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How to Be a Commercial Photographer

Lesson 15 of 34


Rob Grimm, Gary Martin, Aaron Nace

How to Be a Commercial Photographer

Rob Grimm, Gary Martin, Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

15. Marketing

Lesson Info


So we're gonna go a little bit into kind of how we approach marketing it's kind of specific to our studio specific to our situation, so, you know, take it with a grain of salt, take some of that that will work for you, it's not a one size fits all solution by any means, so core audience who do we know who buys her stuff? So art directors in our buyers at ad agencies and some design firms are buying our stuff, so that is without question our core audience. We're going after advertising agencies who have the clients through, you know, their brand contacts, so we are studying the ad agencies. We're taking a look at what ad agencies have, what brands on what fits us. We know our core strength its food, beverage and product, mainly food, beverage again food, beverage, food, beverage. I drive that message home, so when we're goingto ad agencies are going to look for ad agencies, we're looking for ad agencies that have clients into food and beverage sector because we know we're fit for them. ...

We study who they are, we figure out who they are, and then we start going after them systematically by sending email promotions, direct mail pieces, trying to set up appointments and getting ourself in front of the people that we think were appropriate for it's a matter of going after an audience that we really believe is appropriate for the type of work that we create sourcebooks are a great way to do it. I've been advertising in workbook for ah long long time, probably fifteen years workbook is not a cheap endeavour, but it goes to all the art buyers and art directors around the country. It is a great place where they go for inspiration. Keep in mind, there's no water holding you consented finder spread so how often does something like this published that comes out twice a year? The source books have have changed over the years without question workbook used to be two giant volumes and would only come out once a year. They've kind of changed it out, but this is a great place for art directors to g o and art buyers to go there looking for inspiration. So if they have an image that they they're going to need for, you know something with a splash, they will go to a source book and they'll look for photographers who have splashes in their work. There's, you know, my favorite spread running right now, I'm really pleased with this spread I want this type of work on putting this out there, so I'm going to work book. I'm running this ad and I'm hopeful that art directors and our fire's gonna be picking up workbook somewhere down the line they're gonna look at it and they're gonna give us a call you don't know when they're gonna pick it up you know the one they're gonna look at it, you know when you're gonna be appropriate for him but that is one aspect of how we market ourselves marking is a multi pronged animal it has to happen in several different phases you cannot just find one way to market yourself email is not going to do it direct mail is not going to do it workbook alone is not going to do it uh phone calls is not going to do it it has to be a combination of multiple things. So the also the nice thing about workbook um online, which is kind of our core for sourcebooks we can look up where any art director is any ad agency I can filter it by chicago who's doing food, what accounts do they have and know exactly who we are and exactly who they are and what their e mail addresses and that's something that wraps would then take the ring and then periodically we don't want to inundate them? We don't want to get put right into the trash can with email but that's something that we then have access to so and there's several other source books out there just at edge there's communication arts there's all pick there's griffey's there are a lot of different source books that are appropriate for different styles of photography work book is something that really does cover all the spectrums of photography things like add agin I'll pick are a little bit different all pick is great for people who do portrait's and who do music type stuff that's a really great venue for that so and that's a good thing to study too if you guys are interested in finding out what other photographers are doing and looking for inspiration work because of one of my main sources of inspiration when I was getting started I would I would go through every final page time and time again I'd study with the top photographers were doing I look at their composition and look at their lighting and then I will go try to do something myself good way to do it. Yeah next another one very similar to this uh a cz everyone heard of b hands it's getting really big was just purchased by adobe um like five hundred pixels tumbler production paradise um production paradise has anyone heard of that? The thing is just production paradise dot com um it's kind of another curated kind of like ba hands used to be and I think still is it's pretty heavily curated in terms of who could be on there, but you can go to production paradise search for a photographer in an area in search for a studio in an area you can search for an art director in an area um and that's worldwide, you can even search for agents worldwide and see where people are. So if you guys wanna study portfolios a place like workbook or place like production paradise, our fantastic resource to see people's portfolios and see how people put things together and present it so that's something that, you know, to keep up with the industry that's something that I look at on a regular basis on a weekly basis, the other thing that's good about being in multiple vehicles like this, we're in production paradise, we have be hands, we've got workbook, we've got drip books, all those sources have websites that have our name are images and our link somewhere on it, so it helps drive more traffic to our site. The mohr visibility we have in the interwebs, the more traffic we're going to get to our site. So it is a great way to help boost our visibility are using multiple sources, and with all of this on all of those sites, everything is keyword it so you know, food, product, beverage so someone were to search food product, we're beverage specifically also in chicago or st louis now we're one of the first hits that comes up, so so can mine keyword in your images, they're making sure you know what you're uploading know which category you're uploading to, uh just so you can be found in you are visible, so again, it's, almost like we're droning means it's food, beverage product, we repeat the same message over and over. It's key wording it's in the pagination food beverage product way drive that message home because we want to be known for something, and when we're known for something, clients are gonna come to us, they're going to trust us, we're going to do a good job for him, and then they're gonna let us expand. So it's a matter of just kind of driving that message home, it takes a long time social media then, of course, social media it's probably the smallest thing that we do it's the least important because, you know, how common is it going to be that we get an art director or an art fired two cia like of something that we did, you can find us there, you will see our work there, but really with something like facebook, we do have some of our images up there, but we and we'll get to this in a second I use facebook is a way to reference our blawg to get people to click on that because then our block its traffic and we get basically the bonus points for someone going to our block then because if it's just something you put on facebook that's not going to really help your ceo and your visibility, which is what we're gonna get a second social media is kind of interesting it's unnecessary thing without question there are a lot of photographers to do get work on it but not usually at the advertising commercial level it is something that we feel is really important for me it's kind of a difficult thing to do because it does take up a little bit too much time that I want and I find that I can just get drawn into it, but we have question we use it as another vehicle that helps kind of reinforce everything else and keep in mind we're doing multiple things again reinforce our message is important to do more marketing. So uh what exactly are portfolio showings so portfolios