1. ASK FOR RELEVANT & REAL INTRODUCTIONS
Getting effective clients is these days is a little more tricky than it once was. At one time you could make contact with an agency creative, Art Director or Art Buyer and arrange an appointment so they can view your book and meet you. With the increase in social awareness, there is often little need for any creatives from an agency to meet you first hand and 8 times out of 10 will ask you to send an email our link t your portfolio and social media feeds
The very best way of getting along in the fashion photography business is to begin your own network and social media can be quite a good start to getting yourself known. Another way is to sit down with a pen and paper and think about who you know who may be close to the people that you need to meet. Its a little like LinkedIn where you know one person who then links you to another as a second connection and so on. Get people talking about you and what you do. The best way of moving forward is to get an introduction, people buy people and feel that booking a photographer is better through referral than just by chance. You have to create the opportunity to get seen and get known. Build trust so try initially your immediate and extended network of friends, colleagues or ex-student contacts.
Once you find your immediate network then all you have to do is let them know exactly what you do. word of mouth is very strong an people tend to trust this a little more. Once you have your list you need to nurture this. Today it is most important to create lists, lists of active followers of you and your work and let them know what you are up to. without an effective live list, you are going to struggle to make contact and to grow your potential business contacts.
Working with teams as you build your book helps grow your brand and your contacts. They work with you and then understand you and your ways, they become your associate and spread your good work and ethics around. Make friends and influence people. Some of these people will be working within the industry and know contacts in advertising agencies or fashion houses which could be your first opportunity to get into a brand.
2.UTILISING YOUR NEW NETWORK
Now you‘ve built your lists and your small business network now is the time for you to start using it to make contact and get yourself known. On your list will be a name, email and where they work and what they do. You should start to make contact but important that you first get permission from the gatekeeper. For example, you make contact with an intern at a large agency and they give you their name. You presume that this person will know about you! they will be busy and may not so call up the agency first and introducing yourself is best so you use the name you know and present this to the gatekeeper (Reception/PA) Qualify that you know their name and would it be ok to make contact with an email for JOHN DOE. The will normally say yes but then you have made sure that you are not stalking or being spammy.
2. RESEARCH ART BUYERS -ART DIRECTORS – FASHION PR’S
Social media is a great way to build a network and so is LinkedIn, these are my two main sources. You can also use twitter plus websites such as Production Paradise to find out about who you want to see. So Instagram will be brand based with people running the social team or influencers and you can see a great deal here, make friends but be reserved and hold back. LinkedIn is powerful too so give this a go.
The best way you can get your first engage with a client is by literally picking up your phone and making a call. This could take a little time as no one likes to be sold to these days. Emailing can be good but the trick is to get the correct description and the correct title of your email to get seen and not spammed. You have to remember that the people that you are trying to make contact with and introduce yourself, will have 100’s of similar emails per week ad you will soon fall to the bottom of the pile.
4. THE POWER OF SIX (6) – MARKETING RULE I USE
Photographers are creatives and by the very nature not super business people and really in general quite insecure. A fashion photographer or photographer, in general, tries to make contact with the agent, the advertising agency or the magazine and they get rejected. They seem to get demoralised. Their ego takes a hit. If you don’t land the job and it goes to someone else it also affects me and you try to evaluate why. It CAN lead you to a downward spiral. Photographers are not good at accepting the work not this time. Or the words “Look it’s not personal its just business” Rejection sucks and hurts but really its nothing personal.
You just can’t give up after the first go or the second! when I first started out and I would make contact with an Art Buyer and if they didn’t return my call or email I would junk it and move on, so after just one attempt I gave up!! 1 try out of my best which is 6!
This is the way it can work.
You make contact, you hear nothing, you try again and nothing so you call and they are not in or guess what in a meeting!! so you then think shall I try again or move on. Mistake!!
Art Buyers or Art Directors are busy people. once in a coffee conversation I was discussing this with a Creative Director and a large agency. He suggested that I could send my email in at 11:00 AM, he has seen it then thinks I need to get the deadline copy across and so I’ll deal with this later! The truth is by the time He had completed the copy and sent it for client approval, lunch would be next and so after lunch, he would come back to his email forgetting his earlier ones only dealing with the top new ones. He said I could have literally 60 emails to deal with and so any photographers or creative contact would be binned or spammed. He suggested if you were bothered that much that you would re-contact later on.
There you go straight from the horse’s mouth evidence that it’s not you but just timing so my rule is the Rule of 6 – 6 times contact makes the difference.
THE PROCESS OF CONTACT
THE POWER OF 6 by JAMES NADER
Contact 1 – Email goes in the bin!
Contact 2 – Email is not seen and goes under spam
Contact 3 – You make contact and have a call – Art Director likes what he hs seen and then says we will keep you in mind
Contact 4 – We are still using our supplier but there could be a chance
Contact 5 – Photographer is away on another job – He let us done on price or days
Contact 6 – Your initial break into the brand and work potential – Your In
This does work and can be managed by sending in email, flyers, telephone and ask for a meeting, send over your book or online portfolio. If you nurture this and look at the opportunity over time and not in one week then you have a chance to get through the door