Book Review: VisionMongers

I just finished reading VisionMongers: Making a Life and a Living in Photography by David duChemin.  I bought the Kindle version of the book from Amazon. I purchased it because I feel and keep thinking that one day I think I want to earn a living from photography.  I just sort of have this idea stuck in my head, but I really don’t know where to start, how to start, or what it takes to make your craft your vocation.  I’m just kind of clueless on the business side of things and how to do it and what to do first.  I feel like I’m surrounded by fog or that I’m just lost and need something to get me started and to guide me.  So I bought this book hoping that it would show me the way or at least get me on the right track.  I’ve read other books by David duChemin before like Ten and Ten More and some of his other books at Craft&Vision.   Before hitting the “Buy now with 1-Click” button at Amazon, I read the reviews and it certainly has really good reviews.  So I bought it and now I’m writing my own review.  By todays standards, this book isn’t new.  I mean this thing was published in 2010.  That was ages ago, but that’s okay, because the underlying principles that are covered in this book are in some ways timeless.


This book has five chapters.

  • Chapter 1: Foundations
  • Chapter 2: Work, Work, Work
  • Chapter 3: Sounding Your Barbaric Yawp
  • Chapter 4: Business and Finance
  • Chapter 5: It’s a Brave New World

All of these chapters except for Chapter 5, which is really just the conclusion of the book, are loaded.  Chapter 1 talks about the importance of vision and passion.  If you are going to get into photography for a living, you need to have vision and passion to define you and keep you going. It’s not about the money honey.  After chapter 1, you should have a pretty good idea of whether you should make a living in photography or not.

Chapter 2 lives up to its title.  Here David duChemin just plainly lays it out – making a living in photography ain’t gonna be easy.  It will takes lots of work and there’s no secret shortcut.  I really like this chapter because of its emphasis on working hard and really earning something.  To me that’s just really encouraging because when the going gets tough, you know it’s supposed to be that way and that you haven’t made a wrong turn just because the road is rough and full of potholes.

Chapter 3 is about marketing.  He talks about general principles and foundations which he calls “The Four Pillars” and these are creativity, congruency, consistency, and commitment.  Then he gets into specifics like logos, websites, postcards, and about making connections and getting yourself out there.  There is a lot more to this chapter it is just loaded.  There’s so much good stuff there that I wish I had taken some notes.

Chapter 4, just like the title says, is about the business side of things and managing your finances.  Again, David duChemin discusses principles like the importance of staying debt free, the need for contracts, and project scope management.  He doesn’t get into specifics of how to make a budget or what software you should use to manage your finance.  This book isn’t about that, instead it tells you why you need a budget and why you should stay debt free.  It tells you why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and then shows you how you can diversify your income streams.

In Chapter 5, David duChemin wraps things up and goes back to a theme that’s present throughout the book, and that is, making your craft your vocation, that transitioning to making a living in photography is a unique journey.  There isn’t necessarily a well worn path to follow, you have to make your own path and make journey yours.  To drive this theme forward, throughout the book there are over seven stories or interviews of people who are making a living in photography, and these highlight the journey that these photographers have been and are on.

I will probably be re-reading this book in the future because I think it is just so rich in content.  When I do, I will make it a point to have a notepad next to me so I can take notes.  If you decide to get this book, and if you are thinking about going into photography either full time or just on the side and you have no idea where to start, I encourage you to read this book,but make sure to take notes.  Oh, don’t forget to read the interview with  Joe McNally in the appendix.

If you are interested in photography and would like to learn more about it and improve your craft without having to buy more gear, then take a loot at the Craft and Vision books.  They even have a free one here and the other books are pretty inexpensive like only $5 and they usually have some kind of sale or bundle discount.  So  definitely check them out.

Next on my reading list is another book, this one by Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen and its called Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer.  Instead of buying this one, I checked my local library and they had it!  So I checked it out and have a week or two before I have to return it, and I can probably even renew it.  I actually have quite a few more books on my reading list, but this is probably going to be the next one.  Actually, I’m currently reading and almost finished with Part 2 of Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book  I was able to get the kindle of edition of the boxed set for really cheap on cyber monday.


eyePhone – New Craft & Vision ebook!

