Need Help Marketing Celebrity Portraits

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by dave_jacobs|2, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. I have many images of celebrities. Portrait, documentary/journalistic. Lately i've also been
    turning photographs into collages and photo-art. I've been told i do nice work..
    That being the case, I need someone to market them. Someone with connections, and insight to see their
    potential. Someone to go to the clients, unlike the stock photo agencies who wait for the clients to contact
    them. Someone who gets excited, who can sell collections, and/or one subject at a time.
    I need somebody, great!
    Does anyone know the name of this marketing genius i'm looking for? Does such an excellent agent, or rep
    even exist?
    I've always gotten great advice from photonet, and I thank you in advance.
    Dave J
  2. Something tells me that you do not have model releases/permission. Careful treading there, and I do not think you are going to get very far with this idea. I have shots of several celebrities taken on commissioned photo shoots, etc. And I cannot do anything with them outside of personal portfolio.
  3. Is there enough demand for these images that the seller and the agent and you can get pieces of the pie big enough to make it worthwhile, especially for an agent to insert him/herself into the mix?
    A celebrity could typically have access to an agency or representation where an end user could go directly (like going to "stock") on demand as opposed to an agent trying to push or enlarge a demand to fit the "product" they are trying to sell. You'd also have to tread carefully on the issues of whether the use is protected expression or infringes on their publicity/privacy rights.
  4. when i decided to do some celebrity photographs to add to my portfolio i only would do them as self-assignments, not commissioned. i was a freelance photographer. i always
    asked and receive permission to do one on ones.
    the celebrities never asked to see the images..i am talking about 300 + real celebrity icons, legends and popular personalities of the day. My interest was in making portraits.
    my images would certanly be worth their time invested ...there are so many that are one of a kind.
    my request was for a referral, why are you suggesting that i am not qualified, or that it's unlikely an agent would feel their time is worth investing? can you refer someone or not?
    i haven't had this many negatives since i stopped buying film...LOL!
  5. I think, Dave, you're confusing skepticism about the business model with skepticism about the talent/results.
  6. Sorry, not trying to be negative, and definitely not bashing work I have not seen. It just struck me as extremely odd that if you had such access to celebs, etc, that you would not already know exactly what to do with the photos and where they are going. In other-words, why are you asking on P.Net? Before shooting some of the people that I have photographed I knew EXACTLY where the photos were going, who the client was, intended usage, length of usage, my "rights" for usage, whether or not the photos were exclusive or not (almost all of the time yes meaning I could not ever re-sell them), what I was getting paid, where the photos would end up, circulation, etc. All of this I knew before I even touched the camera. Thus, I figured you might have had a bunch of snap shots you were trying to sell. Do you have a website or any online gallery where I can check out the pics? Whom are they featuring? Is there a market for the pics?
  7. "asked and receive permission to do one on ones"
    And is that written or verbal permission?
  8. i don't think so, i asked for referrals and got assumptions that i didn't know about rights and legalities...and now this....let's assume rather that everything's aok...some sugestions, matt?
  9. You got those assumptions, Dave, because most celebrities' likenesses aren't useful without releases that they simply won't usually sign unless you're already plugged into their marketing/licensiing food chain. Otherwise, it's editorial use only. And the editorial folks know how to use stock tools like Getty and Corbis. They've already got accounts there, and have completely internalized that business model. Unless you're pitching a package that includes other content (such as writing), I'm not sure who you expect your customers to be, exactly.
  10. patrick you knew everything before the shoot because you were hired, i'm not interested in discussing how i got permission or access, i already mentioned though that they were self-assignments...i see that this is not accomplishing anything except putting everyone on the defensive...and what will seeing my work accomplish? I'm done responding to's more like an interagation, (spelling?)... thank you......whew! where's the emoticons when you need them, swine emoticons!
  11. Come on, Dave. You're not being interrogated. Your original post seems to be lacking some context and details that naturally make the people you're talking to wonder what they're missing about the scenario you describe. "Access and permission" (to shoot) have nothing to do with waiving rights of privacy and publicity (via a release). It's normal for people to wonder how this recipe is supposed to work, unless you're talking about strictly editorial use. And you haven't really said what sort of customers/use/licensing you're actually after, here.
