As a photo agent, my email is flooded on a daily basis with submissions from photographers seeking representation. I take the time to personally look through every single submission we receive, and after the many mistakes I have seen I wanted to share some very important aspects of approaching an agency that photographers interested in representation should keep in mind.
Agents seek photographers with a strength – artists who really excel in their field. One problem I see in more than half of the submissions we receive is that the photographers have too many “specialties” on their website. I get emails from photographers who say they shoot fashion, sports, architecture, headshots, and wildlife. From years of utilizing the Agency Access database and tools, I’ve learned this isn’t what clients are looking for. They trust that if a photographer has one focus—or maybe two that are related—they will be stronger in that specific market than someone with multiple focuses like the submissions described above. Now don’t get me wrong, it is very possible to be talented in multiple markets, but if you want to sell yourself in each of those markets, you need separate websites for each one to target the appropriate audience.
Another crucial aspect of submitting to agencies is the content of the email that accompanies the submission. It is frustrating to open a submission email and see pages of text with irrelevant information and no formatting. Keep it short, enthusiastic and to the point; agents get a lot of these emails and we’re very busy working for the current talent on our rosters. Also keep in mind that it’s pretty obvious when an email has been copied and pasted rather than written personally. Those emails are much more likely to get skimmed through because they can almost feel like spam. Making a submission email personal and about the specific agency to which you are submitting can really help in getting extra consideration from the person reading it.
Include imagery in your submission! The number of emails I get that contain a link and sometimes even a resume but no imagery blows me away. The best way to get the attention of the person reviewing your submission is to include some samples of your best work. I personally look at emails with images attached to them before emails containing only website links; it’s more work for me to go to the website and look through multiple portfolios than it is to simply scroll through an email with the photographer’s top images already included.
Once you have sent in your perfect submission email, I recommend calling and emailing to follow up. There are days we get 50+ submissions in our inbox but we will get a call from someone to follow up. On those days, we’ll go out of our way to check out that photographer’s submission and work. Making that verbal connection leaves an additional imprint in the reviewer’s mind and shows you really care about potentially working with their agency. If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, a follow-up call and email is a great way to stay fresh to an agent in case your submission was overlooked for some reason.
Follow these steps—and back it up with beautiful imagery—and you will be on the road to successful submissions!
Danielle Gruberger has had a love for photography, fashion and beauty her entire life. At a young age she realized that her true dream was to combine her passions and represent the best creative talent in the industry. Danielle worked hard to make her vision a reality and built a roster of some of the most talented and sought-after celebrity, fashion, sports and advertising photographers in the industry. As her company DGReps developed and her client base began to expand, she was able to acquire some of the industry’s leading wardrobe stylists, makeup artists and hair stylists. DGReps is now known as one of the most diverse creative talent firms in Los Angeles.
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