I’ll admit that my experiences- right place at right time occurrences and clients that seemed impossible to get as a very new photographer- do seem out of the ordinary. Many may look at success stories as lofty, hard-to-grasp events that you have to be “lucky” to get. I want to take the time to debunk the myth that following your dreams has to be this whimsical, flighty experience but is instead a very practical process that anyone can achieve. I’ll use experiences I had in just the last two weeks and break down how, step-by-step, it happened:
1) I’m about to shoot Fashion Week-related celebrity images for a internationally-known photo agency based in Milan, Italy.
2) I’m the official New York Fashion runway photographer for mega fashion site POSHGLAM.com
3) Upon signing of a contract last week, the United States Department of Commerce is now one of my photography clients (shooting in August)
I am definitely excited about these recent achievements…but I can’t say I’m too surprised. Why? Because I took deliberate steps to get to them!
This month, I voraciously looked all over online for anything I could find about agencies or companies that send photographers to shoot NY/London/Paris/Milan Fashion Weeks. I looked closely at runway photo credits in Vogue, Elle, NY Mag, etc. and wrote them down. Imaxtree, the agency I’m referring to, showed up on many popular publications, so I Googled their name, went to their website, headed to the contact page and got a contact e-mail. I then took my biggest step: I faced my fears and EMAILED them, letting them know I’m a photographer interested in shooting for them and provided a link to my photography website. A day later…I received a response from the Milan HQ. After e-mailing back and forth, they became interested in me photographing celebrities and street fashion during New York and London Fashion Week. Yay!
This achievement involves the power of networking and the invaluable strength of referrals. My friend and up-and-coming MC Malaki from Virginia Beach got me in touch with a stylist where I am in Atlanta. I introduced myself to her through Facebook and we’d write back and forth- we connected instantly. I realized later on that she also does PR/Marketing for POSHGLAM’s Atlanta branch. Later, we did a lengthy GChat and (the kicker) asked her if she could refer my work to the Founder/Editor-in-Chief to see if I could be their Fashion Week photographer. The founder replied to her in less than 2 minutes after reviewing my runway page and gave her the thumbs-up approval for me. Just like that!
3) US Department of Commerce as Client
Like #2, another great case of networking and being open and available to opportunity. I attended the Loews Hotel Grand Opening in Atlanta on March 31st (camera on shoulder of course) and met a lot of dignitaries, successful businesspeople, and socialites. I met a highly successful event planner and we exchanged information (business cards at the ready). Months later, after positioning myself as a highly competent photography professional, she emails me about covering a H-U-G-E event the US Department of Commerce heads, called MED Week (tickets start at $200 to attend). I sent her my updated events portfolio online, and she determined it was good enough to represent a national US department. After the green light was made, I made the invoice, contracts are signed, and the 50% deposit was submitted. Ta-da!
I hope that helps you have some relief if you never knew where to start pursuing your passion.
Email me at info@MisterLevius.com if you need any more practical tips!