In recognition and support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, James Patrick Photography, with support from Scott’s Training Systems, is launching OPERATION PREVAIL: Celebrating Strength, Beauty and Survival.
We are seeking the stories and nominations of those who are affected by breast cancer or those who have recently overcome it. One will be selected to receive a free photo shoot from James Patrick Photography with hair and makeup provided. In addition, Scott Keppel of Scott’s Training Systems, who is certified in post breast cancer recovery, will provide four weeks of personal training leading up to the photo shoot.
Please submit your own stories or nominate someone who you feel is deserving of this project to celebrate strength, beauty and survival of this disease. Entries can be sent to james at jamespatrick dot com.
The selected individual must be in Arizona or be able to be in the state for the photo shoot.
In my meeting last night with our two new staff members someone brought up the question of most embarrassing photo shoot moments. On the drive home I was choked up with bad memories at some of my worst.
1. Forgot the Camera Batteries at Home
When I was in college I was doing a photo shoot of a group of highly influential and successful female leaders. I had about 15 minutes to get the shot of the group so I showed up early to make sure I got everything set up perfectly and was testing the light before the group was ready for the photo shoot. I went to take a test shot before they arrived and realized that my camera was not working. I opened up the back of the camera to see that there was no batteries. I had left them in the charger in my room at home. As soon as I saw that, the group of females came down stairs and were ready to shoot. Thankfully I lived only 15 minutes away. I called someone and had them grab the camera batteries and bring them over to me while I spent an extra long time posing and reposing the group.
2. Messed Up Assignment
I was assigned to photograph gorgeous outdoor patios for a magazine spread (once again, I was in college and still fairly early into my photo journey). I arrived at this one backyard and didn’t see much exciting. I snapped a few photos – assumed that was all that was needed and turned the shots into the editor at the magazine in which I got yelled at pretty harshly for turning in such bad photos. I was immediately sent back out to redo the project – and learned about how to stage a set and make a picture versus take a picture.
3. Too Young To Be A Good Photographer
One of my first commercial jobs I was offered was to photograph residential homes for a builder so they could use for advertisements and marketing materials. The marketing person saw and loved my work and invited me out to do the photo shoot. However – when I arrived at their set of model homes and met the relator, they had zero interest in working with me and began interrogating me and said “you look too young to be a good photographer.” The project ended without me taking a single photo.
4. Ice Cream Failure
I was asked to shoot an editorial piece for a company in which the subject (an employee of the company) was asked to hold ice cream cones as part of the creative approach. Needless to say – no one ran the idea by the subject (until the day of the photo shoot) who thought it was a terrible idea. After two test shots he looked at the marketing person on set and said “we’re done” handed off the ice cream and that was it. At least I got to have one of the ice cream cones.
5. You Didn’t Want Those Photos Did You?
About three years ago I was doing a magazine photo shoot with an unnamed celebrity. The shoot went great and we photographed two really good outfits which I filled up a memory card. The shoot was about over when I suggested we do a third outfit just because we had time. The subject and art director agreed and we proceeded to do the third outfit which was being shot on a second memory card. After the shoot the art director and I grabbed a bite to eat and then went back to the studio for another project we had. As we got set up for the second shoot I did what I always do before a shoot and erase the memory card. As soon as I hit the button I realized what I had done and I turned white. The art director noticed and asked if anything was wrong. I responded “you didn’t really want those photos in the third outfit did you?” Thankfully we had actually completed the photo shoot in the first two outfits and the third outfit was really just a bonus.
6. Police Detainment
Seven or so years ago I was photographing an assignment of a building in Arizona. Unfortunately no one from the company I was hired by let the staff at the building know they were sending out a photographer. After a few cool shots of the building and landscape I headed back to my car and was promptly met by the local police department who detained me questioning why I was photographing this building, if I really was who I said I was, if I really worked for the company I said I was working for and so on. Once they found out that I never stepped off a public sidewalk to take the pictures (and that I was within my rights) they had to let me go – however that was after 45 minutes of sitting and waiting.
Now each of these experiences was quite embarrassing for me at the time – but from each experience I learned something that I was able to incorporate into my work and how I approach projects. I like to think that each of these made me a better photographer and a better business owner. Now I am curios as to what your most embarrassing moments are on set? Feel free to share in the comment section below.
We as independents (whether you are a model or a photographer) are often approached with the concept (sometimes the illusion) of “exposure” which will drastically benefit our careers. Basically free work.
Do this project for us and you will get so much exposure. Shoot this assignment and there is so much exposure. Be in this advertisement and you will get a tremendous amount of exposure.
