What About Reps?
One thing I wanna talk about that I don't know a lot about, but I know just enough to be dangerous is reps. With reps there's something you need to know. Everybody who's a photographer in the early stages thinks well if I only had a rep I could get these jobs. Or what I'm just gonna get them, I just need a rep, or an agent. Well that's not necessarily the case. You'll know when you need a rep. You'll need a rep because you'll have so many jobs or so much work, or the production is so large, or the bidding and estimating process has kind of gone beyond your scope, that that's what a rep's really there for. They're there to play the bad cop when you can be the creative. They'll handle all the numbers when you can handle the photos. So it's not necessarily that they can't help you get jobs because they can, they know people. A lot of these reps have large circles. They've had experience dealing with tons of different agencies. So they're great to get your name out there. But at the same t...
ime it's kind of a catch 22. You'll need a, a rep wants you because you can bring new clients and work. Because they're essentially taking 20% of your cut. 20 to 25% of your cut of your photographer's fee for an ad job. So if you're not working and you're just chilling on their website, you're not doing anything for them. At the same time if you're getting a ton of work and you can handle on your own, you also don't need a rep because then they're gonna take 20 to 25% of your income. So it's this delicate balance of at what point do you need a rep because you're getting the jobs, you're getting so many jobs that you can't handle the workload of the invoicing and all that, but also there's that balance of knowing when you need it. And then also they'll usually find you. I do have a rep list that I email out to within Mail Chimp, and those are all reps that I've met with at portfolio reviews and in person, and usually all I say to them is hey this is a bunch of new work I shot. Basically all I want them to do is know I exist so that way if they're thinking oh yeah we have a bunch of clients coming up that do this type of work, maybe we should bring him on board. So I have had a rep in the past and now I don't. Again it's one of those things, right now I kind of wish I did because I have some jobs that I'm balancing that are taking way too much time on the computer. But at the same time when it comes to getting a paycheck on the back-end, I'll be happy I don't have it as long as I can get the job and handle it on the front-end. So there's no harm in letting them know who you are. Like I said, I have an email list. If there's one, on my computer I have about six email lists. I have ad agencies, I have magazines, I have in-house corporate. So that's like big businesses who have their in-house marketing. I have TV and entertainment. So that's like your Netflix, your NBC, CBS. I have something else I can't remember, oh for other countries, European. And then I also have agents. There's only one list out of all those that no one's ever unsubscribed from and I think it's because they get it, and that's the reps. They want to know what you're doing. They don't want to be bombarded with content, but at the same time they kind of appreciate and know the effort because they're sending out those emails too and they're usually the ones who respond to me the most. They'll be like, oh yeah that looks really good, good work on that. So it's one of those lists where I think as long as you're not obnoxious. I want them to know I'm out there but at the same time it's just kind of a me letting them know that this is what I shoot. If you have anything, or you know a lot of people will be like, I've had some phone calls with reps strictly from emailing them who said you know I don't have any room on my roster right now. Because it's a lot of work when you're a rep. You're balancing, if you have 10 photographers and you're the only rep, you're dealing with every single month with the work of 10 photographers doing all the invoicing and bidding and estimating and production. And I've had some people let me know like if you get a job where you need help, reach out to me and we'll just do a one time deal. And that's nice to know because that lets me know if something's beyond the scope of what I can do, they'll handle it. But at the same time I'm on my own. So it's definitely a two-way street there. And the rep is not the end-all to you being a successful photographer. It's not at all. So yeah like I said, reps play the bad cop. They handle all the money. I know from previously being with a rep and a couple of my friends have really great reps. A couple photographer friends. They'll tell me, you know with this job I thought I could only get $10,000, but I let her handle it and she got real serious with the money and all of a sudden I got $18,000 for the shoot. And I didn't even know that money was available. But the rep doesn't care, they're there it's similar to a sports agent or a movie agent. They're there to make the contracts and do those hard deals so that you end up looking all nice and creative. Or whatever it may be. So they kind of take that role. And like I said, they assist with bidding. And the money, and they do have connections and bring legitimacy to larger clients. I've talked to at a portfolio review this was one of the more discouraging things I heard, I was meeting with someone from a major ad agency and I was showing her my portfolio and I said well where do you normally when you're hiring for these types of shoots, where do you normally get photographers? And she said honestly I just, and she named two rep agencies. She's like I just email them and ask who they think would be good for this. So of course other people I told that say that's being lazy, but at the same time that's what she told me so that was a fact that when it comes down to it, sometimes it's just easier when there's a lack of time for people at ad agencies to get on a reputable rep's website and be like oh who shoots automotive photos? Alright well these three guys are it so we'll get a bid from them and that'll work. So it just depends what they're going for. But other agencies really strive to get new talent and new photographers so that's encouraging as well. So it's all a business, it's all how you go about it. The only thing you can do is put your best work out there and your name out there and hopefully they'll hire you.