Photographers sometimes ask me if it’s a good investment to send a CD of their work to a mailing list of photo editors. The answer is “no” — it’s almost never worth the money.
The reason? Photo buyers are known to stand over a wastebasket when they answer their mail. Unsolicited CDs almost always are dropped into the trash. Photo buyers don’t look at the CDs of photographers they don’t know.
Don’t despair, though. It happens in all the creative fields: songwriting, script writing, fiction, music, dance and painting — all of them.
This also doesn’t mean you should give up on direct mail as a form of marketing. I’ve found the following four tools to be effective for mailers:
1. Postcards. There’s no envelope to open, your pitch is on one side and a sample of your photography is on the other side. Standard postcard size will pull just as well as the larger postcard (that costs more to mail.) Some recommended places to find mailing lists of photo editors/art directors: Fresh Lists  (800-322-3985); AdBase  (416-960-4240); and PhotoSourceFolio ; (877-464-6243).
2. Magnets. Those small credit-card-sized notices that have migrated from the fridge to the filing cabinet are an excellent reminder to photo buyers where to find you. Two places to buy them: VistaPrint  and 4imprint .
3. Calendars. If the photo buyer has wall space (at home or office) they might use it, especially if your specialty area matches their special interest theme. But calendars are expensive to produce. Co-marketing idea: talk a local business (such as a nursery, architect, interior designer, etc.) into paying for the entire calendar production in return for your producing the images.
4. Posters. Hardly anyone wants to throw away a poster. But would you be throwing away money? It depends on a few factors — the quality of your image, the mailing list, the size of the poster. You are competing with the top dogs when you are producing posters, but why not? Just be sure to go with quality all the way.
[tags]photography business, photography tips[/tags]