A day in the life of Talia White

Tell us a day in the life of Talia White?

My days aren’t quite as easy as they use to be, I have a 1 year old daughter so my day starts sorting her out before anything else. I check Instagram and my emails, get all my equipment together and then depending on where I am shooting I will either make my way to my studio or location.  The day will be spent shooting for a number of different companies and brands, whether that is campaign or e-commerce.  As soon as I am done I make my way home and start editing the pictures from the shoot. This would be a typical shoot day, however, sometimes I have admin and editing days where I tie up any loose ends and finalise paperwork.

Growing up did you know you wanted to be a photographer, if so who were you influenced by?

When I was growing up I wanted to be an artist and I suppose this is what I am now in my own right, but it wasn’t a career in photography that I imagined. It was when I started a college course in Art and Design that I was required to study a unit in photography and I found it really enjoyable. However it took me two years to discover my true passion. I would photograph landscape, food, portraits and still life, but the feeling of excitement came when I took a photo of my niece in a creative fashion shoot and it was here I knew I wanted to make a career out shooting fashion photography.  Early in my career I admired David LaChapelle’s use of colour, set design and how extravagant his work is and I think perhaps this has influenced my work at times and how I use colour in my photographs.

How did you start your photography business?

Straight out of college I worked in a family portrait studio to develop confidence, as well becoming more familiar with lighting and editing techniques, and dealing with clients.  It also enabled me to build a portfolio of work as I was able to use the studio when the shop was closed. In 2015 I arranged a test shoot with a model who was the face of an up and coming brand, I asked her to bring some clothing from the brand and when the company saw the pictures they loved my work and booked me from then on as their photographer. After shooting with this company I was able to leave my day job because I was getting enough work as a freelance photographer and building up a reputation via Instagram and Facebook.

What interesting projects have you worked on recently or about to work on?

Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph Toff from Made in Chelsea just before she went on to win ‘I’m a Celebrity’ for With Love Lilly a lingerie company which was amazing. I do have a really exciting trip coming up in Mykonos, I can’t say too much about it just yet but I would say it is my most exciting project yet to date.

Provide us some illustrations of how your work have transformed over the years?

 

2009                                                      2018

 

How did you to develop your Own Unique Style of Photography?

I suppose it developed over a period of time, my style has changed from when I started out. To begin my style was very vintage and ethereal but it didn’t get me any work. It was at this point where I realised I had to look at what brands were shooting to figure out what was current and on-trend so I switched up my style. I also find a lot of my style comes into my work during editing.

How do you create a Fashion or Beauty Shoot?

It will all start with a brief, usually sent over by the company.  This will include the themes, make-up, posing styles, models and inspiration pictures. From this we design a set to fit the brief (if needed) and everything else just falls into place.

What are 10 Things clients look for when hiring a Photographer in your opinion?

Reputation, professional, personality, quick turnaround of images, passionate about the work you are producing, loyalty, organised, making the whole experience as seamless as possible and adaptable.

How did you grow Your Photography Business with Instagram?

By shooting with brands and models with large followings, constantly networking with different models and makeup artists on the social media platform.

What are some of the Risks Every Photographer Needs to Take to Be Successful?

Even if you are absolutely terrified do it, I’m quite a nervous person, my nerves always get the better of me but whatever the task/job, I say yes because I’d never get anywhere if I didn’t. I recently had to do Demos at The Photography Show for Interfit UK, which back when I started I could have only dreamed of. I was totally nervous but knew it was something I needed to do.

I know it’s cliché but NOTHING comes from your comfort zone, your comfort zone is your failure zone, so take risks. Do something every day that scares you, contact the clients you dream of shooting for.

Who are some of your 10 Must-Follow Photographers on Instagram       ?

I could probably list 100, but here are some amazing talented and supportive photographers I enjoy seeing on my insta feed. I think there are more than 10 here.

