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Nat Geo Channel’s Senior VP On How To Get A Client’s Attention

By Kishore Sawh on May 2nd 2015

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It’s sort of easy getting excited in photography, especially at the beginning before you’ve had to pay any bills with it. You feed yourself with information and up your skills, take in inspiration everywhere and wield it.

Then, there comes the point where you realize you’re good; that you’re fluent in your tools and vivid with your vision. Enough so that you possess the ability to see what you want to create, and the technical ability to actually execute it, and do so timely and with finesse. You could even be the next Testino or Newton, except for the fact no one knows you exist. To get anywhere, you’ve got to have your work seen and make sure what’s seen tells the story you want.

Andy Baker, Senior VP and Group Creative Director at National Geographic Channels has some good advice on how to get your work seen by clients that he shared in this episode of #BehindtheGlass.

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He states that, of course, fundamentally, you must have good work. Fair enough, that’s a given, but he stresses that you’ve truly got to understand and know the clients you are trying to attract. This knowledge, intricate at times, seems invaluable. He mentions that while a photographer in one field may be great, they won’t necessarily get hired if they don’t have an understanding of the field of the project. He then further discusses what clients look for and what can be expected.

I will say this, however, that there wasn’t a heck of a lot of information on actually how to get your work seen, so perhaps the video’s title isn’t the best. Baker doesn’t seem to answer the question, but rather give insight into what the clients want to see and how they pick creatives to work with. Highly valuable few minutes nonetheless, and he does, in fact, go deeper into answering this question on his blog post which is also worth a read.

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Thoughts

I think perhaps the most interesting portion of what Baker has to say, are his thoughts on personal projects. That the things you are doing on the side, for passion rather than pay out, really give an insight to potential clients about who you are, your aesthetic, sensibilities, and skill. He mentions that if they see work that’s been done for a client, while it may be good, they can’t be entirely sure what part of the project you were responsible for, but personal projects are uniquely your own.

I love the fact that he bars no holds about the fact that there are far more people to do creative work that seek client work than there are clients. If this sentence alone doesn’t light a fire under you to be different and get your sh*t together if you want to make it, not much will.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

3 Comments

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  1. Gene Gregory

    I have to agree on Andy Baker’s quote “far more people to do creative work and freelance that seek client work than there are clients looking for creative individuals”.
    A well known photographer also said photography is business, sad truth but that’s reality now a days.

    Cheers!

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  2. Jason Markos

    “…there are far more people to do creative work that seek client work than there are clients” and therefore what are you going to do to succeed?

    This has to be the core reality you have to accept if you want to be a professional in this field… I say this not out of photography experience, but business experience…

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    • Thomas Horton

      Every business person, and this includes photographers, need to be able to quickly, clearly, and convincingly answer this one question:

      “Why should I hire you instead of any of the many competitors out there?”

      If a business person can’t answer this, how can they expect a potential customer to answer it?

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