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Marketing

Marketing is all about putting yourself across to potential employers in the right kind of way. The crucial image to project is one of both creativity and professional competence. Every detail of your presentation to potential clients will be taken into account so it’s often a good idea to hold a brief audit prior to sending out any form of pitches. In this context it may be you need to change your e-mail address from one which was funny at university to something a little more professional. Asking potential employers to contact you at ilovebooze4eva@sozzled.com for example, isn't likely to inspire confidence. You also need to be contactable all the time, so ensure your mobile is turned on at all times, that the battery is recharged daily, that the voicemail is turned on, and that you check voicemail and email regularly. It is very much a false economy to turn off the voicemail and rather than saving you money may actually lose you a job.

Your web site must be well designed, easy to navigate, and fully functional. Make sure there are no dead links, and your contact details are easily viewable. Keep it current, and include a list of any work you've done before. This is the simplest way for potential employers to look at your work, so think of it as your primary shop window.

Photographers' cards however are not a thing of the past and remain a crucial element of your presentation. You'll need something striking and personalised, with one of your best shots on it. There’s an old saying however that photographers rarely make the best editors of their own work, and it’s very true. So when choosing a photograph to go on your card, its best to ask other opinions on which image should go on the card, rather than relying solely on your own choice. If you get it right the card will end up pinned on the board next to several picture editors desk, reminding them you’re available for work: so make sure your name, mobile number, e-mail address and web site are on the front of the card.

In terms of your portfolio, be aware you may have to change the content and layout for different pitches. All time spent working on the portfolio and web site is time well spent. Photographers are now taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the new digital photo-book companies and for important jobs frequently putting together individual folios that can be left with potential clients after a folio meeting. For inspiration, have a look at Blurb.com, or Lulu.com. Photobooks can be sent out to potential clients at little cost, and are less disposable than a set of inkjet prints.

Once you start working on your own, the Bureau of Freelance Photographers Market Handbook (available from www.thebfp.com) can be really helpful. It contains an up to date list of the names of picture editors and their phone numbers, as well as tips on the sort of picture they're looking for. Everyone in London is looking for creativity.

Your web site and portfolio are your most important selling tools, so don't skimp! Never forget you need to be constantly working on something self-initiated, and keep the folio and web site up to date. They are a record of your career and your creativity, and their importance cannot be overstated.

Above all, stay up to date, and don't stop taking pictures: picture editors are constantly looking for creative photographers who continue to work on their own self-initiated projects. Keep on top of what's going on in your chosen field, as well as on a wider scale. Read magazines, sign up for RSS feeds, and keep absolutely up to date with the publications you are targeting for work. 

Done all this? Then the next step is to get pitching!