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Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business Reviews

Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business

  • ISBN13: 9780817400019
  • Condition: New
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Become the professional photographer you were meant to be.
 
Competition in the photography industry has never been fiercer. But in this empowering guide, acclaimed photographer and speaker Dane Sanders reveals that the key to success is to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and start focusing on your most powerful resource: you. Discover how to:
 
·        Use your unique skills and talents to carve out a niche all your own.
·        Avoid the mist

Rating: (out of 57 reviews)

List Price: $ 16.99

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5 Comments

  1. Review by Robert S. Tobias for Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business
    Rating:
    This book would be better titled “Efficient Track Photography” or perhaps “DEAL to a Successful Photography Business” if they didn’t sound stupid and if the second one wouldn’t get they author sued. He’s also building a brand around the “Fast Track” name. No mistake, his method can get you where you want to go quicker by showing you how to avoid spending time doing things that get in the way.

    What Mr. Sanders does, in a down to earth, relates-well-to-people way is to divide the photo market into two classes of image makers, Freelancers and Signature Branders. He explains why they are different, what makes someone better at being one or the other, and how to best leverage your innate skills, abilities, interests, and talents to succeed in that space. He even provides an on-line tool for evaluation yourself and deciding which path is better suited to you.

    This book contains absolutely no technical instruction (“When shooting into the sun…”). There are references to useful resources for finding out real world solutions and getting real world employment, like Pictage and Grad Images, scattered throughout the book.

    If you’re looking for instruction on how to take pictures the try Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition). If you want to know how to maybe start making (more) money once you do then this book is a good place to start.

    Funny thing is, depending on your path and personal style, knowing how to take a good picture may not even be the most important thing.

    The online test, a “$15 value” that comes free with the book provides some interesting insights into your personality as related to your photographic endeavors. It asks 150 multiple choice questions and produces a 6-page report that analyzes 14 aspects of “you” and provides a description of how you fared with each area and recommendations on how to handle any issues. My strong recommendation would be that you take the test before reading the book. I say that for a couple of reasons. If you wait until after you read the book to take the test (what I did) there’s a risk you might recognize how questions asked relate to “bad” traits and skew the results. (Me Grumpy… Never!) Also, you are allowed to retake the test, the author even recommends it. So, you can always take the test a second time, after completing the book.

  2. Review by Jeff Wignall for Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business
    Rating:
    I’m still in the process of reading and digesting this book and while I’m pretty wary of “career” books (most of them are written by people who have never actually done what they’re talking about) Dane Sanders is actually a very talented wedding and portrait photographer and so he’s succeeded at what he’s writing about. (Interestingly, by the way, he didn’t become a photographer until he was 35.). Also, I write books about photography and have been a photographer for about 40 years, so usually anyone promising a “fast track” to a profitable photo career is either a huckster or, again, someone who has never done it for a living. But Sanders is not a huckster and he does do it for a living–so again, there is some authority behind the book. Still, being a photographer is tough enough, making a career out of it is much tougher so when I come across a photo-career book, I tend to look at it askance. What I’m trying to say is that I approached the book with a fair degree of skepticism.

    But one of the points that Sanders makes in the book (Chapter 2: “The Power of Choosing Your Own Adventure”), and the one that caused me to give him more credence as someone who had something very worthwhile to say, was his very good advice to enhance the things that you are already good at rather than trying to fix all of the things you’re not that good at doing. This is such fantastic (and rarely offered) advice. For example, I’m a travel photographer by trade and I realized, after a lot of frustrating years of trying to be all things to all clients, that what I was good at was revealing the soul of a place–period. (No doubt because I love to travel so much.) I’m not a wedding photographer, I’m not a very good portrait photographer, I’m not a great corporate photographer (don’t tell my corporate clients that), but I am very good at landing in a far-off place and coming home with good photos of that place. So Sander’s advice is to stop trying to get better at all the things you may not be that good at (you might need a second lifetime to get through that anyway–though it certainly can’t hurt to get better at those things) but to show off and revel in the things that you are really good at doing. Accentuate the positive. The point is, I think, is that there is a *reason* you’re good at the things you excel at–because you love to do those things.

    That actually goes to a significant point that Sanders makes time and time again in the book: be who you are. It’s *you* that you are ultimately selling, not photography. This is another very valid point that is often ignored in the attempt to build your career from your portfolio instead of your personality. In my books, for example, I talk as much about my life and my own fears and failures, as I do about f/stops and shutter speeds. And when people review my books, the one thing they point at over and over is the warmth of the writing and the humanity (and the lame humor). I can teach you to take a good technical photograph in half a day, but I can never teach you how to blend in with another culture or to make friends with people when there is a language barrier–that has to come from you. It’s in you, you just have to let it out. And Sanders gives a lot of advice (and provides a good argument) for letting your personality shine through as you try to build a career. You might resist this advice and still think you build a career on having a studio full of equipment and a great and diverse portfolio–but clients could care less. They want to know that they can trust you, that they like you and that you are human enough to understand what it is they are trying to do in their business.

