Here’s the thing about photographers – we are artists. As an aspiring photographer, it can take a long time to accept the word “artist” but it is absolutely true. You no doubt feel your way through your work. You see landscapes and lighting before bottom lines and things like, you know, eating. An artist is someone who doesn’t start from a business mindset. But the rest of the world isn’t necessarily playing by those rules.
To be successful in photography, skill is only half the equation. You are, in fact, running a business. You’re selling yourself and your work. So a little insight into how to market yourself, especially in our rapidly shifting digital age, is vital. Furthermore, even if you have already secured some success, it is always important to brush up on the latest trends and learn from current industry experts, because marketing is a very fluid concept.
Lucky for us, there is a wide array of photography marketing books to guide us through the basics of creating a marketing plan, how to successfully use any social media platform, and how to price our work.
So what resources are there to help guide the business side of artistry? We’ve searched for the best photography marketing books. Check out what we found.
1. Social Media Marketing Mastery by Chandler Wright (Overall Winner)
Social Media Marketing Mastery stands out because of the broad range of its topics. Rather than focusing solely on Instagram, this book – which is, in fact, three books – looks at a range of social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Writing about the Facebook algorithm and how to make it work for you and how to build a marketing campaign, this book provides workable, actionable advice. This multi-platform approach makes it a key photography marketing book to build a brand and market effectively.
2. InstaStyle: Curate Your Life, Create Stunning Photos, and Elevate Your Instagram Influence by Tessa Barton
InstaStyle is a visual guide to creating a revenue-generating Instagram page. It boasts the ability to deliver followers and grow a business through the art of Instagram filters, features interviews with successful influencers, and delves into photo-processing presets, making it the perfect launchpad for the next big thing. It’s a great resource for photographers learning about the social media marketing side of things as it offers a lot of inspiration on the content you should be sharing and how to feature it to get the most engagement.
Pamela Russell was a high-powered corporate marketing executive who traded it all in for a backpack and travel. In other words, the literal influencer dream life. According to her bio, however, she is managing a media presence and workload through her computer no matter her location. Her book Instagram Influencers instructs on everything from publishing sponsored posts and selling photos. It also tackles the big question: how much money can you expect? This book promises a no-holds-barred approach to influencer marketing from someone with insider knowledge – from a distant and desirable location.
4. Capture Your Style: Transform Your Instagram Images, Showcase Your Life, and Build the Ultimate Platform by Aimee Song
If style is your thing, Capture Your Style is the perfect read. Boasting a forward from Diane Von Furstenburg and authored by popular influencer Aimee Song, this book is a how-to guide from an industry insider. Focusing on details like filters, apps, styling, and crafting a narrative, this guide delivers “Instagold” for the photography marketer.
5. Post Like an Influencer, Grow Like a Marketer: A Proven Step-By-Step Guide To Start a Successful Instagram Page, Grow Your Following, and Make Money by Justin Monsanto
If you’re looking for the bullet points, Justin Monsanto’s photography marketing book might be the perfect item. Post Like an Influencer, Grow Like a Marketer is filled with helpful tips covering a wide range of marketing topics, from step-by-step guides on identifying your audience to curating your content to make it more effective. In other words, it’s not just about the filters but the general business as well. A bit on the shorter side, this book is more of a quick guide. But don’t let the length put you off, as it offers clear, basic guidance and is a great starting point for any marketer.
It may seem strange, but it can be hard to value our work. Taking a photograph can be very easy, or very challenging. So when it comes time to price our time or set our value, that task can be especially daunting. The Photograph as Contemporary Art attempts to reframe photography as a vital and valuable skill. Learn from masters that came before with over 250 photographic inspirations, and get new tips from today’s digital generation and their “new modes of dissemination in the digital age.”
7. Beyond the Glamour Photograph: How to Get Started and Be Successful as a Boudoir, Glamour, and Swimsuit Photographer by Jack Watson
Admittedly, this photography marketing book is a throwback, but we prefer to think of it as an oldie but goodie. Dated back to 2009, and with a companion DVD (only available with the print version), Beyond the Glamour Photograph still has a lot of value to offer the photography business owner. Focusing specifically on the glamour photography industry, this behind-the-scenes guide offers advice on finding models, getting published, and sidestepping legal matters – still just as important today as ever.
It’s not easy to approach photography as a business. Regardless, if you intend to earn money, photography is a business. So why not zoom out from a photography-focused approach and learn from alternative sources? Believe it or not, there are a lot of photography marketing books out there on marketing.
This Wall Street Journal bestseller, Marketing Made Simple, claims to be able to provide solid marketing advice regardless of the brand or platform. Acclaimed speaker and CEO of StoryBrand, author Donald Miller relates a step-by-step guide to creating a marketing plan built around story which is especially good for the visual narrative of photography. After establishing and cementing a brand, Miller guides on bringing that story to the marketplace.
9. The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib (Budget Winner)
Identifying as a “serial entrepreneur and rebellious marketer,” Allan Dib has built an empire on marketing. In his book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan, he reduces a marketing strategy to a literal single page divided into nine squares. While this book does not speak about photography, specifically, once again, the broad strokes of marketing are powerful tools.
Things like finding clients, closing sales, and analyzing and responding to competition may not seem relevant to the artistic photographer, but the principles presented are still very useful. You will get marketing tips useful for medium to small businesses, and learn how to find and cultivate clients, set prices, and close sales like a pro.
Marketing 101: How to Sell Yourself and Your Work
Marketing for photographers is its own unique entity because the work should be speaking for itself. Our work is, in theory, our marketing. But in this digital age, when and how often you post, to which platform, and for which audience has become a science. Learning that science is vital to anyone seeking photography marketing advice.
Do you know how to sell yourself and earn the price you feel you are worth? For that matter, do you know how to price your work outside of labor costs? Do you know where, how, and when to post your photos to gain the most followers, earn the most likes, and dominate social media? These questions boil down to a science. They are the business side of art. Arm yourself with the best resources, like these photography marketing books, to be successful as an artist and a business owner.