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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Fashion, Editorial & Commercial Talk
Thread started 10 Dec 2014 (Wednesday) 06:19
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How do you break into the editorial and commerical world?

 
Village_Idiot
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Dec 10, 2014 06:19 |  #1

Since this sub forum is empty, I figured it could use another topic.

I have always wanted to do editorial and commercial work, but it seems like I can’t even get my foot in the door. When I try, I usually get the excuse from magazines that they already have a team of photographers in place and from businesses that they’re not looking for photography or don’t have the money for it.

So what are some suggestions to get started besides offering free photography? I currently do portrait work and some weddings.

I have a portfolio that has a decent range of stuff that could be considered editorial and commercial. I came up with the idea to do a book focusing on West Virginia featuring business, charities, and other people/entities. I will be approaching these people to interview and shoot for the book, so I figure that will help as well as when I finish having a visible product for others to see.


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 10, 2014 13:24 |  #2

Free? Kiss of death in the commercial world. Want to break in? My advice is move somehwhere that a lot of that type of work is being done. LA, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, etc and go to work for someone thats been successful and doing it for a while whose work that you respect in the filed you think you will want to work in. .




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Village_Idiot
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Dec 10, 2014 16:00 |  #3

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17324905external link
Free? Kiss of death in the commercial world. Want to break in? My advice is move somehwhere that a lot of that type of work is being done. LA, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, etc and go to work for someone thats been successful and doing it for a while whose work that you respect in the filed you think you will want to work in. .

What if you don't like in one of those major cities and can't just relocate? There's got to be a way of getting the attention of businesses for your business.


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 10, 2014 21:22 |  #4

Village_Idiot wrote in post #17325182external link
What if you don't like in one of those major cities and can't just relocate? There's got to be a way of getting the attention of businesses for your business.

If you want to make a good living doing it and you want to be successful you have to go where the work is. It's kinda hard being a successful fisherman if you live in the desert.




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CRCchemist
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Dec 10, 2014 21:26 |  #5

If you offer free work, you'll get pigeon-holed into being a bargain photographer. Commercial and fashion photography requires a lot of work and planning because you are always on a time crunch and you'll just find yourself getting ripped off by everybody because of the reputation you built for yourself when you used to be the "free guy".

I got into the fashion and commercial world by networking. I worked with some high profile photographers as an assistant, then I started taking their lower end jobs over for them. Then I went out on my own because

1. I was very good

2. I charged rates that were commensurate with the level of production value I gave to my work.

The reason you're running into resistance from businesses is because you don't have a reputation and they can't trust you to produce for them when you only have 20 minutes to get a shot in the studio with a finicky model and an AD that is looking over your shoulder telling you how he wants the shot composed. Your shots are what that business is going to use to make money. They can't trust you with their business because they don't know you. Remember these wisest words that have ever been said: "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

Do you know how to light on a dime? Can you work in crazy situations? Are you charismatic with your people skills? Can you come up with an awesomely creative shot in 2 minutes when things aren't working out? Those are the things that matter the most in the Commercial world from the production side of the equation. The benefits are you get to work with some of the most beautiful people and dating the models has always been a fun fringe benefit for me personally (there's a reason photographers often marry models).

Village_Idiot wrote in post #17324241external link
Since this sub forum is empty, I figured it could use another topic.

I have always wanted to do editorial and commercial work, but it seems like I can’t even get my foot in the door. When I try, I usually get the excuse from magazines that they already have a team of photographers in place and from businesses that they’re not looking for photography or don’t have the money for it.

So what are some suggestions to get started besides offering free photography? I currently do portrait work and some weddings.

I have a portfolio that has a decent range of stuff that could be considered editorial and commercial. I came up with the idea to do a book focusing on West Virginia featuring business, charities, and other people/entities. I will be approaching these people to interview and shoot for the book, so I figure that will help as well as when I finish having a visible product for others to see.




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Village_Idiot
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Dec 11, 2014 05:02 |  #6

CRCchemist wrote in post #17325657external link
If you offer free work, you'll get pigeon-holed into being a bargain photographer. Commercial and fashion photography requires a lot of work and planning because you are always on a time crunch and you'll just find yourself getting ripped off by everybody because of the reputation you built for yourself when you used to be the "free guy".

