GETTING INTO ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sophie Chapman-Andrews is Head of Art Buying at advertising agency McCann Erickson. She books photographers to work on advertising campaigns for high-profile clients such as L’Oréal, Toshiba and Nestlé, among others. Here she shares her advice for anyone hoping to make it in advertising photography…  

When you invite a new photographer in to have a meeting with you, what can they do to make the best possible impression? 
I’ll send them the layout so they’ve got something to look at, to have some thoughts ready for when they come to the meeting. The meeting will be me and the creative team with the photographer talking through the idea. We’ll tell them about what the brief is, what the product is, a little bit of background so they can understand where we’re coming from and the things we need to consider. It’s their opportunity then to say, “Well, this is how I’d do it and here are examples of how I’d light it, using this sort of colour, and maybe this composition…” On that basis they’ll go away and do an estimate.

Those meetings are so important because they will affirm who we want to use. Come into the meeting with some clear ideas about how you want to do it. We need that reassurance because the pressure’s on. We’re sometimes asking people to do things with a short time frame. It could be a couple of weeks from start to finish for all the production, shooting, editing, which – depending on what else they’ve got going on in their life – could be quite demanding, so it’s also about how they’re going to cope with that.

In your talk at the Magnum Professional Practice seminar in London you said that advertising is all about relationships – what did you mean by that? 
The creative team is working on lots of other stuff so there is no room for making a mistake, which is why we’ve got to be so communicative. A name might come up and the creative director might say, “What about so and so – do you know him?” and I’ll say, “Yeah met him, worked with him, great guy, fantastic”. It’s [important] having that assurance that we can rely on this person. Or you might have a job that comes up and the money’s not great and the timing’s not great but the idea’s fantastic and the person might say, “I’ll do it for you”. That can only come from trusting someone and having a good relationship with them.



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