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Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 02:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I've been wondering about submitting my portfolio to an agency. I don't know exactly how to do it and what to expect. I did a little search but couldn't come up with anything for photographers. This place has always been a great resource for me so I appreciate any info given.

Is there a portfolio standard size? Do I just mail my book to agencies with my contact info or do I just walk into one? Which images to use in a port and if it should be in a specific order?



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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 08:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insanepinoy View Post
I've been wondering about submitting my portfolio to an agency. I don't know exactly how to do it and what to expect. I did a little search but couldn't come up with anything for photographers. This place has always been a great resource for me so I appreciate any info given.

Is there a portfolio standard size? Do I just mail my book to agencies with my contact info or do I just walk into one? Which images to use in a port and if it should be in a specific order?


Hopefully you will get some more feedback from others but here are a few tips I've learned:

Select QUALITY over quantity. An agency doesn't necessarilly want to see a 96 view portfolio...especially if some of the 96 or not top shelf images. If you/we/me only have 12 "portfolio" worthy images, only include those...

Select your images for the agency you are presenting. I don't think a fashion agency is gonna be interested in glamour or fine art nudes. I keep my books seperated by styles. I do have one book that incorporates most of what I shoot, but I use that to show potential paying customers diversity.

I am not sure of a "standard" size for photogs. Most of my books are 9x12 and 11x14...I even carry one thats 13x19 but admittedly that may be too large for agency submission...

Don't skimp on the agency presentation portfolio itself. If you are investing in many dollars for equipment...quality prints...then the "portfolio presentation" itself should have an investment. Sometimes its about perception...you dont want an agency to "perceive" you aren't willing to invest in your career...

As for an order...there are some rules. Most will tell you to have your BEST 2 images as the first and last in your port. You want to start stong and end strong. Also, the images should face the center of the port as a rule. This keeps the viewer focused on the port itself and invites them to turn the page...

And lastly, proof and double proof your work. I know many of us are biased to a certain image...we just love it for whatever reason...but theres that slight flaw that we can notice...don't take for granted that the agency will be "wowed" as we may be...they WILL notice in most cases...

And lastly...have thick skin. They have been known to set many a photog back a step or two with their critique and feedback...

Hope this helps...not an expert by any means but these are just some tips I've received over the last few years...

BobbyG
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bobby's comments are right on track. I will share some experience I have had as well.

I once had an appointment with a REALLY BIG ad agency to show my book. The creative director patiently looked it over, lingering on each page and carefully considering each image. Finally he closed the book and in a respectful tone said "There's nothing here that would make me want to hire you."

I was stunned. I countered by saying "But this is the best stuff that I have actually done for paying clients!"

"That's the problem." he explained. "You and I both know that clients always talk about all of the fantastic images they want, really artistic and groundbreaking stuff. But when it comes time to go to production, they take the cheap or safe road. They say they want art, but they pay for junk."

He was right. Although the examples in my book had all done their part to pay the bills, it was all pretty boring. Honestly, if I were writing the check I'd also probably have looked for someone else who had some crerative vision. And it wasn't that I didn't have it, it's just that I, like everyone else, was caught up in my day to day work just doing what I was being paid to do.

Here was the advice he gave me as we concluded our meeting. "Don't show me what you have done. Show me the best you are capable of, paid for or not, because I know that you can always give me less than than your best if that's what the client requires."
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 08:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My friend BobbyG done good.

Everything he said and more. Great advice.

One big question that you didn't answer for us. What are you looking for from the agency?

Are you referring to modeling agencies? Or ad agencies?

If you mean modeling agencies, what is your goal?

Are you looking to have them hire you for work? Or are you just looking to be approved to get their girls for tests.

As a general rule, modeling agencies don't hire too many shooters, they give the girls a list of approved photographers and let the girls choose. In major cities, there are so many shooters looking to work with the models that they rarely pay. The ones they do pay are normally very good (not that you aren't), but its tough to break in.

Finally, best advice is to look at model comp cards and show them images like that. The agencies don't want fancy, they want clean stuff. The fancy stuff is for client work and editorials, the agencies want simple clean stuff to show what the models look like for people to hire them.

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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 12:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I really appreciate all the responses here and couldn't expect anything less from you guys. How many agencies represent you guys?

Quote:
Don't skimp on the agency presentation portfolio itself. If you are investing in many dollars for equipment...quality prints...then the "portfolio presentation" itself should have an investment. Sometimes its about perception...you dont want an agency to "perceive" you aren't willing to invest in your career...
Bobby- You have some great advice and you've changed some decisions that I was about to make on purchasing a cheap book haha.. I think this thread might be good when others do a search for this topic.


Quote:
Here was the advice he gave me as we concluded our meeting. "Don't show me what you have done. Show me the best you are capable of, paid for or not, because I know that you can always give me less than than your best if that's what the client requires."
Viajero- Thanks for sharing your experience and including the great advice given to you from your portfolio viewing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennusdin View Post
One big question that you didn't answer for us. What are you looking for from the agency?

Are you referring to modeling agencies? Or ad agencies?

If you mean modeling agencies, what is your goal?

Are you looking to have them hire you for work? Or are you just looking to be approved to get their girls for tests.
I'll be focusing on modeling agencies because I don't think I have much or any I could submit for an ad agency. Most of the time I don't have problems finding girls for test shoots. I work and worked with models that are agency represented and some of them say their agency really like the work I produce for them. Like every or most of the photographers here, I want to get hired for compensated work and hopefully become a well known photographer *wishes*
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've used this company in the past...

http://www.brewer-cantelmo.com/
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 02:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I understand the importance or presentation, but I just can't see how I would be able to afford 3-4 different $300.00 portfolio books.
Back in the day people used a simple fold over cardboard type cover with laces on the end to keep it closed.
Is there a large format (11x14) cheap alternative out there?
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 03:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You're only as good as your book. If you're showing it to the general public, models, prospective clients, etc., then you can get by with an Itoya book. Maybe. If you're showing it to Ogilvy and Mather, you better have something better.

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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Let me clarify a bit about what works for me.

I carry small 4x6 Itoya books geared for different things. Commercial, Portraits, Glamour, Fashion, etc. These go where ever I go, since the opportunity to show a prospective client a sample, seems to pop up in the oddest places and times. I then have bigger books to show as the need arises. I have two expensive books that are shown to the high end clients such as ad agencies, actors, managers, publicists, and others.

Good luck.

R
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Re: Portfolio agency submission (photographer)
Old 04-20-2007, 04:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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In my experience, modeling agencies don't hire photographers.

Ad & marketing agencies hire photographers.

Modeling agencies want you to shoot for free or have the models pay you (at least in the Dallas market, i.e. Campbell, Kim Dawson, etc.).

Things may be different in your market so YMMV.
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