But after doing a bunch of these projects – your “exposure” level is about the same as it always has been. But is being paid in exposure always a bad thing?
If it seems like a project you want to do – or benefit from – what are some ways you can leverage this exposure to benefit yourself?
1) Share the project on your social media channels. Perhaps develop a social media campaign around the project. For example – I saw a model doing a personally signed cover contest for a magazine feature they were a part of.
2) Blog about the project; what was it like behind the scenes? Create some online chatter about the work to generate additional interest in it.
3) Send out the results of the project to your target clients. Perhaps a magazine you want to work with would be interested in seeing your latest work. Either send in print copies or digital copies to a handful of people you hope to work with – keeping them informed on what you’ve been doing.
4) Try something different that you normally don’t do to extend the style and range of your portfolio.
5) Have fun with it and use it as an opportunity to grow your network and connections. You never know who you might meet on set. Perhaps it is the stylist who has another project coming up – or the art director who has work in their other job – and so on.
An example I like to give is a shoot I was offered several years ago. It was from a magazine wanting me to photograph a first round draft pick for an NFL team. The pay on the project was really bad – so I was going to lose money from travel and hiring my assistant. But I had full creative control on the photo shoot to make the photos I wanted to make. So I looked at it and financially I was going to lose – but I had the opportunity to photograph an NFL rookie for several hours and make some fun pictures – that was a pretty good opportunity for exposure. But only if I leveraged it. So I took those images and marketed the heck out of them to clients I wanted to work with and received multiple bigger magazine features out of the project. Even had a national magazine pick up one of the photos which more than covered all my expenses for the shoot itself. That was leveraging the exposure.
Lastly, only you can set the value of the “exposure” a client offers you. No one else can set that for you.
For several years I’ve run the online show TheProExposure in which we discuss what talents should know to grow their careers in the modeling industry. We’ve had some fantastic episodes with talents such as Jamie Eason, Tiffani Bachus, Kim Dolan Leto and Felicia Romero. We’ve talked to business owners such as Dave Dreas and Jeremy Scott. Best selling authors such as Pamela Slim. Talent agents such as Sheree Hartwell. The list goes on and on and on.
In the coming year we are adding so much more to TheProExposure. There will be articles, blogs, videos as well as additional online shows. We have just brought on a new Editor in Chief for the upcoming launch and now we are looking for writers.
Are you interested in writing about the industry that you are a part of? We are looking for topics about how talents market themselves, experiences they have had on set, advice and tips they can share and much more.
Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to contribute to the new launch of TheProExposure. Thanks for being with us on this journey!
I’ve written a lot about rejection in the past few years. How, as a talent, you can handle when someone says “no” to you. I wrote about how often as a photographer I am told “no” from clients.
But that doesn’t always happen, does it? When you as a model pitch yourself for a project or for a magazine submission – what happens more often than not?
Nothing. No answer. No response. No reply.
So what are you left thinking?
“Well… they must not be interested.”
So you stop. You don’t follow up, you don’t stay in touch and that is the end of the road of you pursuing that potential client.
But was there an opportunity missed there?
Each month this year I’ve been sending out photo postcards to clients I want to be working with. Everyone from photo editors at magazines I want to work with to art directors I am excited to collaborate with. So I’ve sent out 9 or so different postcards thus far this year to about 65 or so potential clients. That is a lot of postage. Now – guess how many responses I’ve had thus far.
Now you might ask “well why continue?”
This is why – while on one of the photo editor’s Instagram account a few weeks ago I saw a post of them at their desk. What was tacked to the tall behind them? One of my postcards. I was offered a job with them shortly after.
Imagine if I had stopped sending.
And I could be 1 postcard away from a project with another one of those clients.
No response is not a no answer. It requires persistence to get noticed and to stay in the minds of those you want to be working with.
The past month and a half have been a whirlwind to say the least. It has included work trips to Las Vegas, New York, Minnesota and then back to Las Vegas on top of photo shoots in Arizona. It involved photographing more than 80 fitness talents as well as a variety of editorial photo shoots. It was topped off yesterday with a full day commercial photo shoot.
During this time I had little, if any, sleep on most nights. At times I wondered how we were going to be able to handle all the upcoming trips and projects. There were projects which went smoothly and flawlessly whereas other projects had a bevy of complications and issues.
Yet, through all of it, the long hours, the stress, the quick deadlines I honestly loved all of it. Yes, of course, you want every project to be perfect and amazing – but that is an unrealistic expectation.
Even on the hardest of days I am able to reflect on it with reminding myself that there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I literally get to make pictures for a living. Even in the hardest of days – that gives me satisfaction.
