The Business Of Fashion Photography; Finding Clients, Marketing, And Image Making Page 2

Jeffrey Fiterman: No one way to market is truly effective. I find that sending out mass e-mails every other month, followed up by postcards, and then directly calling people seems to be the most effective. I use a service called Agency Access; they have been immensely helpful with my program.

I’ve been doing this for so long now that when I call people they already know of me.

© 2010, Rebecca Drobis, All Rights Reserved

Heidi Niemala: There’s not a specific answer for this. Different techniques work with different clients. We use e-mail, direct mail, phone calls, and in-person meetings. I’ve found that the lines are really becoming blurred as to what ad agencies, digital agencies, in-design graphic firms, and public relations firms are doing for fashion clients needing photography. I find it helpful to keep all of these people in mind as potential clients.

SB: What is the most important thing you have found that keeps fashion clients coming back for repeat business?

Nick Onken: I think on top of providing great work, being easy and fun to work with is a big factor. Being a collaborator who brings the client’s style and vision to the table and can easily work with a creative director brings longevity. Being a diva artist won’t do it.

Jeffrey Fiterman: My clients keep hiring me because of the creative quality of work that I provide for them. I have a very finished clean style and my clients know that when they hire me they are going to get what they want.

© 2010, Heidi Niemala, All Rights Reserved
© 2010, Jeffrey Fiterman, All Rights Reserved

Rebecca Drobis: Most important is to produce good work that helps them showcase their new fashion lines. Almost as critical is good communication, listening to their needs and going above and beyond what is asked of the job. I want my clients to have a very positive overall experience working with me, so I put in a great deal of effort on the front end and back end as well.

SB: Any advice for those looking to get into this end of the photography business?

Betsy Hansen: If you are looking to break into the fashion market, the photography in your portfolio has to be topnotch since there are a large number of photographers already in the market. Remaining positive and being consistent is key. Never get discouraged over not hearing back from a potential client. If there is someone I truly would love to work with one day, I continue to contact them once every three to six months. Just a friendly e-mail with a new image reminding them that I am still around producing quality imagery. Most clients appreciate it. Having an urge to work for a particular client is proof that you respect the work they are producing.

© 2010, Betsy Hansen, All Rights Reserved

Also, unless you have a personal relationship with your client, you absolutely have to have a reason for contacting them. Never contact prospective clients just to say hello. These are professionals who are busy enough with deadlines and their own daily work. If you are sending messages without meaningful and relevant content, there is potential for clients to start ignoring your e-mails. One client told me the marketing technique used by photographers that bothers him most is sending your website link through the mail, and then calling to ask if they received it. Most of the time they receive it, they just may not have a need or the time to respond back.

Heidi Niemala: My clients are not only concerned about the final images but also the overall experience. I find that less drama equates to more repeat business. Clients expect not just a great image, or campaign, but a seamless experience…from the preproduction to the retouching.

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