You don’t need an agent.. You need to get to work!
I’m talking to you, the photographer/creative sitting at their very expensive Mac computer and Googling things like “how to get a photography agent.” Stop waiting for someone to “recognise your potential” and offer to represent you.
You need to start taking responsibility for your own career.
You need to get up off your ass and learn how to raise your own public profile.
I see this a lot in the creative industry these days. No one seems to understand that as a freelance creative you are a business… Your art is your product and/or service (depending on how you deliver it to the client / end user).
Learn what an agent would be doing for you in order to raise your profile and get you work and start doing it! Here’s a hot tip too guys, agents are looking for partners in their efforts! They don’t want some reclusive unsellable artist, why want someone that has a profile they can build upon and who will continue to build that profile with their help!
Before reading on in order to put this in perspective and to shut up the people that want to hide behind their “artistic integrity” Mario Testino has 1.5 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing this article. So while you try to pay your bills with your integrity I’ll be out there chasing exposure for my business and we can catch up for a beer in a year and you can tell me all about how you are still busting tables while you wait for your big break.
We are living in exciting times, the myriad of social platforms has given anyone with internet access and some drive the ability to grow a vast world wide network in a very short period of time. My most recent business (VENTH Studio London) has grown a social reach of over 20k which is the largest reach of any studio in London and all grown organically (yes that means zero paid advertising) in less than a year of operation (not bad for a start up run by a team that had never even been to UK prior to landing in September of last year).
But while more mainstream businesses are embracing the amazing exposure opportunities provided by social media creative people seem to almost universally cringe at the thought of promoting themselves in this way. For some reason they are all still chasing the “prestige” of publication in a print magazine like this is the Holy Grail. Times are changing people! Brands are now leveraging social influencers to promote their products more and more, many of them are even social influencers in their own right with millions of followers (aka a targeted demographic to sell directly to!) Even the magazines themselves are leveraging social mediums, their own apps and PDF downloadable platforms as they recognise the shift in how their customers want to consume their content.
Looking for models? What are you doing on ModelMayhem or PurplePort? The agencies have social too and they’re tagging models in! Go direct to the source and say hello, it is “social” media after all!
There is not as much advertising revenue in print publications as there used to be which means that the budget to pay you is going down. Combine that with the fact that technology advances make the equipment required to do your job more accessible and platforms such as YouTube have amazing tutorials in how to use the equipment and you have a huge amount of new talented and capable people looking to take your job and guess what? They are embracing new technology!
They have 200k+ followers on Instagram, so they bring something to the party when they pitch a job, they have already got the attention of a large targeted demographic and that gets a brand’s attention quick smart, heck even when I only had 13k followers on Instagram I got approached for work (and funnily enough publication) purely based on that one platform.
The definition of fame according to the dictionary is “known by many people.” “Insta-famous” is still famous and it is actually more useful (especially earlier in your career) to have a large group of engaged social followers than some tiny credit in a magazine.
In short get over it and get on with it and remember that nothing has actually changed, exposure has always been EVERYTHING all that has changed is the best means to achieve it and that it is now accessible to anyone that is willing to put in the effort to learn how to leverage it!