Would you say the same about your career? If not – what can you do to get there?
In any industry you will see individuals that excel and others which just get by. The modeling industry is no different. So beyond the basics of being timely and reliable – what are the traits and habits of those who are successful?
1. They Are Proactive Not Reactive
Successful talents are proactive. They take action quick and don’t wait to react to what happens around them. Being proactive means having clear goals they can follow – knowing confidently they are moving in the right direction. Being proactive also get them in on opportunities first whereas their competitors are still in reacting mode.
2. They Take Risks
Perhaps it is a certain job or it is introducing themselves to a key client. Successful models and willing to overcome fear by putting themselves out there, connecting with others and doing what their competition may not.
3. They Seek Advice of Others
Successful models stay curious about their industry. They talk to those they admire to learn as much as possible and constantly strive for ways to improve their own craft.
4. They Focus on Monetization
Many talents want to mass up magazine features or covers without a plan on how to turn that into profit. Successful talents take everything they do and monetize it – turning it into a way to grow their brand and profitability.
5. They are Willing to Fail
Being willing to fail means they are willing to take risks others are not. If it doesn’t work they simply change the approach and go at it again.
If you were to run yourself by these five traits – how would you score?
Special thanks to Eileen Domiati, editor of Women Health & Fitness Magazine for being a part of this exclusive interview. If you like what you read – be sure to check out my new e-book Fit Model Guide which includes multiple interviews with editors of fitness magazines on what models should know about pitching to publications.
James Patrick: How did Women Health & Fitness (WH&F) Magazine become to be and when did it launch? Eileen Domiati: It was the brainchild of both my husband and I almost 9 years ago. Dubai and the UAE in general was on the cusp of evolving into one of the region’s top health and fitness destinations and it was at this time we realized that there was a niche for a high quality publication to facilitate this process.
JP: What makes the publication unique in the fitness industry? ED: Since our publication hit the shelves of the UAE, we knew that one of our priorities was to keep the population updated with what was happening in the industry in the UAE and of course, the world. With the help of titles such as Oxygen in the US and Fitness, South Africa, it was evident to the reader, we had the research to back up all the information we published. As the editor, it is imperative I deliver features that will not only engage the reader but will also make a positive impact on their lives and hopefully one they can pass on to their family and friends.
JP: What do you look for in the talent you feature? ED: I’m sure most editors will acknowledge, one is always inundated with women who are aspiring to be featured on the cover or in an editorial. Personally, how they bring this across to me is very important. I like to feel that any woman I feature on the cover is approachable by any of our readers and is not too full of the ‘airs and graces’ often associated with such kind of fame. The imagery that they put forward is extremely important. Our covers are renowned for being fresh, natural and alive so this criteria is paramount in any application I process. On a yearly basis, WH&F runs a Cover Girl competition to find a new role model that personifies, health and fitness but also one whom never dreamed of gracing the cover of such a high-end publication.
JP: Out of all the pitches you receive from models, how do people stand out? ED: First impressions are the ones that stay with you, so images are crucial in the decision process. In saying this, I’ve had many gorgeous women who would potentially make the cover but their background story would not be enough to impress a reader. In many cases, a little more digging and you may find out through their social platforms that they would not be the right person to have as a so-called ambassador of the brand. So ladies, be careful with what you put out there, it can come back to bite you. Besides it’s nice to leave something to the imagination.
JP: What are no no’s when it comes to models pitching to your publication? ED: Hmmm… Too pushy, overly confident and again not approachable. Our demographics are 25-55 year-old women and I would like to say that any woman that I choose to put on the cover would be able to sit down with any of our readers and inspire them, but in a natural non-intimidating manner. As for images, I’ve had many where the quality is totally unusable and backgrounds are off. Also attire is very important when going through the process of elimination. We get a lot of booty short images but some would be more suited for Playboy! This sexual portrayal of a woman is not one I am particularly fond of and is of course not the image that the brand is going to carry.
JP: What are the key pieces of information or detail you look for in a pitch? ED: Not comparing myself to Oprah, but I do like my aha! moments. So whether this is through a new fitness technique or someone’s real life transformation story, the pitch should have something that makes one sit up a little and take note.
JP: How can talents develop strong relationships with you and the publication? ED: Honesty is the best policy when dealing with any editor of a publication. If the model happens to have submitted her work to other publications and there maybe even a slight possibility of her being covered in a magazine of the same genre in the same region, she should be transparent. In my opinion, it would sever any ties I had with that model if she failed to mention this prior to our collaboration.
