Advice from editoriAl And
fine-Art PhotogrAPhers About
succeeding in Advertising
oPPosite: An image for Chevrolet by Christopher Churchill. Churchill started shooting for
Chevy after a designer he’d worked with moved to a new job with the car company’s agency.
below: A Volkswagen ad shot by Venetia Dearden.
For photographers who are interested in creating documentary, editorial
and fine-art work, advertising jobs can be an important part of building a
sustainable career. Income from advertising work can provide the financial
security that photographers need to live and to pursue the personal work
or low-paid editorial projects that they’re passionate about.
British documentary and fine-art photographer Venetia Dearden, for
instance, says she was “about to give up photography because I couldn’t earn
enough money being a photojournalist.” Then she got her first advertising
jobs. She’s been juggling personal and advertising work since. “It’s really hard
to survive as a photographer if you’re not doing advertising,” she adds. The
remuneration from ad work meant Dearden felt “much more comfortable
accepting the really low-paid assignments that I loved doing because it wasn’t
so terrifying only doing that.” And the low-paid assignments and personal
work, which gave her something to show to potential advertising clients,
led to more ad work. “Everything goes hand in hand,” she explains.
Of course, getting advertising work is much easier said than done,
especially when competing with photographers who make advertising
their primary focus. We asked five photographers how they’re building
careers that mix personal, fine-art and editorial work with advertising.
BY CONOR RISCH WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY DAVID WALKER