@naritasavoorphoto

@lelburnet

@benbentleyphoto

@danimarinphoto

@mattleachphotography

@mattwilsonphoto

@fordtography

@ruthrosephotos

@chloeannecharnock

@cravenator

@wjrphoto

@zed.photo

 

 

What are some advice on how to Get Your Photos Published?

Find magazines that are accepting submissions, check out the up and coming themes, get a great team together and produce something Insane.

How do you Find Models for Your Photo Shoot?

I usually find them via Instagram or I contact agencies.

 

Any advice for up and coming Photographers?

First of all just test, test, and test. Test with friends, family members and models that are building a portfolio to find your style.

Secondly, my favourite saying is ‘talent will get your far but ambition will get you further’.  There will be knockbacks, it happens to us all, however, if you want something bad enough and you eat, sleep and breathe it, work day and night for it. You’ll reach all your goals.

quality and quantity

Quality & Quantity

It is  not the quantity of work put out by a creative that will make the phone ring, but rather the quality.  Less is more !  i want to take   that even further. sometimes simplicity and putting out less stuff is actually better in the long run than mixing the crap with the good.  I know a lot of creatives make the mistake of  putting out great stuff with the crap. This can have the result of devaluing the great stuff and becomes  counter productive.

quality and quantity

I recently organised and directed a shoot.I came up with a concept, that took 6-7 weeks of planning. The reason i highlight this fact, is because a lot of newcomers,schedule shoots 2-3 times a week, while shooting clients work also.  I can relate to this because I think in the beginning you want to do as much as possible until you develop a certain style. it’s more about the art rather than the end product or the process rather than product.

 

There’s this misconception that if you don’t post photos everyday it means that you don’t have clients and you’re not successful. How do you handle this dilemma?

I’d like to answer that with the following. time is the currency of  every creatives’ life; to maximize benefit, we want the most quality for the least amount of time. If you can get quality things from life in short order, do so. That’s much more valuable in the grand scheme of things than spending your life accumulating crappy things.

There are many successful photographers who really turn this theory on its head. Kirsty Mitchell Photography is a great example. Her shoots take months of planning but everyone still wants to see her work and there is much demand for her..

There are even some fashion photographers who are not yet at the top of their game and post 1 or 2 shoots a month or even every couple of months and still get booked solid because of the high quality of their work. Joanna Kustra is an example of this.

Many creatives try to get as many shoots in as possible, this can eventually lead to disinterest. Perhaps you might begin to lose enthusiasm for what you used to love.  But once you cut  back  the amount you shoot and plan thoroughly to the T , it can be  more energizing and refreshing going out and shooting. Being able to express  yourself more and put passion into what you’re  producing. This is what separates the success of the Famous vs The Hobbyists .  The hobbyist shoots as often as he or she likes where as, the more famous creative knows their work is being judged  by the public. Therefore,  there’s an emphasis to put more effort into  the process of the shoot and have a well  planned concept  rather than shoot tons of editorials only to end up with a vanilla type of shoot.

 

Let’s look at it from a different angle in terms of Quality Vs Quantity.

Would you be happiest having only one perfect meal per month or one average meal whenever you were hungry.? You need a degree of quantity to experience quality.

Chuck Close says it perfectly.

 

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck Close

quality and quantity

I think what chuck meant by this there has to be a balance between quality and quantity. In my honest opinion I think balance is key. To keep posting content regularly enough to remain visible, but to sum up what  Chuck  is trying to get across , really try to make every shot or project count. So that your skills and experience are really being enhanced. That way, you will attract a better audience who really appreciate what you do. whilst it is nice to have lots of followers and fans for recognition, it is actually better to have fewer followers who will engage and connect with your work more and look forward to seeing it. They are the ones who will really help promote you. I believe this is how many other talented artists started who now have a successful brand.  By speaking to people who really connected with them.

