328: Erika Blatt – How to get started in commercial photography

Episode #328: Interview with Erika Blatt (35 minutes)

Discussion Topics

  1. Finding Local Work
  2. photographic identity
  3. photographic targets
  4. advertising

Erika Blatt

Marketing Consultant

Erika is a marketing consultant at Wonderful Machine, a production company in suburban Philadelphia. She works closely with photographers to connect them with clients such as Conde Naste, DDB, Purpose and TBWA Worldwide. Erika’s presented at various photo conferences with PhaseOne and ASMP explaining how photographers can develop brand recognition and ultimately expand their client network. Prior to jumping on the production side of the camera, Erika was a live on-air anchor and reporter in Central Pennsylvania. Additionally, she was a founding partner of MyNEWPhilly.com, a Philadelphia digital and social media startup where she hosted content focused on philanthropy, fashion, and social events in the city. Erika started her career in journalism at West Virginia University, hosting the schoolwide news segments as an undergraduate. With a background in communications, Erika meticulously conveys client trends to photographers to assist in targeting their work to their client bases.

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • Commercial photography differs from wedding and portrait photography because you’re shooting for the purpose of advertising or selling a product, service or person.
  • If you’re interested in transitioning to commercial photography, it is advised to keep your portrait and/or wedding photography separate.
  • When shooting commercial photography, it’s important to still have and create emotion and make it feel authentic.
  • It’s still possible to be a successful commercial photographer in smaller cities. Use Google or LinkedIn to try and connect with local businesses who may need this type of photography. It’s important to remember that local or independent businesses will not have the same budgets as larger companies would.
  • Your photographic identity is made up of three components: the types of images you like to shoot, the types of images your skilled at shooting and the types of images that the marketplace needs at that moment in time.
  • If you’re interested in transitioning to commercial photography, it is recommended to start with portraiture work; think about the commercial elements that are in that image that you can focus on and bring attention to.
  • When pulling out a commercial element into a story, you should have a photographic target in mind. Think about who you want to sell the image to in the commercial market.
  • As a commercial photographer, who you’re advertising to is completely different from who you would advertise to as a wedding or portrait photographer.
  • When getting in touch with a potential client for commercial work, it’s important to do your research. Search them on Google or LinkedIn to find out as much information about them as you can, and be very persistent!

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