One of my top goals in my career is to be represented by a photo agency. I broke ground on this goal by creating a list of several agencies and agents that have amazing rosters of photographers. They have proven track records of marketing these artists to some of the biggest print and commercial clients throughout the world.

For weeks I’ve sat looking at the list without sending in an application or contacting any of them. The thoughts that went through my mind included:

Is my portfolio good enough right now?
Should I create something new before I submit an application?
Do I have an impressive enough of a resume?
What if they don’t respond at all?
What if they respond to decline signing me?
Am I out of my league?
And worst yet… what if they simply don’t like my work?

Over the weekend I put aside all the questions and fears and I hit “submit.”

“Okay,” I thought “it was done.” My application had been submitted to one of the agencies and I went on with the rest of my day.

Monday morning I had a response. I hesitated for a moment before I clicked on the e-mail projecting a thousand possible scenarios for what the response could have said. I took a deep breath and clicked the e-mail and read it.

Not fully sure I understood what I saw, I read it again.

Then I closed the e-mail. I sat and just looked at a wall in my office for a minute, then I opened it and read it for a third time.

It was the worst case scenario right in front of me. Not only are they not looking to add photographers to their roster, they don’t feel my work fits into their “style.” Meaning I don’t meet their standards.

“Well,” I said aloud to myself, “that sucks.” For a few moments I felt pretty small and deflated. I paused to drink my coffee and reflect.

The worst possible thing that could have happened in applying just did. And now what?

I’m still a full time photographer in pursuit of my passions, I still have the same goals, excitements and abilities I had before I submitted my application. In fact… not one thing has changed in my life or in my career from that e-mail.

So the question is: if that is the results of the worst thing happening… why aren’t more people taking the risks they want to take?

Just a post script; to balance things out, the rest of the day yesterday I had two new magazine covers come out, got picked up for an international cover and booked three more cover shoots in the coming week.

James Patrick