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Class is helpful sometimes... have an Agent?
Old 09-15-2005, 02:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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in class yesterday my teacher was ranting and we were all just talking and the issue of having an agent came up. he knew of a terrible photographer, who got tons of work because he had an amazing agent. he pointed out that making 60% of lots of gigs can be better than 100% of fewer gigs.

then of course my mind wandered onto the idea that an amazing photographer can be a terrible business person and do worse in the industry then a terrible photographer but great businessman!

its a mess! does anyone out there take the path of using an 'agent'?

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Re: Class is helpful sometimes... have an Agent?
Old 09-15-2005, 02:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep, your teacher is right. Reps are not really needed in retail photography such as portraiture, weddings, etc, but in commercial work or art, they can be very important. But there are a couple of problems. First is finding an agent, the good ones are usually pretty selective. Second is finding a good one! The good ones can be invaluable in helping and guiding portfolio development as well as in getting work. The good ones know the major players in the industry, what they need and what they like and can give great advice in tailoring a portfolio to meet those needs. They can be expensive; in addition to a percentage on the work they get for you, you usualy have to pay at lest half, sometimes all of the marketing expenses they incur. But well worth that expense!
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yes, but
Old 09-15-2005, 05:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll second most of Doug's comments. Finding a GOOD "rep" (what photo agents are called) that can really help you can be difficult, because the good ones are VERY selective about who they represent. Unlike an acting agent that can send out dozens of actors for a single audtition, most reps usually handle no more than 5 to 10 photographers, who each have different specialties, and don't conflict with each other's style. One might shoot food, another do product tabletop, another cars, a couple might do different fashion styles, and that might be it. Here's a couple links I found for reps. The first is Maggie Hamilton here in LA and she has some of the top talent in the world. She is an active member of APA, and regularly speaks at "rep night" meetings when they have them here in LA. The next is one I've never heard of, Velvet Artists but they came up in a search engine. Note how few photographers each represent, and how good the photographers are. Reps traditionally take 25% of the shoot fee (not expenses) and do your marketing with you. They're the ones that have the contacts to get into clients at ad agencies that you probably can't do on your own, at least not immediately, where they can meet with an art buyer and show them their whole stable of photographers. They usually negotiate the fees and usage, and help figure out the expenses to make up the total estimate (or "bid"), if that's what it is. As Doug said, you have to foot the bill for marketing expenses for yourself (mailers, sourcebook ads, etc) but sometimes the rep does a promotion for all their clients, and each photographer will be asked to share a smaller part of that or none at all.

One piece of advice: don't get too caught up in getting a rep. Its great if you can, but many photographers don't have them (maybe they do it themselves, or have someone in their studio who does that for them, which is what I used to have). Also, being a "glamour" photographer is not necessarily an easy specialty to find a rep for. You're better off being a "fashion" or "lifestyle" or "beauty" or even a "portrait" (magazine style, not K-Mart) or "Fine Art" photographer. Just shooting hot chicks in skimpy bikinis won't get you a rep, trust me, I've been there!

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio

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more on reps
Old 09-15-2005, 06:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just after making the other post, I got an email from the APA list and there was a similar question about reps. A couple things two note in the replies they got, one was a link to an organization of reps, where you can contact them and maybe try to find a rep, http://spar.org/. Note, that the rep doesn't HAVE to be in your geograpic area, and you don't HAVE to be in a major market, but I think especially when you are starting out together, it would be helpful to have both of you in the same place if possible.

Also, some interesting links were posted, the first asks whether you really need a rep, the second is compilation of info on portfolio development and repping by a well-known rep, the third is another rep site.

http://burnsautoparts.com/manuals/wannaRep.html
http://1portauthority.com/articles.html
http://www.repgirl.com/

This should keep you all busy for a while!

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: more on reps
Old 09-16-2005, 06:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Just after making the other post, I got an email from the APA list and there was a similar question about reps. A couple things two note in the replies they got, one was a link to an organization of reps, where you can contact them and maybe try to find a rep, http://spar.org/. Note, that the rep doesn't HAVE to be in your geograpic area, and you don't HAVE to be in a major market, but I think especially when you are starting out together, it would be helpful to have both of you in the same place if possible.

Also, some interesting links were posted, the first asks whether you really need a rep, the second is compilation of info on portfolio development and repping by a well-known rep, the third is another rep site.

http://burnsautoparts.com/manuals/wannaRep.html
http://1portauthority.com/articles.html
http://www.repgirl.com/

This should keep you all busy for a while!

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio

[/ QUOTE ]

thanks for the responses andy!! if you look, i dont shoot women in bikinis hehe. i like glamour but my main interest is fashion. and i wasnt posting saying i wanted to get a rep, just bringing up the topic for discussion, its something i had never even realized or thought of before, models have reps why not photogs!

hanks for all the wisdom i'll be all over these links for the next couple days.

-tim
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