I got into the fashion and commercial world by networking. I worked with some high profile photographers as an assistant, then I started taking their lower end jobs over for them. Then I went out on my own because

1. I was very good

2. I charged rates that were commensurate with the level of production value I gave to my work.

The reason you're running into resistance from businesses is because you don't have a reputation and they can't trust you to produce for them when you only have 20 minutes to get a shot in the studio with a finicky model and an AD that is looking over your shoulder telling you how he wants the shot composed. Your shots are what that business is going to use to make money. They can't trust you with their business because they don't know you. Remember these wisest words that have ever been said: "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

Do you know how to light on a dime? Can you work in crazy situations? Are you charismatic with your people skills? Can you come up with an awesomely creative shot in 2 minutes when things aren't working out? Those are the things that matter the most in the Commercial world from the production side of the equation. The benefits are you get to work with some of the most beautiful people and dating the models has always been a fun fringe benefit for me personally (there's a reason photographers often marry models).

Sounds like good advice.

Personally, when I say commercial and editorial I'm thinking along the lines of magazine assignments and photography for businesses like the local Casino (it's huge), certain bars and night clubs, and other businesses and not so much model specific photography.


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 11, 2014 15:43 |  #7

Village_Idiot wrote in post #17326018external link
Sounds like good advice.

Personally, when I say commercial and editorial I'm thinking along the lines of magazine assignments and photography for businesses like the local Casino (it's huge), certain bars and night clubs, and other businesses and not so much model specific photography.

Good luck....




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Village_Idiot
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Dec 11, 2014 17:14 |  #8

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17327017external link
Good luck....

Great advice.


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sspellman
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Dec 14, 2014 09:55 |  #9

Honestly, your location has a huge impact on your ability to find commercial and media clients. Without several magazines and many commercial clients in the area, your chances of making progress fall quickly close to zero. Since you have provided no location, website, or other portfolio information, our ability to really help and evaluate your work is very limited.

Some strategies for commercial success:

1) Find commercial clients by reviewing all local magazine/tv/billboard/​etc advertising and send them a post card of your commercial work. This is the best way to pre-qualify clients who have budget and spend money on marketing.

2) Network and offer to assist the existing commercial photographers in your area. Their skills, network, feedback, and access to clients is very valuable. Join photographers groups in your area.

3) Many of my commercial clients have come from direct referrals from event producers, models, business owners, and other industry contacts. You have to be active and involved in the media industry to meet the right people.

4) Many photographers who try to get into commercial work simply are not ready. It is critical to have your photo quality and customer service skills on point to make clients happy and expand your referrals and reputation. You need to be very self aware of your strengths, communications, and how to understand and meet your clients expectations.

Good Luck-
Scott


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Village_Idiot
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Dec 16, 2014 05:33 |  #10

sspellman wrote in post #17331592external link
Honestly, your location has a huge impact on your ability to find commercial and media clients. Without several magazines and many commercial clients in the area, your chances of making progress fall quickly close to zero. Since you have provided no location, website, or other portfolio information, our ability to really help and evaluate your work is very limited.

Martinsburg, WV. The immediate area might not be as exciting as a major metropolitan area, but I’m an hour from DC and Baltimore. I was driving to Baltimore to shoot bands here and there.
This thread was meant as an “in general”, but my work can be seen at www.digitalroomstudios​.comexternal link . I’m working on getting it update with a more organized portfolio and adding the video work that I’ve done for clients and for personal projects.

sspellman wrote in post #17331592external link
Some strategies for commercial success:

1) Find commercial clients by reviewing all local magazine/tv/billboard/​etc advertising and send them a post card of your commercial work. This is the best way to pre-qualify clients who have budget and spend money on marketing.

I actually was talking to the guy that runs a local magazine. He was very impressed with my work and wanted me to shoot for him, until he found out that I wouldn’t shoot for free. After that he wouldn’t contact me back. I burned that bridge, but I’m not sorry for that.

sspellman wrote in post #17331592external link
2) Network and offer to assist the existing commercial photographers in your area. Their skills, network, feedback, and access to clients is very valuable. Join photographers groups in your area.