    As I said, I’m still reading the book and I’m at the point now where he is talking more about assessing who you really are and how you can apply that to building a career. The book tends to have a few too many fictional examples for my taste, but they’re short and not enough to put me off and they tend to make good points. Also, the book is a big new-agey for me (hey, the author is from California!), but again, the info is worthwhile and I like that he writes from his own perspective rather than trying to write yet one more plastic book without a human voice. I don’t know Sanders, by the way, have never spoken to him. But I think that if you’re seriously think that if you’re thinking of starting a photo career, or career-changing, you will get an interesting perspective from this book, as well as a good outline for figuring out just who you should be as a photographer.

    I’ll finish this review when I finish the book–but right now I’d say for the few bucks it costs, it’s a good investment (or ask your library to buy the book). You still have to work on mastering camera skills and that takes many years regardless of what cameras you own, but you also have to know where you want to head if you ever expect to get there. [...]

  3. Review by Enche Tjin for Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business
    Rating:
    The idea in this book is very simple, it urges you to know who you are as a photographer. What you like and what you don’t like. It provides a passcode for free online test to know your pDNA (photographer DNA). Unlike your DNA, pDNA can change overtime, and you will get some recommendation how to improve your pDNA.

    Then, you will be laid out two popular way to earn a living as photographer, build own brand/identity or being freelancer and work for other people/company. Both ways has pro and cons, but the author is biased towards build your own brand.

    This book does not give you many practical / tactics in business, so if you like more hands-on practical business practice, you might better get Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition

    Overall, it is nice and light read. You might get some insights about today photography business. But because it does not have practical advice, you might still stuck in the business. It is a lot of words in the book and I think it will better if the author cut it down and focus on the practical business advice.

  4. Review by Personne for Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business
    Rating:
    Like many people considering this book, I’m an amateur photographer who found myself getting more serious. People have made favorable comments about my shots. Can I take it farther? Along comes this book by Dane Sanders.

    I see it as two books. One part I liked a lot, and the other I flipped through as quickly as possible. The best part presents a number of stark choices regarding a career in photography. A central tenet is taken directly from Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. The photography business is global. There are few structural obstacles between any talented photographer and a sustainable market. As Sanders shows, this is a two-edged sword. There are many sorts of ways into the business, packaged (a little too conveniently) as the ‘Signature Brand Photographer’ and the ‘Freelance Photographer’.

    Prospective photographers are rarely aware of the full range of personal and business skills required to succeed. Photographic talent is only a small part of the equation. Marketing, bookkeeping, hygiene, and interpersonal skills are all key. The rapidly-changing nature of the business–driven by the web–requires a focused and evolving set of skills. Sanders gives a number of scenarios which help the reader to think it through. A core of this approach is an online evaluation called pDNA. The book contains a passcode which allows the reader to take the test once at no additional charge. Of course, it is recommended that the test be taken yearly. As you might suspect, subsequent tests are not free.

    This brings me to the other part of the book. If you’ve spent any time at all in a large corporate environment, you’re familiar with the range of evaluation tests and trademarked programs which are available to help the corporation evaluate talent. Most have little value, other than the money they put into the pockets of program providers. This book has some of that flavor. There’s no important point without its own acronym. Most of the categories are just a bit too tidy for me. The pDNA test itself feels like a zillion other evaluations, with little real psychological science behind it. It can feel a little too much like a workshop you get dragged into by your boss. I will readily admit that some people like to work that way; for them this book is a 100% success. I’m a bit more skeptical about terminology that feels faddish.

    In spite of my concerns, I think it’s a book worth reading if you’re considering a career in photography. The author presents a number of important points in a way that can’t be glossed over. Regardless of terminology, they’re questions that will come up quickly.

  5. Review by Lynn Hoffman, author:The Short Course in Beer for Fast Track Photographer, Revised and Expanded Edition: Leverage Your Unique Strengths for a More Successful Photography Business
    Rating:
    The essential advice in this book is excellent and undeniable: photography is as much about creating a unique experience for your customer as it is about creating images. The useful self-test could help the aspiring business-owner in any field get a head start on creating the kind of business where their own personality informs the kind of business they start.

    Sanders’ essential revelation is that photography is a hospitality business: the photographer’s job is to create an experience. That experience includes projecting one’s own personal style in an attractive, constructive way.

    Fast Track has two drawbacks. One is that it was written before the digital marketplace changed everything. The photographer building her own brand will find a lot more competition and a much more complex world. The photographer hoping to work for someone else will find more competition and lower pay.

    The other is that it is extremely wordy with lots of filler. Do you really need a seperate table to tell you that the term ‘experience’ means one’s experience as a photographer?

    I’m sure that a lot of careers will be boosted by this book, and it would have been a Faster Track if it had also been a shorter one.

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