“Going Pro – How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer,” a collaboration between Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen, proves to be an inspiring read and a delight for the eyes and heart. This 240-page volume, which bears the same name as a podcast launched by Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen, aims to fill in the blanks for the aspiring professional photographer.
The book is a strong addition to the growing number of business volumes catering to the photographic industry. Written by two of the foremost names in the business, the information in the book has a genuine and insider feel to it.
Most importantly, however, the book inspires its readers to do what they often lack the confidence to do: take that next step, make that connection, begin their tweeting career, engage in the Facebook and Google+ craze, etc. And for this reason – because this book may just push its readers to really believe in their dream of going pro – it is worth the money.
The book opens with a foreword by Pulitzer prize-winner Vincent Laforet. Overlaid on an aerial and abstract photograph of surfers that he contributed to the book, is the mission statement of this tome. Simply put: “We dedicate this book to those who are willing to risk everything to protect other people's memories.”
Embedded in this statement is the real ethos of this collaboration: as much as this is a book about going pro, it is most truly a book about the commitment it takes to live your dream.
The authors begin with important starting points, stressing the need to find one's niche and calling within the larger scope of photography. The book then progresses through the landscape of components required to successfully grow a business: excellent business practices, getting your work out there, and marketing and social media.
Throughout each section of the book, contributing photographers give firsthand insights and advice. Contributing artists are of the highest caliber: Jeremy Cowart, Tamara Lackey, David Ziser, Chase Jarvis… the list goes on and on.
But perhaps even more importantly, Bourne and Cohen stay true to their art, filling the book with powerful photographs. By my count, the book is packed with more than 280 color images. There are scores of full-page images and quite a few full spreads by the artists mentioned above as well as the authors themselves.
As an aspiring pro myself, I benefitted most from the “Inspiration” category. The book drives me to restart my blog, to really engage in social media and to strive to create striking and powerful images. Perhaps most vitally, however, the book gives me the confidence to feel like I can truly do this – and so can you.
Patrick Reed is the founder of patrickreedphotography.com. A wedding and portrait photographer and educator, Patrick resides with his wife and two daughters in San Luis Obispo, CA.