NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2012
Book Review: Going Pro
By Tanya Mattson,
Librarian, Computer Users of Erie,
Pennsylvania March 2012 issue, Horizons

faith6860 (at) verizon.net (click to email author)

Going Pro is well written by Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen. Both are influential professional photographers that have expanded their blog and webcast, Going Pro2010, into a book. The knowledge and insight in this book is tremendous.

My husband and I listen to Scott and Skip's podcasts, and I had been waiting for when the book would be published. The book was more than I anticipated. It starts out with finding oneself as a photographer, finding ones niche, (i.e. wedding, portrait, commercial, etc.) how to use social media for business... It is a wealth of information and a treasure trove for anyone who, even if they are not looking into going into photography, to use as a reference.

The authors write like they talk – clear, concise, helpful. Tips and ideas on how to elevate photography, marketing and actually make money in not only this industry but also in this economy. When Going Pro arrived it was tough to put it down. There is a wealth of valuable tips, and gorgeous pictures in the pages of this book.

This book is a sort of manual, it shows how to harness social media and market oneself. It is an online marketing guide for photographers to grow from amateur hobbyist to professional status.

The book gives beginners (and pros) the tools they need in easy step­by­step and concise directions on how to get the edge on the market for themselves.

Don’t get the wrong idea­ this is not a manual on how to take a picture, but how to make a picture and a photographer marketable. The book assumes that the reader knows how to use the gear, have a good understanding of composure, lighting, editing. The focus of this book is on how to get noticed in the competitive and overflowing (overwhelming) photography industry.

The online marketing hints alone is worth the price of the book. ($29.99), and would also be applicable for other businesses. While it is tailored for photography, the insight and guides given for online marketing is gold. In this day and age, that is priceless – it seems more and more of the world and our lives are going ‘online.’

To some the book may seem to be written for only ‘newbie’s,’ for only new photographers. While those new in the industry, anyone trying to make a living from photography will find that the advice and recommendations are nothing less than vital. Not only working with one’s workflow, the speed bumps that are on the way, but also how to deal with clients. These are the ways to work not harder, but actually smarter.

Besides finding ones niche, customer service is addressed. And the old tenets are true. Customer service is key. Always be professional. (That means especially online) Strive to provide not only the best, but the highest quality experience for each and every client. Word of mouth travels so much faster at 4G speed.

It may seem so someone not having read the book that these are basic ideas that many would generally know. But they are interpreted in the new, fast moving, online age we are moving towards. It helps when two such brilliant authors and photographers explain what seems to be complex ideas – using social media to market – into a palatable language all can understand. This is the book that was sorely needed, and wonderfully delivered.

They have the combined industry experience for at least 30 years. In addition, there is advice from many of the industry’s ‘giants’ such as Bambi Cantrell, Kevin Kubota, Tamara Lackey, and Jeremy Cowart just to name a few.

If you are like me, I already follow the GoingPro blog and listen to the podcast. Why did I want this book? A couple of reasons? it is a manual and a ready reference that can be taken where and whenever I need it.

Going Pro is well written for photographers that are ready to make the move to professional' status. It is really hard to find the information that one needs out there to take something one really loves and make it a viable career business can be intimidating and difficult to grasp on its own. This industry so much more so with all the rapid changes. The steps and roads one needs to follow are described in detail. Learn how to build your brand that is unique to you, how to use Twitter and Facebook as powerful social media tools that they are and create interest in that brand. How to network, and last, but not least, how not to let business run your life, but how you run your business.

Even if you just want to learn about blogging, blog linking, Twitter & Facebook Do's and Don'ts, this is a practical guide that will be invaluable to anyone looking to build a successful business. The book is great a quick reference guide. Everything one needs is in the book, lists of resources to get one started in each area of business. This is one of the best financial investments and aspiring pro photographer or someone looking into doing business on the web. It should be on the must read textbook list of any photography or Business School/College.

Going Pro is published by Crown Publishing and list for $29.99, but is available on Amazon.com for $18.74. Get your copy now, and start moving towards the life and business you always dreamt of.

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