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Own Your Past, Live in the Present, Plan for the Future

Q: As freelancers, the product we pitch doesn’t exist yet, but is based on work that was previously created. How do we sell based on the past?

One of the biggest obstacles facing fledgling artists who are just starting out in the industry is that their portfolios lack fullness and depth. Photos taken for your junior year Intro to Lighting course in college simply won’t cut it in the “real world.” It often takes years of experimentation, trial and error, and small-scale projects to fine tune your style and your brand. Once you have this critical asset established, however, you’ll be able to point to your body of work as proof that you know what you’re doing – and that you’re the right person for the job.

Tell Me a Story

Most photographers understand the need to be able to tell stories through their images. This article is about telling stories with words to make a sales point. You may already tell stories well when making pictures, now I encourage you to use stories in a different way. A story makes your sales points easier to remember. Your prospect may want to pass your story on to others who may also find it interesting.

In this world of instant communication, prospects are bombarded by photographers trying to get their attention. After a while, one telephone call or mailer seems to blend into the next. Compounding the confusion, a lot of photographers and reps fail to connect with their prospects because they're spending more time reciting data or telling the prospect how great they are rather than trying to establish a useful dialog. Worse yet, their use of vague buzzwords and industry double talk, increases the risk that misunderstandings will occur.

To Rep, or Not To Rep: That Is The Question

Question: What makes some artists work well with reps while others don’t use them at all?

You must have strong work that reflects what is being commissioned for the marketplace, but you should also be well organized and comfortable negotiating. You should know the value of the work for an array of markets and understand the rights that are being required for each project. If you have the time, energy, and skills to research and contact potential clients, then you will do just fine without an agent. It’s all about making the process smooth for all—meeting deadlines, negotiating fairly, understanding the contracts, and delivering beautiful work.


Different Situations, Different Ways to Present a Portfolio

Question: How do creatives prefer to view a portfolio? What will be the future trends in showing portfolios?

When I was a photo editor, time was sometimes limited, decisions often needed to be made and meetings with photographers were not always possible.

3 Steps to Booking Long-Distance Meetings

Question: When cold-calling potential clients that may be farther away, should I ask to take a meeting or to just send my portfolio? I live in northern New York and most of the clients I’m targeting are in New York City, which is four hours away. What should my plan of action be (hopefully to save me money on traveling)? Also, when cold calling, should I just be using my elevator speech?

As everyone will admit (well, 99.9% of the creative industry), it’s torturous to have to sit down and make those calls. But you have to go into calling with a goal, an agenda and a realistic expectation.

Calling to say you’ll be in town definitely gets better results than living in that same town (it’s a fact). So if you plan on taking a trip, plan for the day and try to see a minimum of three or four people to make the trip worthwhile.

Networking at Events: Be Good, Nice and Awesome

Question: What are the best networking tactics for conferences and trade shows?

More than anything, getting results at trade shows requires a clear concept of what you want to accomplish – and when in doubt, go with my mantra: Be good and be nice.

The friendships you make at trade shows can make your career. Genuine friendships almost always result in commissions.

The key here is they have to be real, and you can’t fake that. There are some basic rules and guidelines to making this happen: ways to approach, ways to request a review or follow-up call. However, the best results come from not looking for results. It is a meditative practice of nonattachment. Being your true self – without reservation – will draw people to you and your work.

To create the mental space to “just be yourself,” you need to:

The Do’s and Don’ts of the Portfolio Review

Question: What are potential clients’ expectations when reviewing a portfolio in a meeting?

Be Relevant

A potential client's biggest expectation during a portfolio review is that you don't waste his or her time.

Show samples that are appropriate to their specific needs. They probably agreed to meet with you because they have an expectation that you'll be able to show something that will add to their work. I've found art directors really like to see new illustrations, but if your work isn't going to help them, your meeting may go rather quickly. You may be the best landscape painter, but if they don't use landscapes then it really doesn't matter.

How to Prepare for a Portfolio Review as an Illustrator

Question: Can you give me some good pointers/advice about preparing for meetings and how to conduct yourself in a meeting?

The Internet makes it easy to share your work and cultivate digital relationships. But there’s a still a need to form human connections with the people you want to work with.

Remember when you applied for your first job? You researched the place where you wanted to work before you called. Setting up a portfolio meeting is very similar to setting up your first job interview.

Artist & Client Relationship Q&A with Clare O’Dea, Owner, Clare Agency LLC & C20 Agency

Interview with Clare O’Dea of Clare Agency LLC. & C20 Agency

Welcome to The Lab’s third round of questions, interview style, with Clare O’Dea. With over 15 years of experience in the photography industry, Clare chats with us on what it takes to form those crucial, yet special bonds with the photographers she represents, and the clients they work for.

Creative Collision: The Other Side of In-Person Meetings

Question: Do you schedule in-person meetings often?

It’s the best part of the job,” says Arleen D’Amico, VP manager of art production at Draftfcb.

In-person meetings are seen as that crucial moment for artists to nail the right job with the right art producer. Learn to calm those pre-meeting jitters with what these directors, producers and reps have to say about having a successful meeting, including:

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