If you’re reading this, you’re probably a photographer. You’ve spent the past year or so practicing your skills behind the camera, and you are really starting to love the images you produce. You’re ready to share your talent with the world. You know that your photos are valuable… Now what?
Knowing how to pitch yourself is essential to running a successful photography business. I’ve connected with the majority of my clients by sending a pitch email.
But I know that if you’re pitching for the first time, it can be really scary. It’s scary to ask people for money. It’s scary to risk rejection. So today I’m sharing my top tips for pitching like a pro.
1. Make it personal.
I have a general template that I use for my pitch emails, but I never send the exact same email to two brands. Research the brand that you’re pitching to and tell them why you want to work with them specifically. You don’t want them to think that they are reading a mass email.
Here are some lines you could include to give your email a personal touch…
“I’m a huge fan of your chocolate. I bake with it all the time!”
“I love how your brand values sustainability and uses ethically-sourced ingredients.”
2. Make sure you’re emailing the right person.
If you are able to, always find the email of the brand’s marketing or social media manager and email them directly. You are much more likely to get a response this way than by emailing the brand’s general email address (like info@ or hello@). That general email is usually for customer service, and the person on the other side probably won’t know what to do with your inquiry.
3. Talk about why YOU are the right person for the job.
There are tons of photographers out there, so make sure that you tell the brand why YOU are the right choice for them.
If you think that the brand’s aesthetic is really similar to your style as a photographer, tell them that! If you’re reaching out to a paleo brand and you have tons of experience with paleo recipe development, tell them that!
Also make sure that you attach a killer portfolio to showcase your work.
4. Keep it brief.
If your email is more than 3 paragraphs, it’s too long. We all have busy schedules. I’m sure you’re really cool, but the truth is that nobody wants to read a whole essay about you.
5. Proofread, then proofread again.
You don’t want to ruin a great pitch email with an embarrassing typo. First impressions are really important, so you don’t want to come off as unprofessional by addressing the recipient by the wrong name, or by telling them that you are a “foo photographer.”
(Not so) fun fact: in the beginning of my photography career, I wrote “Foo Photographer Inquiry” as the subject of a pitch. Let’s just say I didn’t get a response, and I learned my lesson...
Some other things to consider.
1. You’re going to get a lot of rejections, even if your pitch is perfect.
Unfortunately, you’ll get a lot of non-responses and a lot of no’s. Don’t get discouraged, thats just part of being a freelancer. Even if you have a great pitch and a great portfolio, only a fraction of your inquiries will turn into actual gigs.
2. Be selective about who you reach out to.
You don’t want to waste your time reaching out to brands that have no chance of becoming clients.
I usually look for mid-size companies. Huge corporations probably won’t see my email, and tiny companies probably won’t be able to afford me. I also look for brands that I think will resonate with my style as a photographer. If you look at my portfolio, you’ll see mostly light and bright images, so a brand with a dark, rustic aesthetic probably won’t be interested in my work.
3. Always follow up.
Even if a brand is interested in you, they likely won’t need a photographer at the exact time that you email them. Follow up emails are a great way to prevent potential clients from slipping through the cracks.