28: Don Giannatti, Photographer and Designer



Simple_ShotMeet creative mind, Don Giannatti. He has been a commercial photographer, a musician, a teacher, an author, and a designer. Talk about a unique group of specialties! He loves jazz and classical music, taking roadtrips, hiking, extensive travel, Mexican food, and says that making pictures keeps him out of trouble. Mostly.

Among the topics we chat about in this episode, we touch on some extremely practical tips about reaching out and making contact with ad agencies, as well as the importance of being persistent and disciplined with periodically contacting your prospect list.

I want to give a huge thank you to Don for taking the time to chat with us! I consider myself as much a student as the listening audience, and appreciate him sharing his extensive knowledge.


Don’s Mantra – Make “Three touch points a day.”


Top 3 Tips From the Interview:

1. You have to reach out to at least three potential contacts every single day to gain traction with your business.

One of the most frequent complaints out there among budding photographers is that they don’t have enough clients. The absolutely necessary, but not so easy remedy to this is to take action every single day and reach out to potential prospects, be it ad agencies magazines, book publishers, etc. Don recommends making at least 3 touch points a day, which means reaching out to at least three people/companies via email, phone, or even LinkedIn.

It’s true, we often encounter discouragement and fear at the prospect of cold-calling or emailing, but it’s also true that you won’t get new clients if you don’t put yourself out there. This is what differentiates the professional, successful photographers with the hobbyists. The pro put themselves out there.

2. Find out what type of work ad agencies want before you contact them.

It’s common sense to research what an agency needs before sending them samples of your work, and yet so many photographers skip this step. Let’s face it: sending photos of filet mignon to an ad agency that needs wildlife photography won’t get you very far. Do your research and then send work that is extremely targeted to their needs.

3. Once you’ve made contact, be persistent (but not obnoxious). Keep in touch periodically.

Getting a “No.” or a “We’re not looking for photos right now,” should not be the end of the road when you reach out to a company. Make sure to follow up at periodic intervals down the line, because chances are the time may come when they actually do need your photography. For example, magazines, which can publish monthly or quarterly, may not need your work the first time you reach out to them, but the time may eventually come when a particular photo or shot style in your samples catches their eye for an upcoming issue.

So how often should you stay in touch, you ask? It depends on the company, but Don says,”In general, once every quarter is not enough, but once a month is too much.”


Don Can Be Found At:

» DonGiannatti.com: His website for his visual media consulting firm.

» DonGiannattiPhotography: His photography website.

» On social media, he’s known as Wizwow. Check him out!

» Lighting-Essentials.com: Where he does his writing, with a focus on the emerging commercial professional. You will find information on business, motivation, and philosophy. They also like to feature photographers.

Recommended Resources

» CreativeLive.com: Online creative classes taught by the world’s experts.