emerging photographer

3 Characteristics Art Directors Look for When Booking Photographers

By Allen McEachern

There are many ways in which commercial contracts arrive for photographers. Some include the obvious; word of mouth referral, powerful SEO on our portfolio sites, publication credits, being in the right place (local SEO)...the list goes on. All this goes to say that you already have the caliber of work needed to be on the radar. But I want to go deeper and get into three specific traits that Art Directors look for when booking, and re-booking commercial photographer. Like I said, we are working with the assumption that your body of work is competitive...

1. Are you an asshole? Sorry for the language, but it really is the best word here. As creatives, we need to have a strong ego, it helps us get through slow times, and also defines much of who we are and how well we preform. But we need to keep it in check. Be humble, listen, think before you speak. Be easy to work with. Add something creative and positive, that's why you are there. No one wants to work with someone that is difficult, over aggressive, inattentive, or rude. Put on the charm, be graceful, smile. You would be surprised how far this will all go to your benefit.

2. Are you available? So many times I have "got the job" because I responded in a timely manner, I was precise in my responses, and I was flexible with my scheduling. We all have busy lives... wives, husbands, kids, clients, travel, etc. etc.. Chances are if an art director is contacting you it is because they already have an interest in working with you. Make it easy for them and all the other people involved in the production. Be flexible, be available, be reasonable, and expect the same in return. 

3. Do you deliver? Commercial photography (advertising / corporate / editorial) can be high stakes. Tight timelines, limited availabilities, always a budget to consider and so on. Are you able to deliver the expected result on time, on budget? Even better, deliver before the deadline, save the client money if you can, but do what you say you can. Actions always speak louder than any words, promises, or excuses. Customer service is super important to remember. It is what helps define our brands, creating positive experiences, keeping us memorable and remembered for the next time.


Leave A Branded Item Behind

By Allen McEachern.

Photography is a very competitive business with many great photographers all going after the same clients. Often, the contracts go to the photographers whom not only know how to shoot, but who also know how to stand out and get noticed. A simple way to be remembered is to leave the client with something that contains your branding. One item that I currently use is a branded pen / USB combination. My supplier is USB Memory Direct. I like the pen / USB combo because it is a useful item that won't just be trashed at the end of the day. I use these to deliver back up images, small sample portfolios, bio info, etc..... Getting noticed is the start, being remembered is the road to being hired when the right job comes along. Leave something behind. 

Two Great Resources for Emerging Photographers

By Allen McEachern

Photography is a tough business that seems to be almost continually evolving; like anything dynamic i guess. Last week I was contacted by an aspiring photographer, and asked for advice, and insights on how to start in this business. I was happy to meet up and have a chat about different resources, and tactics for getting noticed. Here are two of the tips I gave out:

1. The American Society of Media Photographers ( https://asmp.org ) I used this organization a lot when I was starting out. The two main resources for me were the on-line forums  ( https://asmp.org/links/22#.VIB5776Qu9U ) and their book " Professional Business Practices in Photography." 

Their on-line forums are a great place to pose questions regarding almost any aspect of commercial photography. The best part is accessing the collective experience of the members who frequent these forums. I learned so much just by reading past topics, and by posting my own questions. 

" Professional Business Practices in Photography" is an excellent tool for advancing your business knowledge regarding commercial photography. A lot of what you need to know is in this book. I highly recommend it.

2. National Press Photographers Association ( https://nppa.org) Primarily aimed at press photographers in the USA, but very relevant to any editorial photographer in North America. The best tool on the NPPA website for me is the "Cost of Doing Business Calculator."  https://nppa.org/calculator Great for figuring out exactly how much you need to be making to stay in business - very useful info when it comes to setting your prices / fees. It adds up all the exit points for money leaving your business and then asks you how many days you expect to shoot in the year. The resulting math is what you need to make just to cover your costs. Without knowing your cost of operating you are just guessing which is never good in any business.