THE ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY ISSUE
Test shoots are a time-honored strategy for honing new skills and building portfolios. But photographers talk less about shooting on spec—i.e., shooting a
test for a particular client for free, with the hope
of landing an assignment. Many photographers
frown upon it, fearing that if they shoot on
spec, clients may start to expect it, forcing
photographers to work even harder (and spend
out of pocket) to land jobs.
But shooting on spec is a strategy that can
work if it’s for a client you trust, and if you’re
shooting for your portfolio, too. Photographers
Aaron Greene, Alex Farnum and Chris Stanford
all landed assignments from the spec work made
for clients they were pursuing. In all three cases,
the photographers had pre-existing relationships
with the clients or their ad agencies. Those
relationships gave them access to the people,
information and brand strategies they needed to
plan their spec shoots, and get their work in front
of the critical decision makers.
Here is what they told us.
Photographers Aaron Greene, Alex Farnum and
Chris Stanford explain how they planned and
executed spec shoots for specific clients and won
jobs as a result. BY DAVID WALKER
TO LAND ADVERTISING
Aaron Greene recruited friends for a day-long test shoot to show kayak manufacturer Confluence Outdoor that he was ready for their lifestyle assignments.