These days it seems that there are consultants for everything. Sometimes, this really makes me wonder what we have come to. That said, I’ll admit that the Photography Consultant does have a place in our profession. For those of you unfamiliar with this field, a photo consultant is a professional who can, depending on the stage of your professional path, help advance your presence in the market.
Typically, a consultant works with you to develop the image you present. This could include your portfolio, your marketing pieces and plan, direct you to markets for your work or your style, and even to how your studio may look. This is only touches on some of what can be accomplished. As with any professional, each has his or her strengths, and, as with any service, you need to research to determine who would be best for you.
If you are at the point that you are considering adding an artist’s representation to your efforts, I would suggest that you consider working with a consultant before you approach a rep. The better consultants have a good feel for the markets they work in and know what trends are hot or looming and can help you present yourself to take advantage of these. The other advantage is that they can take a real world look at you and your work and direct you into paths that you may have not though about or even known about. This can also be a somewhat painful experience, as there may be things that they present that you may not agree with, but, in truth, their job is to give you the slap you may need.
I speak from personal experience on this subject. When I decided to take out a Black Book ad, I talked to a photo consultant to get advice on the project. I had spent quite a lot of time getting what I thought was the best stuff ready and worked with a designer friend on putting together our presentation. When the consultant and I met, she offered some positive comments on what I had, but she basically ripped up most of the work I did and sent me in a different direction. After my initial shock wore off and I was able to look at the project from her perspective, we went forward with many of her suggestions. The results were very positively received, we gained several new clients from the ad, and I entered it into a few competitions and won some awards as well. So I guess that I can say that, at least in this situation, it was one of those “no pain, no gain” situations.
Hiring a consultant is something need to budget for. As I’m sure you would guess, this is not a cheap venture. Although most consultants do have several packages, depending on what sort of help your looking for. This is also a process and another relationship you need to build. It won’t happen overnight.
So, if you’re serious about looking at your path or feel you need some help getting to the next level, a photo consultant is a professional you should consider. Finding one is not a tough task, as most have a web presence. Simply do a search with the specific parameters you require.
As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.