5 Books Every Photographer Should Read

Do you want to turn your hobby into a side hustle or a career?

Welcome to the party! You are in among some might fine company. There has never been a better time to build a thriving business as a professional creative. You have EVERY resource available to you that has ever been made available to photographers. I know what you’re thinking: where do I begin? There are 10,000 books on Amazon.com about photography. Should you focus on posing or lighting or which gear to get? Well, those things are really important, but if you want to build a thriving business, it has nothing to do wether your lights or your posing.

Which skills do you need?

Now, don’t get me wrong. You have to be proficient in your skillset. If you can’t produce quality work on a consistent basis, you might not be ready for the big-time yet. But if you have limited time to divide between photography and business, business will get you out of your day job long before your photography skills do. Rating your skills 1-10: A photog who is a 7 in business and a 4 as a photographer will make more money with his/her art than someone who is a 9 as a photog and a 3 as a business owner. Every. Single. Time.
Here are 5 books that I strongly recommend you read, or listen to as an audio book, that will change the way you think about this whole game and give you a leg up on your competition.

The books

Real Artists Don’t Starve – Jeff Goins

This is an absolute must read/listen if you want to make money with your art. This book changes the way you look at the relationship between money and art. It destroys the myth that all artists must starve and that it’s noble to struggle for the sake of your craft. None of that is true, and Jeff Goins shows you how to properly steal from your influences, find mentorship, charge what you’re worth, take risks, and how powerful collaboration really is.

Get Real Artists Don’t Starve here

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done – Jon Acuff

We are full of creativity. A blessing and a curse. We can find 10,000 things to do that would be amazing and change the world and make tons of money and everything else we can dream of. The hard part is actually finishing these things. Here’s where this book comes in. Do you know why you have a hard time finishing your projects? We’ve been taught to approach goals all wrong. Jon shows us how to ditch to motivational posters and learn how our brains actually work. This book is full of real, actionable advice that will help you actually achieve the things you set out to do.

Get Finish here

The Power of Moments – Chip Heath and Dan Heath

I can not tell you how many times I’ve been on a photographer’s site and they claim to capture moments and memories, but nothing they do seems to actually be doing those things. So what does it mean to actually capture a moment? What makes a moment so special int he first place? Chip and Dan have cracked that code and tell you what defines a moment, and how you can engineer them to make your clients’ experience truly something to remember. And something they’ll tell all their friends about so they become your biggest fan and a source of referrals.

Get The Power of Moments here

UnBranding – Scott Stratten and Alison Stratten

What is a brand? It’s not your logo and it’s certainly not your color scheme. It is EVERY SINGLE opportunity your clients have to interact with your business. This book is a collection of 100 stories about the amazing, and the unfortunately comical things that businesses do. There are so many lessons to be learned here. 100, to be exact! This might also be the most entertaining business book I’ve ever read. If you’d like to hear more from Alison, check out episode 9 of the Photogs Unite! Podcast to hear Alison and I talk about some of my favorite stories from the book.

Get UnBranding here

Brand Seduction – Daryl Weber

I love learning why people do what they do and this book will tell you how people make buying decisions. We make most of our decisions on the subconscious level and then justify everything afterward. But why? Daryl goes over the science first, then gives you real examples of brands who are doing it right and how you can build a strong brand and market your business in a way that really connects with your ideal clients. This book will teach you the language you need to communicate with your ideal client.

Get Brand Seduction here

A Bonus (because you’re awesome)

The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary – Joseph Michelli

Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, this book will have a huge impact on you. Starbucks, from the beginning, has been focused on providing the best possible experience for the customer. They work hard to ensure that a latte in one location is the same as every other Starbucks around the globe. They pay attention to every single detail in their stores. Every other product they sell, from CDs to snacks, must also fit their branding guidelines in packaging, presentation, and quality. This book shows you what it means to care about your business, and really be passionate about sharing it with the world.
Get The Starbucks Experience here

About the Author Mike Lloyd

Mike is the Tim Burton of photography. He tells powerful, imaginative stories with cinematic photography. He specializes in dramatic, film-noir style boudoir and epic cinematic portraits. He's also the creative force behind Photogs Unite! which focuses on learning from professionals outside the photography industry to learn marketing, sales, branding, and everything else you need to know to build a thriving photography business. And burritos are the key to his happiness.

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