 

Like Ira Glass Previously stated in his tastes video, you can watch it here

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlTRYcFBkq4[/embedyt]

There are pros and cons of shooting randomly, but mostly for beginners. If you are guilty of doing way too many shoots,  you’d  find many lacking in quality when  you look back at them.. but the experience and knowledge you’ve gained are invaluable as you would have tried so many different things… But you’d find that what you were missing out on are important techniques and  attention to details.  I would have to end this post with  saying definitely quality content is better , as I’ve learned the hard way.  As my mentor taught me let your work speak for itself. what better way to do that than a quality portfolio.

Carol Michels

Interview with Carol Michels

“The most common money-related mistake artists make is a reluctance to invest in their own careers.” Carol Michels

I’ve been asked this question too many times:  “Will you represent me?”  Or, “Do I need an agent to represent me?” I’m getting asked this a lot, probably because I actually care about the success of an artist when I see that they have potential.  My short answer is the following:  Find someone who can market your great stuff. There are a lot of mediocre artists that make a good income from their work no pun intended. A good agent can get you deals that you never would have gotten on your own. Think of you wanting to shoot a campaign for Dior, Channel or any of the big brands. Your agent is like the intermediary person who works to finalise the deal. You can’t just randomly walk into a luxury brand shop and show them your portfolio; the chances are the gatekeepers are hard to get a hold off.   The agent earns his/her commission by being able to reach them. If you’re not interested in being represented by an agent I recommend you take Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice, just be prepared to do the creative and business work by yourself. Striking a balance is key, should you focus all your energy on being more creative or just find someone to run your business? I’ll let you answer that question yourself. Here’s a video on YouTube Titled

“How to get an advantage as a creative.”

Far too many creative’s are too romantic and obsessed with creating beautiful work, it’s intriguing, refreshing and brings joy to our heart when we see other people’s appreciation for our work.  But here’s the wake up call, the phone needs to ring and you must find ways to earn a living. If this is just a side project by all means feel free to carry on as if it’s a hobby. But if you’re planning on making a living its business not a hobby. It breaks my heart when I see talented people tell me that no one wanted to give them a chance.  There’s a big elephant in the room that no one wants to address.  For the past 12 months I’ve noticed a trend that too many creative’s including myself, we lack entrepreneurship mindset and ways to monetise our passion. We would rather focus our attention on the process of creating work as supposed to finding a balance between creating and turning that work into an income.

 

