Read our list of 7 of the best photography agencies including United National Photographers, Soho Management, and JSR Agency.
Photography is a difficult line of work to succeed in. All you want to do is fuel your creative spirit and shoot beautiful photos, but the majority of your time is filled with extra jobs and demanding tasks like hustling to find new clients, negotiating fees and promoting your services. These things can put an enormous drain on your time and resources and prevent you from getting out there and doing what you love.
If you are a photographer and looking to advance in your career, you may benefit from enlisting the services of a photography agency. A photography agency will handle the business side of your work for a fee. They will match you with clients, promote your work, take care of the financial and legal technicalities of each shoot, as well as guiding you to improve your skills and progress in your career.
There are so many photography agencies out there, many of whom specialise in a particular genre of photography. Some specialise in different themes, such as architecture, fashion, or music, while others may tailor to corporate or editorial clients. Some agencies may be local to a particular area, and others will work with international photographers. Whatever field of photography you work with, you will be able to find an agency to suit you.
The advantages and disadvantages of working with a photography agency
You may be having doubts about whether an agency is right for you, and that’s understandable. It all depends on the way you work and your career priorities. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of working with a photography agency.
- Connections: A photography agent will know the business inside and out and have a wealth of relevant connections and contacts to help you. By working with an agent, you open yourself up to a whole new world of opportunities.
- Improved client relations: When you work with an agency, they will be the first point of contact for all current and potential clients. They will keep the client happy and update them on progress, saving you the trouble. They also deal with problem clients and unhappy customers for you and keep relationships smooth and trouble-free.
- Help with negotiations: Negotiating rates is one of the most challenging aspects of working for yourself in a creative career. You know the value of your work, and you shouldn’t have to settle for less than it is worth. An agent will take care of this for you, fighting tirelessly to get you the best possible rate. They have a wealth of experience in negotiation and will offer more clout when going head to head with a money-hungry client.
- More time on your hands: One of the biggest draws of working with an agency is that it will dramatically free up your schedule. You will no longer have to worry about managing your business, as your agent shoulders an enormous part of your current workload. Use this extra time to take more photos, work harder on your edits or enjoy more personal time.
- No guarantee of work: While your agent is working hard to get you work, it doesn’t mean they will always succeed. You can’t put all the responsibility for your success on the agency, and you will still need to actively seek new clients and projects.
- Loss of client connections: Although having an agent to handle your client relationships can be hugely positive, it can also be damaging to the relationship. When the client always goes through the agency, a happy customer puts their faith in them, rather than you. It is essential to maintain an active presence in all projects and maintain your client relationships.
- Financial setback: Working with an agent comes at a cost, which is usually a 25-30% cut of your income. This can be frustrating, particularly if you don’t see a massive uptake in work right away. But a good agent should always be able to make you far more money than they cost.
If you are convinced you would benefit from working with a photography agency, here are seven of the best ones currently working in the UK.
UNP is the UK’s leading photography agency, with over twenty years of experience. They work with newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, PR, and marketing firms, including such high-profile clients as Lloyds Banking Group, Rolls Royce and Barclays. They are more suited to working with high-quality, corporate and editorial style photographers.
Location: London and New York
Soho Management is a London- and New York-based agency specialising in entertainment, fashion, advertising and art. Their portfolio is creative and artistic, and they are always on the lookout for the next up-and-coming talent.
AMP is an agency representing a select number of passionate photographers and directors, with a focus on creating innovative content for films and stills. They have worked with clients such as Adidas, Nike and L’Oreal.
The agency focuses on three areas:
- Art direction
Alongside this versatility is a “human approach” to the impact they make with their images.
4. JSR Agency
JSR Agency is a photography talent management agency with an extensive roster of world-class photographers encompassing a wide range of genres including automotive, landscape and fashion.
In the past decade, JSR photographers have won a variety of awards and accolades and worked with the likes of Sony, Nike and Coca-Cola. This has been achieved with a mix of dedication, hard work, and a love of the craft.
Lucid Representation is a London-based photography agency, working in several genres including portraiture, lifestyle, food, kids, interiors, still life and travel photography. They are a friendly and lighthearted agency with a colourful, eye-catching output.
Their photographers have worked with the likes of Waitrose, The Savoy, Johnnie Walker, and a range of newspapers including The Guardian, The Observer, and The Financial Times.
Wonderhatch is a visual content agency focused on producing the most striking film and photography in the world. Working globally, they operate in areas such as consumer luxury brands, professional services, hospitality, property and the automotive industry.
Their work goes through three stages—from concept to production and finally, delivery and they have worked with the likes of Bombay Sapphire, Jaguar, and the FA.
Panos Pictures is an agency based in London which works with some of the most experienced award-winning photographers in the world. They specialise in global social issues and have covered such important topics as poverty, natural disasters and refugee crises.
There is a lot to think about when deciding whether or not to work with a photography agency. You need to ensure they are the right agency to suit the style and genre of your work and that they will give you the freedom to pursue your passion as you wish.
You also need to ensure that they provide enough value for your investment to be worthwhile. If you pick the right photography agency, you will enjoy the benefits of more time, improved client relationships and career progression.
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