Are you a photographer who has an amazing portfolio but still struggles to land the jobs you want? Maybe you've been a professional photographer for years but you still haven't connected with advertising agencies or international brands. Perhaps you feel like your photography business has plateaued and you're not sure how to expand. In Monte Isom's new tutorial, Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography, you will get an inside look at what it takes to land work from advertising agencies, the world's largest magazines, and international campaigns. This tutorial is an inside look at the highest level of photography. All of your questions about the industry will be answered.
Who is Monte Isom?
Monte Isom is a commercial and advertising photographer based in New York City. Over the course of his career, he has photographed everything from Hollywood movie posters to massive global advertising campaigns for many of the worlds most prominent brands. Monte's client list includes Adidas, Nike, Gatorade, Visa, Allstate, New Balance, BodyArmor, Marvel, Spike TV, National Geographic, and dozens of other high profile brands and networks. Before Monte started photographing for himself, he assisted many of the most successful photographers including Sandro Miller, Gregory Heisler, Albert Watson, Peter Lindbergh, Timothy White, and Martin Schoeller to name a few.
For years, we have wanted to film the ultimate tutorial on the business of commercial photography but we needed to find the right instructor. We wanted to team up with someone who was not only a well-accomplished photographer but someone who understood the industry's best-kept secrets. Monte Isom is a true master at marketing and he has a complete understanding of how the industry works from all sides. For the past 20 years, Monte has built connections in every area of the advertising world and he has used his knowledge and these contacts to land big budget jobs year after year. For the first time in his career, Monte is finally sharing everything he has learned that has taken him from being a photography assistant to one of the most sought-after photographers in the world.
Topics Covered In This Tutorial
What to Put on Your Website
Marketing to the Right People
Mailers, Emails, Cold Calls, and Non-Traditional Marketing
How to Stand Out in a Conference Call
When to Work for Free VS When to Demand Payment
Building Impressive Treatments and Decks
Winning the SEO Game
Understanding the Different Points of Contacts
Drafting Competitive Estimates
Understanding License Usages
Making Money with Copyright Infringements
Beating the IRS and Tax Audits
Budgeting the Shoot and Paying Your Assistants
Working Direct to Brand vs Through an Advertising Agency
How Photography Agents Work
Working with Celebrities
Finding Extra Money in Editorial Work
Carnets and Working Overseas
Interviews With Industry Insiders
Although Monte has an incredible amount of knowledge about the advertising industry, it was important to also include information from other industry professionals. Throughout this 15 hours tutorial, you will hear not just inside information from Monte, but also nine other creative professionals who work in different areas of the industry. Many of these interviews are with the art buyers or the "gatekeepers" of the advertising world. These are the people you will have to win over to land the big clients and high paying jobs. Each of these interviews is a priceless look into a unique facet of the industry.
The creative professionals Monte interviews in this tutorial don't just work in the industry, many of them have reached the top of their field and have decades of experience working with many of the highest paying clients and most expensive photographers in the world. Collectively these interviews should give you a great understanding of how each aspect of the industry works and what types of photography budgets each industry has for a campaign.
Jim Surber - Deputy Photo Editor at ESPN Magazine - Jim provides some of the most valuable information on shooting editorial work. As a long time sports photo editor, Jim talks about how the fee structure works with editorial publications as well as some of the best ways to get your foot in the door. This interview is a great resource for those looking to get into commercial and advertising photography but have not yet explored the advantages shooting editorial work provides to their overall portfolio and branding.
Adrien Bindi - Creative Strategist at Facebook - Adrien is essentially a creative director who works for Facebook's Creative Shop. As more and more companies target social media outlets, Facebook has become a sort of hybrid advertising agency that facilitates the advertising ideas from a brand and the execution from a photographer. Adrien discusses in detail how he helps find photographers for his clients as well as some tips you can have in not only bidding on a job but ultimately winning that bid.
