Most photographers cringe when they think about business. After all, we just wanna create cool things right?
But have you been itching to leave your day job and do something you love for a living?
Or even just bring in some extra income on the side so you can take that nice vacation?
Well, the truth is if you want to earn a viable income from photography, then learning business skills is vital.
Don't know where to start? No worries, I've got you covered. These 6 books will help you sharpen the saw and start learning about business.
1. Real Artists Don't Starve - Jeff Goins
A huge part of success in life is determined by mindset. If you think too small or expect to fail, then it will be extra tough to take on life's challenges.
One huge mindset issue that plagues many photographers is the romanticization of the starving artist. We think that we have to struggle financially in order to make great art and that there is virtue in that struggle.
In Real Artists Don't Starve, author Jeff Goins breaks down the myth of the starving artist. He profiles the characteristics and commonalities of many successful creatives such as Michelangelo, Jay-Z, George Lucas, and many others.
Do you feel uncomfortable going after paid gigs? Then this book is a great place to start.
2. The Personal MBA - Josh Kaufman
You don't need an expensive college degree to master the art of business. Just get Josh Kaufman's book The Personal MBA. Kaufman breaks down many of the basic principles of business in this book in an easy-to-read format. It's great for someone who is a complete novice to business (like I was when I first read it).
3. Best Business Practices for Photographers - John Harrington
One thing that intimidates many photographers who are starting to branch out into business is the nitty gritty details: contracts, pricing, accounting, insurance, etc. While Best Business Practices for Photographers is probably the least sexy book on this list, it has a lot of very practical advice and information on setting up the right processes and procedures for your photography business.
I have the second edition of the book. The third edition is much pricier.
4. Sell or Be Sold - Grant Cardone
If you don't make sales, you won't be in business very long. If you don't make sales, you can't quit your day job either. But imagine what it would be like if you had the skills to go out and produce income? Let Uncle G (Grant Cardone) teach you the way in Sell or Be Sold.
If you wanna get a taste of the fire that Grant brings, check out this video clip.
5. Pitch Anything - Oren Klaff
Pitching clients is an art. There is a lot of psychology and less logic than you would think. In Pitch Anything, Oren Klaff breaks down his approach to landing huge financial and real estate deals. While the specific examples he outlines may not translate, the core of his message definitely applies to pitching and landing photography clients. Super valuable stuff.
This book is also highly recommended by Tim Schmoyer at Video Creators.
6. The 10X Rule - Grant Cardone
Of all the books on this list, this one had the biggest impact on my life. The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone is a complete mindset shift for goal setting and work ethic.
The premise of The 10X Rule is that most people approach setting goals in completely the wrong way. Most folks aim for "realistic goals" and then put in a minimum/moderate amount of effort.
But The 10X Rule says this: "You must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets. Massive thoughts must be followed by massive actions."
Starting a photography business (or any kind of business) or freelancing is challenging. There will be rough days and unforeseen obstacles. If you don't approach your goals with the right mindset and motivation, then it makes it that much more likely that you will quit.
The 10X Rule aims to rectify this by elevating goals high enough to maintain motivation and expanding work effort enough to overcome challenges.
While this approach definitely isn't for the faint of heart, if you want to achieve big things in your life then this book is a must read.
I gotta give a shout-out to Sean Cannell for introducing this book to me in this video:
BONUS: Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
This is a bonus one that I believe everyone needs to read. It's the best book I've ever read on financial literacy and living a self-sustaining life. In many ways, life is a game so it helps to know the rules. Rich Dad Poor Dad lays out the rules and shows you how to win in business and life.
What are some of your favorite business books? Leave them in the comments below :)
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About the Author
Dan Bullman is a portrait photographer and YouTuber based in Boston. He produces educational videos, gear reviews and other content to make you a better photographer faster. His videos have been viewed over 1 million times. His portrait work has been featured on accounts like @moodyports @followingboston and @portraitmeet.