How to Get a Photography Agent

This is a question that I get asked all of the time. Getting a photography agent can really help you career, but getting one can be very tricky and there isn't that much information out there to help.

Now before anyone bites my head off, its at 7:00 min in the video when the discussion on agents begins, before that is a bit of waffle and loads of other unrelated questions (still about photography) that I answer as part of a weekly Q and A. It’s more of a vlog than a how to video. Hopefully from 7:00 on you will find it pretty useful though. 

When I started out in photography, I did what most of us do and set up as a one man band. It wasn’t long before I got snowed under with admin, emails, and invoicing. So I hired a manager to help me work. She was great and really helped free up my time for shooting. But at this stage of my career I wasn’t working with anything but local ad agencies. As I started to get work further afield, I realized that I needed someone more in that world, and also someone who was in London. So I set about looking with absolutely zero success. Eventually, I managed to find my first agent, which was a massive relief. 

There are a lot of reasons why agents will and wont want to work with you as a photographer, but I must stress that you do not need a photographic agent to be a successful photographer. Nor does having an agent turn your career around. 

Yet, there are some things that having an agent will really help with. Instead of doing admin, I have time to write these articles as an additional income stream. Rather than chasing invoices and sending them out, I can have a YouTube channel. For me it is all about giving me the free time to do what I want and more importantly what I am good at. 

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3 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

Erik Almas....

Great post. Glad to see people talking more about business practices. In my experience, you 100% will need representation to have access and bid on certain mid/high level jobs and clientele. In NYC I don’t know a single photographer who’s shooting advertising/fashion and making a good living wage (enough to not have roommates and provide for a family) that’s not represented by an agency. Sure you can shoot some jobs here and there, but ad agencies and fashion houses will most likely only hire through art reps because they have existing relationships with them. This rule of thumb also applies to Local 600 Union and access to those jobs. Most film gigs won’t even consider hiring non-union crew. There’s a lot of agencies that will rep you per job now. It eliminates their commitment to keeping you on roster and will do all the negotiating for you on job to job basis. The barrier to entry with art reps is even more difficult now. It’s very unlikely they will take on just a talented photographer. They’re very much looking at your momentum and your client list and how they can grow that through their network.

Agents or reps are not going to take on a photographer who needs a rep. They will however tend to and grow your field of clients but they are not going to plant it. I have had a few and one was great and two weren't. Recently I have used freelance consultants to help with the negotiations but that's after I got myself into the bid.