showings or when you've called an ad agency or design firm or even just in art director or in our buyer uh and you've set up a time to come in and show your book, so you're going to go in at ten o'clock on tuesday morning you're going to go to a bakery first and get some really good you know sweets or something some sort of edible bribe you gotta have an edible bribe when you go in there you go into the agency and hopefully you're gonna have a good turnout of art directors on dh creative directors that will come down and take a look at your work. They like doing that because it gives them a break from their daily routine but it also keeps them in touch with the creative community. Keep in mind our director's creative directors are created by nature there in this business because they like making images they like doing stuff so they like being inspired by other people's work s oh it's a great time for you to go in there show people what you khun d'oh and more importantly show them who you are it's a time for your personality shine it's a time to be real relaxed to be as casual and it's funny and enjoyable as you possibly can and show people you're a strong, confident individual it's really important thing uh agency meetings in person what's the duration it's uh it's not something that you can do once a week or even once a month, as we were saying yesterday with leslie it's probably an annual thing setting up showing with a big ad agency or even a small one because you don't you don't want to go in there and show them the same thing over and over, they're not gonna want to give up their time because their time is really precious and really valuable. Almost every ad agency is running combat full till right now, there's their staff is they're overworked in many ways, and that's that's, a product of the, you know, await kind of downturn, so they their time is really important and you've got to come in with fresh work and a reason for them to come down. They also want to see how you develop over time. It gets really important for you to come in with new work, different from what you did last year expanded upon, you know what was in there before, and they get to see your I developed. I have won many clients over a course of years by wearing him down in the sense that they saw my work developing. They're like, wow, you've come a long way from here to here this is, you know, they see the development, and then they're willing to give me that chance. So it's ah, it's important thing you gotta wear him down nothing like a peepee or w p p I, um, pp that just happened in, uh, new york, you can pay I think it's right around a thousand bucks ticket then go sit down and it's kind of like speed dating you sit down with uh these art buyers that well then quickly go through your portfolio and you can get twelve maybe like up to twenty different opinions in a day or two days then you can take you know, the majority of those opinions uh and then apply that to your portfolio so that's a good investment to make it sounds like a lot of money and it is I wouldn't I wouldn't make that investment on my first book I wanted to develop my own book a little bit and get in there with something very strong when I go in there but that's a great way to do it to have that opportunity to sit down one on one with a consultant and get several different opinions again I'm going to tell you take with a grain of salt one person is going to tell you one thing and another person is going to tell you that he's got opposite so it's really important that you sit down you think about why you believe they were saying what they said about your work what's positive and what's negative about both of their comments and then you can you can go in to re evaluate your image is based on a kind of your decision about getting information from them so we went over this yesterday a dedicated agent like leslie zahara for us or someone like wonderful machine what is that wonderful machine is a it's kind of like a portal that's also a repping site so we've actually been a part of it for a little while they break down they repped photographers all over the country and all over the world now they break it up by city it's something that you basically you know pay to get on but they market you the email via direct mail they do go out on portfolio showings every once in a while but they they're a great portal that art directors and our buyers are going to to look for photographers and it's done by city so it's a good way for you to get your foot in the door with people that are local because you're very often looking to find out who's in my town because sometimes they don't even know that's a great way to it questions good I have a question from publicists who said do you recommend showcasing your photographs in your online portfolio just as they are set up in your print portfolio? Yeah what I do with my online portfolio if you go there they're all first of all there will be an overview so that is a section that has food, beverage and product and it's a good amount of the pairings that air directly lifted from the portfolio then you can go in death so there's drink there's food product on down the line so those galleries are more expansive and have a lot more images than just the printed book does so it's important to have them mere, but you don't want to have them be identical. I like having a book that's really strong and really saw that's got sixty images that I consider to be some of my best and my best foot forward. When you go to my website, you're going to get a reminder of that, but then you also khun go in depth and you can see much more food. You can see much more beverage because you're much more product, so you want to give some repetition but you also want to give them a reason to come to the site and see something new and different and we have behind the scenes. We've got a lot of stuff on the web site it's, a great place for people to go if they really want to spend some time and learn who we are and how our style is mean. The website it's amazing how much information you can get on. There is information about our workshops at school mailers and email so email for any I think industry for any campaign nobody really likes getting email from someone they don't know where it's coming from so don't expect to have like a high open rate with female like two to three percent maybe three percent open rate is high um one percent click through rate where they actually click on to go see your website is also high s o if you think about it that's, that doesn't sound like a great percentage, but again, it's something that you need to do, you never know where job's gonna come from and that one percent maybe one of the biggest jobs you've ever had, so it's definitely worth doing, do it through somebody reputable there, you know, agency access, add bass workbook, there are agencies out there that will help you do that. If you're just some sending something through male chimp, most likely you're going to get kicked out of a lot of stuff and people won't see it just keep those numbers of mine three percent one percent that's typical, in fact, doesn't pretty good numbers there's, a company we use called modern postcard and their a fulfilment service so you can print out a nice little postcard on one side with your work, maybe your logo you're brandon on the other side. Um, if you get from someone like agency access or workbook a mailing address, you can upload that list in an excel spreadsheet and then mail two hundred fifty at a time. For a price, um and that's, you know, the open right on that is almost one hundred percent it's, like mailed to someone and they're going to get it. So obviously that's a lot more expensive. You're gonna easily spend four to five hundred dollars if you do like two hundred fifty of these and they're nice and big, but what's the you know what? The success rate for that dress smells important again. Multiple different avenues of promotion now that's something that we would do and maybe a quarterly, uh, semi quarterly basis. So yeah, and just in general websites that that show your brand overall when someone goes to your website, you know you want it that's a representation of your brand, so just just keep that in mind. We really kind of gone over the website in many ways, but it is your most immediate foot forward and it's got to be good. All right, that's the that's. The fastest way for anybody to look atyou is through the website it's much faster than trying to set up an appointment and get into have a portfolio showing. So make sure it's pretty buttoned up.