  12. c'mon matt, the celebs can sign, then i can sell their autographs...everything will be done properly...who are the customers?..that's up to the marketing people, i would say the fans ...of who?...m. ali, sting, pamela anderson, lil wayne, carmen electra, bb king, maybe tiger woods, that one prob will be a little delicate. is anyone going to answer my question?
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Most of the market for celebrity photographs is through wire services and much of it is time-sensitive. And the ones the celebrities sign are always shot as publicity photographs by studio photographers, not on personal projects. I have friends in both businesses, and it's pretty much a requirement that you work in certain established ways.
    If you really want the answer, you need to go to the rep/agent for each celebrity and find out what they will allow and what they will do to help you. A "marketing genius" is going to take some money to tell you the same thing, if they're good, you can pay them some money for what you can get by signing up at this web site. Not sure what it costs, but it's probably cheaper than a genius looking at it for you.
  14. contacting ea. rep and discussing it is a good idea, but i am not knowledgable retail sales and marketing. that's one of the reasons for hiring an to sell it best.
    ...should the image be a limited edition poster, what would be a great title? what style font? maybe i should make it a bobble-head, where should we sell it, & @ what price? etc, etc...
    hell, i think i'll sell the whole shoebox for a fat fee, and just invest the dough.
    i'll sleep on it, thanks!
  15. Matt, took the words out of my mouth more less. Funny, once upon a time (actually, a few times) I worked as an assistant (one of 8) to a photographer listed on Nikons website under "living legends". The shoots were of Tiger, and Maria for Nike, and lasted about 20 minutes with a budget most likely well into the 6 figures. The hierarchy on set was such that even the assistants were not allowed to speak to the photographer (only the 1st assist - a top national level shooter himself), let alone even look at the talent. When you are working with talent on that level (the house hold name celebs) that is how the shoots go, period. Working as a stills shooter on feature films I have experienced even worse, with the director asking me to get "some snaps" of the "talent" only to have the "talent" virtually rip my head off for doing so without there agents permission, fee's, etc, etc. I am calling you out that you had "access" to these people, that you have there photos, that you have there permission, etc. I am pretty sure that this post was either a bunch of "puffer fish" or is a troll. Sorry, but I am not getting defensive or anything whatsoever. I just smell something "barn-yardy". And I think it is kind of....funny? Either way, if I am wrong (doubt it) I am pretty certain that you are not going to find anyone in professional marketing that would touch this idea with a ten foot pole. And I am pretty certain that would be the case even if you DID have a signed, witnessed model release - because on that level (of the celebs you have "shot" according to above) Celeb's do not sign "typical" model releases. They sign specialized contracts that seek to protect there image, etc. And there lawyers, agents, managers, etc MAKE SURE that not only do they - but that it is highly beneficial to the celeb. to do so. Like the TV spot I worked on where Jeff Gordon got paid $$$$$$ for three sentences and 7 seconds of "face time". And believe me; how, when, where, why, who, and how much were all well negotiated long before Jeff ever made it to the Ad Agency's story boards. That is how it works in the real world. I have met many celebs randomly (and can care less - it is the supercars that get my blood flowing) and although they might take a snap shot with the occasional fan you can rest assured they do not do shoots with random people as favors. I do not care who they are (well, unless it is a certain freestyle MX star that you grew up with but that is the one in a million exception). I took the thread seriously at first but now I realize that it is one of those "My mustang ran the quarter mile in 6 seconds and dusted a Veyron last night" threads that I see in Car/Bike forums, etc. I love to come on here and help/offer legitimate advice. Even your "everything will be done properly" is incorrect because if it were true then your business idea as proposed would be technically unethical and possibly illegal (or at least open to hardcore lawsuits).
    Sorry dude, prove it with a link to your work or you know you live under a bridge with a goat.
  16. [​IMG]huhh? sorry, i don't have a decoder ring!
  17. ha ha! But you have a Goat! That is rule! lol....
