By: Andrew Barrowman
QUE THE INTRO
Working with brands can be a lot of fun and super beneficial, but getting brands to work with you can be a bit tricky. In this article I'm going to share some of the things I've learned while building my brand portfolio along with some advice I wish I would have been given before sending out that first email!
EXPECT MORE “NO” THAN “YES”
Don’t get discouraged when brands tell you you’re not a good fit. There are a TON of reasons why this might be the case, but know that it is NOT because you’re photography isn’t good. I say this because that was my initial thought when it seemed like no one wanted to work with me. Don’t discredit your style as an artist. What might not work for one brand may be 100% spot on for another. This leads me to my next point.
DON’T BE TOO PUSHY
This is something I need to constantly tell myself. If you reach out to a brand and don’t hear back from them right away, don’t worry! They are probably really busy. The worst thing you can do is be annoying and blow up their inbox. Trust the process and be patient. If you don’t ever hear back, don’t sweat it. There are tons of brands out there that would love to work with you!
WORK WITH BRANDS YOU CAN RELATE TO
Don’t start reaching out to brands that are out of your wheelhouse just because you want to build your portfolio. Brands look for content creators that will be able to capture candid photos. Stick with brands you already love or that sell products you already use. It will end up making not only your photos better, but your relationship with that brand better.
HAVE YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW
This was probably the biggest learning lesson for me. Making sure you have all your
“ducks in a row” before hitting that send button and emailing a brand you want to work with. Know what you want the outcome of the partnership to be and have any materials and answers ready for when the conversation starts! Speaking of materials, on to my next point.
HAVE A MEDIA DECK READY, AND CURATED WHEN POSSIBLE
A media deck can come in a variety of different forms, but for me, it’s used as a way to provide the brand a quick synopsis about myself, what I specialize in and examples of my work. I also include links to all my social media channels, my website and personal contact information. This can be a huge differentiator for you and helps show the brand that you’re professional and prepared. Also, when possible, try to curate your deck to suite the brand. Remember, every brand has an identity, style and personality, and you should cater to that when possible. In layman's terms, don’t try and sell a burger to a vegan, make sense?
DON’T SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT
Don’t undervalue yourself. Keep the conversation with the brand open. Anytime I reach out to a brand I start by asking them what they envision a partnership to look like. If you come out of the gate telling a brand you’ll deliver 100 photos for $50 worth of gear then you’re only going to get $50 worth of gear when in reality they would have been willing to send you $500 worth of gear (these are all hypothetical numbers). Remember that you’re building a relationship with these brands and both sides should be benefiting from this partnership.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
That’s it! I hope these few tips come in handy if you’re thinking about reaching out to your favorite brands to collaborate. Drop a comment below if there is any other advice you might have!