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Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 16 of 28

How to Work with Agents and Reps

Victoria Will

Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

16. How to Work with Agents and Reps
Portrait photography is not a solo career. Learn how to work on creative teams, starting with finding a rep to working with an agent.

Lesson Info

How to Work with Agents and Reps

I'm bringing in, not right now, but in a minute, one of my photo assistants. His name is Tim Young. And, the reason I'm bringing him on is because I want to talk about the team and the relationship that you have with the people around you. The team that you build around your business and the creative people who you bring on set. So, Tim Young's gonna join us and talk about his role as a photo assistant, but before I get to him, I wanna talk about the other people that you're building around you in your business. So, it's your friends and the networking that you do, but it's also about the producers you hire, and in some circumstances, your rep, or your agent. I thought about talking about this yesterday when we were talking about marketing, and I showed you a list of places where you can go to get a list of reps if you feel like you're at that point in your career and you wanna reach out to them. That's actually how I met my rep. I looked through a lot of agency lists, and I liked rost...

ers, and I put them all in an email, all the ones that I thought that had a really good feel to them, and I sent out a big email blast. And, two people wrote back of all the people, and it was a really interesting process. So, what I wanted to talk to you about in agents is sort of finding that relationship. Now, you might not feel like you're ready for that, and that's fine, and you might feel like it's around the corner for you in your career, but regardless I wanted to give you my, share with you my experience, so you, when that time comes, you guys will feel ready. And, what I learned about having an agent is that in my head, I was gonna go, I was gonna get an agent, and then after that I was gonna sit on the couch, I was gonna put my feet up, and I was gonna watch movies, and the phone was gonna ring, and I was just gonna be working nonstop. But that's not actually reality, and I don't really know why I thought it was. In my experience, finding an agent was a lot like finding a spouse. It's a very intense work relationship, and it is very similar to the relationship you have with your partner. It took me 30 years to find the perfect man, so I don't know why I expected it to take less time to find an agent. I talk to my agent every day, sometimes many many times a day, or for extended periods of time, and she's a household name in my house. Paige is part of our family now, and the reason that is the case is because when I met her, I'll back track to how we ended up together. So, I told you I sent out the email and two people wrote back and they both said, "I think your work "is really interesting", so I pursued both of those avenues. Now, some of the agents and the agencies that I really wanted, I thought I wanted to be with, were not interested in me, and so I was, I didn't understand why or whatever. I started talking to these two people, or these two agencies, and it was so obvious to me why I wanted to go with Paige, who's my agent now, and that's because she loved my work. It was, that was sort of the bottom line. She really believed in my point of view in what I was doing, and she wanted to help me grow. She wasn't, and I don't think agents should do this, and when you're in the situation you need to listen for the data and listen for things, she never said, "Oh, you know what's really popular right now? "CGI. "I think you should go make some photos using CGI "because then we'll get hired to do whatever". She has never said that to me. All she says is, "Go out, do the work you wanna do, "that inspires you, if it's inspired, "the viewer will see that, and people will see that, "and people will wanna hire you". But an agent becomes the backbone of your business, which is really helpful. It allows me to be creative. She becomes the person who negotiates fees and usage so you don't have to, which means that she has those conversations and I get to show up on set and be the fun, creative human being that I wanna be.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
  • Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
  • Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
  • Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors


Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.

Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.

You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.


The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.


Victoria Will’s background as an American photojournalist and celebrity photographer has helped her to develop techniques on editorial assignments to quickly connect with a subject. Her career began as a photojournalist for the New York Post and grew into a sharp portrait photography focus that opened opportunities to photograph celebrities. She continues to work in New York as an artist specializing in portraits and commercial work.


Helena Sung

This was a great class and I learned a ton! It was amazing to watch Victoria Will in action -- shooting portraits under pressure. I learned a lot watching her walk into an unknown situation -- not knowing the location, what the natural lighting situation would be, and only knowing she had 15 minutes for the shoot. I loved watching her problem solve on the spot with lightning and tight, dark spaces. She also taught a lot about how she interacts with her subjects -- always putting them at ease (like you're the host at a dinner party -- gem!) It's much easier for a photographer to take pictures in their studio, but this course was not about that. This was watching a photographer handle real world situations under time pressure and think on her feet. Loved it! I also loved the parts where she culled her photos afterwards and picked out the ones that caught her eye. In most instances, I found myself agreeing with her!! When she gets subjects to stand up and sit back down, it is the in-between moments she is looking for, or the moment right afterwards -- genius!! Oh, lastly, I loved how she went through stunning images she shot of celebrities like Brad Pitt and Janelle Monae and gave us the backstory of how she creatively problem-solved to get the shot! Hello, showing up two hours before a shoot and knocking on random hotel room doors for furniture?!! Of course she could do that because she has a lovely, warm personality! Oh, and by the way, the bits she shares about her early career path is very inspiring!

Robert Negrin

Great course! And the best part was the honesty. I was an executive in a fortune 500 company and what the critics watching this course missed is that there are a lot of talented photographers, actors, singers, accountants and even landscapers, but there are very few that are successful and accomplished. Yes, part of it may involve a certain degree of luck, but most of it is the drive and desire to suceed. It is obvious you have both. I used to beleive that a true image could only be captured by styling the shot, metering light and controlling the subject. (Yes, I shot film...complete with developing and printing all my images) Then, one day I realized that, if deliberate-shooting was the right way, why then most of the great images I have were the result of quick, rather than deliberate reactions. I get it Victoria. Love your style and how you get there. Three things I learned today are that the conditions... even the background, do not have to be perfect if the image is strong enough to carry the message. Second, setting up to capture the perfect image, misses all the imperfect, epic moments. Third, I disagreed with almost every image you picked until they were isolated from the rest. Then they made perfect sense. Well done. :) Robert Gabriel

Meredith Zinner Photography

I really love Victoria and her work. She's something suuuuper special and showed me a fab new way to look at portraits. I love her openness, honesty, the whole 'you're at my dinner party' intimacy, care and respect for her clients and am SO impressed at how quickly and reliably she's able to transform any location to suit her needs. She's super impressive, professional and inspiring thank you!