‘[Silence]’ or ‘Can I Have A Job?’ Neither Answer Works

Rob Haggart, the former Director of Photography for Men’s Journal and Outside Magazine, runs A Photo Editor. He says he used to get cold calls from freelance photographers that went like this:

caller: Have you been receiving the promos I’ve been sending you?

me: yes.

caller: do you have any questions?

me: no



“can I have a job”

Needless to say, if your goal is to land new freelance clients, this won’t work.

Haggart says a better strategy for photographers is to call first, before sending the portfolio, then follow up with other methods of communication–emails, more clips, winning contests, etc.

As a text producer rather than someone who creates visuals, I can say that calling editors almost never works…email lets the recipient respond on his/her own time, which is something they almost always appreciate.

But some photogs say the game is different for them: “I cannot imagine getting work without a “face to face” with an AD at some point. I figure even with mailings and email, that would have to come from a cold call,” said one shooter. Another spent eight weeks mailing agencies–one week they’d get a postcard, the next they’d get an e-mail, and the next they’d receive a phone call. Landed him six meetings.

One more shooter wrote the following:

You have got to cold call all the time! If you feel that this is to much trouble or you just don’t “like it” go into another business. Our business is a social business that feeds on interaction and I believe it will always remain that way. The skills learned by being on the phone are invaluable in our business – even if you don’t get a job or if you get stone silence from the other side of the phone, something is always learned by the process.

Freelancers: do you cold call? What industry are you in? Does it work?