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How to Contact Clients

Lesson 36 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

How to Contact Clients

Lesson 36 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

36. How to Contact Clients

This episode is for photographers who have prepared to reach out to prospective clients or have reached out without much success. The problem is that most photographers pitch the wrong people, the wrong way and fail at it. This episode gives photographers a systematic approach to preparing their pitch and reaching out to the brand.


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

How to Contact Clients

(dramatic tones) New ways to reach clients. With this episode I wanna give you a systematic approach to reaching out to your clients. Okay, so you've seen in the episodes before, the amount of work that goes into building a portfolio, and having a media kit. Now that hopefully you've built your arsenal we can start using it. The idea is that we come over prepared, and the mission is pitching clients. So let's do this. (computer key clicking) Here's a checklist before we begin. Number one, we love or use the products of the brand we're about to reach out. Number two, we have built a portfolio based on spec shoots that match the brand's aesthetic. Number three, we have made a straightforward, and engaging media kit to introduce ourselves to the brand. So if we have all three, we can now start. (computer key clicking) This is when the internet is our best brand. For any brand we wanna reach out, especially a big one, there is a person who is our best shot, right? There's a human there. ...

Roles of that person can range from digital marketing manager, marketing coordinator, social media manager, creative producer. It all depends on the structure of the company, how big it is, or how small it is. To find the right contact, I use either LinkedIn, or Okay, so let me show you an example of how I use these two tools to find a contact. (computer key clicking) We find our contact. Now it's time to craft our cold email. And here's a list of things that I wanna make sure you do. Number one, you make it about them. What do they get out of your idea? Number two, you keep it short and friendly. Just a few lines in that email, not too much. Number three, you wanna leave them wanting more. It's a delicate balance between saying too much and not saying enough. It's like a push or pull exercise. Number four, don't forget to include the link to your portfolio and media kit in the email. Now let's turn tables the other way. You have received my fair share of job applications over the years, and this one I wanna show you is one that stands out. This is the email. So hey Alex, I hope are you doing well. My name is something, something, I'm a filmmaker from Vancouver. So he introduced himself, right? And he has a lot of kind things to say to me about what I do, which is a good way to introduce yourself to somebody. Always goes a long way to compliment somebody. Then the second line, he's saying he's got idea for me already. So, boom, I am engaged. He's mentioning a video where he saw me before, and then he's gonna start talking about his idea. He actually has something really interesting and challenging. You know what we talk about in the first part of the workshop about challenging perceptions. Here he is saying, I've seen your portrait films, like on YouTube, that brands, when they make a portrait about somebody. Say portrait films usually serve the purpose to be very artistic and be can be quite manufactured. So he's starting with a problem. He's like, I've seen content of you. It's good, but it could be a bit manufactured. What if we do raw stuff? That's what he's saying in the first three lines. Then he's got an example to demonstrate that he's saying he's been this YouTuber named John Alsop, who's a pro skier and just started a YouTube account and has grown into many thousand subscribers. So he's like, he's proof that this works right. He's showing me that. And then third paragraph, he explained his idea. He's saying that, you know, the world would love to see what I do. And that vlogging would help me a lot in my career, and bring opportunities as well as income. So he is like, ooh, he's being precise. And he's showing the upside of working together. Super smart. Remember when I tell you, make it about them, right? This is not about him at all. It's all about me. That's why I'm engaged. And then he explains in the last paragraph who he is. He's been running a video production company, especially he's an outdoor adventurer. So it's, you know, he's saying he means business, right? He's established, he's got a company, cool. This company doesn't seem to need him. And he can follow stories, he can pursue stories he wants to do. Sounds beautiful. And then he sees that our shooting styles and content are very similar, and we could benefit from having an (mumbles) documentary. He wants to come for the ride and document the whole thing. He'd love to hear my thoughts. Awesome, so this was in December 22 of 2016. So a couple of years ago. So I ended up having a call with this filmmaker, and we ended up working together to actually start my YouTube account. So it worked, he got my attention. And I've received a few of these, but I thought this guy's was really well crafted, because it challenges perceptions. He's like, we can do better. This is a new way to see it. Here's how it works. Here's how people are successful with it. And then he's saying, here's where you're gonna get out of this. And then he's saying, why he's the best person to do it. He's got a production company. Four things, boom, sold. Let's continue with other approaches. Instagram DM. It's useful, of course, when you have an audience, right? And you have a feed that matches the brand you're going after, because it instantly establishes your credibility, right? This is your work and you see you have an audience, likely you're gonna get a reply, right? So it's not for everybody, but powerful way. The cold phone call. This, you know, we live in a world that lives online more and more, right? And the cold call is one of the ways that you can stand out in a very simple manner, right? The biggest thing to consider is how to not feel like an annoying creep, right? That's what you gotta do right. And just be honest with yourself. Are you the one who's always