I’ve never really liked it when I call an agent and the photographer is booked so then they push someone else on me at the agency who’s available on those dates.

It’s like, what the hell? You think it’s as easy as just calling a photographer, any photographer, and giving them an assignment? This is what I’ve been training for. I made all these lists and visited websites and spent days thinking about it and you’re gonna throw a name out there like it’s no big deal. Jesus, I’ve picked the perfect photographer for this assignment and no one can possibly fathom what I’m trying to achieve here.

Well, as it turns out, lately I’ve been hiring a few photographers this way and of course as you’d expect the results are the same. Amazing photos by people who are not yet as popular as some of the famous names in the business repped by the same agents.

I guess this is an advantage to being at an agency with a well known photographer. As long as know-it-all photo editors will listen to your agent.

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  1. PE,

    The shear quantity of quality talent out there is staggering, so your experience doesn’t surprise me. From a photographer’s point of view, what you described can be a mixed bag.

    The agent makes money no matter who you use so if he can lure you away from your first choice to another who’s more available, cool for him. However, you’re first choice photog. kind-a missed out – especially if the agent never called him to talk it over. This has happened to me. The result was that the second choice got a relationship with a new client that really wanted me. If I had been contacted I may have worked it out but my agent said, “he’s booked – try this other guy, he’ll do just as good a job. Hell – I work hard to convince clients exactly the opposite of what the agent just told my prospect in this case.

    That didn’t sit well with me even though I know it’s how agents make money. I suppose it’s a trade-off and I’m sure it happens all the time. How do others feel about this?

  2. What’s the deal with agents anyways? It seems to me that there are more agents now than ever before. There is a HUGE surge in the number of photographers on the scene due to the digital revolution and coincidentally an interesting surge of “agents”. My take is that clients are using agents as a kind of filter in an attempt to weed out the pros from the pretenders. But there are a lot of good photographers without agents and a lot of crappy shooters with agents (although this is of course not always the case). Personally, for editorial why should an agent even be involved? What value do they add? There’s a whole industry of agents, source books, promotional websites, etc that really just want to suck money out of photographers. I’m not anti-agent, some are really good at what they do, others are not. Mostly I see the value of agents in the advertising world; in the editorial world they almost just get in the way for the most part.

  3. As an ex picture editor, and now agent in the UK i find that i am often doing almost the same job, just on the other side of the fence. As a picture editor I used to organise the props, find hair and make up agree fees and sort out the studio – as an agent – guess what? I’m still doing all those things…True, sometimes I Just take the call and book the job, but that might make all the difference between missing out on something because my photographers on a job already and can’t answer the call. I hope I make things easier for the Photo editors I work with – mainly because I’ve done there job, and I hope that gives me an insight into their budget and requirements.

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