Class Description

Ready to break into the commercial photography business, but unsure of where to start? Rob Grimm and Gary Martin will help you navigate the ins and outs of the industry by delivering expert advice on an entire gamut of subjects –– from marketing, to shooting, to branding, and location scouting.

Rob and Gary’s workshop will be your personal guide to every single aspect of commercial photography. You'll learn how to set a budget, advertise your brand, and build your portfolio and client base. These two seasoned pros will also share invaluable technical tips on shooting and retouching.

This course is a one-stop shop for all the tools and skills needed to build a commercial photography portfolio and find your niche in the industry!

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase



Free Bonus Materials

Digital Swag Bag.pdf

Day 1 Presentation Slides.pdf

Day 2 Presentation Slides.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I have gratefully been watching this tutorial for free online, and as always CreativeLIVE has done an awesome job in bringing one of the best instructors of the trade and his creative team to help us improve and enjoy a higher level of understanding and performance in the skills we would like to achieve. I am humbled as always and ever so grateful. I would love to purchase the course myself, but since I live abroad, it is practically impossible, I hope those who can, would. I would just like to add one of the most interesting things I have learnt from this course is the careful attention these guys are paying to minute details and the amount of patience it takes to achieve their goals in each project. Stay inspiring, Totoo in China


Outstanding course! I'm a former creative director, now photographer full time and have had the unique experience working with studio photographers for commercial products in the past. This course is right on and very close to my experiences, and now that I'm behind the camera, it's nice to see some of those trade secrets revealed. Commercial work is fussy and you often have to sweat the details, but the results can be astonishing and rewarding. Rob and Gary do an excellent job explaining the ins and outs, without any pretention or hold-back on secrets. Something that's always annoyed me in the past, photographers never liked revealing their process. It's great fun watching Rob and Gary work a shoot, and Aaron Nace is beyond amazing in his retouching skills. I don't expect to break into this field, but I wanted to learn how things are done, for my own personal projects. I particularly enjoyed learning how they get the look of ice, ice crystals, and frost on the sides of glass bottles. I purchased several items from Trengrove, as they suggested. Their acrylic products are not cheap, but the quality is amazing and I'm very pleased and looking forward to experimenting. Thanks to all at Creative Live, RGG studios and Aaron Nace for this presentation.

Doors of Imagination Photography

This course is outstanding. I would consider it an advanced level. Having a good understanding of the technical aspects of photography and lighting is recommended. Rob Grimm takes you into two real product shoots. These were not canned demonstrations, but the real thing including working to get the lighting setup just right. The postproduction section with Aaron Nace was enlightening. This does require a good preliminary understanding of Photoshop. It was amazing to watch them build the final images for the client in real time. This is by far my favorite course to date.