In the previous chapter, we learned about the significance of networking and how to expand our network in the field of photography. In this chapter, we will discuss how to start getting work from photography companies and shooting projects from people in general.
As a photographer, you must have work, no matter what. Sitting idle is not going to help. Waiting for the opportunity to knock at your door while you sit back on the couch in your drawing room is not going to get you anywhere if you aim to be a successful photographer. Money is important. And to earn money, you need work. How to get work? Simple: You have to put efforts from your own end to get work in the photography business.
First and foremost, you have to understand one thing very clearly that however talented an artist you are, you will not get the work until and unless you approach people from your own side. Of course, exceptions are always there but better to depend on hard work than luck in the stream such as photography that offers cut-throat competition at all possible levels. Do not wait for someone to come and offer you work. The basic way by which you can start getting work or start getting your first paid project is by valuing the other party. Ever heard the phrase, “Customer Bhagwan Hota Hai”? [Translation: Customer is God]. That is it! You must value the ones who offer you work. Besides providing you work, it slowly builds the rapport of your brand in the market.
Now, how to value the other party? Answer: Approach them. Approach the established photographers, companies and experienced people on your own both in real life as well as virtual life, that is, Internet. Following are a few tips on how you can approach people in the photography business to get work:
- In the previous chapters, I made the importance of Social Media in the business of photography very clear. And I am again telling you the same: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE INTERNET. Applications like Instagram and Twitter are playing a major role in building and enhancing the rapport of photographers all over the world in the present scenario. First, build a decent profile on different sites by posting at least 100–150 good pictures with attractive captions and smart hashtags on your accounts. Make sure you hold a neat and crisp bio that brings out the essentials of your personality. It is advisable to put your location as well in your bio since it imparts a genuine touch to your profile. Once this is done, you can begin to search other photographers or companies in your city or country (use location and/or keywords/hashtags to search them). DM these professionals with statements like,
“Hello Sir/Madam, I am a photographer. I admire your work, and am looking forward to assist you for FREE. Please, have a look at my profile, and let me know if I can be of any help to you.” or “Hello Sir/Madam, I am a photographer. If you are looking for an assistant, then hit me up. I am willing to work for FREE.”Generally, everyone needs help while they are working on a photography project, and if you offer to work for free, there are high chances that they will call you to assist them. Assisting the established firms help a lot in understanding on-set stress, problems, solutions, and about gears and business. Plus, you build contacts and come across a lot of important people.
- Send an e-mail! You might think e-mail is an old school form of communication but it is not. E-mails are highly professional and are valued in the class companies. Send formal e-mails to the established companies and photographers. NOTE: Do not use foul language or Internet slangs in your mails; you must sound professional in your written language. Write a brief subject, use appropriate salutation in your mails. Make PDF files of your pictures or youtube/google drive link your work in the mails, and approach the photographers by telling them why and how you want to assist them. Send just one mail and wait for the reply for at least a fortnight. If you do not get the reply, send another mail, a bit more requesting this time. If you still do not get the reply, stop! Do not be pushy. Avoid spamming. Personally, I would flag anyone who would send me more than two e-mails in a day.
- Use Google and Facebook to search for the contact details of established photographers (your search will also start showing you ads : Life hack!). Simply google photographers and similar companies in your area, click on their websites and contact them. Either call (if e-mail is not present) or mail them. Or send a message on Facebook Messenger.
- Register yourself on Urbanclap or Justdial and similar other service providers. They charge negligible (the cost which can easily be covered in one or two projects), and the rating system that they offer can help a lot in the growth of your business.
- Keep posting about your work everywhere as it reflects on your passion, attitude, and dedication towards it. This in turn adds to your personality and builds trust among people who come across your profile. As these people will notice your work time and again, chances are that they will subconsciously remember your name to someone who asks them to recommend a photographer for a certain project. Bingo!
I assure you that by following the above mentioned tips, you will definitely start getting work in the business of photography. The next article will reflect on the professionalism in the industry of photography. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, you can join my Facebook group, “Grow Your Art” which is a community (in the making) of photographers, cinematographers, other artists belonging to the similar stream. This community aims at developing a healthy environment for the collective growth of individuals in this business. The artists here actively participate in the discussions, and help and guide each other to grow in the Indian market.