calling your friends and you love talking on the phone for hours to people? Then yes, go for this because your style, you know your personal style is gonna shine across. Then yeah, go for this, because your personal style is actually gonna shine across. If you are on the other hand are a bit awkward on the phone, maybe don't try this method, right. Because it's just gonna be a waste of your time, there's other ways for you. With a cold phone call the idea is pretty simple. You literally call the front desk of a brand you wanna reach out, introduce yourself, and you ask to talk to the marketing manager. Oh, hey, I'm Alex. I have this idea. I'm a photographer. I wanna talk to the marketing manager. I know his name. I found him on LinkedIn, like I just showed you. Oh, can I talk to them? So there's large chances that they put you in touch with that person, and it goes straight to voicemail, or the person doesn't pick up, or they'll actually have instructions. And they're like, sorry, this person is busy. Maybe call back tomorrow. Or they said, to not be disrupted today, right. Either way, be polite, leave a message, and hope for a call back. Wait for five days, and if nothing's happened, nobody's called you back, then try again. If after two times you can't get ahold of that person, move on, it's not worth your time. If after two times you just can't get ahold of that person, just move on, right. It's not worth your time. There's a ton of awesome brands out there. And your persistence will be rewarded, but just respect people's times and privacy. Here's another one, snail mail, or just literally the art of sending things via mail. One of the other ways that you can make yourself noticed is by sending a very personal letter with a printed portfolio, or a cool object that you've built with your portfolio inside of it, to that brand, you wanna reach out to. You see all companies have an HQ where their teams work, right. That information is public on the internet. You just have to find the address, the right contact, and send your neat package. Here's an example from Julian Piha, who's a photographer and filmmaker from Italy. He put together this really cool package. He shot, you know, a spec job for this brand, put it in a package, and sent it to them. He's gonna tell us what he did. Basically, he just takes walking into the brand's HQ, and politely asking to meet with a marketing person. So hi, I'm Alex, I'm a photographer. I wanna talk with so and so, she's a marketing manager. Can I? So I'll advise using this method in combination with the phone call or the email, right. So get ahold of them via phone, and tell 'em you'd like to come in, or just go somewhere for a coffee. For example, send the email with your portfolio, tell them you have a printed version of your book that you wouldn't like to show them. Or that you have an idea you'd like to go over with them, and see if they can meet for a quick coffee. Tell 'em maybe 15, 20 minutes. They might be happy to just get outta the office. But when you meet them, just make it about them. And if you have good intentions, good intentions meaning, you're doing this in the client's interest, you'll be amazed at how far you can go with this technique. So here's an example to talk about in-person meetings. Back in 2012, I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia with pretty much without a dime to my name. And I wanted to work with the Canadian Tourism Office. It's called the CTC back then. Just because I was shooting a lot of photos of Canada on my free time, I was just going out on adventures. And I was super excited. I was working at this furniture store, and I didn't have a ton of resources to go make shoots, but I was going out as much as I could. And they sent this letter to my house. How they found the address, I don't know, it's the government, but there's a letter with a little film case that said, thank you for showing you beautiful photos of Canada. You know, gratefully, the CTC, Canadian Tourism Commission. And their address was on it. So what did I do? Next day I just went and bought a bunch of muffins, and then showed up at their office. They're like, who are you? And like, oh, I got this letter. I wanna say, thank you. And like, okay, have a seat. Anyways, I ended up going into the meeting, with the VP of marketing, and then their marketing coordinator. And they're like, hi, hi, what would you like? Like, oh, I just wanna say, thank you, and I have an idea. At the time I had a couple thousand followers on Instagram, so I had some sort of credibility to them, because had reached out to me. So I was like, I've seen that the CTC doesn't have an Instagram account. What if I just helped you start one, and then we do a trip somewhere cool in Canada, and you know, we get you some photos? Long story short, they ended up saying yes. And then I've produced my first ever trip for the government of Canada, and invited a few photographers I really admired. Derek Chambers, Michael O'Neil, Finn Beales, who you've seen a workshop from. And Corey Abul, so this cool gang I put together. I didn't know them at all, put together this cool trip, and we went to explore Canada. And it all started from this little letter that I decided to just take some courage and go see them, and putting some FaceTime with people that can lead, you know, so far Getting an introduction. This is the smartest way to reach out to a client. It's literally lateral thinking. Obviously it has a pretty difficult pass of entry, right? Because you have to get an introduction from a person that is relevant to a desired point of contact at the brand. I know creatives who only reach out to a brand with this method. They're not gonna bother reaching out otherwise. They just wanna get an intro. So the more connected you get in the outdoor industry, the more you can use this wild card. It's like a cheat sheet almost, 'cause you're getting this direct access. The best way to build contacts fast in this industry, is to attend shows like Outdoor Retailer in Denver. It happens twice a year. And with one trip there, you're gonna gather 40 business cards maybe. Just when you go to these events and actually any time you can in life, just treat everyone as if they're the most important person on earth, and they will give that love back to you. And it'll probably turn into a good relationship.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work