Krissy Hicks Shares Her Views on Mailers, Events and What Tips the Scales When Choosing a Photographer for a Project.


Krissy Hicks is our latest art buyer to contribute to our Solving Mysteries series.  I have known Krissy for many years and she is always so genuinely happy to say hello, catch up and of course look at  photography.  We met while she was at Saatchi in LA when she was part of an incredible group of art buyers (you know who you are!) and then moved on to freelance where the rest of the art buying community can get to know how great she is!   If you don’t already know Krissy, be sure to reach out and introduce yourself.

How do you search for photography?
When searching for photographers, I always start with my bookmarks. If I have specific photographers/illustrator in mind, I will go straight to their site. If not, I go to different rep sites to review their rosters. Once I’ve exhausted those places, I reach out to a few other art producers for ideas and then dive into Found Folios or WorkBook. I do not use Le Book often, but they are another solid resource.
Which industry events do you attend and why?
Furthering relationships is really important to me so I make time to attend gallery openings and festivals as well as sit on panels and reviews. I work hard to stay current and enjoy helping talented friends be successful.
If I must call out a few events, the following are wonderful industry events to attend: Fotoworks (LA or NY), Le Book (LA or NY), Palm Springs Photo Festival, Filter (Chicago), APA events as well as any of the month of photography events or reviews that happen around the country. I encourage everyone to explore their local market. In Los Angeles, the Lucie Foundation does a wonderful job with the Month of Photography LA or MOPLA.
Assuming you are considering two photographers for a project and both are equally creatively relevant.  What factors do you consider to help tip the scales?
The creative comes first. It is important for the creative team(s) to feel like the artist they are engaging can nail the execution as well as add value to the concept. What is the artist bringing to the table? The more technical the job, the more important this is. It is of equal importance to be able to convey your ideas clearly. Money aside, it is about building the relationship and trust of the folks you will work with. How well can you present your idea and translate that through a treatment or phone call? The artist that can do this best will nab the job.
What are photographers doing lately to stand out from their competitors?
I’m seeing more artists think outside of the box and create custom mailers. For the creation of these pieces, it helps to have a home run image or story to share.
A lot of people worry about spending a ton to create these. Do the best you can with the budget you have to work with. Keep in mind this is special. You are not sending these out to 2000 people. You are creating a small batch for existing clients as well as a few you would like to work with.
If you are going to do a “WOW” piece or special mailer, be sure there is great attention to detail. The pieces that are beautifully executed, fun and/or useful will be remembered. Nick Onken just did a really nice mailer. (See attached.) It’s fun, useful and oozing with great branding. Just looking at it makes me want to work with him. Success!
Here are another two great examples. Lou Mora had great success with his specialty box of goodness. See here: And, the Agency Access blog, The Lab, just highlighted the creation of a fun, targeted direct mail promo for Matt Dutile. Here’s a link to the Q&A:
What does your client value most from a photographer?  Does that differ from what you value and has that changed over the years?
In my opinion, the one thing that I have noticed is that artists are being encouraged to be more of a team player. You see this most often when the client to agency relationship is strong and creative risk-taking is calculated and encouraged to enhance brand recognition.
That aside, my values are aligned with the agency and the client. As an art producer, you must be prepared to push boundaries as well as protect the brand through creative execution. In order to execute the creative vision effectively, it helps to have a great team beside you with a clear vision.
Both client and agency value an artist that has the ability to further the brand through skillful execution, while getting the job done within budget and going the extra mile as needed. There is an enormous amount of trust placed upon the agency and then on the artist’s experience and capabilities to do a great job. At the end of the day, the client’s brand must be showcased in the best light possible. If all of these things align, a successful campaign is made and perhaps another job is in store for the artist.  Go Team!
Aside from the agency and client needs, I value a great production team. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do my job well. It takes a village! And I am the luckiest gal in the world to have been able to work with such great talent on numerous campaigns over the years. Here’s to many more!

2 thoughts on “Krissy Hicks Shares Her Views on Mailers, Events and What Tips the Scales When Choosing a Photographer for a Project.

  1. thanks heather! I posted this for my photo students at Art Center. They are loving your interviews. The interviews are so informative and helpful for the emerging young photographer.

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