Former Art Buyers and current photography consultants Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease have agreed to take anonymous questions from photographers and not only give their expert advice but put it out to a wide range of photographers, reps and art buyers to gather a variety of opinions. The goal with this column is to solicit honest questions and answers through anonymity.
It’s been talked about before, but the whole “what does it take to make it’ outside of NYC and LA”… especially starting out. It amazes me that photo editors are still flying photographers from NYC to (in my example) Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, the NW in general. For medium-sized shoots, not a large shoot where one NYC photographer’s specific style is paramount to the success of the assignment. So, the question is: how does a photographer living in a place like the NW (where I’m actually enjoying life) stay on top of the radar for someone like a NYC-centric photo editor? I go to NYC 2-3 times a year and just try to annihilate the place with meetings (32 on my last visit) and the response is really great, though I often am told at the end that there’s not much assignment in that neck of the woods. But is there anything else I can do to stay on a PE’s or AB’s radar, besides meetings and promos, when I’m nearly 4,000 miles away?
We definitely look to hire photographers in regional areas for portraits & action. I suggest that the photographers have to stay in touch with the PE’s & Associate PE’s and Assistant PE’s within the magazine. They are often the eyes for the Photo Editors and Photo Directors. Also, by sending PE’s an email with promo image, and their location to remind them in the subject line. I like the idea that when they have to approach me via email that they keep it simple & light. “Hey, just shot this take a look thought this might be useful the magazine.” Share with the PE that you can work with their Editorial budget. (music to my ears). We have to know that you can shoot what we are looking editorially and with the same style that the NYC photographer that we are currently hiring can do! And oh yeah, read our magazine, and say hey, I saw this story in the current issue of our magazine, and that you love the portraits and think I can help provide the type of photography you are looking for. I always like this saying in the corporate world “dress for the job you want!” I believe the same is for true for photographers who are looking to break in to the editorial market.
This is a tough question, but working for a regional magazine with a smaller art budget and only state based Editorial for the most part, I choose photographers who are mostly in state, and occasionally able to assign a shoot elsewhere or have a photographer shoot an assignment while they are in the area. There are a handful of major regional/city magazines who are using some of the best in local talent. It is a good way to get some great projects under your belt and still also to get your work under ASME, SPD and CRMA award judges if you are lucky (CRMA -City and Regional Magazine Association, ASME -American Society if Magazine Editors and SPD – Society of Publication Designers – referring to whoever judges the awards). We produce award-winning work and I am certain there are others like my pub out there! I think the key is to stay busy locally and try to link up to a national collective, for example, Luceo Images, which is a collective of photographers based around the country that promote each other’s work. I have been very impressed by their model and think it is innovative and constructive. It looks like a new trend in promotion.
Are these 3 letters “NYC” just plain sexy to say? OF COURSE IT IS. Is it the final deciding factor? NO. You have to be a GOOD and hopefully GREAT photographer and the images have to speak for themselves. Does NYC have an energy and vibe attached to it? OF COURSE. It’s a special energy that is hard to come by, living there says for some “YOU MADE IT”. In reality, you have to make “it” – meaning GOOD IMAGES – to really arrive. Location comes second.
Call To Action:
PICK UP THE PHONE TODAY and MAKE AN EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION and if you are LOCAL to this publication – GET A MEETING to show your work.