two main resources for me were the on-line forums  ( ) and their book " Professional Business Practices in Photography." 

Their on-line forums are a great place to pose questions regarding almost any aspect of commercial photography. The best part is accessing the collective experience of the members who frequent these forums. I learned so much just by reading past topics, and by posting my own questions. 

" Professional Business Practices in Photography" is an excellent tool for advancing your business knowledge regarding commercial photography. A lot of what you need to know is in this book. I highly recommend it.

2. National Press Photographers Association ( Primarily aimed at press photographers in the USA, but very relevant to any editorial photographer in North America. The best tool on the NPPA website for me is the "Cost of Doing Business Calculator." Great for figuring out exactly how much you need to be making to stay in business - very useful info when it comes to setting your prices / fees. It adds up all the exit points for money leaving your business and then asks you how many days you expect to shoot in the year. The resulting math is what you need to make just to cover your costs. Without knowing your cost of operating you are just guessing which is never good in any business.