Interview: Tim Paton, Owner of Balcony Jump Management
So we're talking to temper time who's my photo agent in london on dh tim um has believed in me since day one um he's been a great agent for me over in the uk market and I would love to get him on board to talk to you about how a photographer could be going about approaching the shoot so any approaching issue or approaching him for representation what he looks for what his job role is so he's open for all of your questions so if if we could start to get questions from the live audience if you guys could start to think of things and I'm gonna be asking him something's as well okay? You hear me? Hi, tam how you very good. Could you be ok? Yes, I can hear you very well. Thank you. Hope it's going well yes everything's going very well so far. Um I would I would love first to him if you could introduce yourself a bit about your background. Okay. Uh my name's tim peyton I've bean a federal agent here in london for about fifteen years. Uh oh, no agency called balcony jump. Um, I started as a p...
hotographer a long time ago and then just kind of picked up that a lot of photographers were great marketing themselves, so I started doing it for them and it just went from there already so way. Deal with everyone you know we do with europe. We deal with america really depends what it's told for what's in need. Um, I would love him if I could ask you a few questions so we can start the conversation going and then have the students and have the live audience coming back enough to that as well. So, obviously, I know how photo agencies work that people here, that a watch in it would be great to know, like what? What is your role like as a photo agent like, what does your, um, what to show a daily thing, but, like, what do you do on a daily basis? Well, I mean, the main thing is, we just try and get out. We have a roster. So, look, after we just try and get him out of my way. So we try and organize, make sure that kind of commercial won that by but also, you know, retaining what's good about it. So we just try present really? Well, I do a lot of meetings. I do a lot of docs make a lot of appointments and then on the other side of it, we also do their budgets for them. So when a job comes in, we try and negotiate a really good feed and goodies. Usages we can on dh, then do the production's. Well, sometimes we get a producer involved. Sometimes we do the production as well so we can handle the budget side of it on just chicken. I try and make her life a sw good as possible so that they can kind of do with best, which is taking pictures. Great, I think that's a good start to it. And I would love tio ask you, what are you looking for? When a photographer approaches you? Um, possibly for representation. Like whether it's an email or phone call like what are you looking for in the photographer? Well, this is the things because it's very subjective, you know, when I take it there's a lot of issues, you have to kind of fit intothe, so if I've already got five car probably wouldn't want another, and so they just can't get into the aesthetic gauge see, really? And also, you know, obviously, you know, they've got big driven, really keen and, you know, all they care about talking to me, and I had a guy years ago, alan block, where I first met on he, you know, he didn't have a penny that he was totally broke, no one lived, I already did every morning was good. I think he was just so obsessed. That's just absolutely what I thought it was just one of those guys that region knew is going be really successful. So it's, so thing is it's so character, but well, you know, you get some really great photographers who kind of quiet, boring people. So it is this kind of led it's let character because you, you know, you gotta be out of cell, the work, you've gotta be over, you know, say the right things at the right time, the right people, such people in history, so there's a renovation you know I have to speak to my five or six times a day so I kind of got to get a good thing you know? They're nice people are good, good people with that's great I think all this inside like I always get a lot of questions about photo agencies and how to approach that I'm sure you do too, tim so it's great that you're giving this kind of insight into everything I would love if that's okay with you to get some questions from our lovely four students here. Casino yeah hey, kristina uh it's a pleasure to have you on the for this call um I was wondering when would be the appropriate time as a photographer to approach an agent? Is there any time that's too early in a photographer's career? What it's like it's like the music industry is either too early and you're playing in front of one man and a dog or it's too late it's too late you've got like thirty record companies chasing you so it's very hard to get the right moment. I mean, for me I preferred if someone who's kind of on lee on the cast really great things they've already been out there maybe for a couple of years they work out their photography style, they've worked out what kind of photographer they want, toby and they're kind of also just done a few things taken done some editorial and you know and kind of worked it all out of it and not just straight out straight out of college expecting you know the world to be at their feet because it's not like that you know you gotta take a few knocks and realize that you've gotta be absolutely exceptional brilliant to succeed and and that's the kind of fellow for once someone is just about turn into