“The most common money-related mistake artists make is a reluctance to invest in their own careers.” Carol Michels   I’ve been asked this question too many times:  “Will you represent me?”  Or, “Do I need an agent to represent me?” I’m getting asked this a lot, probably because I actually care about the success of an artist when I see that they have potential.  My short answer is the following:  Find someone who can market your great stuff. There are a lot of mediocre artists that make a good income from their work no pun intended. A good agent can get you deals that you never would have gotten on your own. Think of you wanting to shoot a campaign for Dior, Channel or any of the big brands. Your agent is like the intermediary person who works to finalise the deal. You can’t just randomly walk into a luxury brand shop and show them your portfolio; the chances are the gatekeepers are hard to get a hold off.   The agent earns his/her commission by being able to reach them. If you’re not interested in being represented by an agent I recommend you take Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice, just be prepared to do the creative and business work by yourself. Striking a balance is key, should you focus all your energy on being more creative or just find someone to run your business? I’ll let you answer that question yourself. Here’s a video on YouTube Titled  “How to get an advantage as a creative.” [embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdbIAqIGb0o[/embedyt]      Far too many creative’s are too romantic and obsessed with creating beautiful work, it’s intriguing, refreshing and brings joy to our heart when we see other people’s appreciation for our work.  But here’s the wake up call, the phone needs to ring and you must find ways to earn a living. If this is just a side project by all means feel free to carry on as if it’s a hobby. But if you’re planning on making a living its business not a hobby. It breaks my heart when I see talented people tell me that no one wanted to give them a chance.  There’s a big elephant in the room that no one wants to address.  For the past 12 months I’ve noticed a trend that too many creative’s including myself, we lack entrepreneurship mindset and ways to monetise our passion. We would rather focus our attention on the process of creating work as supposed to finding a balance between creating and turning that work into an income.  Andrej Pejic  andreja pejic    The decade of starving artist should be over by now or at least I would hope that is the case. I visited an art gallery the other day, after exchanging conversation and visiting the exhibition. I was informed by one of the gallery managers that there’s a surge of people going to Art College. In a decade where Apple are the pioneers of popularizing the use of mobile apps. There seems to be more demand for graphic designers and design related work. In this day and age there’s absolutely no reason why an artist shouldn't be making a living or be willing to give away 30 to 50% on representation!  1) It’s not 1970’s anymore, we have something called, the Internet allowing us to reach people and places we might may not have before.  There are message boards where people can discuss ideas on any topic. People can find others that have a similar interest in whatever they are interested in.    2) Good artwork actually sells itself. There are plenty of sites that allow artists to sell their work such as www.etsy.com and Society6.   .  3) NO ONE, and I repeat NO ONE will be more knowing of one’s art or have as much faith in his/her work as the artist him/herself.    Back to the topic, I want to focus this article on how we artists can make a living from our   work. It really irritates me, when people don’t take artists seriously or have a preconceived notion that artists should get a second job to support their dream.    I’m not trying to be overly romantic and suggest that every artist should quit their job and hope to God they get a pay cheque just because they’re an artist. I get that 93% of people might not make it in this industry and that’s completely fine. I think the traditional view of how artists make a living is redundant and a new business model needs to be developed so we can see talented creative’s contribute more beautiful work to the world.    At one time those in the art world were so reluctant to share what they knew as perhaps they didn’t fully understand that no one steals your technique and really duplicates it or your wisdom, or your intelligence and the more you give the more you receive in all those areas.  3      Again I’d like to coin the phrase by calling it what it is “scarce mentality”. It’s much more fulfilling to have an abundant mindset rather than compete with each other. We as artists are our own worst enemy we have the mindset that someone will steal our technique, client or wisdom. Any successful artists I’ve met who have been around a long time in this industry have always been encouraging of other artists to succeed at what they do.    From this day on forward, I’m going to dedicate myself to finally figure out ways I can help at least 30% of creative people out there to make a living on monthly basis for their talent. Forget about waiting for a magazine editor to book you for a gig, or waiting for clients to book you for a campaign or licensing your images. What I really want to focus on is how YouTube made it possible for entertainers to make a living from entertaining online or how you can earn a living from ad word by running a blog that’s very successful.  web_joyride_3feature      I think we as creative’s need to work together on solving this issue, it’s 2014 and I sincerely believe there’s no reason for the creative market to be the way it is. You make a living by selling, so if you’re reading this and think we can solve this issue. I’d personally like you to email editor@flawless-magazine.net with suggestions or a business model that’s used somewhere else one related to our field of interest or ideas that hasn’t been experimented with. My philosophy in life is let’s all win together rather than compete. If we all win together and make it our job to figure out, how to make an income from our passion. It means we can bless the world with more creativity and inspire others to follow their inner calling.    For those of you who lack marketing skills or business skills get yourself an agent right this moment  or find a business student or marketing student if you believe you have what it takes. Then focus 70% of your time on how you can make a living from your passion and then spend 30% on improving your skills as an artist.    If you are going to go down the agent route here’s what you need to know. Here’s how it usually works with agents:  A good agent will be accountable to help you get commissioned work, put the sale together, and deal with the contracts (in some cases), and do the follow up, ensure payments are made on time, trust me, you don’t want to spend a year chasing payments yourself it’s frustrating especially if you’re depending on that payment to get you by for that month, and sometimes help with marketing your name and art.    DSC8594pfeature copy      How payment works with agents:  Some agents keep anywhere from 25% – 50% (depending on your deal with them. I’ve even heard of some charge 80% commission depending on how big the agent is).   However, to get a sale or commissioned work, it could take the agent up to 100-200 hours of prospecting and phone calling and footwork and that’s why it’s good to have an agent. Unless you want to spend 100 hours doing the prospecting, this will often take time from your creative work, and deplete you of your creative energy.    My recommendation to any artist looking for an agent: First put in the time and market yourself as an artist. If you are not willing to represent yourself, you must question whether you are truly ready to make money from your art. If not, that’s OK, but you must set your expectation accordingly. It’s the classic catch-22. Marketing and promotion takes a LOT of time. It is time away from creating that which you are marketing. Yet, if we don’t budget any time for marketing we end up a mere hobby artist with a house full of unclaimed masterpieces. Finding the time to do both is extremely challenging. Plodding ahead will someday have its payoff.      I have written articles on the following topics, which you might find useful.  How important is social media is in the modern photographic industry?   How to succeed in the fashion industry and how to be a better photographer.  “As an artist, you’re only as good as your taste”`  How to Grow Your Photography Empire Using Social Media.   Nowadays anyone can become an artist. What separates the success of the famous from that of the hobbyists?  Get better educated on selling yourself.  I recommend you check out one person in particular on YouTube for those of you who are dead serious about making a living from this industry in order to give you the mindset of how to monetize your passion  check out Gary Vaynerchuk ‘s YouTube channel for more. Read good blogs and websites for artists, like www.creativelive.com, I highly recommend that you check out themoney & life classes section and don’t be afraid to spend money on social media marketing or pay someone to market your business for you, which is actually a lot cheaper than paying an agent or manager. I’ve practically spent all my personal income and savings to keep Flawless Magazine going, from hosting fees, to paying interns , graphic designers, web designers and a team of others people that keep the magazine going. The list goes on. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself or your dream. What you put in you would get out especially if you believe in yourself and work.  Megan_6_lowres    I really believe there needs to be a revolution on art monetization and monetization in the creative industry especially. I think art colleges’ needs to start teaching art students some business skills or at least partner business or marketing students with art students. In my honest opinion that’s one of the ways we can solve this problem together.    I want you all to be successful! Or if you want to make suggestions on how artists can make a living from their work. Please, let me know what you think of this topic. Drop me an email at editor@flawless-magazine.

