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BetterPhoto Photography Interview with Jim Zuckerman - Part II

How did you get your first book deal?

Jim Zuckerman:

My first book deal happened by getting in through the back door, so to speak. A long time friend of mine had a contract to write a book for Writers Digest Book and didn't have time to work on it. He asked me if I'd like to co-author it, and I said yes.

I ended up writing the entire book and then it was canned because the publisher felt the market had changed for this particular subject. The editor at WDB had never seen my work, and when he did (he met with me because he felt so bad about canceling the book) he asked me what books l'd like to write. I gave him three ideas, and over the next 4 or 5 years I wrote all three of them for him.

photography class
© Jim Zuckerman
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What do you like MOST about your professional life?

Jim Zuckerman:

What I like most about my work is that photography leads me to wonderful places, beautiful sights, and enriching experiences.

For example, in February I was photographing wild macaws and poison dart frogs in Costa Rica, in March I was shooting white horses charging through the surf in France, and this month I was amidst dozens of roseate spoonbills in a small boat in Tampa Bay, Florida. In June, I'll be in Norfolk, Virginia photographing tall ships.

I'm never bored with my work. If I spend a week shooting nature, I love to come home and work in Photoshop to make visual magic that was impossible just a few years ago. It's all still exciting to me after all these years.

photo workshops
© Jim Zuckerman
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What do you like the LEAST about running your professional life?

Jim Zuckerman:

What do I like least? ... hmmmm I don't like how stock photography has changed. It feels like we photographers are getting squeezed out of the business. I don't like photographers selling their work for one dollar or less. It cheapens our work and, in the long run, hurts everyone.

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