One of the most important aspects in promoting yourself as an artist is that you have a recognizable style that differentiates you from others in your field. This needs to be apparent to an art director in a matter of seconds.
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There has been much discussion about the value of print promotion in a digital world. This time-tested method has consistently worked well for many of my clients. Their success was augmented by researching those clients most likely to respond to their work. I advocate sending a carefully chosen amount of print promotion material to a select group of art directors.
The new Communication Arts photography annual has some fantastic examples of well designed self-promotion, along with the best advertising campaigns shot over the last year.
Email marketing is undeniably the most cost-effective means for promoting your brand, but it is also the most overused. Be selective in the image that you use for your template or newsletter. It should represent your best work and be reflective of the images in your online and print portfolio.
Use a list provider such as Agency Access to build your email database. They will maintain your database to keep your client list active and current. Another benefit to this service is the ability to view those individuals who have opened your emails, allowing you to identify those most likely to be receptive to further contact.
Keep your website current with new personal images and your latest commercial assignments. Don’t allow your website to become static or simply shuffle images around. An awareness of posting fresh images should be in the forefront when maintaining your website.
This is one of the best ways to build your book and get your images seen by a large group of people. This will build your reputation and establish professional relationships.
Communication Arts and PDN hold respected annual photo competitions that are well publicized. Also, seek out alternative venues to display your work. Many agencies provide space for photographers to show their images. This increases the opportunity for art directors to see your work.
When you work with a client, be sure to thank them. One suggestion is to send them a signed photograph from the shoot that incorporates the talent, as well as the clients who have attended the shoot. Write down birthdays, children’s names and other personal information your client has shared with you. So few go the extra mile to remember these details that creatives will notice those who make the effort.
Use Facebook and Twitter to announce professional and business-related news, and blog entries. Be sure to post your professional profile on LinkedIn.
If, for example, you have an interest in protecting endangered wildlife, pick a project that showcases your beliefs and vision. This will enhance your rapport with a client.
Inspire your audience to want to work with you. Avoid following trends. Stay consistent and be persistent.
John Berthot has over 15 years of photography experience, and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Among other positions, he has been a Photographer’s Agent at Stockland Martel and an Advertising Director at Magnum Photos. He has been a creative consultant for the last two years, founding Focus in 2009. He brings his extensive experience in assisting photographers on all aspects of commercial, editorial and fine art photography. FOCUS
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