The decade of starving artist should be over by now or at least I would hope that is the case. I visited an art gallery the other day, after exchanging conversation and visiting the exhibition. I was informed by one of the gallery managers that there’s a surge of people going to Art College. In a decade where Apple are the pioneers of popularizing the use of mobile apps. There seems to be more demand for graphic designers and design related work. In this day and age there’s absolutely no reason why an artist shouldn’t be making a living or be willing to give away 30 to 50% on representation!

1) It’s not 1970’s anymore, we have something called, the Internet allowing us to reach people and places we might may not have before.  There are message boards where people can discuss ideas on any topic. People can find others that have a similar interest in whatever they are interested in.

2) Good artwork actually sells itself. There are plenty of sites that allow artists to sell their work such as www.etsy.com and Society6.

 .

3) NO ONE, and I repeat NO ONE will be more knowing of one’s art or have as much faith in his/her work as the artist him/herself.

Back to the topic, I want to focus this article on how we artists can make a living from our   work. It really irritates me, when people don’t take artists seriously or have a preconceived notion that artists should get a second job to support their dream.

I’m not trying to be overly romantic and suggest that every artist should quit their job and hope to God they get a pay cheque just because they’re an artist. I get that 93% of people might not make it in this industry and that’s completely fine. I think the traditional view of how artists make a living is redundant and a new business model needs to be developed so we can see talented creative’s contribute more beautiful work to the world.

At one time those in the art world were so reluctant to share what they knew as perhaps they didn’t fully understand that no one steals your technique and really duplicates it or your wisdom, or your intelligence and the more you give the more you receive in all those areas.