  18. First of all Dave, you've gone completely on the defensive (and frankly, sometimes to the point of being insulting yourself) without any justification. You put forth a proposition which, to most photographers sounds a bit "iffy". What you basically said was that you went out and got good shots of celebrities and now you want someone to help you sell those images on. What put everyone (and frankly, me too) on the questioning side was this: ALL celebrities, bar NONE, have literally thousands of images of themselves being sent to them for free or are even paid to sit for a shoot by some of the photography big names out there. They are being photographed pretty much during every part of their lives and, as a result, don't really care to spend money on buying an image of themselves, regardless of how good it may be, when usually it's the other way around.
    True, legally you do need official, written, releases to commercially exploit a person's likeness - even if that person's likeness is already on, say, every can of soup currently sold! And let me tell you, I don't know of a single celebrity who would sign a model release to an unidentified photographer! Most of the time, the studios which represent them have them in ironclad contracts which cover pretty much everything. If you do not have those releases, then the only people who could potentially use those photos are newspaper and magazine editors who want to illustrate a story (news or feature - it doesn't make any difference), but in those cases you will MOST likely run into another set of "problems": editorial images are VERY time-sensitive, in other words, they are on demand for, say, a few hours after the event in which they were captured, and certainly not days, weeks or months later. Second, newspapers and magazines, MOST of the time, have standing contracts with paparazzi who's LIVING is made from hunting down celebrities for images. And third, most of the time, most respected newspapers and magazines have but to REQUEST an image from the celebrity's agent and they will get it, for free, immediately.
    So, to cut a long story short, sure, you could potentially approach an image/marketing/media agent, hand him/her over your portfolio and then s/he can start going from door to door attempting to sell images. Frankly - and I'm being brutally frank here (and if you cannot stand that kind of honesty then maybe you don't belong here in the first place) - I very much doubt it will attract much interest. In fact, it might even land you in some pretty hot water if one of the celebrities your agent approaches takes offence at you attempting to sell their images.
    Still, I wish you luck...just be careful.
  19. In fact, it might even land you in some pretty hot water if one of the celebrities your agent approaches takes offence at you attempting to sell their images.​
    They may take offence but if no image has actually been sold yet there's not much they can do.
  20. [​IMG]nuff said...?
  21. Dave, have you even LOOKED at the images you screeshot-ed here? They are professionally take portraits, studio portraits, quite possibly taken on commission FOR SALE by none other than GETTY Images. Chances are Getty PAID those celebrities for those images so it can sell them later. What you proposed in your original post was not the same - far from it actually.
    Have you seen any casual, on-the-fly photos of celebrities on sale in reputable stock photography houses?
    By the way, I'm beginning to have an issue with your attitude....
  22. marios, in reading your post, you remark, "They......don't really care to spend money on buying an image of themselves, regardless of how good it may be, when usually it's the other way around."
    ...where did you come up with this? I never said i was offering to sell the celebrities pictures of themselves! wow, give me a break, if that's what you thought you really don't know what you're talking about.
  23. Dave, please dude...give up. You have been exposed as a blatant fraud and liar. What do you get out of this? Does it boost your ego? Do you live in a pathological lie? Do you like to stir stuff up? Admit it - you were the guy back in the day decked out in Vision Street Wear head to toe that could not even pivot a skateboard. Anyway, if you want to fantasize you took those photos that you stole from online pretend to everyone that you took them than that is your business. I think that might cross into what psychologists call "sociopath behavior" but hey...some people live there lives telling people they were war hero's. Like them, there must be some huge underlying insecurity or something driving such a state of mental illness - the desperate need for acceptance (or approval) brought about by pathological lying. Even online. Sorry, just an umpire here. No hard feelings whatsoever - honestly.
  24. thanks for the complement patrick, not only did i take those images, i was one of the 'founding' photographers with contour photos when mediavast formed the exclusive portrait division.
  25. Dave, I accept that maybe you never intended to sell to celebrities - however I was not directly answering you. I was merely making a point. And, I'm sorry to say, I may not know the market for Hollywood celebrities, but I have shot, professionally, my fair share of celebrities here and let me tell you, they seriously don't need to pay for the shoot - let alone the images. It's ALWAYS part of the contract that they get copies for free. Maybe, after all, it's you who doesn't know what you're talking about.
