I received the following question from one of my readers:
I have a question for you. I got hired to photograph an annual report for a nonprofit company called [Redacted]. I got the gig through an organization called Taproot Foundation which is an organization whose goal is to link up creative professional with non-profits and such to work on pro-bono projects. This is going to be my first annual report shoot and I am very excited about it. I think that this may be a career path that I would like to pursue. Do you have any idea how to go about looking for work shooting annual reports? I haven’t the slightest idea where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Here’s what he had to say about it:
I can tell you that my experience shooting the Annual Review for Highbridge Capitol Management was very rewarding. I was able to participate from the very beginning, working closely with the designers, writers, and the marketing department. Together we came up with a visual concept that would illustrate what the firm is all about. This is unusual for me, as I’m often hired for editorial work based on my photographic style. With this project, I actually adjusted my style to suit their needs, so it was fresh for me and I think the results were pleasantly different from other annuals.
The client is absolutely thrilled with the final product and has been showing it off to others in their industry. So hopefully I will be shooting the next one, and perhaps pick up some new clients along the way.
This is the interesting part. I actually first came in touch with Highbridge through an editorial assignment for Institutional Investor Magazine. The budgets are tight there, but they have given me interesting assignments, so I always try to make it work. Once I was up at Highbridge, I got to know the folks there and they got to know me. Since hedge funds don’t typically produce annuals, they did not have a lot of experience with photographers. This gave me an opportunity to let them know what I could do for them, and the timing worked out perfectly.
As for advice to your readers questions, I would say a few things. First off, you have to look for opportunities wherever you can. Six magazines that I shot for regularly closed last year. The industry is going through some painful changes right now and one has to be resourceful. Also, once I had the job, it was great to push things in a new direction…”off brand” if you will. I put away the lights and took a new approach that I had been shooting a lot of personal work with, but had not fully realized with my commercial work. This kept the shoot very new and exciting for both me and the client. Word of mouth will be your best friend in this realm, so if you nail one annual, chances are you will have an opportunity to do another.