 

Again I’d like to coin the phrase by calling it what it is “scarce mentality”. It’s much more fulfilling to have an abundant mindset rather than compete with each other. We as artists are our own worst enemy we have the mindset that someone will steal our technique, client or wisdom. Any successful artists I’ve met who have been around a long time in this industry have always been encouraging of other artists to succeed at what they do.

From this day on forward, I’m going to dedicate myself to finally figure out ways I can help at least 30% of creative people out there to make a living on monthly basis for their talent. Forget about waiting for a magazine editor to book you for a gig, or waiting for clients to book you for a campaign or licensing your images. What I really want to focus on is how YouTube made it possible for entertainers to make a living from entertaining online or how you can earn a living from ad word by running a blog that’s very successful.

I think we as creative’s need to work together on solving this issue, it’s 2014 and I sincerely believe there’s no reason for the creative market to be the way it is. You make a living by selling, so if you’re reading this and think we can solve this issue. I’d personally like you to email editor@flawless-magazine.net with suggestions or a business model that’s used somewhere else one related to our field of interest or ideas that hasn’t been experimented with. My philosophy in life is let’s all win together rather than compete. If we all win together and make it our job to figure out, how to make an income from our passion. It means we can bless the world with more creativity and inspire others to follow their inner calling.

For those of you who lack marketing skills or business skills get yourself an agent right this moment  or find a business student or marketing student if you believe you have what it takes. Then focus 70% of your time on how you can make a living from your passion and then spend 30% on improving your skills as an artist.

If you are going to go down the agent route here’s what you need to know. Here’s how it usually works with agents:  A good agent will be accountable to help you get commissioned work, put the sale together, and deal with the contracts (in some cases), and do the follow up, ensure payments are made on time, trust me, you don’t want to spend a year chasing payments yourself it’s frustrating especially if you’re depending on that payment to get you by for that month, and sometimes help with marketing your name and art.

How payment works with agents:  Some agents keep anywhere from 25% – 50% (depending on your deal with them. I’ve even heard of some charge 80% commission depending on how big the agent is).   However, to get a sale or commissioned work, it could take the agent up to 100-200 hours of prospecting and phone calling and footwork and that’s why it’s good to have an agent. Unless you want to spend 100 hours doing the prospecting, this will often take time from your creative work, and deplete you of your creative energy.

My recommendation to any artist looking for an agent: First put in the time and market yourself as an artist. If you are not willing to represent yourself, you must question whether you are truly ready to make money from your art. If not, that’s OK, but you must set your expectation accordingly. It’s the classic catch-22. Marketing and promotion takes a LOT of time. It is time away from creating that which you are marketing. Yet, if we don’t budget any time for marketing we end up a mere hobby artist with a house full of unclaimed masterpieces. Finding the time to do both is extremely challenging. Plodding ahead will someday have its payoff.

  I have written articles on the following topics, which you might find useful.

How important is social media is in the modern photographic industry?

 How to succeed in the fashion industry and how to be a better photographer.

“As an artist, you’re only as good as your taste”`

How to Grow Your Photography Empire Using Social Media.

 Nowadays anyone can become an artist. What separates the success of the famous from that of the hobbyists?

Get better educated on selling yourself.  I recommend you check out one person in particular on YouTube for those of you who are dead serious about making a living from this industry in order to give you the mindset of how to monetize your passion  check out Gary Vaynerchuk ‘s YouTube channel for more. Read good blogs and websites for artists, like www.creativelive.com, I highly recommend that you check out themoney & life classes section and don’t be afraid to spend money on social media marketing or pay someone to market your business for you, which is actually a lot cheaper than paying an agent or manager. I’ve practically spent all my personal income and savings to keep Flawless Magazine going, from hosting fees, to paying interns , graphic designers, web designers and a team of others people that keep the magazine going. The list goes on. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself or your dream. What you put in you would get out especially if you believe in yourself and work.