    Pnet is a friendly, collaborative place and everyone who answers does so purely out of interest and is always well meaning. You launched attacks on people who expressed a healthy dose of skepticism and you did that rudely and with a complexic attitude that was neither justifiable nor appropriate. You are, quite frankly, a very problematic person who deserves neither our time nor entry into Pnet and I will recommend to the forum admins they ban you from the site. Most of us are here to help each other, often by presenting the blatant truth, and not to have some petulant immature little brat question our motives, our experience and expertise and waste our time.
    I pity the people who will work with you...
  26. Dave - you have been completely exposed as a liar and a faker. Please go away. So when exactly did you take those photos? How come there is no record of you at Getty? Honestly, I feel sorry for you in a weird way. It really must be sad to live such a pathetic existence that you are forced to attempt acceptance from complete strangers via means of blatant lies and a lousy attempt to present yourself as something you are certainly NOT. Dave, I am going to be the one to say it - you are a liar, pure, plain, and simple. Maybe one day you will find true identity and feel secure with yourself, and I hope so. It is not healthy to build an "online persona" based completely around Bovine Scatology. Seriously - sooner or later you are going to completely loose grip of reality if you do not reel yourself in now.
  27. Patrick, let's not waste any more time with this person. He does not deserve it.
    And seriously, IF the inflection was that the portraits in the Getty screenshot WERE Dave's, then you're most probably right...he is, unfortunately, a liar and not a very good one. ANY photographer who's ever SHOT anything can immediately see through...
    Pity...who knows, maybe it'll take a lawsuit by one of the celebrities he's allegedly shot to wake him up...
  28. marios, it wasn't enough that you fabricated information in your post, after i confronted you about it you repeated the same missinformation again, in the next post?...and now you dare to threaten me and then say what a friendly group photo net is?
    you and patrick are total morons, and i don't mean that in a rude way, get lost...
    you've already been reported.
  29. lol. ok. Marios and I have actual real experience and knowledge to contribute....I will be happy to go away from a troll like yourself because like Marios stated "lets not waste any more time with this person. He does not deserve it". I was thinking the same thing. I am here to help people, educate, become educated, and contribute. I am sorry that it has devolved into this, but somehow I assume you had zero intention as to receiving an intelligent answer. All of your posts seem to be of this nature - ignorant questions posed by someone who knows absolutely nothing of what they are talking about seeking of a self important (ego boosting response to the lie) reply. Like if I were to go on the Ferrari Fans Website and ask "what kind of gas do I put in my Enzo?". Luckily I am not the one who has to live with it - but you are the one who has to look himself in the mirror.
  30. refer to previous post january 2009. no response then. why plugging it all again dave?
  31. Go to not pass go.
    We have a government watchdog down here who would love to look at this. Its called IP Australia.
  32. thank you all for your assistance, name calling, slander and hate..
    fwiw, my contour page happens to be authentic and is posted on the net.
    favorite post:.. "Pnet is a friendly, collaborative place and everyone who answers does so purely out of interest and is always well meaning." quote, marios.
    i'm done reading the thread...i wish you all instant karma.
  33. This is actually a pretty funny thread. I've been on PN for over a dozen years and I don't think I have ever seen such a terrible reaction to so much excellent advice.
    To the PN regulars, kudos for giving very good advice to someone so completely unwilling to listen.
  34. I always arrive after the party is over. Not having read the middle 80% of the thread may leave me at a disadvantage but in response to the original post:
    It is not the agent or gallery owner who sells famous celebrity images it is either the renown of the photographer through a lifetime of photographic work i.e. Ritts, Weber, Avedon, Leibovitz- fame of the person for work in another medium (usually acting) who then puts out a book of images shooting their friends or people they're working with- or least common, fame of the subject, invariably dead, recent books of Monroe (the last shoot) and Elvis (early pre war career B&Ws) come to mind.
    The prohibitive cost of high quality photobooks-exhibition prints too for that matter- often require a sponsor/charitable cause to be involved. I have found books from a pro photographer to likely be in line with couture collections from fashion designers, i.e. more for support/ servicing of the brand than for outright profit.
  35. I'm wondering how the book sold?

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