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Agent Extraordinaire Offers More Advice for Your Photo Business

By Agent Extraordinaire


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© AGENT EXTRAORDINAIRE


Dear Agent Extraordinaire,
I have been a photographer for a long time.  And, quite frankly, I had a very successful career.  The last year or so my agent has not been getting enough jobs for me and I have decided to leave her.  She kept telling me that it was the economy, but I really didn't believe that.  She doesn't travel around the country meeting with agencies so I feel that she was not serving me properly.  I am now in the market for a new agent, but my business is way down.  I have not worked this past year and I am so overwhelmed with my business being down.  How can I fix this?

Signed,
Good Will Agent Hunting     

Dear Good Will Agent Hunting:  
Fear not, you will get out of this situation.  But, it will cost you a lot of time, money, and energy.  Having an agent does not guarantee the success of your business nowadays.  Today, everyone is responsible for their business, and you need to understand that.  You have a business, so it is your responsibility to make sure that you are working.  Agents have several photographers in their group and the cold honest truth is that they will focus on those photographers who are working.  You see, my friend, agents are interested in making money.  Surprise, surprise!  And, ultimately, so are you.  So, when working with an agent, it is your responsibility to WORK with them.  If business is slow, get out there and meet a few art directors and art buyers.  And, PLEASE, don't tell me that is not your job!  You have a business…so it is your JOB!  Otherwise, if you choose to have others manage your career you may be left out in the cold.  Good luck!

Dear Agent Extraordinaire,
My business is slowing down and I am thinking of hiring a consultant to review my work.  I have always had jobs but things have been slowing down.  My agent is always out there with my portfolio but I just don't understand the sudden slowdown in my business.  I met a consultant who feels she can guide me properly to get work.  Basically, editing my portfolio and giving me some insight to my work. My agent has mixed thoughts about this because he feels that consultants are not out there meeting with art buyers and art directors to understand what is going on in the market.  What are your thoughts?

Signed,
Which Way - Agent or Consultant Help?


Dear Which Way - Agent or Consultant Help?
As an agent I agree with what your agent is saying.  Consultants I suppose serve some sort of purpose in our industry but I haven't quite figured exactly what that is.  Oh, maybe taking your money and feeding you with a lot of stuff that you want to hear.  Honestly, the only consultant you should be listening to is your agent.  They are out in the market with your book and can provide the kind of advice that you need to grow and improve.  Unfortunately, photographers can be like children and listening to an agent's advice is like listing to mom or dad.  What do they know?  Right?  Well, you now need to grow if you want to be in the business!   Your agent is probably the most important person to you next to your spouse.  So, it is up to you to nurture that relationship.  You have history with your agent.  ou should value that relationship, trust your agent, and know that they have your best interest at heart.  After all, the more clients that hire you the more you and your agent can enjoy the success of your partnership.  Hiring the services of a consultant shows that you question who you are and the work that you are doing.  And, do you REALLY think that someone that you just met for fifteen minutes will truly help you better than the agent that you have committed to?  Hmmmm… I don't think so.  Cancel the appointment with the consultant.  You will be glad you did.

Dear Agent Extraordinaire,
I see that the photography industry is changing and I am concerned about my future business.  I have been a photographer for over 30 years and it seems that overnight the industry is not what it used to be. I am nervous and concerned about my future.  I am not ready to retire, nor can I afford to do that at this time.  With a mortgage, a wife, kids, and college coming up I don't know if I will be able to support my career and family.  Any advice?

Signed,
Desperately Seeking Success…Again!

Dear Desperately Seeking Success…Again!
Whoever promised you a rose garden?!  I mean, come on, you had a good run in this business. I hope you saved your money!  The world is changing, so why not the photography industry?  You, my friend, have to learn to change with the times in order to survive in the competitive world of photography.  Be creative!  Learn to market yourself to the changing industry.  ou will see that with hard work and a focus to succeed you will do so.  If you keep complaining, however, then my advice is to find another job.  I hear Wal-Mart is hiring!
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