Lisa Interviewed by Production Paradise
This month Lisa was asked by the lovely folk at Production Paradise to answer some questions about running LPA. Read on for the interview in full... "Lisa Pritchard owns one of the UK´s leading photographers’ agents and when you think of any major brand name, chances are that her agency LPA, has shot for them. Over the years the agency has developed its representation to stylists and hair and makeup artists, it has its own production department and also created “Futures”, a platform that enables emerging photographers to start their career. Furthermore Lisa Pritchard is not only a successful businesswoman, but she also is a writer, who encourages photographers how to develop their careers. Lisa kindly took time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about the challenges of running her agency.
Production Paradise: What can you tell us about Lisa Pritchard Agency, it’s past, present and future?
Lisa Pritchard: I set up Lisa Pritchard Agency (LPA) 13 years ago, representing a handful of photographers to advertising and design agencies, several of which we still represent today. At the time I had been representing photographers for nearly 10 years through other companies.
LPA have always been known for representing lifestyle and people photographers, but we also represent food and drink, interiors, car, landscape and still life photographers. Between them, our photographers have shot for a huge variety of brands and business, from global super powers and household names to small start ups and charities.
Over the years the agency has grown to incorporate several divisions including representing 15 established commercial photographers; we are also well known for representing emerging talent in our division LPA Futures; we run a busy shoot production department, LPA Production, and organise shoots for many photographers, not just the ones we represent; LPA offers a couple of very useful and unique services to photographers without agents – LPA Pop Up Agent, where we negotiate fees, budgets and contracts and can oversee the whole shoot process as if we were the agent as well as the producer plus LPA Portfolio Reviews, which can vary from an hours honest appraisal to a full creative and marketing consultation over several sessions; and LPA Style is our division that represents stylists and hair and make-up artists. So we are a bit of a one stop shop for all your photography needs!
We have recently moved to an amazing new space, a deconsecrated church in Camden, London. ( www.camdenparkstudios.com ) There are 2 photography studios, a large kitchen, styling area and a shower/changing room. So it’s been great to hold our castings and a lot of our studio shoots on site.
The future? We will continue to work with lots of talented photographers and agency creatives, produce plenty of exciting shoots, discover and support new artists and develop the more recently established divisions like Pop Up Agent.
I have also just finished writing my second book ‘Running A Successful Photography Business’ which Bloomsbury Publishing asked me to write following the success of ‘Setting Up A Successful Photography Business’, that was my first book and it’s actually become the best selling book in the UK on the business of photography. (available on Amazon and all good book shops!)
Both books explore how to make a successful living as a photographer and include all areas of the photography industry, from advertising to fine art, weddings to fashion, events to celebrity portraits. They also include interviews from photographers in these different areas, so it’s been fascinating to discover other niches of the industry work.
Oh… and we are collaborating with a TV production company on a Channel 4 documentary – so watch this space.
Production Paradise: What are some of your talents’ recent campaigns, which are stand-out for you?
Lisa Pritchard: There’s been lots of interesting ones recently including Coca Cola, John Lewis, Aston Martin, Samsung, Nike and First Great Western, we’ve been very lucky. It’s difficult to choose just a handful, and you can see all our recent work on the LPA blog.
I’ve picked these as the selected photographers have really captured the brand spirit- but I guess that’s why they were commissioned in the first place!
Nick David has been shooting more great work for Nationwide in his signature candid style. This recent shoot was on location in the Breacon Beacons with Nick briefed to capture a weekend away in the blustery terrain. LPA Style’s Claire Portman was on hand for grooming too – a tricky job with all that wind!
© Nick David / Nationwide
Julian Love shot a fabulous set of images recently for residential development giant Berkeley. He visited some top locations around Shoreditch, capturing a mixture of lifestyle shots and portraits of the locals, styling was by LPA Style’s Charlie Cave.The client was initially inspired by Julian’s personal project ‘Handmade London’ which showcases London’s expanding artisan scene.
© Julian Love / Berkeley
Julian Calverley has just come back from the Faroe Islands shooting the new Land Rover Discovery Sport. The team braved wet and windy weather which happened to suit the brief perfectly as it called for wild and dramatic scenery. Julian is accustomed to shooting in adverse weather conditions and remote landscapes, so he was the perfect man for the job!
© Julian Calverley / Land Rover
And Patrick Harrison continues to shoot lovely work for Cancer Research UK. He travels all over the country, shooting real patients and capturing a series of inspiring and sensitive portraits for the charity.
© Patrick Harrison / CRUK
Production Paradise: Could you share with us your thoughts on some of the biggest challenges you face when running such a successful and busy agency?
Lisa Pritchard: On the agent side of things, we choose our talent carefully to fit in with LPA; we have to love their work, think we’ll like working with them and the work needs to be right for our clients. It is actually rare that it doesn’t work out with the photographers we choose to represent, but when it doesn’t that can be disappointing. It can also frustrating to sometimes see incredible talent not being as busy as we feel they should. Sometimes this can just be down to their genre or style of work not being quite commercial enough and occasionally it can be down to the photographers attitude and efforts, it’s a very competitive market so all the boxes need to be ticked.
