The Photographer’s Guide to Making Money, by Karen Dorame | Review

The subtitle of this book is “150 Ideas for Cutting Costs and Boosting Profits.” And that really sums up the book. Its goal is to help you think differently about what you’re already doing.

Karen Dorame, The Photographer's Guide to Making Money
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Karen Dorame, The Photographer's Guide to Making Money Title: The Photographer’s Guide to Making Money: 150 Ideas for Cutting Costs and Boosting Profits
Author: Karen Dorame
Publisher: Amherst Media
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
Total Pages: 126 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1584282570
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The title of this book grabs the attention, but it’s really the subtitle that is a much better description of what this book is all about: “150 Ideas for Cutting Costs and Boosting Profits.” It consists entirely of a list of tips with short elaborations. And it gets straight down to business–there’s not even a preface or introduction.

It’s aimed at photographers trying to increase the profitability of their business. It is not a step-by-step guide book for starting a new photography business, although some of the cost-cutting tips and ideas on where to find bargain props or backgrounds would likely be useful to photographers trying to get started without spending a lot of money up front.

Some of the tips are pretty obvious–for example, “#13 Master your craft” or #17 Learn more about photography online” or “#110 Always be on the lookout for great images.”

Others apply only to certain photography niches (eg. “#140 Soothing a fussy baby with a vibrating pillow may help you avoid rescheduling” or “#137 Save money on high-end photographic costuming by skipping sizes.”) The explanation for some tips are only 2 or 3 sentences long and very generalized. Others are longer and provide specific brand names, research, or websites to follow up with. The tip on photography safaris and photo schools, for example, is over two pages of suggestions for business that provide photo schools. And there’s a Resources section at the end that provides more lists related to the ideas in the book.

There are quite a few photos throughout the book. The most useful of them, to me, illustrate some of the cost-saving ideas. An example is the collection of photos showing you how to construct “Tip #67 The most clever light enhancer ever–for under $15!”.

Originally published in 2009, it’s a little dated now, and overall, chances are you’ll find some tips that are relevant and a few that aren’t. Photographers who are just starting out in monetizing their photography are more likely to find it useful for ideas on where to start. The longer you’ve been making money from photographer, the more likely you’ve come across many of these tips before. In that case, you’ll probably be better offer with something more specific to your photography niche.

But there’s also good chance that there are some ideas in here that you might not have thought of. And that’s probably really where the value of this book–more in the cumulative effect than in specific tips. It’s very easy to get stuck in certain ways of doing things and ways of thinking. Even if some of the tips aren’t especially relevant or new to you, others might well, and this book is useful in helping you think creatively outside the boxes. But if you’re new to the business are area looking for a step-by-step guide on how to start a photography business and make money then there are better options.

About the Author

Official bio: Karen Dórame grew up with a camera. Her mother, Magda White, was an award-winning photographer. After a few years of being in front of the lens, she got her first twin reflex camera as a pre-teen. She went from a career in public relations to founding Special Kids Photography of America, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to training photographers to capture images of special children–photographs that are beautiful, insightful and tug at the heart. She also has a passion for infrared photography that has led to fine art images in IR color as well as black and white. Her book on infrared photography is a start-to-finish guide for creating beautiful IR images.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

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