Fstoppers Answers - "How Did You Approach Your First Agency/Client?"

Fstoppers Answers - "How Did You Approach Your First Agency/Client?"

Each week, we ask the public to submit a question to have answered in our segment called "Fstoppers Answers". Last week we asked “When Did You Make the Jump to Full Time Pro?”. This week, we asked the staff of Fstoppers "How Did You Approach Your First Agency/Client?"

Dave WallaceStaff Writer | Commercial Videographer When I first got out of college, I Googled every ad agency in my city and sent a short message expressing an interest to meet. At this point, my portfolio didn't have a ton of depth, so I knew I had to sell them on my personality. Initially, only two of the agencies got back to me, but some great work came out of those initial meetings. After a few years of building my portfolio, a couple of the other agencies ended up seeing my work around town and contacted me as well. There's no formula for getting noticed, but I believe that it's best to try and get a face to face meeting.


David BickleyStaff Writer | Fitness Photographer I spent a long time trying to build a book that reflected the kind of work I wanted to be doing. I eventually realized that I would never be totally satisfied with it but needed to get out there regardless. So, I took what I had...fumbled through contacting the right people and eventually landed a meeting. Naturally the first gig didn't pay very much but over the years that relationship grew into what is now one of my biggest clients.


Peter HouseStaff Writer | Commercial Photographer With confidence, a smile, and a dash of good posture. I sent out a series of prospective emails and actually received a response. Instead of continuing the conversation online where it could easily be forgotten and swept aside I politely asked to meet in person so we could discuss details in person over a coffee. Once I got to the meeting I simply started on some small talk to build rapport and then I questioned the client about their needs. I told them I could deliver exactly what they needed and I offered to create a sample for them. The next day I had a sample ready, they liked it, and the relationship has blossomed since. Today that client has expanded to owning 3 other companies all of which I shoot for.


Dave GeffinStaff Writer | Fashion/Music Photographer & Videographer I've never approached an agency -my understanding is that it's better to wait for them to come to you. As for my first client - it was out for tender and i heard about it and submitted a proposal that was accepted. Opportunities exist in all shapes and forms. I will reach out to people whose work i like and see if i can help them with what i do (i did that this week which has led to a potential opportunity). I've even just spoken to people you randomly meet - i secured a $3k job for a private lifestyle client earlier this year by just striking up a conversation with them and then following up. Word of mouth helps a lot and a key element of this is working hard, delivering quality work (or trying to) and networking


Zach SuttonZach Sutton PhotographyAssociate Editor | Headshot Photographer Pure luck for both of them. I think that like most people, my first client came through a friend of a family. I was showing an interest in photography, and I had someone who wanted to pay me a few pennies to see what I can do. For agency work that I've done, it came from sending dozens of emails to people, showing off my work and asking to give me a chance. Eventually, someone took the bait, and I've been able to get more work from each of my previous agencies/clients.

Aside from these answers, Fstoppers own Julia Kuzmenko sat down with fellow Staff Writer and Retoucher Pratik Naik. During their talk, they discuss working in the industry, and touch base on building a client base as a retoucher.


As always, if you have a question you'd like us to answer, feel free to ask it in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with finding your first clients in the comments.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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Peter, what's up with your profile pic? Seems a bit pompous and pretentious..

Thanks Zach! Great question and a great range of answers!

Ofcourse. We need to get a question or two that you can answer....since you're everyones favorite writer :-)

Haha, am I?! Okay!
I have been thinking a lot recently about people I work with and how much my own success in my craft and business depends on the other creative professionals I collaborate with. Ask me a question, so I can praise them, they really deserve it!

And other photographers must know that they should cherish, love and spoil their creative "partners in crime" - models, makeup artists, hair stylists and everyone who helps them create their art :)

Exactly the kind of input that I was trying to get from photographers around me. Thank you!!

Loved the interview! You guys are awesome!

Great tips and information! As a nature and macro photographer, any tips for finding clients? I guess I'm not even sure who my client base would be or how to find them.