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Monday Q+A

Who To Connect With When Approaching A Big Ad Agency

Q:

When approaching a big ad agency, who should I connect with? I usually hit up a mid-level art director, but should I be approaching producers? I tend to send expensive DM pieces, so I can’t ship to everyone!

A:

The decision-makers at big ad agencies include the Creative Director, Art Director, and Producers. All three are involved with different roles, but the AD usually chooses which photographer will be the “recommend” to the client for the final decision. My method is to contact all of them and see who responds, giving me better odds of a more personalized, well-received marketing piece.

Do You Turn Jobs Away Because of Low Budgets?

Do you have to turn jobs away because of low budgets, or do you make it work? If you photographers are in a slow period, does that make you more open to taking on these jobs?

I do have to turn jobs away regularly because of low budgets. 

My checklist to consider these lower-budget projects:

  1. Can this lead to future larger-paying jobs with this client or others?
  2. Is this a paid test that will benefit my photographer’s portfolio?
  3. Will the usage rights be controlled to match the budget?
  4. Would this be a regularly reoccurring client where fees add up as a regular gig?
  5. Does adding the client name to your client list help?
  6. Is there any chance of the low budget restricting the job quality, and if so, this is a definite NO WAY. 

What Is Expected At In-Person Portfolio Showings

Q:

What is expected of us these days at in-person portfolio showings? Is there a standard for us to bring, or can we show our website on our computer?

A:

Think about it: this is your one opportunity to show the client you are a skilled pro ready to impress. To stick in their memory make sure you bring options to show it all in a concise professional manner to make it easy and memorable. Our industry is now multileveled, and we have to present ourselves as tech/style specialists with screens for motion and some type of portfolio for stills.

Is There a Database of Reps Sorted by Speciality?

Q:

Is there a database or list of reps out there sorted by spaces they specialize in?

A:

The best database list for reps I have seen is on Workbook.com, but their industry specialty can be found by looking up the top photographers in that market to see who reps them.

I Need a Fresh Start In My Marketing And Attitude

Q:

I need a fresh start in my marketing and attitude, as I had a rough year last year (business-wise), which affected the rest of my life. How do I bring a fresh approach to my business this year?

A:

Accepting GROWTH as our new day-to-day format energizes our business decisions, keeping us on track for the long run. This freshness has to be the regular constant ingredient to what we do because the Advertising Industry is built on change. Find all the spots you may be holding yourself back with dated routines and structure experimentation/testing/new ideas as the new norm.

How Can I Take A Break When I Want So Much More?

Q:

How can I give myself a break and feel good about the success I experienced this year when I really want so much more?

A:

How do we appreciate what we have created when an integral part of our goal is always to achieve more? We are in an odd situation as artistic entrepreneurs in that we must keep the inspiration fires lit while at the same time fully recharging. I don’t mean to be too poetic, but I see it like watering the garden. I have to quiet my mind for new ideas to pop up. If we don’t leave some empty space – we may not develop new ideas and new ideas are the key to our success.

Will It Help To Lower Prices To Bring In More Clients?

Q:

How do I get hired as I am just starting with my photo business? Will it help if I lower my prices to bring in more clients?

A:

Newer up-and-coming photographers can be more flexible to help build their portfolios. The flexibility of giving more of your time, post work, and more options like video can help get you started. Still, be mindful of the long-term by not lowering the value of your image usage licensing rate. 

Can Commercially Utilized Images Be Sold As Future Prints?

Q:

Will booking a job where the images are to be used commercially prevent me from selling them in the future as prints?

A:

You set the terms in your estimate to allow exclusive usage for them or not. If they want to purchase the images exclusively then they will have to pay for that. Just be clear with them and spell it all out and get their signature on your estimate.

Do Reps Take A Cut Of Usage Fees?

Q:

Do reps take a cut of usage fees? If so, is there a standard amount?

A:

Yes, traditional reps are paid a commission of all fees based on your time and image value. Our commission (normally 25% or 30%) is for all photography fees, including usage, prep, travel, day rates, creative fees, shot fees, and sometimes post-work.

Reaching Out To Clients To Create Their Content

Q:

I reach out to clients with my ideas to create their content, but they often interpret this as non-paid free work. How do I offer my concepts as a business offer instead of a free-be?

A:

Two ways to handle this:

  1. Include pricing (or a pricing range) in your request to put it on the table without potential confusion. 
  2. Go for the clients who always pay for content instead of those using unpaid images.