There's no denying that, as photographers, we are living through unprecedented times. No one truly knows what we should be doing or how the next few months will pan out. One big question that keeps coming up is this: should we still be reaching out to brands, magazines, and agencies we'd like to shoot for?
Obviously, there isn't an easy answer to this question. However, I do personally think that photographers should continue to reach out to brands or businesses that they'd like to shoot for even during the coronavirus pandemic. Creatives and buyers may be working from home, but they are still working. In fact, they're now sitting in front of their computers a whole lot more, rather than out on shoots. This is an excellent time to get the attention of that person you've been so desperate to connect with for so long. Who knows when we'll get to shoot again, but when we do, those shoots will need to be planned out and conceptualized. If I were you, I'd want to be front of mind.
So, how do you go about reaching out at a time like this?
1. Be Gentle
This should be self-explanatory, and no matter the time of year or the circumstances globally, I believe you should always approach potential clients with kindness and compassion. At this time in particular, though, we want to keep in mind that everyone is struggling, no one knows what is going to happen, and everyone is feeling stressed. You won't know what the situation is for the person on the receiving end of your email, so always remember that.
2. Build Relationships
I wouldn't hold out hope on getting hired right now (although that's not totally out of the question). I encourage you to use this time to build relationships with the people you'd love to work with in the future. Share your portfolio with them. Ask them what they're working on and how you might be able to help. Offer to jump on a Zoom call if they have a spare minute to tell them about your work. You want to build a genuine connection with people who will be looking to hire photographers when this all comes to an end.
3. Pitch Future Ideas
I'm a fashion photographer. I don't shoot still life, and I don't live with a model, so there's not a whole lot that I can shoot right now. However, I can plan future concepts out, so that's exactly what I'm doing. Get on Pinterest, build mood boards, do loads of research, get creative. Then, put together beautiful proposals (I like to use Apple Keywords for my proposals) and send them to brands and businesses that you believe would like to work on them with you.
If you take anything away from this, take this: when this pandemic is over (because it will eventually be over), businesses will need photographers more than ever. They will need content to promote themselves, to share their stories. Make sure you're the one they think of when they're ready to hire.