So what are the different ways a rep/agent shows your work? There are the more traditional methods: portfolio shows (with the art producers/buyers and the creatives in an agency or design firm, photo editors at magazines, and marketing folks at corporations), direct mail promotions, printed industry source books such as Workbook, email blasts, and of course an easy to navigate, image-heavy website. Non-traditional ways that are growing in popularity: social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the 3 most popular, but Flickr and other photo sharing sites are used by some reps as well. Online directories are a great tool and more and more are hitting the marketplace. These include Workbook.com, At-Edge.com, FoundFolios.com, PDN’s PhotoServe, Le Book, and more. If there is an existing relationship, coffee or lunch with an iPad works. With all of these options, there are still times when every effort is made to show your work to a prospective client and it just doesn’t happen. When I’ve experienced this, I put together a mini-book in a clever way, and deliver it with some kind of yummy treats.
You can be sure that uppermost on your rep/agents mind is showing your work in every possible way. We dream about it.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit with Ranelle Fowler, Art Producer for TM Advertising in Dallas, TX. Ranelle has been with the agency for 4 years and handles the art buying and producing. Before moving to the agency side of the business, Ranelle was a producer and photographer herself. I asked Ranelle to give me her best advice for photographers trying to get in the door and show their work. One of the things she feels adamant about is not spending a lot of money on promotions. She advises not creating super elaborate pieces, stating that photographers “don’t have to be gimmicky if the work is great”. Regarding email promotions, Ranelle gets about 100 a day. In order to be opened at all, they need to have a category (i.e, fashion, food, etc.) in the subject line. She prefers printed pieces – in fact, she loves them. Even with her hectic schedule, she still looks at every printed promo she receives. Don’t waste your money sending to every creative or producer in the agency; typically, the promos will sit in their mailboxes for days or even weeks. The art buyers/producers in the agency are always on the lookout for talent and will pass your piece on to the creatives that would benefit from your category of photography. Before she schedules a portfolio showing, she goes to the photographers website to look at their images – so the work needs to be relevant to the agency as well as impressive. She offered a few more gems of advice: If you have a rep, work with the rep to get you in the door. Utilize help in editing your images for your website and portfolio. And although it seems obvious, it happens too often: if you don’t have a rep, and you call after sending an email blast, don’t mention that you know they clicked on your site.
The Rep: Marta Aldriedge is an Artist Rep/Agent and owner of Big Picture Reps. From offices in Dallas and LA, the firm reps photographers, illustrators, and retouching/CGI studios. http://www.bigpicturereps.com