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February 3rd, 2009

When is the right time to approach a rep about editorial work?

Posted by Jasmine DeFoore

Jasmine DeFoore is a rep with Redux in NYC and she has kindly agreed to answer photographers’ pressing questions about working with reps. Check out her next post: How do you get a meeting with a rep and what should you bring when you do?
An image from Christopher LaMarca's Forest Defenders series. © Christopher LaMarca

An image from Christopher LaMarca's Forest Defenders series, which Redux helped fund after LaMarca approached the agency with the partially completed project. © Christopher LaMarca

Finding the right time to approach a rep is a delicate thing. If you go before you have work that will impress them, then you stand the chance of making a bad first impression and not getting a second chance.  But if you wait until you think you have the perfect book, you might miss a valuable opportunity for feedback that can improve your work.  It is always great if you can make a first strong impression, but it’s not necessary.  What you do need is work that catches the eye of the rep so they keep you in mind. That way they let you stay in touch and give you a chance to come back and see them when you have new work.

I think for photographers with personal projects or feature stories they are working on, it’s fine to contact a rep early on to show them the project and get feedback. Be up front when you initially contact a rep; let them know that you have a story that might interest them, and that you are looking for feedback. At Redux we are always looking for interesting stories to consider syndicating, so we get something out of these meetings too.

In 2004 I was turned on to a new photographer, Christopher LaMarca, who had recently completed the documentary program at ICP.  He was working on a story about young environmental activists in Oregon, and he had been arrested on one of his first trips.  He came to Redux to show us the work he had and to get feedback. The story was strong, he was shooting it in an interesting way, and we wanted to help him continue the project.  We ended up covering half of his expenses to go back to Oregon to shoot more, one thing led to another, we started showing his work for assignments, and now we represent him.

If you have a portfolio instead of a specific story (say you’re a food or interiors photographer), be sure that what is in the book is high quality and that you are proud of each picture before showing it.  If that means that you have to take out half the images and are left with only 20 pictures, then so be it.  It’s better that you show 20 solid images than 50 mediocre ones.

No matter when you see  a rep, try to get them to give you constructive criticism. Don’t leave with a vague “thanks for sharing your work, stay in touch.”  Find out what specifically they liked, what images they would take out, and how they prefer to stay in touch.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Photographers, do you have stories of successful meetings with reps? What made the difference? Reps, do you like to see projects that are in process or only finished ones?


  1. July 21st, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Phil Thornton

    Great post but only complaint is it isn’t long enough! How do we find reps that best fit our goals? How do you make that first contact? In Person? Email? Phone? Thanks for the info!

  2. May 7th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Les défenseurs de la forêt – Christopher Lamarca « RapporteursPhoto

    […] vers l’article de Resolve ( aucun commentaire | Tags: christopher lamar, forest defender, redux pictures […]

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