JP: What do you think most talents don’t understand about the publishing industry? ED: Business can be tough, especially in a region such as ours where the population is minor compared to other countries. It is critical for me to ensure that there is not a repeat of a particular model or feature that maybe carried in a magazine of similar genre. This is where transparency is even more important. Some models don’t take any of this into consideration when trying to get their brand out there. But this lack of respect will not go unnoticed and eventually they will burn any bridges they have with editors.
JP: What do you look for when models are pitching articles they have or want to write? ED: The models should have a clear vision of what they want to deliver to the readers. They should also ensure they have good quality photography to support their copy and at this stage in the business, it should have somewhat of an edge about it so it will engage the reader’s attention from the get-go!
JP: With a lot of pitches coming from overseas to you, how important is it for the pitch to be localized to your demographic? ED: It is so humbling for me to see such amazing talent, so keen to be part of this great magazine. Women are women no matter where they live in the world. We all have our days when working out, staying on track with our nutrition while keeping on top of our other duties can be quite daunting, so this is where WH&F comes into play. My objective is to help as many women as possible live healthy, fit and happy lives so that they too can help others. Information that is current, interesting and doable is my top priority when sitting down to decide the flat plan for each issue. Models, writers and health experts from anywhere in the world who feel that they too, can contribute to my ethos, I look forward to hearing from you.
JP: Have you had difficult experiences working with particular talents? If so, without names, what could have been done better or differently? ED: I would have to reiterate honesty and transparency. I have had countless relationships with models and photographers over the years and the lack of these two criteria have resulted in their terminations. I pride myself in honesty/integrity, I am up front with those I deal with in the business and I credit these characteristics for much of the success of our publication to date. I know this is your blog James, but it would be unfair of me not to give you the praise you truly deserve. Your professionalism and efficiency is one that is truly hard to find and I’m so thrilled that our paths have crossed. I look forward to many years of working together.
“I have followed WH&F since Oct 2006. The content of their Magazine is rich and crosses all genres of fitness. I learn so much on both a personal and professional PT level each month. I apply this knowledge to my clients and often refer back to previous issues to refresh my memory. The athletes WH&F feature are inspiring and I have formed many friendships with these inspiring women. WH&F is so unique and I will continue to follow them for years to come. I have personally witnessed the editor practice what she preaches with regards to the content of WH&F. When the editor of a magazine lives a healthy balanced lifestyle it makes you realize how WH&F take great pride in what information is shared with their readers to help achieve their personal goals”, said Cindy Louise Moxon. Just one of many loyal readers of WH&F.
Be sure to check out the magazine’s Facebook Page if you are interested in learning more about the publication.
What follows are a list of some of the biggest mistakes models make when submitting or pitching themselves to magazines. But first a few notes and housekeeping items.
If you like the article – be sure to check out my full e-book on how to get published in the fitness industry at www.FitModelGuide.com
Secondly, we just launched a new episode of TheProExposure in which Jason and myself interviewed Sheree Hartwell, the owner and director of Ford/Robert Black Agency and she answers all your questions on what models need to know about signing to an agency. You can listen for free here.
Lastly – our website and blog will be going dark for about a week as we update and launch our new web design. We will be returning after this time with your routinely scheduled blog articles. I apologize for the delay in content but believe this update is a great step in enhancing the James Patrick website! Thank you for your understanding.
Now onto the biggest mistakes models make when submitting to magazines.
1. The pitch was addressed “to whom it may concern” instead of to a specific member of the publication. Be sure to do your research and find out who specifically to submit your work to.
2. You sent a duplicate pitch to multiple publications and it is obvious that you cut and paste the text from one e-mail to the next. It would get worse if you forgot to change the magazine’s name in the e-mail. Write tailored and custom pitches to the magazines you want to submit to.
3. You sent one e-mail to a handful of magazines and placed all their e-mails in the TO or BCC field. It shows you did not want to take the time to write a customized e-mail.
4. You focused too much on yourself as opposed to talking about how the pitch would benefit the magazine or its readers. Show what you can do for them – not what they can do for you.
5. You have grammatical or spelling errors in your pitch.
6. You did not do your homework and pitched content that a publication would not run. Like pitching swimwear images to a magazine that never features swimwear photos.
7. You over-embellished or focused on details that do not matter. We had a pitch come in for a magazine I work for where the talent’s main credential was that he had 2 million Twitter followers. Not that a legitimate social media follow does not help (it does) but 2 million followers from someone that most people haven’t heard of raised a red flag.
If you get the gist of this post it is that you need to do your research, customize your pitches and build trusting relationships with the media to get your submissions picked up.
Best of luck in your media pitches!