Marketing: Portfolio Meetings for David W. Johnson
A large portion of my job here at WM involves calling clients and making connections. My days at the office include everything from scheduling meetings for photographers around the world to setting up and organizing our monthly portfolio events. So when Chicago-based photographer David W. Johnson approached me about setting up portfolio reviews for him in the Windy City, I was ready to go.
David and I had a brief conversation about where he was planning to take his career and what types of clients he was hoping to meet with in his hometown (okay, maybe we got off on a tangent about how much I love Chicago, as well). David does a lot of lifestyle and portraiture work, but was hoping to move more into the active lifestyle and corporate culture realms. He had some of that work on his website already, and we looked through it together. I really enjoyed the first image in his Active Lifestyle gallery and we agreed it was a good direction for him to head towards. He gave me a list of some of his dream clients that were based in Chicago and I got to work creating a list and reaching out to creatives.
After creating and culling a list of companies that would be appropriate for David’s work, I reached out to each prospective client with an email, then followed-up with a call a few days later if I hadn’t heard anything back. Throughout that process, David and I stayed in touch about his schedule and the responses I was getting to his work. This was an interesting change of pace for me, as I usually work with photographers who are traveling to another city for their meetings. Because David only lived a short drive away from where his meetings would be, I found I had a lot more flexibility in when I could set the meetings for. An art buyer couldn’t meet the week we had designated for the meetings? No problem, David lives in the area and is open two days the following week, as well! I strongly urge any photographer reading this to remember the importance of meeting with your hometown clients; just because you’re in the area doesn’t mean all the creatives will remember your name when it comes time to assign a shoot. Get out there and meet with people to keep your name at the top of their list!
Ultimately, I was able to secure four meetings for David, three with sports and lifestyle-centric ad agencies and one with a prominent business magazine in the city. Additionally, I gave David two introductions to agencies that were willing to meet at a later date. Because of the flexibility of living close by, David had the opportunity to take the information from those two “introductions” and set up his own meetings for a few weeks later that coordinated better with the creatives’ schedules. All in all, I was happy with our results and excited to hear how the meetings went.
I was so happy to hear that David has already heard back from two of the contacts at his meetings about working on projects in the future. Talk about a quick turnaround! It just goes to show that effort put into a great website, portfolio and time spent at meetings can yield great results for the future. Meeting with art buyers and creative directors can be intimidating, but taking the steps to show them your work is often all it takes to secure your next job.