something it makes it I make it sound like I don't want to do any work but you know what you know I have to talk before they're taking on straight from college and it's been three years they had a job you know? I just can't I just can't do that you know I have a good day are just can't do it so it is timing I think talking to realise that time when they're starting to get really busy and they need some help and I think him that also speaks for when I first approached you a couple of years ago and we waited a year you were nineteen yes I was nineteen and very naive and that I went to meet him and yeah we it was great to get his feedback and he said to come back in a year and then I came back with work and then he decided to take a chance on me from there so yeah yeah definitely yeah. How did you, laura, how did you go? About contacting like, what did you specifically do with tim? Tim? Um, I just e mailed him. Fuck. Okay. And then we followed it up from there often. That's. The best way to approach agents. Um, phone calls and probably tim, if you wanna give you input on this, I think the best way to approach you guys is to maybe send an email with a couple of pictures and just give, like, a brief into drop introduction. So why come? But yeah. Come quickly that one thing you should know is one of those round robin e mail. You know where you can. I don't like it. Do group email. Yeah, because there's, probably only ten or fifteen agents want to contact in each territory. And it ain't that hearts and an individual email teach. One of what generally works for me is like, hi, tim. I really love your agency. Something like that, something, something flattering to me day. And then I might pay attention. But it's just it's kinda e. I got your team that way. You have a great outside as well you need to, uh get a lot of talk was phoning me up going I haven't haven't got them so I have a feeling my pictures on facebook and you need to you need to be there, you need to have a really good with website and kind of looked like your you know, if you want you want to be serious about this business thank you, tim. And another question from the internet was, do you ever seek out photographers versus the photographer is approaching you? And then how do you do that? If you do, where do you look? Well, yeah, do you know, I read all the magazines? I'm like one of those geeks that used to just look up at the back of record sleeves to see who produced the record things like that. So I looked in all the magazines and the credits and it suddenly someone's shooting quite a lot, and you see their name around quite often, I'll have a look at their websites see if they've got an agent, and if I look like I look at them, I contact him, you know? It does happen, you know, it happens not that often, but, you know, and you can find some of the best photographers, you know, some of the guys that don't go out looking for it might be that might be the coolest ones you kind of are always like discovering you know you stuff you know so I do I do keep definitely and also other our father that buyers and other people in the industry so tipsy off occasionally when I see what I'm speaking about uh new great photographers around uh tim another question from the internet here how do you charge your clients the photographers is it by picture they sell isn't a percentage of flat rate how how do you make money off of us waverly family commission twenty five percent of their feet uh that's the standard that's the kind of the way it works if that's what it is you know so if I get a decent guy I commission off that and that's the way that's the way it works I mean there is there is the odd occasion where if I'm producing the job I could get a production for you as well but it's normal just a straight twenty five percent that's great thank you question in the in the audience go for it yeah I wasn't sure if you cover it or not tim so what was the purpose of having our way for a year well it was just this is just a personal thing really I just prefer talking birds who's done some work and done you know, done. I have done some commissions kind of realized photographic boys kind of found that direction because you know I have a business to run and I you know, I do nurture people and I do enjoy being involved in that but you know you have to know I have a very determined view of your own weight standard the market what kind of total? Fewer and that can only take a couple of years after you left college or to your you know, you know before before you found out you know it's all right as I say it's normally way too early to have photographers or for it is you know this fifteen agents chasing them so if course we need to talk to the right the right stage I'm still uh I just wonder what is the benefit of having an agent over just using social media and sites like workbook to promote your work? I mean, I would love personally to have an agent just so I could brag and say I had an agent but what? Uh what's what's the benefit of abusing anyone I mean for a start there's another person's build first that's not social media but there's another real person on your side on your team you know, on dh that could be really good, you know, big self running around photographic practice could be a little bit uh kind of lonely it's some torches and it's really good you know, you could get opinions and stuff and it's just have another person routing really and the other side of it is, you know, big clients like sucks the big ad agencies, the food kind of take