The Importance of Representation and How To Get It
call my agent now, Getting and having representation in your career is a really big step. And there are different levels of representation. I have multiple representatives that represent me in different venues. So I have a print representative and I have emotion, representative, and those things are different. I don't yet have an entertainment representative, but I'm looking for one. These things that we rely on our representation for are the things that is the buffer and the insulation from the client side that as your business gets bigger, they don't want to deal with the artist. The advertising companies don't want to deal with you. They want to deal with your agent. Because the other thing about having representation on the highest levels is you plan Ah, $2 million photo shoot and that whole thing hinges on one guy. One girl, right? I'm your photographer. And what happens if the plane goes down? What happens if you get sick? What happens if something happens in emergency? But when ...
that you then you know what? That person that in an emergency, if you're unrepresented, they're not gonna want to deal with you because days no backup plan, but if they hire me through my rep and something happens to me, they're two of the photographers in the stable that can pick up the slack if something happens in an emergency. And I'm gonna talk about getting a rep in a bit. But if you have a rep, you're gonna have that person have signed contracts, that person and that those terms are negotiable. Um, standard is that they're going to take 25% of your creative fees. That doesn't include expenses. So, like if the production is, if the productions a $1,000,000 production, it doesn't mean that the agent gets $250,000. It means that the agent is going to get whatever piece of your creative fee, meaning your day rate and your usage, Um, and that goes on in perpetuity. So, like, let's say you license that image for two years, and then two years later, that client wants to buy that image again for two more years. Well, your client, your agent also gets a piece of that. So whatever work they negotiate for you, they're getting a piece of it, and it sounds like a lot of money. But when you think about how hard it is to get advertising work without a rapper without representation, you realize it's worth every penny, and they do a lot of work for you, and they insulate you from a lot of nonsense, too. I never had an editorial agent. I still negotiate all my editorial and publishing myself because that's the comfort zone for the client to editorial Publications don't necessarily want to deal with your agent unless you're like a travel photographer and they're sending you abroad or something like that. That's when it's important. But if you're local or your national photographer working editorially through an agent, it's not always the best case scenario. So that's my two cents on it. I mean, I'm sure there will be people who disagree with that because they've had a lot of success in that arena. But a lot of photographers I know, uh, have not been happy in that, because it is not a lot of money to go around. Okay, so we're gonna move on, talk a little bit more about representation, getting a rep. Now that's the thing. That's really the most challenging right is who do I want to represent me. It's not just any old person, right? You want to know? You want to look at rosters off existing, uh, representation agencies, the more prestigious the better. Clearly, um, and you look at their roster and this has been my experience on a number of occasions, and I say, OK, one food photographer to food photographers, three food photographers. They don't need me next. I like their style. One food photographer to food photographers. Oh, they only have to food photographers. I may fit there, Put in a call. Love to show you my portfolio, baba blah c were at that is the process is work involved. You have to basically see where you fit creatively as well. So if you look on the roster off a particular agent and there's three food photographers on there and they all shoot just like you, well, clearly, you're not the priority in that situation. But if you look on the roster and you see that there's a spot for you and then you look at the creative on it and you say, Well, that guy shoots pa party, and that girl kind of does lots of you know this, but I do this and nobody else does that. So I fit. So it's a puzzle, right? So your rep is gonna help you with your negotiations and your bidding. So basically any kind of monetary negotiation you're gonna do and any bid that you're gonna make on a job is gonna go through your agent now if you if you have representation and what that means is they're gonna consult with you about your comfort zone on everything. They're going to say They're going to know what your rate is there day rate as faras just to go in and open your bag. That's it. That's what day rate means. And we will go into that later in depth. But I want that to be really clear, and I want a hammer away at it on multiple occasions. Your day rate is just to show up. Your usage is what they should be paying you to use your images. Those two things are different. We will go into it and much, much more detail. But I can't stress that enough because it's a misconception that what what you're getting paid as a photographer includes both of those things. And if it is. It should be a much bigger number. Your marketing. Now you have someone else out there from doing this wrong. But I'm looking at the wrong screen. Um, your marketing now is not just your responsibility is now your agents responsibility because now they are have a stake in your success. So they're going to promote you on their own website on their own social media channels. They're gonna push you out to art buyers. They're gonna push you out. The agency's they're gonna ask you to do pro Mose. They're gonna ask you to enter contests. All the stuff we've already talked about doing as an individual, you're still going to do those things. The other thing that's really important about it is that you're going to be now insulated from certain things that will protect your image and your brand by having representation. And it also insulate you from things that you don't want to deal with any more once you get to a certain point in your career. And if that's negotiation and that's the one thing that you just can't stand doing Well, man, that is worth it just by itself, because I'm talking about money is really hard for people, particularly people who do what we do creatively. A treatment on our treatment is something that you do to present your work on a particular topic to a client. So if I'm building a treatment for, let's say, an advertising campaign, I'm gonna listen to what? We're gonna have a creative meeting, right? We're gonna talk to the agency, will talk to the client. We're gonna sit around a table and we'll talk about what is the creative vision for this particular job. And they're going to say X, Y and Z and we write down notes. And then we go back as a team and we build what's called the treatment. And the treatment is basically my vision off what I can do with this client and this particular job. And I'll put pictures to support that, and I will write dialogue to support that And learning how to do treatments is important in both film and photography. You do them in both venues and there are even more in depth when you talk about doing them in film. So I learned how to do treatments as a director before is actually doing them as a photographer because the first treatment I ever did as a photographer was it was so bad it It's a wonder I've never gotten a call back from that agency because it was God awful, cause I had no idea what I was doing. And then I learned as a director how to really do them. And now my photo ones are much better. But it's a challenge. And if you don't have you never seen one? Just Google. Um, look it up, see if you can find a couple online. And if not, you can always email me and I'll send you a copy of one of mine so you could see what they look like when you're sitting in a creative meeting around the table with the client and the agency. And whatever you listen, it's very important to listen to what's important to them keywords that they keep throwing out there and how to interpret that information into your creative vision. All that's really important when you're thinking about doing treatments and your agent should be really on those calls with you. They should be on the creative calls at table because she's the person that has the experience right and has been at that table 100 times more than you have because she represents money, more people, so understanding how to interpret that those conversations is really important. Your production people could be on those calls to as many people as you put on a call. It's like you have the bigger your team, the more impressive it is. So if they know you're on what your whole team that you have a whole team behind you you have produces, you have creative directors. You have all these people around you. It's important that they know that you know these people on the call that just listening it or whatever they know that you are for real, Um, and the prestige that comes along with it, you know, it's it's the joke in the beginning of this is called my agent right? It's the joke that we say when we're we're so fancy, right? Put just call my agent whatever. But the reality is it's really the prestige of having good representation. Israel and it. It will pay benefits if you get to that point, and it may seem out of reach at this stage in your career. But there is a point if you continue to strive and grow that you will get to the point where this information will be very valid in your life. And it's important to know that the progression in business you wherever you're stepping into the fray here, um, Ultimately, if you want it bad enough, you'll get there. You know, it's about, you know, it's not just about talent at this point, right? If you have talent, you've probably sitting in the audience because you have talent while you're listening because you know you have talent. Somebody's told you you have talent. The rest of that is the meat and potatoes here.