Week 9: Amy Simmons – M&C Saatchi

This presentation offered a very interesting insight into the commercial world of photography and explained the processes of commissioning photographers for advertising campaigns and the different stages of involvement, including the different roles of agency professionals.  The talk covered the many ways photographers are discovered and expressed the importance of portfolio reviews and industry events for networking.  I was interested to learn that it is personal work that often attracts attention;  “I often try to commission people based on their personal work rather than their commercial work.” (Simmons)

There are so many considerations that an agency makes when working with a photographer, from technical ability and passion for a subject, to availability for a fixed set of dates.  It was interesting to hear that Art Directors vary their approach; some directors will work collaboratively with the photographer and will be open to discussion, others prefer to be more in control and keep ownership of a project.  What came across was that communication and confidence are key in the commercial world of advertising.

There was a lot of useful information in this presentation, including insights into budgeting, contingency, scheduling, treatments, pre-production meetings, contracts, the shoot, key terms and acronyms, the approval process, etc.  All this considered, at the end of the presentation, advice was to “… be yourself. I think we can always tell if someone is not being, and I think it’s really important when you are talking about your own work and your own passions that you just do so in a really honest way.”

The optional brief given by Amy to work on will be an interesting exercise, and one I aim to revisit following my forthcoming hand in dates.