Nicole Dieterichs - Executive Vice President at Cold Open - Nicole is one of the highest officers at Cold Open, a massive movie poster house based out in Los Angeles. While she manages the account directors below her, Nicole is ultimately responsible for presenting every final movie poster composite that comes out of her agency to the movie studios and networks. In this interview Nicole breaks down some of the budgets and day rates photographers commonly charge in the entertainment world and explains what skills are needed to work on big budget movie posters.
Sarah Manna - SVP, Director of Art and Print Production at Deutsch - Deutsch is a big league traditional advertising agency based out of New York. In this interview, Sarah breaks down the most effective steps a photographer can take to get their work noticed by an art buyer at an ad agency. She also breaks down everything that goes into invoicing, creating budgets and estimates, understanding purchase orders, and creating licenses that fit a particular advertising campaign.
Peter Stark - Partner and Creative Director at Bond - Peter is the lead creative director at one of the hottest media producers in Hollywood. Peter's job is to oversee all print and digital work for television, film, and digital media. In this interview, Peter focuses on presenting your work, creating images that stand out, beefing up the production on your own shoots, and even breaks down the retouching of several movie poster composites his studio designed.
Andrea Johnson - Photo Producer at Lion's Gate - In the world of advertising and commercial photography, there are several different types of producers you will have to collaborate with. Andrea is a photo producer for a movie studio which means she is the liaison between Lion's Gate film sets and any photographer hired to produce images and assets for the production. She understands photography budgets and production better than anyone else in this tutorial, and Andrea gives a great perspective on what it is like hiring and working with a photographer from the initial pre-light all the way to the final produced campaign.
Perry Fair - Vice President of Brand Creative at Beats by Dre - In today's market, more and more brands are bypassing traditional advertising agencies and hiring photographers directly themselves. This means that instead of relying on an ad agency to help facilitate communication between brand and execution, "direct to brand" campaigns are brainstormed and produced directly with the brand itself. Working directly with brands is common in large markets but is even more important to understand in small markets where companies depend less on advertising agencies and instead hire photographers directly. Perry Fair is an unbelievably talented brand creative for one of the hottest electronics companies in the world, Beats by Dre, and he breaks down exactly what it is he is looking for when hiring photographers to shoot direct to brand campaigns.
Finding Success in Smaller Markets
Throughout this tutorial we interviewed creatives working for some of the largest and most successful companies in the industry, but it was also important to hear the perspectives of other players in much smaller markets. So while much of this content focuses on the markets of Los Angeles and New York City, we also include interviews from Charleston, South Carolina to help those photographers trying to climb to the top of their own small emerging market.
Learn how budgets differ in small vs large markets
David Wood - Partner and Creative Director at Blue Ion - This tutorial focuses a lot on the business practices of commercial photography at the highest level of the industry. However, we thought it would be important to also shed light on the business practices commonly found in much smaller or emerging markets. David is responsible for hiring photographers and producing commercial campaigns for smaller brands out of Charleston, South Carolina. The perspective David brings to the table will help you learn how to leverage your own market and apply the information found in larger markets to the work you may produce in smaller, satellite markets.
Brennan Wesley - Lifestyle and Medical Photographer - Throughout this entire tutorial, we interview many different people who work and hire photographers in the commercial world. While comparing large and small markets, we thought it would be interesting to hear from a local photographer in a smaller market to see what avenues they have taken to find success. Brennan Wesley works both in the editorial and commercial world, and hearing from his perspective sheds light onto some of the challenges photographers might face when trying to make a living in an emerging market. So no matter if you are based in Atlanta, GA or Breckenridge, CO, you will be able to find success in any sized market.
Story Time with Monte
This tutorial is a major departure from other Fstoppers tutorials in that it is built around a lecture style format. We wanted to focus 100% on the business of commercial and editorial photography, but that doesn't mean we can't have a bit of fun as well. Sprinkled throughout this tutorial is a hilarious series we created called Story Time With Monte. Set in an Irish pub inspired living room, Story Time is where Monte rehashes some of his most memorable stories about breaking into commercial photography, assisting some of the industry's most acclaimed photographers, and learning life lessons on making photography a successful career. These candid bar room narratives are filled with outrageous photography story after outrageous story only capable of being told by Mr. Isom himself.