“National Geographic has aired my footage.”
That’s all it takes to convince a potential client, who wants to hire me to produce and film a cooking show. This potential customer has known me for a long time – I’ve created many photographs for them over the years. “But can you shoot video?” was the question.
“National Geographic has aired my footage.” I say. That was the end of that discussion. What’s the point you ask? Anytime someone else says that your work is excellent, it’s worth more than you making that statement yourself. That can be as involved as getting a client to allow you to film a customer testimonial or as simple as telling people who your clients are.
Let other brands speak for you
If I tell you that my footage has aired on National Geographic, that I’ve photographed for Mars (the candy company), Harper’s Bazar has published my work, and that I have won international awards for my photography and video work ect. what image comes to your mind?
Compare that with a photographer who’s shot a photo for his aunt, filmed a video for Bob’s bagel barn and the PTA flyer of his school featured his work.
It’s worth more than money
Strive to get your work out there. Look for opportunities that have name recognition – like National Geographic – to bolster your brands reputation. Having a list of household names as clients that you can rattle off, is often worth more than the money you make on the specific shoot. Sometimes it’s exactly those opportunities that call for you working for free or at cost (for the record, I got paid for NatGeo – which makes it even better). Many of these chances come from having an extensive network of people that you work hard to build. This is not a difficult task, but it takes a lot of time and determination to network and keep up these relationships.
Ask for screen credit during your negotiations and don’t be afraid to take a smaller dollar amount, if you can get your name on the piece. My footage has also been used by the BBC and NPR. I’ve also filmed for the Associated Press and CNN (ok so the CNN was a few seconds of B-roll, I shot with a buddy of mine and I wouldn’t use that to apply as a camera man for a news network, but it give my corporate clients a feel for the quality of my work. After all, if I’ve shot for National Geographic, I’m definitely good enough to shoot for my commercial client.)
Next time you get asked to film, photograph, produce or create something at cost or for free, don’t dismiss it outright. Take the time to see how it benefits your network and how you can raise the name recognition of your brand.