Do You Want To Shoot For Magazines
On assignment for National Geographic!" As a rep, consultant, and workshop speaker I hear that magic phrase all the time. It seems everyone wants to shoot for magazines, especially for the well-known ones. Whether you are currently shooting for the editorial market, or perhaps thinking of starting, get your business hat on before you make your next move. Editorial photography is one of the few photo markets where the client tells you what to charge them. This and some of the other business practices (such as payment upon publication instead of completion) always seemed odd to me. Then I found a gold mine of information and exchange, www.editorialphoto.com The EP web site is a discussion and information site dedicated to the business of editorial work. Some of the topics you'll find on the site include standard contracts with terms and conditions, dealing with late payments, discussions on fees and electronic use of images. Check it out and educate yourself before you market your editorial photography!
Who Buys Editorial Photography. VIZION/Peter Hvizdak Photography (Vizonpix@aol.com), "I have a full-time independent photography business. I also am a full-time staff photographer with a four-day workweek with 25 years of service at the New Haven Register. The newspaper knows my clients will not be a conflict of interest. So, my small client base is very important. I develop close working relationships with those clients. I focus on new clients with an eye on slow growth so I don't bite off more than I can chew. The best way to market my work is through personal contact with the decision maker of a potential client. That person will ultimately hire me and make sure my invoice gets paid on time."
In addition to those magazine and newspaper staff photographers, editorial photography is based on assignments to free lancers by the publications. The types of publications range is geography: national and international, and audience: consumer and trade. In addition, magazines focus on specific industries or interests. Some of these areas of interests are:
· New weeklies
· Science and Technology
Where To Find Editorial Clients. Finding editorial clients depends on your area of interest or photo subjects. What type of photography do you enjoy the most? Is it based on a subject (e.g., people or science) or an industry (e.g., entertainment or music)? Many times you can check the large newsstands in your neighborhood and actually study the magazines to find the ones to match your style of shooting. Stephen Webster, photographer, Worldwide Hideout, Inc. at: www.worldwidehideout.com says, "Have a unique approach, especially in areas that are very repetitive or normally approached in a dry manner. Everyone getting out of art school wants to do `cutting edge' high fashion, which is very limited, but if you could approach corporate portraiture, for instance, with the same vigor and freshness, your phone will be ringing off the hook." Next, review the directories that list magazines with pertinent information such as address, phone, fax, e-mail, and submission requirements. Some suggestions are Photographer's Market 2000, Standard Rate & Data Service, Gale Directory of Publications & Broadcast Media, Working Press of the Nation, MIMP Magazine Industry Marketplace, and National Directory of Magazines. Investigate your local library business reference section for these titles.
How To Get Work From Editorial Clients. I like the attitude Louise Ann Noeth of LandSpeed Productions (firstname.lastname@example.org) takes, "The best way to approach clients in this competitive area is by giving them images from an intimate perspective. I have no problem climbing up a tree, or hunkering down in the dirt if it means adding drama to the shot. From a financial perspective, I try to get a minimum of three assignments per location from non-competing clients to keep expenses down (today's budget-conscious editors love me for it)."
Once you have determined the type of magazines you have a couple of ways to get their submission and query specifications. Some of the directories listed earlier include submission information. The Photographer's Market is especially popular because it spells out in detail the magazine's target audience, how many photos they buy, payment terms, where to send your submission, and who to contact. Remember that this directory is unique, as it does not list all newspapers, consumer and trade publications. They just list the names of those companies actively seeking submissions from photographers (and that is not every magazine) so the listings tend to be for the smaller circulation magazines. Seth Resnick of Seth Resnick Photography (www.sethresnick.com) contributes his successful self-promotion campaign plan, "The single best way for me to market my work has been to visit in person. If I am in an area I will call and try to meet people in person. Editors from out of town are very receptive to meeting photographers. I never do a drop off. The second means is to keep a portfolio that is fresh and different from the competition. In the past I have done videos, Internet promotions including a 3D promotion on the web. Currently I am using a presentation on a PowerBook. Lastly, I continue to use the web to solicit business." Paula Lerner, Paula Lerner Photography at: www.lernerphoto.com recommends, "Send out promo cards and tear sheets, pitch story ideas and stay in touch with my clients. Entering and winning contests is also a useful way to market yourself for a relatively low cost investment. If you win you can promote the fact with a promo card."
Another way to get work is to review the publication's editorial calendar for each issue's upcoming articles and photo needs. Either request a copy from the magazine or check their web site to view it. Magazines get "hit on" all the time by editorial photographers. Without this information, you will be just another photographer calling them. With this information, you can be the photographer they need for an upcoming editorial photo assignment. In addition, here are some other suggestions from the photographers interviewed for this article:
· Call current clients on a regular basis.
· Ask for referrals to encourage word-of-mouth business.
· Wait until you have a strong, distinct portfolio to show.
· Use direct mail to get new clients familiar with your work.
· Show new work as
much as you can to current and new clients.
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