Erik Almas is one of my all time favorite photographers. His work mixes equal parts clever advertising and personal vision in a way that makes each image intriguing to study. But behind all of his brilliant images is a businessman who works diligently to get his brand in front of art buyers and advertising agencies. Today RGG EDU has released a free section about marketing from Almas' Composite Photography tutorial, and this advice is something every photographer should hear.
Besides perhaps pricing, no other topic is shielded in as much mystery as how to market yourself as a photographer. If you want to be successful in any genre of photography, you have to figure out how to reach your clients and build brand awareness. Part of being successful is of course having great images that stand out from your competition, but even the most successful photographers will tell you that great images alone are not enough to book you the jobs you really want. Today there are more photographers creating amazing imagery than ever before, and it is your job to outwit all of them in the market place (remember Maren Levinson's hard truth about being hired article?).
In this video above, food and beverage wizard Rob Grimm (who is amazingly successful in his own right) sits down with Almas to discuss the specific steps needed to stand out in today's commercial market. The amount of work Almas and his team do in building his monthly advertising outreach is pretty insane. Here are a few of the "small" things he does religiously to get his work in front of potential clients:
- Every 3 months Almas mails out over 8,000 physical post cards to advertising agents, art buyers, and the top creative directors representing the largest U.S. brands.
- Almas and his team send out 20,000 emails to everyone on his industry mailing list each quarter so that his name and images remain visible to his potential clients.
- To help secure his personal top 200 "dream clients," Almas individually emails each one every single month with new work that specifically targets that company's style and brand.
If you aspire to reach the level of success Almas has achieved, you have to ask yourself if you are prepared to do this sort of marketing for your own photography brand. Almas has a saying that goes: "A client has to see your work over 20 times before they recognize your name." Even with over 20,000 potential clients seeing his work through email, spending tens of thousands of dollars advertising in art magazines like LÜRZER'S ARCHIVE, and running over four successful social media platforms, maintaining a recognizable brand doesn't always mean you will land the job. You do have to play the game though and spend as much time or more in your advertising as you do creating great images. I'm always both inspired and overwhelmed hearing how successful artists market their work, and after watching Almas' marketing interview I once again feel energized and depressed at the same time.
On a encouraging note, what's great about Almas' advice is that it can be applied to any genre of photography. If you want to become the top booked wedding photographer in your area, the most sought out headshot photographer, the main studio big brands go to for their quarterly campaigns, or the best senior portrait photographer in your small town, all of Almas' tips can be tweaked to fit your own personal business model. I believe anyone can become successful as a photographer if they simply produce solid work and adopt a strict advertising regiment to create a strong brand awareness. You simply can't have one without the other, but both are totally achievable if you work hard and always keep raising the quality bar higher and higher.
This interview session is part of a larger tutorial series released by RGG EDU titled "The Complete Guide to Composite Photography, Color, & Composition" that was just released today. For this week only, you can use the discount code "25OFF" to save $25 off Almas' massive 25 hour photography tutorial. If you are interested in learning more about Almas' photography process from concept to final production, check out the promo video below.