This week I just wanted to write about this question, because I get that a lot. Ok, you are editorial photographer and you have a list of publications so it's easy to get new ones, but how do I start to publish if I never published before. Do I pay model, MUA, stylist, magazine..? The answer is "no" (at least for me, I didn't have any budget when I started), here's what I did.
- Get a team. When I look at the work of many photographers looking to publish (but not publishing), I can see that often the wardrobe or interesting makeup is what's lacking most. Think of it, you are applying to fashion magazines, the wardrobe should be interesting from fashion perspective. Team up with aspiring creatives (HMUA, stylist or designer) who are also looking to publish for the first time. Look for them on ModelMayhem and NotJustALabel platforms.
For me, I was lucky enough to work with the same MUA longterm when I started. We had matching personalities and we met every week to try out things. It was easy to organize things together because she knew some boutique owners and I knew some design school graduates so we could get our hands on interesting stuff.
- Work through the agency. Maybe second best thing is involve more professional-looking models. For that it's great to partner with an agency. Normally they will give you New Face model wether or not your work will be published, and when you publish a few stories you can ask for even more experienced girls.
For me, I went to a model agency with 10 prints of my work and they said they will send me a model for TFP who needs to build her skills and portfolio. Later that agency actually became my client and I found another (international) one to partner with for editorial shoots (it's cool for the model to have not only regular pictures in their portfolio, but tear0sheets too)
- Be patient. Seriously. At the beginning I would sometimes sent up to 20 letters to editors trying to promote my series. Now it's much easier with Kavyar, but still be very patient. What I often see is a case when photographer tried to submit one editorial in 5 magazines and after not hearing back, he/she invents the reason why he/she didn't need that sh!t in the first place and retrieves back to his/her comfort zone. Don't do that - have self-confidence to carry things through or else don't submit at all.
- Be generous. My best results always came from generosity. I got into the most popular Swiss magazine, Femina, because I approached a designer to do some pictures for her, just because I loved her style. I gave it my best effort so the pictures was the best she had when approached by Femina for the interview. Another example, I did a TFP with a semi-professional model and she later became my agent and brought me Elle Swiss and Marie Clair. I did a TFP with another designer who I thought was talented and she introduced me to my biggest client ever (she had some pieces in this client's boutique).
Ask yourself who's work inspires you and what can you do for them. Then suggest a TFP project and try to deliver the best you can. Connections and introductions will follow :)
- Remember your goal. Publishing your work is cool and flattering, but it shouldn't be where it ends. I know many people who publish their work with smaller magazines through Kavyar and broadcast the tear-sheets, but never make the next step. Use your publications to re-engage with old clients or get the new ones, or to move on to bigger magazines or apply for representation or demand better fees - whatever your goal is. The main thing - don't let the fact that publication strokes your ego stop you from actually progressing in your work!