photographers may be a bit more seriously, they've got established agent involved, so you're likely to get bigger work hand, and the other thing is, when you're shooting, business is being taken care of, you know? I mean, you know, when my guys on the other side of the world, I'm still here during their quotes and making sure the website's great and making sure that books look great and making sure, you know, I'm out there showing the work to people while you're shooting, so I believe, you know, this has been absolutely thank you to him, the question from margie and as online is, does it? And this is kind of her both of you, but does it matter what geographical area and agent is in? So if if you are somebody's agent, would they have you in a particular market and potentially another agent in another part of the world? Or how does that work it tempted? Yeah, it depends really on the photographer I mean, you know, for me cause I'm based in london, obviously I preferred have photographers who with within reach of london within reach of london you know so I but you know it depends on the photographer depends where they lived you know you get you get some photographers who you know brought up in spain and they've got a spanish agent london agent on a paris and you know it depends really take it I'd prefer to have most of europe myself if I can but it's up to each photographer on that basis or if you like me and escape doing a different country way have a question here from kitty winter flood who says as a photographer living in a smaller to non existent market for fashion at the moment my website has to show a variety of genres like weddings and fashion would this put you off if you were looking at my sight would you just want to see commercial in fashion work uh yes well there's no thing is about this industry there's no straight answers you know you could talkto one agent today and he could give you a completely different question and someone else can give you a completely different answer tomorrow personally I prefer to separate that kind of stuff you know my personal view on this is that is really important as a photographer to be remembered for doing one thing really really well so if an ad agencies thinking you know we got a big car campaign you want to be on that list of five car photographers the problem is, you know, if you start to do too much and too many different things and to benefit jonah's and stiles is just do you just get for gotten, you know, it's much better to be the one person that go to guy or girl who does great fashion work or great portrait so great, but, you know, it depends on the market. I mean, I know in australia, for example, they tend most photographers tend to do a little bit of everything and it's just because it's slightly smaller market and that's just the way it is, you know, a question from fashion tv in singapore who says tim for any given assignment, how do you decide who should get the job if you represent a pool of photographers? Or do you let the client decides decide for any tasks? Are all of your photographer's getting equal risks representation from you? So how does that work we're normally it is the client felt up they go, you know, I really want this particular photographer because of a very particular style ninety five percent of the time that they're after someone very specific and that's the person they want, there is the odd occasion where client friends up because I've got a job, who do you think we're right be right and again that's a stylistic decision you know I put two or three people tow for them and let them choose you know it's I have to be quite careful of that because you know it's I don't you know each took that I try and make sure that our roster each photographer has their own style has the annual space so I don't want to meet people are slapping him and getting into problems out there that's great let's see um now obviously you you know talked to laura when she was nineteen you don't have a problem with young photographers of somebody who's asking I'm a forty two year old woman is it too late for even for me to even try this side of the business? Is there any issues that you see with working with older photographers who are just getting started? Absolutely no, not not all I mean it's it's it's down to work it is you know, that's the beauty of this thing you know it is just down to your pictures it's very simple isn't not rockets up if your pictures aren't good enough and your attitude is good enough on your doing something unique that no one else is doing or a least trying to do something unique that no one else is doing, I'm still a big believer that you will rise to the top and people will recognise you whatever age you are but, I mean, you know, the young thing, I mean, you know, it's it's has its benefits, and but also some clients, you know, are not keen on booking someone really young sum sum of clients prefer, but, you know, people have been doing it for ten years, so you know, it's kind of swings both ways, but there's no, no reason toe not stop when you're talking to. All right, well, thank you so much for doing that to him and answer everyone's questions. It was, I guess, is really insightful for everyone watching on. Yeah, thank you. Um, I say thanks for staying around. I know you had to leave the office because of time zones. So that's, why we called you early late enough for you, thank you so very much, tim. Everyone here and online is really, really thankful. Well, have a good rest today. Nice to speak to go. Thank you.