There are a wide variety of different types of companies and individuals who seek out and hire commercial photographers.
In short, they are:
• advertising agencies
• design firms
• marketing and creative firms
• publishers and small businesses
There’s also a growing number of non-specific, one-stop-shop creative digital firms that provide a wide range of services to their clients, including photography.
Who will you hear from, and who should you contact in your marketing efforts?
Every company is different when it comes to the job titles of employees whose jobs involve sourcing photographers, and many companies get creative when it comes to titles. I’ve received shoot inquiries from individuals before whose job titles have left me scratching my head wondering what exactly they do for the company. But generally you’ll hear from roughly the same types of employees.
Here are the job titles you are most likely to hear from when receiving a commercial inquiry.
Ad agencies (‘agency’): art buyers, account managers, art producers, print producers, art directors, creative directors.
Generally if the agency is large, you’ll be communicating with one of their art buyers as opposed to a creative director or art director. Sometimes you’ll be communicating with an account manager, or other non-specific job title.
(Tip: When marketing to ad agencies, it’s best to target the art buyers, since those are your front-line agency contacts.)
Design firms: creative director, design director, creative manager, graphic designer, etc.
Company/brand (this is called ‘client-direct’): marketing directors, associate marketing directors, founders (small companies/businesses), owners (small companies/businesses), communication manager, graphic designer, art buyer, etc. (There are a wide range of different employee types you’ll encounter when doing ‘client-direct’ work).
Publishers: art researchers, art buyers, print producers, etc.
Freelance art buyers: these individuals are contracted by agencies and other firms to source photography talent.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you an idea of who you might be working with regularly.