Which art buyer thinks word of mouth is the number one way to get known?

© Leigh Beisch – http://www.leighbeisch.com

Julia Cunningham, a freelance art buyer in the Chicago area and contributor to our Diary of a Freelance Art Buyer series once again was happy to share with us her insight into our industry.  When we reached out to her to see what she thought of our top five questions she did not hesitate to let us know what she was thinking.  Once again, thank you Julia for taking the time to contribute!

• How do you search for photography nowadays?

Word of mouth is #1. I’ll follow up with Workbook, AtEdge, or PDN to jog my memory and maybe to find someone new.  I also reference ads and editorial work in magazines and find out who shot them.  Archive is always fun to peruse as well.

•  Where do you find inspiration?

Talking with my friends who are in creative fields, I like to hear about what they’re reading, what design styles they’re drawn to, who they’re working with.  I also love to travel – something as simple as observing ads on the streets and subways, the design of a hotel lobby, a restaurant’s décor – they all generate ideas.

•  What are you reading on-line?

Other than reading Heather Elder’s blog? (thanks Julia!!) Usually articles my friends will send me or things they’ll post to Facebook that I feel are relevant to what I do.  Guilty pleasure – OMG and I do have a tendency to be lured in by the Yahoo! headlines, to view the editorial style photography of course.

•  What are photographers doing lately to stand out from their competitors?

Anyone who offers to do comp work is someone I’ll remember – we all know how those jobs can be.  I think it’s a good idea for photographers to meet with one on one with buyers and creatives.  It’s nice to get to know the person along with their work. Offering video is also becoming commonplace.  So many clients want the option, and they want to tie it in with a photo shoot. They need a photographer that can do both or have the resources to make it happen.

•  What does your client value most from a photographer?

The creativity in their approach to producing a job.  Budgets are tight; a photographer’s willingness to go the extra mile with little money is a super star in the client’s eyes.

•  Does that differ from what you value?

It’s doesn’t, I feel the same way.  Quite honestly an engaging personality goes a long way too.

•  And, has that changed over the years?

Sure, competition is fierce and clients expect MUCH more for less.  Technology and social media has obviously changed the way we approach projects too.  I think this is a true statement for everyone behind the lens, in front of the lens, and even those standing at the craft service table.

Thank you Julia!  If you want to learn more about Julia, be sure to link to her site.

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