I’m doing more of this currently. In fact, my December business for the family portrait thing and the number of orders for prints is a lot more than normal because of successful word of mouth.

sspellman wrote in post #17331592external link
3) Many of my commercial clients have come from direct referrals from event producers, models, business owners, and other industry contacts. You have to be active and involved in the media industry to meet the right people.

Trying. I have a local photographer that’s big in the editorial business that I’m working on learning from. He’s shot for Maxim and other magazines. He’s currently in NYC and will be in Vegas afterwards. He’s shot all over the world and live in my town of all places.

sspellman wrote in post #17331592external link
4) Many photographers who try to get into commercial work simply are not ready. It is critical to have your photo quality and customer service skills on point to make clients happy and expand your referrals and reputation. You need to be very self aware of your strengths, communications, and how to understand and meet your clients expectations.

Good Luck-
Scott

I understand this and it’s probably something I need to work on. I started working on a book with a friend of mine that’s going to feature local business owners and their businesses. I figure besides being a good jumping off point for having a dedicated project to invest my time in, that contacts with the business owners will have the opportunity to bring in new business.

Thanks for the advice. It’s good.


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DThriller
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Dec 22, 2014 15:06 |  #11

Hey this is an interesting thread. I'm most likely in the camp of "many photographers arnt ready for commercial work" - sspellman. At this level is it wrong to work with relatively new models tfp to gain experience and network? I feel like I could charge models but it seems I would get less models wanting to work with me and it seems we both just want experience so what's the harm. This of course is at odds with the "free is a kiss of death".


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http://DPhillipsStudio​s.com (external link)

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dave63
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Dec 22, 2014 20:34 |  #12

Village_Idiot wrote in post #17335499external link
I actually was talking to the guy that runs a local magazine. He was very impressed with my work and wanted me to shoot for him, until he found out that I wouldn’t shoot for free. After that he wouldn’t contact me back. I burned that bridge, but I’m not sorry for that.

There was no bridge there, to begin with. And if there was, it certainly wasn't you that lit the match.



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Village_Idiot
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Dec 23, 2014 04:50 |  #13

Since starting this thread, I put a post on Facebook looking for local restaurants that could use some photography. A friend of mine who opened a local higher end steak house contacted me and told me to go talk to his manager. I will be shooting their place most likely the second weekend in January.

I was also referred to a cheese cake shop that opened up downtown. I have a few other places I'm going to check out to see if they need photography. One is a local e-Cig place that specializes in those super big cloud vape mods. I have to wait until after Christmas though as that one is in a tough location that's brutal to get in and out this time of year. You can sit in traffic for over half an hour just trying to get out of the one entrance.


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Dec 23, 2014 04:52 |  #14

dave63 wrote in post #17346794external link
There was no bridge there, to begin with. And if there was, it certainly wasn't you that lit the match.

That's good to know. It's frustrating though because the people who do shoot for the magazine don't produce as good a product as I could. I talked to one of the guys personally. He uses Olympus DSLRs and no additional lighting, just on camera flash. Not that you can't use an on camera flash when it's needed, but the photos are typical point and shoot style portraiture. Another photographer is very similar. I do see full page ads for their businesses though.


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CRCchemist
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Post has been last edited over 2 years ago by CRCchemist. 4 edits done in total.
Dec 24, 2014 22:50 as a reply to Village_Idiot's post |  #15

You didn't burn a bridge Village. The guy wanted a freebie, and he couldn't steal free shots from you so he's the one who burned the bridge first by trying to take advantage of you... so it's his loss.

As to why the shots look like "typical point-and-shoot style portraiture"? It's because that magazine owner is getting those shots for free from those guys instead of you. Hence why the photographs in his magazine look bad. It all makes sense. He can't get professional photographers to shoot for him because he's too cheap to pay anybody and only gets the free guys (who, by the way, will never make it in fashion or commercial now, because everyone knows they're only worth the value of "free".)




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