Theory & Practice

How To Get Ahead in Advertising

Three Magnum photographers and three leading creatives deliver an insider's insight into how to get work shooting for brands.

From Olivia Arthur's contribution to Self 07' for Saint Laurent, curated by Anthony Vaccarello. London, March 2022 © Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos.

What do creatives want from a photographer? What research should you do before you meet a client? What is the art producer’s role? How do you prepare an estimate?

These and many other vital yet rarely answered questions are addressed in next month’s three-part live seminar series, ‘From Personal Projects to Professional Assignments: Working on Today’s Advertising Shoots,’ featuring three Magnum photographers alongside some of the world’s leading creatives.

Among them is Jonathan Ferrari, Art Director at AMI Paris and formerly a photographer’s agent, who recently collaborated with 13 Magnum photographers on a very special project about Family. A collaboration between the agency and the French fashion brand, the project gave the Magnum photographers (and two guest artists) carte blanche to interpret the theme as they wished and to then present their work as a group project that resulted in a book and traveling exhibition (starting in Paris, below).

Launch exhibition of Family, a collaboration between AMI and Magnum, at Espace Commines in Paris, September 30 to October 2.

It was Ferrari that came up with the concept, as he explained in an interview ahead of the project’s launch in Paris in September. “We were coming out of this period of Covid and the world wasn’t going very well. I directed myself toward the idea of the family. It’s a feeling that we need to have back. Family is simple, family is emotional. The idea of comfort and going back to your roots and finding a connection with those around you is important.

“I began talking with Nikandre [Koukoulioti, Magnum’s Paris-based Advertising & Fashion Development Manager], and we looked at the photographers that Magnum represents. She showed me some of their books, and 30 minutes later, we had the project.”
Ferrari will lead the last of three live online seminars on December 8, addressing that question of what creatives want from a photographer, and giving a creative director’s perspective on how brands communicate to varied audiences on different platforms.

Alongside him will be Lua Ribeira, whose commercial assignments include a recent extended commission from a region in South Korea.

The Range Rover Velar is seen driving along a rugged dirt road among the towering Danxia rockfaces. Ping Shan Lake Canyon, China, 2018 © Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos.

The three seminars run one per day, December 6-8, between noon and 2 p.m. EST. The first, titled ‘Matching Photographer to Assignment’, is led by Jonas Bendiksen, who has shot campaigns for HSBC, Fuji and Land Rover, and Kaia Hemming, Director of Art Production at Y&R New York, who has produced award-winning work for clients including Pfizer, Rolex and Microsoft. They will cover aspects such as how to handle a first call with a creative, and what is the most important information to glean.

Aesop Eidesis Campaign, London, July 2022 © Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos.
From Olivia Arthur's contribution to 'Self 07' for Saint Laurent, curated by Anthony Vaccarello. London, March 2022 © Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos.

The second, on December 7, is titled ‘Meeting and Managing Client’s Needs and Expectations’. Olivia Arthur, who has shot for brands including Aesop, Burberry and who contributed to the AMI collaboration, and Kaduri Elyashar, a creative director who worked with both Magnum and Saint Laurent earlier this year on a joint project curated by Anthony Vaccarello. They will talk teamwork and how to prepare before meeting a client, and how to follow up with treatments and estimates.

During each seminar, the photographers will provide a unique insight into their approach to making commercial and editorial work, sharing the projects that helped land them advertising assignments. “As advertisers explore new ways to communicate with consumers, they are hiring photographers who can apply their vision, style and ingenuity while creating advertising work,” explains the course description, adding: “The photographers will describe how they created and delivered images in their own style that served their clients’ needs.”

The events will take place on Zoom Video Webinar, and afterward a recording of each seminar will be sent out, which can be viewed for a month. They will be moderated by Holly Hughes, former Editor in Chief of Photo District News.

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