I was recently interviewed by photographer Luke Copping for an ASMP’s series, Questions for a Pro that appeared on their Facebook National Page.
I liked the questions he asked, so wanted to share it here on our blog as well.
“We’re bringing a little bit of a divergence to today’s Questions With A Pro – Instead of speaking with a photographer, we got to chat with the fantastic Heather Elder – a rep who works with creatives like Chris Crisman and ASMP member Hunter Freeman. Heather has an amazing blog where she shares her thoughts on the industry and brings together (along with Brite Productions) an amazing group of creatives and buyers in their Community Table series (A must read for anyone working in the commercial photography world).
Heather spoke with us about marketing mistakes, portfolio showings, and the last image that really moved her.
We Asked: What is the most common mistake you see photographers making in their marketing.Heather Says: No matter what level the photographer is in their career, I see the same mistake happening over and over. Photographers often get caught up in the commercial aspect of running a business and no longer dedicate their time to shooting as much as they should. This is totally understandable because the to do list is very long for photographers in this business. But, the single most important thing a photographer can do for their business is to shoot relevant, strong, new work often. Without an inventory of imagery a photographer will not have the images to choose from for marketing.
We Asked: What tips would you give an emerging photographer on doing their first in person portfolio showing at an agency or magazine?Heather Says: I would tell photographers just starting out to show their own portfolio to be patient, for two reasons.
1) It is hard to get an appointment. It may take far too many calls or emails to count to make a connection and then ultimately get an appointment. People are busy and truly are trying their best. Be understanding of this and do not take it personally.
2) People will have feedback for you that conflicts with feedback you have already received from other meetings. I have always said that you show your book to 10 people and you will get 15 opinions. Use your meetings to find the consistencies in what people are saying and do not react to each and every comment as if it were law. Be open to suggestions and stay true to your vision.
We Asked: What was the last image you saw that really surprised or delighted you?
Heather Says: When I first met Hunter Freeman, he was mostly a still life photographer. Over the years, his dedication to his craft, his creativity and his passion for the business allowed him to evolve into a photographer that did it all. Over the twenty years I have represented him he has shot not only still life but cars and people and sets and locations. You name it. He was even a commercial director for sometime. A true professional.
Ever since that transition, his career has been focused on people on location. So much so that many of his tests were geared towards just that. So, it was surprising and totally delightful when he emailed me a new image the other day. It was a still life image and I loved it.
I loved how the colors popped and how I had to look an extra second to figure out what it was in the photograph ( I still don’t really know!). But mostly, I loved that it reminded me of the early times I worked with Hunter.