 

I really believe there needs to be a revolution on art monetization and monetization in the creative industry especially. I think art colleges’ needs to start teaching art students some business skills or at least partner business or marketing students with art students. In my honest opinion that’s one of the ways we can solve this problem together.

I want you all to be successful! Or if you want to make suggestions on how artists can make a living from their work. Please, let me know what you think of this topic. Drop me an email at editor@flawless-magazine.

Fashion bureaucracy

Fashion bureaucracy

Fashion bureaucracy: why it’s all about who you know and why that’s a GOOD thing (instead of something to whine about)

Developing relationships is crucial no matter what industry you’re in. Having a trusting relationship is a necessity whether it is with your clients, stylists, makeup artists or agencies. If you have friends within your network, well, then that’s the greatest job security you’ll ever have; and if you’re self employed, like most creatives, then having a strong social circle of friends is all the more important – who knows when you’ll need a referral to a certain client? Being in a community of people, with connections, is essential and it’s that exact community that will allow you to network and build long-term relationships. This long-term relationship works in favour for both persons, for example, if your friend knows someone who needs a photographer or stylist, they can recommend you as opposed to googling random photographers or contacting agencies – we all know that can be a pain. Even if you have an agent doing this, a personal referral works in your favour (which I will discuss later in detail) and they are more likely to work with you again, especially if you were easy to work with the first time around.

sui-he-photographed-by-chen-man

Fashion bureaucracy Sui He Photographed by Chen Man

Every once in a while I meet a creative that complains about the industry being about who you know and on one level part of me thinks, “thank God it’s all about who you know”. Let’s face it: there’s always going to be someone whose work is better than yours, who can outwork you, networks better,has bigger budgets than you, has access to locations and people you can only dream of working with and has more connections than you. But despite this, networking in the fashion industry isn’t competitive at all. When I met one of my mentors, who by the way is a photographer, I wanted to figure out just how many more creatives I could suggest to him, ones that I knew would add value to his portfolio and vice versa. Adding value was what got one of my mentors to be represented by one of the top agencies, even though doors have been shut in his face over and over, you can find a way to do the same and get your foot in the door. And those people who are protective over their contacts? Well, I call that the scarce mentality. Chances are you’ll meet people that you otherwise never would have met but through that one, simple introduction from a friend. You might end working on a really awesome project as a result of this; and of course, this is beneficial because if they’re grateful they’ll reciprocate and that, my friend, is what I call a gold mine network.

gloria-glow-we-are-so-droe

Find the RIGHT kind of people to connect with at events, parties, fashion shows etc. There are some people who write a blog, have a huge following on social media, go to events and network but don’t put an emphasis on building human to human relationships – if you ask me, that’s a failed strategy no matter what industry you’re in. You may have read my previous article which questioned how important social media is in the modern photographic industry. I discussed how the goal is to build real relationships online like you would offline. As an editor I’m learning to take my own advice. I should probably follow more of our contributors online and use twitter more actively. But as I was saying, the point is to create real connections with real people, not robotically accumulate likes and followers. Tweet people when they tweet you or if you find a certain artist’s work interesting, tweet them – let them know! The point is not to show up and be that guy who might as well be saying, “book me, book me; use me for your project!” Let’s take an example – pretend I’m a fashion photographer wanting to network. I would look up the owners of my local salons, local designers on LinkedIn, and then I’d try to attend an event they’d be at or host a seminar. The next step is to befriend a couple of people and find ways I could add value to their business. You don’t need to shove yourself in front of them, just say a few words on how you think you could help their business. Now say the salon, which I previously made a connection with, needed a photographer, not only would they contact me for ease of access but so as not to violate or disturb the business relationship that has already been established. I hope you get this kind of mindset. While most other creatives are focused on getting thing their name known, you on the other hand should focus on how you can get clients to show up at your doorstep. To put it simply, attract clients and soon after, your name will be known.

