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.