Are you at a stage in your photography career where you would benefit from being represented by an agency? What are the things you should be aware of before you start sending out your portfolio?
There are many reasons why a photographer would consider seeking a photography agency representation to boost their career and increase their industry contacts. Generally, photography agencies accept photographers with a certain degree of experience under their belt, but there are exceptions. Either way, it helps understanding how to reach out to an agency and what the process entails. Shannon Ciricillo, a New York City-based freelance photographer, videographer, and art director, shares her advice on getting started with the photography agency world.
Ciricillo notes that every photographer will go through a different route. Some photographers who are already working with larger publications and brands might already be on a photography agent's radar, and they might be already familiar with the photographer's work before a connection is made. If you haven't reached that level in your career just yet, you still have the opportunity to be taken on and represented by smaller agencies that consider all levels of creatives. Some agencies will consider representing a completely fresh talent while others might take on someone who has done interesting projects that caught the agent's eye.
The important thing, Ciricillo adds, is that you need to factor in the time it takes to reach out and make connections. You will need to set that aside while working on your career. Luckily, because the world is currently interconnected by the power of the Internet, you can now also begin to make that first step online. However, before you do that, you need to research the agency you intend to approach and understand the type of work the agency represents, whether your photography niche and style suits it, their clientele, and location. Also, don't forget to check out their latest work to evaluate the potential of your chosen agency.
As for communication, Ciricillo prefers a phone call to establish a solid connection. Nowadays, it is a lot easier and less intimidating to just send a quick online message, but that also means agencies are inundated with emails every day. Don't be shy and make that phone call. It is likely that you will find out the information you need faster than waiting for an email reply; furthermore, it shows your professionalism. If all goes well, you need to be prepared to showcase your portfolio — a mix of digital and printed images.
Lastly, be ready to receive a rejection. There are many reasons why agents might not be able to add you to their talent pool. The process of finding the right agent is not easy, but neither is working in a creative industry. With all the challenges we face, we learn to adapt and grow thicker skin with every "no" that we receive. If you want to prepare yourself for this journey to elevate your career, you can read more in detail about Ciricillo's approach to agencies.
Have you ever been approached by agents? Or, have you reached out to agencies yourself? What has your experience been like?