In today’s episode, I want to give you a quick snapshot of some of my favorite business books that I’ve read as a photographer. All of these have helped in different ways and in different seasons of my business. Books are a great way to learn from some of the industry leaders in a strategic and wholesome way. While they are not specifically focused on photography, you can still stake each of the application pieces from these books and apply them to your photography business. I want to share these with you today in case they can be helpful for you as well.
Now, before we dive into the 5 different business books I have loved the most, I want to share a quick life hack with you. If you find it hard to get through self-development or business books, you can purchase them on Audible and listen to them as if they were a podcast. I love romance and mystery novels but struggle to get through business books, and honestly, if you are here, I know you enjoy listening to podcasts, so that’s my little life hack for you!
And with that, let’s get into the different books! I’m excited to share these with you because they have been pivotal to some of my growth and how I have approached business as a whole. These are all linked in my Amazon storefront if any of these books resonate with you.
This is one of the very first business books I read when I started my photography business and struggled with how to manage my finances. I cannot tell you how much this book has changed the game for how I manage my business money, especially when it came to how much to save for taxes and how much to pay myself.
So, if you’re just bringing in money and hoping for the best, or many operating out of only one account and you feel like nothing is organized, then you need to get this book and read it now!
It’s not the kind of book where you have to read it word for word and take notes, but it is a book that’s very actionable as you’re reading through it. Now, I haven’t implemented every part, but the parts that I have implemented have enabled me to grow a solid business finance plan.
You will learn how to grow your expenses account so that you always have money there and you always understand how much is actually in your business for your expenses, and honestly, it has encouraged me to pay more attention to my expenses. Not in a limiting way, but in a way where I can understand how much it costs to run a business and what’s actually needed in order to continue operating out of my only expenses account.
Not only that, but you’ll also learn how to save for taxes so you always have money there just waiting to pay the government so there are no surprises. You’ll learn how to build up a profit account that’s only for rainy-day expenses or a time when you’re going through those inevitable ebbs and flows in business.
By using this Profit First method, you will be growing your finances and getting to a place of better financial stability just by implementing a few things from the book.
So, if you are hoping to become a full-time photographer or already are one, the sooner you can start implementing these financial methods, the better! If you don’t want to wing your finances anymore, this book is for you.
This is another book I think I read closer to the start of my business just because I had heard a lot about it, and it really does live up to the hype. As a photographer and as a mentor who looks over many photographers’ websites and their marketing, one of the biggest mistakes I see is talking more about yourself and how amazing you and your work are, and why a couple should choose you over the other photographer down the street. You’re talking more about you than you are about the couple and how you are the guide in their situation.
In this book, the author Donald Miller talks about how your couple is the hero of their own story, and you are simply the guide. If you think about this from a storyline perspective, it helps you to understand where you actually come into the picture, and how you can best guide your clients.
In my last podcast episode, I talked about improving your client communication and mapping out what the journey should look like, and I talked about how it comes down to even thinking about it before clients get in contact with you. If you can go back to that episode and read this book, it’s going to serve you well in your marketing.
One more book I think could complement this really well is “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. It’s an older book but also plays into how your marketing should be different and stand out like a purple cow. In a day and age where everyone sounds the same, everyone’s saying the same thing, everyone’s doing the same trends, they’re not going to remember photographers who are doing the same thing. You want to understand your couple’s story, their experience with you, and how you fit into that picture, as well as understand how your marketing has an impact on that and how you can be the purple cow with all the other black and white cows.
One of the very first things I teach my students inside of Book It is to understand their why, and it goes so much deeper than just saying something like, “I love to take photos” or “I want you to be able to hang these up on your wall.” It’s so much deeper than that.
If you’re not a book girlie, you could listen to a YouTube video from Simon Sinek where he talks about starting with why and how important that is. Another book he has written is Find Your Why. I think either of these books would be incredibly beneficial.
One of the biggest reasons I think it’s so important to understand your why on a deeper level is because of burnout. If you think about it, it’s probably much easier to work your normal 9-5 job because that’s literally all you do. It’s hard work, but you go into work, you get done, you get paid, you’ve got benefits, you’ve got paid time off, and a lot of times it can feel easier than pursuing your own photography career because that can seem unstable sometimes.
However, in your photography business, all of your success is hanging on your shoulders and there are moments and seasons of business where you simply do just have to work more, especially in the busier wedding season. It can be easy to lose sight of your why and to just burn out.
I tell you this because I was there last summer. I had booked too much for the month of June and even though I enjoyed every single wedding and elopement day, it was a lot for one person. We were also going to Italy and Greece immediately after and I came back with more weddings, so I just had a lot on my plate.
I realized I had overbooked myself. It was hard to have a full broad picture of why I was doing this compared to nursing. I didn’t have much of a work/life balance within that month and a half and it was stressful, so I had to go back to my why and tell that to myself over and over again.
If you’ve never figured out your why in the first place, then whenever you are in a season of burnout or you’re pretty close to it, it can be hard to understand what your mission is and why you’re here. So, if you’ve never done this work of asking yourself those very important questions of why you do photography and what makes it worth it to you, then you need to go get this book, read it, and implement these things because your why is so incredibly important to return back to.
And if you can do this in a season where you are finding joy and excitement about your business, then it’ll be much easier than if you’re trying to figure out your why during a busier season.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re constantly hustling and you’re working yourself to the ground, then there’s not much more to say than you need this book. We were not designed as humans to always be on, so you have to eliminate that hurry and the hustle culture that’s been embedded in us. I know I’ve had to do that.
I loved reading this book on a cruise because I felt like it was very timely. I was slowing down and not working that week and was able to reconnect with my priorities and desires in life, because we cannot lose sight of our why.
We also have to understand that there is a balance between when you’re hustling and also resting. It’s very natural for me to work a lot, but trying to eliminate that hurry and the hustle culture has been really important for me.
So, if you find yourself there, then you definitely need to pick up this book!
I have to be honest and say that I’m currently reading through this book, but I thought it was a fitting recommendation, especially with how I’ve pivoted into education so much within the last 2 years. I have really found that influence is huge, even if you’re a newer photographer, you still have so much influence over the kind of couples that you get to work with. You have so much influence on the feeling you create in your world, whether that’s just your photography couples or potential photographers you want to mentor.
I think this book can be a very important one for every single person to understand the impact you have on lives, an this book isn’t about being an influencer. It’s about the impact you receive on someone’s life in general.
As a photographer, even if that’s the only thing you do, you have so much impact. You are delivering special images that are going to last a lifetime, and understanding how you operate your business and how you make people feel has an impact on someone’s life forever. Being able to read this book and feel inspired in your own business to implement these things in a respectful and professional way, and always taking your influence into account is very beneficial to every single person.
Those are the top 5 business books I have loved the most in my photography career. Please let me know if you’ve got any questions about anything I’ve mentioned here or if there is any education that I can bring to you specifically as well.