Once a photographer secures a rep, can we feel relieved, knowing that the rep will secure work for us regularly, like once a month or more? I believe this is an essential question since photography is a precarious profession, and I’m curious if representation can mitigate this.
Simple answer: NO
Think of it like this: a rep can open doors, but it will still be you, with your same portfolio showing up to those meetings.
We have the contacts, and you have the goods. The question is more about what are you needing to land the jobs? Is the answer something where a rep can help you grow your portfolio and make you more findable or credible with exposure? Figuring this out before you look for a rep may help you not waste any time determining the right path for you.
What do I do if I’ve developed a solid synergistic relationship with a potential dream client (who found me!) over numerous emails working out the nitty gritty of a potential project they wanted a cost on, sent the estimate, then got ghosted? I’ve already followed up once (1 week after) now it’s another week after that and not a peep. So disappointing…
Business is business, and as much as clients become our close contacts, we have to remember the ultimate truth that this is their job. We work in an overworked industry where no one has a lot of time.
Don’t take it personally.
Your contact means well, but they are busy.
Set a future date where you will email a kind and lightly humble email, understanding they are busy while blaming your curiosity for checking in on what became of that project.
Move on to what matters and how to bring your portfolio up to a level not to get passed up for jobs because the real issue is not that they didn’t respond but that you probably didn’t get that job.
When first contacting a potential client, should I say something like, “Here is some new work I’ve done?” Or if you don’t have new work to show, is it too blunt to say you want to work together? Is there etiquette to follow up if you don’t hear from them? I don’t want to be that person that bombards them unsolicited over and over.
I always say we should talk to people as we want to be talked to. When you sense someone is “selling” to you, don’t you want to delete, hand up or walk away? Clients know you want to work with them; that’s a given. The more you can sound like yourself, mentioning the fun location or an educational equipment reference gives them something to remember you by, The real stuff never gets old.
Hello! I’m a well established Swedish commercial lifestyle and outdoor photographer. I also shoot film and direct. My wife is American, and we are planning to move to Minneapolis soon. The transition from Sweden to the US is a pretty big step. I’ve been thinking of creating a second website that I can promote in the US for SEO and content. I want to meet with reps and, of course, brands and agencies. But as I’m not familiar with the market over there, I don’t know where to begin. What would be a good place to start?
Welcome to the USA! One of the best parts of being a photographer is the barometer for good work is pretty much the same across the board. Moving from one location to another does not preclude you from getting jobs unless you want to work in one type of industry but show images from another sector. A wedding photographer has a more challenging time doing commercial advertising because that shows a different visual perception and aptitude scenario. Moving places won’t hold you back; it can even be a catchy conversation tool that will interest people. Rework your website to include the new location content/SEO/vibe based on the type of work you want to be getting, as that is the true focus.
Hi Andrea, there is one ‘ism’ no one seems to be paying attention to, especially re women: AGEISM. As a 50 year old woman who has been shooting for a LONG time and really trying every door, window, skylight, chimney, and drainpipe to get into the commercial world, I’ve found very patronizing attitudes toward me that seem totally divorced from the work I’m able to create. While there are places for women my age in the business, virtually none of them seem to involve actually HOLDING A CAMERA. What’s your take?
Ageism is one of the many unfair “ism’s” in our very young-minded industry. Like anything that gets in our way, we have to focus on ourselves and figure out ways to get even better at fixing the core of the problem. I suggest everyone ask themselves what is getting in the way, where we are blocked, and what we can do about it. Ageism is real in photography and advertising; I’ve seen many clients suffer from this as they retire before they are ready. The questions and the answers depend on how we will incorporate our solutions into our business plan.
Where do creative directors, art buyers etc. look for new talent? I would appreciate any advice I can get.
The business of photography depends on who sees our images; we have to find every potential method to put ourselves out there. Depending on the type of photographer you are, we have some really good options these days like Komyoon, Workbook, At-Edge, Blvd, Behance, PhotoPolitic, LeBook, Production Paradise, Found and Wonderful Machine. They all have a different vibe, go through them and see where you fit best. I suggest asking clients you want to work with where they look for new talent. After you give one of these a try, you can SEO your website and use Google Analytics to see where the traffic is coming in. It’s a timely process with no easy answer, but if you pay attention to your analytics, you can see what works for you.
Flying to NYC next week from LA for a job with a producer that has booked me on many well paying jobs this year. Have yet to have dinner or a drink with them, if we do get dinner, is that a time where I slap my credit card down and try to pay for the meal? Or they may just cover it and so it goes?
Yes! When you get a job, it is your turn to spoil your clients. Hopefully, your budget is slightly padded to help you take them to a baseball game, buy them the special dinner, whip up some unexpected craft service during the shoot day and then splurge for a nice wrap party dinner for all the crew. It’s part of the job for you (and your rep) to say thank you in all the possible ways without it being too over the top.
How much influence do art directors have in the decision making process of selecting a photographer for a project?
The decision-making process of selecting the photographer goes through many twists and turns, mostly involving the producer, creatives (art director/creative directors or designers), and the clients. The producers usually bring in the selection of photographers for the creatives to choose their top 3. The creatives will then inform the producer who is their top choice. Our goal is always to be the ‘recommend’ to the client, but ultimately, the client decides.