I recently sat on a panel with three other reps (Carol LeFlufy, John Kenney and Ed Varites) moderated by photographer Joe Pugliese at the Key to Success APA LA event. The questions were great and the audience engagement added to the power of the evening. While I was not able to capture all that was said, here are some helpful bits that came out of the evening.
The Rep and the Photographer
• When a photographer is too busy with commissioned projects and things like marketing and networking fall off the radar then a photographer knows he or she should start seriously consider partnering with a rep. At this point in a career it would be helpful to have someone help define your vision for the future and create a plan with you to market your brand.
• When looking for new talent, reps tend to gravitate to photographers that have marketed on their own. Since the start up phase is always long, photographers with an income stream in place are also desirable.
• Reps look for photographers that can help them round out the roster, reduce conflicts among artist categories and help the rep group be as strong of a resource as possible for their clients.
• Photographers that start business relationships with reps seems to get farther than those who just ask to be considered for representation. Reps are often not looking and if a photographer asks if there is room on a roster and there isn’t then the conversation is over. But photographers that ask if they can stay in touch and share new work, tend to get more opportunities to engage with the rep and when an opening comes up may be considered.
• It doesn’t really matter if a photographer has a rep or not to be considered for representation. It is a factor but not the only one. Other factors include relevance, quality and style of work, personality of the photographer and understanding of the business. These are all very important factors.
• Sometimes reps will consider consulting with a photographer before signing them on as a client. This is a great way for photographers and reps to get to know each other.
• Get smart about your Terms and Conditions and POs. There are terms that clients are asking for that are not always things you are willing to negotiate. You can make changes to these forms or turn down the project. Check out this post that dissects the Terms and Conditions document and explores your options.
• Be sure to read the NDA documents as well and not just assume that are asking you to keep quiet about a project. We have been seeing Work for Hire and other such usage limitations showing up in these documents.
The Treatment + Conference Call
• Pretty much every job requires a treatment now.
• Treatments have gotten more sophisticated and photographers are spending more and more time on them to make them stand out.
• Listen carefully on the conference call to what the client and agency consider to be the most important parts of the project and include that information in your treatment.
• Conferences call are one of the most important part of the bid process. Be enthusiastic and share what you think is most exciting about the project. (If you want to know more about this, read what Art Producer Ken Zane of Leo Burnett had to say in a recent blog post.)
• All of us agreed that video is a big part of what is expected of photographers and what will be in the future. If you aren’t interested in learning the techniques for yourself, please consider connecting with a DP.
• Content creation is huge. Agencies no longer just create advertising with photographers or directors. Where we used to have 100% of the art buyer’s attention, we have only a small percentage now. Learn how else you can be involved in creating the content and experiences that clients are buying.
Thank you Bill Cahill, Dana Hursey and everyone else at APA LA who made this possible. And, thank you to The Workbook for your continued support of the APA and our industry. And, of course, thank you to everyone who attended the event and asked such great questions.
Image credit: Chris Crisman