Struggling To Get Commercial Clients?

It can seem like a game of who you know and chance as to if you are the photographer chosen for a job. If you find yourself frustrated that photographers more expensive than you and not as good as you are getting the gig, this could help.

I am about to do my first marketing push for 2021. Usually, I would be on my second one now, but over here in the UK, everything has been closed all year, so I am running a shorter year than usual. In recent years, I have found myself in the fortunate position to have a good agent and a good client list. However, this has not always been the case.

Hopefully, this position of having struggled for a decade before being able to make things stick can give me a unique perspective on why it can be so hard to get commercial clients when photographers who are not as good as you are completely stacked with work. And no, it has nothing to do with being cheaper. 

In this video, I discuss in a bit more detail when and how you can get booked as well as looking at the grim realities of the rejection rates, talking about how many emails, meetings, and calls I make in order to get a single booking. From the outside, it can all seem very easy and like things fall into place, but when I have spoken to other photographers who have given in, they have usually only done 10% of the work. It takes so much more. 

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8 Comments

Aleksandar Stajic's picture

where is video?

Scott Choucino's picture

good question....

Scott Choucino's picture

Should be sorted now. I made a mistake on upload.

Simon Blackley's picture

Persistence is critical. Maybe as many as 20% of my contracts would have been lost if I had not followed up the initial enquiry, often several times. The shoot is rarely a top priority for the potential client, so they can easily forget that they ever contacted you.

Randy Nicholson's picture

Nicely done

Mike Ditz's picture

They say that it take 5 - 7 contacts with someone before they remember you and your work and a few more before they will consider booking you for a shoot.
Also what are you bringing to them that they don't already have? why should they hire you (or me) instead the usual guy or gal?
The truism "it's not what you know it's who you know" is a huge part of getting work...if you can get an intro from a mutual friend there is a better chance of a client paying attention to you than random emails or phone messages.
Photogs used to spend thousands on promotional mailings, some worked. Some didn't. A targeted mailing list takes long time to create but used to be worth it. Not sure about today...

Dan Donovan's picture

With so many creatives working from home these days, I have my doubts about direct mail right now. A good email list is more important than ever.

Mike Ditz's picture

Yes, and the email list needs to be as curated as the old timey postal mail list. An art buyer friend liked getting some thing in the mail (pre covid) as it was a break from looking at screens all day. Most email from unknowns went into the junk folder.