Ask an Agent / What's the Best Way to Make a Folio Appointment?
Ask an Agent is a regular monthly column tackling all your dilemmas about the photography industry – the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to email@example.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything!
This month's question tackles the tricky of business on how to get your foot in the door at top advertising agencies. I thought I’d turn to one of the LPA team to give us his tips on his one. Over to Tom , Head of Marketing and PR , who is very good at making lots of appointments to show the LPA Photographers portfolios.
Dear Ask an Agent,
I've been struggling to get my folio seen by the right people - do you have any advice on how to get appointments at top ad agencies?
Making folio appointments can be quite a repetitive experience but you have to remind yourself to be patient and persevere. Creatives in adverting and design agencies are nearly always busy and it's just a matter of catching them at the right time when they can chat with you.
For a start, the most important thing to do is to make sure that you are after the right person. The majority of larger agencies won't transfer you unless you have the specific name of who you're after. There are certain companies such as Bikini Lists and File Fx who can provide a database of contacts within the creative industries - globally as well as the UK. I would always recommend checking the contact is still there before you ring and Linkedin is often the best way of doing so. The 'People Also Viewed' on a contact's page may also help to give you some additional names who you can try. Usually the best person to see is the Art Buyer if there is one. If not, Creative Producers, Creative Directors or Designers (at Design Agencies) are also good people to have your book seen by. For editorial clients, see the Picture Editors. Make sure you keep all of these contacts in a database so you know who you've seen or who maybe it's time to see again.
There isn't really a right way to make contact but I personally find that phone calls are the best way of securing the appointment as an email may get lost. Remember to be patient and understand that there will be hundreds of other photographers doing the same thing. People often ask you to ring back in a month or so when they have quietened down so make sure you do. Make a note of any leads and make sure you follow them up. Seeing photographers' folios is part of a creative's job but it needs to be at a convenient time. We're often given slots for 6 months away so make sure you put it in your diary! If you prefer to email then keep it short and sweet - reams of text with loads of images attached are likely to be ignored.
For the larger agencies, once you've made an appointment its worth seeing if other people in the company want to see you too at the same time.
Appointments are often cancelled the last minute due to varying workloads so make sure you follow up with these and get a new date in the diary.
Hopefully that gives you a little bit of guidance on what to do - just remember to persevere and you'll start seeing the time you put into making appointments pay off!
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