Book Review: Going Pro

If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I’ve been reading the book Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer by Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen.  I just finished it and as promised, here is the review.  Right before picking up Going Pro I read VisionMongers by David duChemin which is another book about the journey of becoming and being a professional photographer.  You can check out my review of that book here.

Going Pro: How To Make The Leap From Aspiring To Professional Photographer

In this review I’ll sort of be comparing the two books I mentioned.  VisionMongers focused less on details and more on key principles, while Going Pro incorporates some principles but really delves more into specific things you should do.  In that way I think these two books compliment each other.  If you are thinking about making a living in photography, you should read them both.

Going Pro has 11 chapters and around 225 pages.  Don’t worry, it’s all easy reading and there are lots of beautiful images captured by different professional photographers to keep you entertained if the text gets boring (it really doesn’t get boring).  The chapters are:

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 Networking
Chapter 10: Expand Your Business
Chapter 11: Outsourcing

This book starts out with defining your niche, basically, what do you want to shoot, or more generally what do you want to do specifically?  It’s interesting because VisionMongers basically starts out with this concept and emphasizes it as well.  You need to know what you want to do and where you want to go.  That’s the first thing you need to figure out.  I was at an academic time management workshop yesterday and the first point the speaker made was that you need to know what you want to do and where you want to be in the future.  I’m hearing this from so many places and so many people, that this must be really important because everyone is saying it.  Anyway, in this chapter, they list out all the different prominent “fields” of professional photography like landscapes, weddings, commercial photography and so on and give a brief description of each one.

Then the second chapter is about continuing to improve your craft and being the best you can be.  It’s a pretty short chapter with some tips and ideas on what you can do to improve and be at the top of your game.  The third chapter talks about having a website to showcase your work, getting feedback on your work at workshops, getting published, and details and suggestions on going about this.

The rest of the book is really about marketing and the different tools you have at your disposal.  From social media sites like Facebook , to Twitter, to blogs like WordPress and Blogger, to search engine optimization techniques, and finally to “old-fashioned” networking.  I think this is where this book really starts to shine.  There are so many great tips and specifics on how to use these tools and how pro-photographers use these tools.  These chapters don’t cover everything you need to know, but they sure give you a great place to start and get you going in the right direction.  For example, one major take away for me was the specifics on how to search on Twitter and how you can use Twitter to find potential clients and see what kind of work is available in your area.  I just never thought of using Twitter for something like that.

There are some “features” of this book that I liked.  Some chapters include do’s and don’ts like what should you do if you are using Facebook and what you shouldn’t do.  Another thing, throughout the book there are short messages by established professional photographers and some of these are interesting.  From cover to cover there plenty of amazing images, but one complaint I would have is that many of these images are repeated from one chapter to the next.  I really liked the photos by Chase Jarvis, very cool.  Also, the list of resources at the end of the book is certainly helpful.

To finish up.  If you are thinking about becoming a professional photographer, I would recommend that you read this book, especially if you don’t really know where to start.  But, before reading this book, read VisionMongers by David duChemin and then read this book.

If this review has been helpful, I would appreciate your feedback.  Thanks!

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