Shoot production can be a minefield and takes careful planning to ensure everything runs smoothly. Having said that we are extremely experienced so ‘touch wood’ we don’t generally find ourselves too far out of our comfort zones. Working with clients who haven’t dealt with many shoots can be challenging as they sometimes have unrealistic expectations, both on budget and timings, but then it’s part of our job to guide and advise them, flag up potential hazards and suggest solutions.
I have to say the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to deal with since I set up agency , was getting British Telecom to install our new phone lines when we moved office at the end of last year! A disgraceful catalogue of errors on their part that went on for 6 months. And I’m not afraid to name and shame!
Generally though it’s a great business to be in. No two days are the same. It’s fantastic to work on so many great briefs and with so many (mostly!) nice, creative people. It’s also really enjoyable seeing the whole shoot process through from recommending a photographer to seeing the final campaign. And it’s really great to be such an integral part of developing photographers careers, not to mention spending so much time looking at fantastic images. Although I say it myself, I think I’m pretty good at selecting and investing in good staff, and LPA is a fun place to work, with a real team spirit and plenty of opportunities, so personally I also enjoy that side of things – working with the LPA team. In fact when things do become a bit challenging, having 5 supportive people behind you makes it so much easier to cope.
Production Paradise: You offer a great opportunity to UK photographic students with your “Student Challenges”, and you also have “Futures” that enables emerging commercial photographers to be promoted; what’s the story behind these innovative ideas?
Lisa Pritchard: Thanks, yes both initiatives are incredibly popular and rewarding. Futures was set up in 2007 as a platform to kick start the careers of emerging photographers. At first we sourced the photographers from assistants awards and the like, then in 2009 we started to make more of a big deal about it and now run it as a structured biennial national competition. Basically, we select a panel of influential industry experts to select 5 photographers to be represented for a 2 year period, the panel is usually made up of creative directors, designers, art buyers, an LPA photographer and myself. Aside from winning an agent, the 5 selected photographers get loads of other useful prizes to kick start their careers, kindly donated by our generous sponsors; this year the prizes include a bespoke folio case by Cathy Roberts/Delta Design, exhibition prints by Metro Imaging and a discount off folio prints, lighting hire, studio hire and a workshop from Direct Photographic, legal advice from Swan Turton, Insurance from Williamson & Carson/Chubb, and post production from The Forge.
We also had a launch party (last night actually!) to unveil the winners and thank the judges and sponsors, which we hosted at our new studio space. The party was sponsored by The Duppy Share, a premium rum company who also set up a cool bar and served cocktails and BMA Models also sponsored the party this year. It was a fantastic success, lots of people and the exhibition looks fab.
LPA Futures Launch Party
Advertising and design agencies love our Futures division as it gives them the chance to work with newly discovered photographers but with the safety net of a well known, established agent behind them. One of our most successful LPA Futures photographers from the 2013-2015 roster was Holly Pickering, who shoots food, interiors and people. She has shot campaigns for Wagamama, Lurpak, Marriott Hotels and Weightwatchers since she was ‘discovered’ 2 years ago. So we have now taken her on to our main roster.
© Holly Pickering / Wagamama
Student Challenges is another competition we run to find the next generation of photography talent from the UK’s photography students. We set a series of 3 photo challenges every year between October and February, and the prizes are really useful experience days. The experience days this year included the LPA Photoshoot Experience, a day at a recce or casting plus a day on an actual shoot with an LPA Photographer, plus the LPA Portfolio Experience, a critique of the students work and a chat about how to develop your portfolio to gain commercial commissions.
I was inspired to give this opportunity to students to both discover and be discovered after giving several talks at Universities. In some cases I felt that photography students really needed to be given more of an insight into how professional photographers make a living and the real world.
This year, the final challenge was to shoot an actual advertising brief, the well known ‘Love it or Hate it’ campaign created by Adam& EveDDB. The students had to interpret the well known copyline in their own individual way. The main prize was to actually join the roster of LPA Futures for 2 years, plus a bespoke portfolio from Cathy Roberts/Delta Design and prints from Metro Imaging- so pretty amazing really. The winner was Emma Boyns, who has just graduated from the University of Gloucestershire, with a BA in Editorial and Advertising Photography. Here is her clever interpretation, one of a series of 3 images she submitted for the competition.
© Emma Boyns
Production Paradise: What have you found most useful about being a Production Paradise member?
Lisa Pritchard: Production Paradise helps keep us in the front of people´s minds in the industry. They have a consistently proactive marketing strategy and it’s good to have someone else talking about us as well as ourselves!"
Head over to the Production Paradise blog for more interesting articles and interviews!