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I know there are creatives out there that think “but I’m a great artist, I should be booked for my talent and experience!” On the one hand, that’s why we created Flawless Magazine; we want to make sure choices are based purely on talent rather than who you are or who you know. But the fashion industry doesn’t always work that way. Nonetheless, I’ll tell you how to have an advantage over everyone else. If you add values, like I’ve previously mentioned, you can help others to succeed and in turn, they might mention your name enough times that before you know it, your name is starting to get out there! Don’t stop yourself from helping others succeed for selfish, personal gain: if they’re grateful, they will refer clients back to you. The same also applies if you’re the kind of person that stabs people in the back – word will get around and repel potential clients.

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Fashion bureaucracy Photographed by Elizaveta Porodina

I read about Missy Woodford in the H&M magazine summer 2014, page 71, from an article titled “How to Land a Fashion Job” which read: “Missy Woodford is a casting director working with major brands such as Chanel. At 21, she landed a job as a stylist’s assistant through a friend. That led to working with important editors and stylists, such as American Harper’s Bazaar’s Brana Wolf, and Jane How. Another friend of Missy’s jumped right in. “I really had to learn on my feet, but I loved putting together the perfect line up of girls for the designers.” More than ten years later, Missy convinces Chanel to use a girl Called Cara Delevingne for their cruise show in London. “Poppy Delevingne was Chanel ambassador, and I thought it would be amazing to have both sisters in the show – they were so excited that Cara was in the Chanel show! A year later, Cara was the face of Chanel, and the rest in fashion is history.” Missy and Cara are just two examples of success made through contacts and networking. Study other people in your field, study those who came before you.
What’s not publicized about a lot of people in fashion is how they got to where they are. Really read up on the people who inspired you, and learn their journey. Find out about them, and find out how they got from point A to point B. It can be really inspiring.

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Fashion bureaucracy Jvdas Berra Photographer

Let’s say I meet Kristian Schuller or Steven Meisel at a shoot, I’m not going to try and talk about photography like a thousand other photographers have before me, but instead, use a more personal approach that touches on their interest outside photography. I might ask, “Hey how’s your kid, how’s everything going with…” I’d focus on befriending them without getting too personal, and often that might provoke them into sharing some insight into their techniques especially if they don’t see you as a threat; so as you can see, simply having a chat can lead to gaining some knowledge from their skilled mind. Not only do you get to work with them but they might also recommend you to clients, bookings you probably would never have gotten in the first place. What you want to do is take people like this off the high pedestal and relate to them on a human level. A good example of what not to say is, “Hey you teach seminars on photography, I should teach that too because I’m really good at photography!” To sum up, just ask questions about the people you want to network with and don’t forcibly sell yourself; people like talking about their passion and it’s a great way to develop a bond with them. Because people having a normal conversation in the industry makes you stand out from the last 50 people they’ve met that have tried to sell their work.

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Fashion bureaucracy Jessica Stam Photographed by Michaelangelo di Battista

Now put this information into action! Make a list with the names of people you want to work with and the people you want build a relationship with that will potentially put you in front of that photographer you want to work with – these ideally would be top designers, photographers, editors, agencies etc. If you set aside 20 minutes to do this it will literally save you years of wasted time and effort. Most people just randomly network with people that are not even related to their field of interest. Follow up with connections and make them feel important. Keep in touch every once a while to keep them in your circle. You might look into getting a CRM program to manage your connections, as well as being organized you can avoid the awkward ‘who is this person’ situation. I recommend checking out http://www.intros.to/ when building your network.

The funny thing is that Flawless Magazine was founded by two guys who met at a fashion event and decided to follow up afterwards. If we didn’t make that contact after the show, I’m sure I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. There wouldn’t have been a magazine to begin with. That being said, if you have any suggestions for more articles like this, then please email:editor@flawless-magazine.net.