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Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Time Event
11:38p
Picture this ...
From time to time I get books from publishers that I wonder what I'm going to do with … and when I got a package from Random House's Crown division's Amphoto Books imprint, I was initially wondering why. However, once I made my way through Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer by Scott Bourne & Skip Cohen, I figured out that their promo department had done a pretty good job of targeting this, at least in terms of my The Job Stalker blog over on the Tribune's “Chicago Now” site.

Although I have, over the years, had a varying level of enthusiasm for photography, I've never given it much thought as a career, and this led me to wonder what I'd be able to get out of a book so obviously targeted to those who were thinking along those lines. After all, the specifics here address a level of photography that I'd never been involved in, although I'm assuming that these are things familiar to more serious photographers (for instance, I've never made a photographic print since summer camp back in grade school!). So on the fine-level, this is a book that's way over the heads of me, and most other casual photographers, or those even less involved with cameras than that. However, if one pulls back the focus, the broad strokes here are certainly applicable to most anybody who had considered taking an avocation and turning it into their main vocation.

The book begins with “Define Your Niche”, where it's noted “You will be miles ahead if you focus … on that which you are most passionate about and which you are most intimate with – that which you love and know the most about.” … this is clearly advice that would apply to any effort to build a career out of activities you're immersed in. This section then goes into descriptions of various photographic categories, with info on each … again, while the details may not be for the general reader, the message there is certainly applicable across a wide range of interests and activities.

The book moves on with “Be the Best Photographer You Can Be”, where the importance of honing one's craft is presented, to “Test the Water and Show Your Work”, which is, perhaps, more to the photographic field than others, to “Marketing”, “Social Media Marketing for Photographers”, “Use Twitter to Grow Your Photo Business”, “Blogging: Your Online Presence”, “The World of Search”, “Old-Fashioned Networking”, “Expand Your Business”, and “Outsourcing”. Needless to say, these last eight chapters have material which can be brought to bear in any field. Again, the details are about how to develop one's photographic business, but the advice and most of the resources could be well taken in the move from a dedicated hobbyist to a professional in assorted fields.

Obviously, Going Pro is addressed to a very narrow population, but if you have an interest in photography (it is, as one would expect, lushly filled with examples of professional work, and the entire book is printed on high-quality paper), you may find this of interest. Also, as noted, this is a book that anybody who might be considering making “what they love to do” into “what they do” would find a lot of useful material.

This only “officially” came out this week, so it should be available in your local brick-and-mortar stores, but the big on-line guys currently have it at a substantial discount. Scott Borune “is known as the #1 photographer on Twitter” (whatever that means), and I'm assuming that this, and the activities of Skip Cohen (publishing, conferences, schools), leads to a particular “spin” here … but the main take-away I had here was that this had use beyond the bounds of photography … so it might be something that you'd find of interest.


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