I want to get into Fashion and Lifestyle commercial photography. Can we do two kinds of photography at the same time?
Focusing on various markets comes up a lot for photographers of all types. I used to hear how European photographers were not as pigeonholed as we are in the USA. Hey, we are human and don’t want to be locked into one field when we have a spectrum of interests. The easiest way to approach this is to master one overall artistic sensibility, style, and vibe that can be relevant in several industries.
When a prospective client asks us to email them our portfolio, what is the preferred format? A ready-made pdf portfolio or a unique online webpage and gallery put together specifically for that prospective client?
Clients often prefer a specific submission of your work representing each project, be ready to do this regularly. The one place I do not recommend sending images from is Dropbox. They need fast, easy, clear groupings of images to zip through, comparing you to the other bidders. You can ask which they prefer, but a pdf is the norm.
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.
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.
In the directing world, spec work is a way to break in. In photography, would you recommend photographing specific brands on spec to build your portfolio, or using no brands whatsoever?
In the photo world, clients want to see your overall style match their brand. Build your portfolio to show the look and feel your favorite clients cater to, and use this “spec” concept to incorporate the products your ideal clients will need to see. If you want to get beer campaigns, put in some cans or bottles and show off how your shiny condensation skills fit your cohesive vibe. Displaying the type of product is more important than the specific brand of the product.
Hi Andrea, great Insta feed. Your tips are really helping me. Am I free to ask you for some advice? I’m convinced my portfolio is good and I have a lot of experience (15y). But I’m not where I want to be. And I really have no clue how to approach new clients like magazines or advertising agencies. What do I write in my email pitch? What’s the key to get the clients I want? I know it’s not about the portfolio, so how do I convince them to do a shoot with me? Thanks 🙂
The answer usually comes down to your portfolio of images. All the other parts of our business need to be in place, but it comes down to your portfolio being the right fit for what a client is looking to bring to their project.
Research to know that you are contacting the appropriate people and have your “elevator pitch” ready to go with keywords they can search for when they are looking.
Write a quick and concise email as if you were receiving it. Don’t sound like a sales pitch; sound like a human connecting to another human, and then stay on their radar with your marketing plan. You wrote this question in a very thoughtful and sincere way, so stick to that and be yourself!
Photographers have to create their own networking as it’s on a more individual basis instead of group events. Directly contacting clients is much more acceptable than it used to be; it’s even more expected these days. Get yourself out there with all the social media platforms and zoom portfolio reviews. See what interests people, notice what they said on a webinar or their LinkedIn post, use all of this as a more human approach to doing one-on-one connective networking.
Any tips or tricks on making the most of an Agency Access subscription?
I would not rely on a single source for your contact list management. Agency Access can help and be a good resource if you also collect names of prime contacts in other ways like social media, LinkedIn, and jury/portfolio review event lists. Today’s marketing is multi-dimensional, with all of our combined resources working together. I use Agency Access as a research tool offering info on the masses with valuable insights like client email formats and the brands they cover.