Resources for Aspiring Photographers

If you have an interest in photography as a career, or if you are just looking for new inspiration, you might find this post helpful. I remember when I started as a photographer being super hungry for any resource or bit of information I could find. Actually, I still am. Professional development is hugely important to me. I receive a lot of e-mails asking for advice, resources and information on where/how I got my start. Hopefully I can answer some of the most frequently asked questions in a later post, but for now I wanted to share some resources/links for those who aspire to work in the industry or have an interest in photography. This list is not intended to be all encompassing rather a list of resources that personally helped or inspired me in my own journey. Dig in!

Recommended Books/Magazines:

  • ASMP’s Professional Business Practices in Photography -THE go-to guide for the business of photography. Read this one cover to cover twice.
  • Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington – Another essential read on the business of photography
  • Tell the World You Don’t Suck by Leslie Burns-Del’Aqua – An excellent, easy read about marketing your work and setting yourself apart by one of the top consultants in the business.
  • How to Succeed in Commercial Photography by Selina Maitreya – A great read on the world of commercial photography by another leading consultant.
  • Advertising Photography: A Straightforward Guide to a Complex Industry by Lou Lesko – Tons of great insight into the world of high-end advertising assignments.
  • VisionMongers by David duChemin – Doesn’t give the nuts and bolts of running a business but is an inspiring read on vision/passion with great “stories” from some well known photographers like Chase Jarvis and Zach Arias.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnige – A classic that everyone in the business world should read at least once.
  • Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay – Another classic full of information for those entering the business world.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: A Professional Photographer’s Workflow by Michael Clark (eBook) – A great book on Lightroom by a personal friend of mine.
  • The Moment it Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries by Joe McNally – Random thoughts and insight from one of the best photographers/teachers ever.
  • Pricing Photography: The Complete Guide to Assignment & Stock Prices by Michal Heron and David MacTavish – Provides an overview and understanding of how pricing in the photo industry works.
  • Photo District News – Hands down my favorite magazine for professional photographers.

Professional Organizations


  • Kelby Training – A ton of great video based lessons on everything from location lighting to digital workflow by some of the industries top instructors. Really valuable instruction in an economical and time-friendly way.
  • Strobist – A great resource for learning off camera flash.
  • Rocky Mountain School of Photography – Great workshops and career training programs. I attended their Summer Intensive Career Training Program in 1999 and would highly recommend it for anyone interested in photography.
  • ASMPproAdvice – An online forum for emerging/student photographers


  • FotoBiz/FotoQuote Software – The industry standard for pricing photography.
  • – A great place to rent gear that you cannot afford or justify buying.
  • MacGurus – Although not photo specific these guys are truly gurus when it comes to all things Mac. They understand photographer’s needs and can help you upgrade Mac computers for a fraction of what Apple charges.

Inspiring and Motivational Videos/Blogs

  • Zack Arias Video – This is a great video that was originally posted on Scott Kelby’s popular blog. Zach provides a valuable reminder and encouraging charge relevant to those even outside of photo industry.
  • Chase Jarvis Photoshelter Talk – A great presentation by Chase in New York that left me feeling inspired and motivated.
  • Seth Godin’s Blog – Daily inspiration for all.

If there are resources not listed here that have inspired you or helped you in your own journey please share.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 Photo Education

2 Comments to Resources for Aspiring Photographers

Brandon Tompkins
July 7, 2009

Thanks Mike for looking after the little guy and giving back!!!!!!!!!

Yuto Watanabe
July 23, 2011

Thanks for the list of all of these resources! I’m an aspiring photographer, and I find all of this very useful. Your work is fantastic, too!

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