Exposed – The Business of Photography by Deryck van Steenderen – Book Review

A brilliant look into the world of commercial and retail photography in South Africa, but more focused on commercial. I found this to be the most comprehensive source of business information for photographers that I have come across. Specifically written for South Africa, but the concepts are sound and apply everywhere, the legal section will vary by region.

I love the Captain Sparrow quotes throughout the book, it was easy to read and understand. It is concise. Sections of South African law are  quoted, and then explained in plain English, but as Deryck makes very clear, he is not a lawyer and he is not there to interpret the law for you. The quotes give you an awesome starting point to see an actual lawyer where applicable though.

He provides information on pricing your photography, and how to make sure it is a profitable venture. Unfortunately too many South African photographers are not aware of the true cost of doing business and are under the impression that they can shoot for very low rates per day, all inclusive, and make money. Having spent many years as a freelance consultant in the IT industry, it still amazes me how many individuals enter into consulting or contracting thinking they are making a killing, but never make provisions for leave, both sick and annual, retirement, growth of capital etc.

He has samples for essential business documents and links to various sources of information.

My only critiques are that BUR (Base Usage Rate) is not explained very well, a more concise explanation of the concept will go a long way, and, in the marketing section under advertising he says : "there are more effective ways of reaching your target market that a marketing specialist can advise you of." Perhaps a single example of more effective methods could be added as a start, since he gives examples everywhere else in the book.

The book is a quick read, only took about an hour for me to get through it, but the value that hour adds for people who have never worked as contractors or consultants is amazing!

I recommend this book for ANYONE in the creative industry in South Africa, not just photographers and would encourage international creatives to also consider reading it.

For the price it is an absolute steal!