I have it, haven’t read it yet except for the first few pages, but I get the feeling it will be good.  So if you have a phone on your camera and want to learn to take stronger photos, this will probably help.  It is only 45 pages long and has large pictures every other page, like the photo below.  In a few days this e-book will cost $5, but you can get it now and get it here for $4, until 11:59PM PST May 27.  Just use the code EYEPHONE4 at checkout.

eyePhone Cover

 I really like Craft & Vision books, and the last time they had a sale I bought a bunch, like 5 or 6 ebooks.  I’ve read most of them, but will be rereading several of them again, like the titles Ten and Ten More, which offer ten things you can do to improve your photography without having to buy more gear.  Well, Craft & Vision is having another sale that ends at 11:59 PM PST May 27! You have 3 more days.  If you buy 5 or more pdf Ebooks, you can get 20% off by using this code at checkout EYEPHONE20.

Also available at a discounted price till 11:59 PM PST May 27 is “The duChemin Bundle”!  This bundle includes 7 Ebooks, all written by David duChemin (I love his books!), and all of them for just $19 (normally it would cost $35 if you bought each separately).  This bundle includes Ten, Ten More, Drawing the Eye, Chasing the Look and 3 other Ebooks.  This is the bundle I would get if I were you, cause I already have most of these, and they are really good.  If you are interested in getting the discount, use the code DAVID19 at checkout.

New Craft & Vision Book!

I just checked my email and Craft & Vision just released a new e-book!  The e-book is Vision is Better 2 by David duChemin.  I haven’t purchased the first Vision is Better e-book, but based on the others that I have – Ten, Ten More, Light & Land – I can tell you these are well written and contain a lot of great principles and great applications to get your passion on fire again. And…. these only cost $5!  And even less if on sale.. like they were on Black Friday… which was when I bought a bunch of them.

If you have followed this blog or seen some of my older posts, you will know that I am a fan of Craft & Vision ebooks (if it isn’t obvious yet from the above paragraph!).  C&V books are mostly geared towards people interested in photography, but many of the principles in these ebooks can apply to other forms of art as well.  If you want to potentially improve your photography or your art without purchasing new gear and without spending very much, I highly recommend these!  Make sure to check out their site for some free ones too!

So, the email that I got, and you can sign up for the C&V newsletter if you want – check the footer of their website – had some discount codes with it!

Enter these at check out.

Valid until the Dec. 21, 2011:

Vision is Better 2

Into Photography? Great Black Friday Sale!

I am subscribed to the PhotographyBB magazine newsletter and I received this awesome heads up on a black friday sale at Craft & Vision.  Craft and Vision has some amazing photography books and just for today, black friday, they have their ebook bundles on sale – 50% OFF.  In fact you can get all of their books for 50% off if you buy the entire bundle.  I just purchased 3 of these bundles for a total of $14.  That is 7 short ebooks for only $14!!!  Act fast, this is only for today, November 25th, ends at 11:59 PM PST.

Craft Vision

So here are the discount codes:

Again, I got the word from PhotographyBB.  So I also suggest you sign up to their newsletter and their free monthly magazine, which is pretty good.  Hey, it’s free!  If you are interested in photography or even art in general, some of these books may get that flame going again if you’ve lost it.  By the way, I am in no way affiliated with Craft & Vision, I just thought I would share what I think is an awesome deal!

Sitepoint Books

I have been a fan of Sitepoint books for several years now.  I discovered them when I was first getting into building websites.  I think it was the summer of my sophomore year in college when I began learning HTML and I started with a free tutorial from MCLI.  I guess that tutorial was written back in the days when tables were used for lay-outing pages, so I DEFINITELY do not recommend this tutorial today.  I built one website (no longer online), based on what I’d learned from the MCLI tutorial and it was table based layout (YUCK!).

Even after my first website, I felt like I was really lacking in terms of know-how and best-practices when it came to “coding” webpages.  I don’t exactly remember how I found out about Sitepoint, but I did and the first Sitepoint book I read and finished, in like two weeks, was Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS by Ian Lloyd.  It was good!  I learned so much, especially about writing html that abides by certain standards.  Also, for me it wasn’t boring to read.  What I really liked about this book was that you were actually building a website as you read it and went through the examples, and this is true for many of the Sitepoint books.

I’ve read several other Sitepoint books since and I am currently reading and about to finish Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL by Kevin Yank.  If you want to learn how to build websites or are interested in web development, I urge you, if you haven’t, to check out Sitepoint.

Now a word about the people at Sitepoint.  I recently won a photo contest (most number of likes) hosted by Sitepoint on their PHP Master Facebook page.  As a result, I’ve had chance to interact via email with some of the people who work there.  Wow! These people are awesome! Very accommodating, quick to respond to emails, doing what they can to help and fulfill your requests.  I really appreciate and I am grateful for how Sitepoint, the great books they have, and the people who work there have helped me.  Thanks!