If you’ve been following me over the years, you may have noticed my love for photographing people, resorts or destinations, and products. Recently, I’ve had a few inbound messages asking how I can get my work noticed, featured, or paid for. At the same time, there is no secret recipe or short-cuts in growing any business beyond dumb luck—which has happened in the past. I’ve worked with large companies like Shutterstock Custom (before they were acquired and after), User Content Consultancies, Stock Image websites, dozens of brands directly, and PR agencies. Its collaborations like this I really get excited about.
Two weeks ago, I was in my local store, browsing a whiskey brands library. I follow and work with various brands on social and when traveling always look to see what restaurants or bars keep front and center. While looking at a few, I found a reasonably priced Rye whiskey by Cask & Crew. Cask & Crew is based in Rochester, New York, but the whiskey is a blend of 51% three-year-old Canadian Rye & 49% Kentucky Corn Whiskey that they master blend in NY, which makes for an incredibly smooth and approachable glass of whiskey. Currently, they offer flavored versions of their Rye in Walnut Toffee, Ginger Spice (a new favorite of mine with ginger beer on ice), and Orange Roasted Whiskey (talk about a fast Old Fashion!), which makes it easy to pop and pour a drink or great for those who are just getting into the whiskey space.
After picking up a bottle of the Straight Rye, I enjoyed a tasting at home and captured some content while doing so. Beverage and food photography is a space I’ve begun to really enjoy from the process of crafting, shooting, editing, posting, and connecting with other photographers in the space. Some amazing people in the industry love connecting and creativity! I do it for myself, bringing a different energy to it all.
I tagged Cask & Crew on Instagram, and I then sent them a direct message to offer an opportunity to work together on a small project. They reviewed my portfolio and the opportunity I shared, and the next thing you know, we agreed on a photo project. About a week later, a large box full of their awesome swag and tasty selection of whiskey arrived at my door. I filled my obligation and then asked if I could be more helpful in the future—to which they said, “Yes, on our upcoming campaign!” which included Facebook ADs that I’ve attached real samples of below.
Next week, I connected with their Creative and Brand Director and spent time listening to their goals for the next campaign entitled Reconnecting; something in this season I think we are all ready for… That same week I had a group of awesome friends over, and we crafted, poured, shot, edited, and posted. Sound familiar, right?
I've learned that no connection is by chance, and unless you are a household name in the photography industry, you will often have to put yourself out there to work with big brands. I've had images that people have paid thousands of dollars for and others that barely got any likes at all or yielded no credit to me as the photographer.
Don't let failure slow you down but use it as fuel to land that next opportunity. It's all about finding synergy with those you want to collaborate with and seeing if your work is a good fit on a project basis and then ongoing.
To my fellow photographers, keep working hard to find that synergy and make connections—it's a lot of work but so worth it when you gel with the perfect client. Keep capturing images for yourself and look for ways to influence your paid work.
To clients, thank you for the investment, time, and energy you've put into my work and for continuing to find new ways to create content and images together.
From projects large to small we are here to serve you so you can
focus on what matters most.