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Some tips from Horton Stephens on how to become a successful photographer’s agent

April 23, 2015 by


We interviewed London’s leading photographer’s agents Horton Stephens to find out some interesting things about their work, their secret for their success and much more.

“We have a reputation for solving problems, not creating them, for production excellence, for making our clients’ lives easier. Don’t take our word for it…ask anyone”

Wilson Hennessy

Photographer: Wilson Hennessy

Production Paradise: Horton – Stephens is the London’s leading photographer’s agents for over 20 years now, what is your “secret” for such success?

Horton – Stephens: Dogged determination, gritted teeth and a thick skin. Being surrounded by fantastic, supportive photographers and filmmakers helps too!

Jan Steinhilber

Photographer: Jan Steinhilber

Production Paradise: Tell us a bit more about “Platform” this very exciting new section of your website?

Horton – Stephens: Yes, we’re excited about it too. There’s some really great talent out there and sometimes it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves purely because it’s so difficult to reach the people that commission photography. I participated in an association of photographers folio critique recently and this struck me again when I saw a couple of great talents who seemed lost in terms connecting with clients. They seemed demoralised by the business end of our industry yet their work absolutely shone out. So, platform is our way of giving, from the many people we see each year, a very small number of our favourites, their own “shop window”. We’ve got three great photographers taking part at the moment and in some ways their raw enthusiasm rubs off on us. It’s going to be really exciting seeing them deal with projects, the idea being that though they themselves might be recent arrivals in the commercial world, clients benefit from our experience and production skills to ensure not just a positive outcome but something really fresh.

James Bowden

Photographer: James Bowden

Production Paradise: In what ways is Horton – Stephens unique compared to other Photo Agencies?

Horton – Stephens: There are lots of agents out there and I know that some of our competitors do a good job too. However I pride ourselves on a really approachable style of business and we like nothing better than working with our clients to solve problems rather than creating them. It’s all about being a team player and I find that this helps to build long-running relationships where a little bit of “give and take” makes the whole production process nicer for all concerned.

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Production Paradise: How has demand changed in the past few years and what are the current trends of today?

Horton – Stephens: Everything has changed; the media that our photography is used in of course is increasingly slanted towards digital and as that medium comes of age, there is a greater need for decent quality photography. The continued integration of traditional media with digital means that clients can commission a shoot to cover all the bases. Digital has also increased demand for moving image and to reflect this all our photographers are able to provide this. We show this moving imagery at our sister agency, horton’s short’uns. The industry is at the same time challenged by the sheer ubiquity of photography; eEveryone has a cameraphone and images are all around us, not least via social media. There’s a danger that this can cheapen the medium but it’s our job to show clients great work which reminds them of the benefits of carefully produced, memorable imagery truly enhancing brand values.

Horton Stephens - Fernando Milan

Photographer: Fernando Milani

Production Paradise: Are your talents receiving briefs from mostly national clients or international? Also, where are the current hotspots for new clients?

Horton – Stephens: It’s mostly national, but with the reach of our marketing via the web, we just never know. The Far East, USA and the rest of Europe are all significant markets for us.

Jason Knott

Photographer: Jason Knott

Production Paradise: What is one of the most talked about recent works from one of your talents?

Horton – Stephens: Well, apart from Sly Stallone’s appearance selling Warburtons bread (shot by Gary Salter), we get a lot of comment on George Logan’s born free foundation images. It’s a cause he’s committed to and the ads are very powerful. We can’t show it yet, but people are also going to love Wilson Hennessy’s shots of the new mad max cars!

Horton Stephens - Diana Miller

Photographer: Diana Miler

Production Paradise: What have you found most useful about being a Production Paradise member?

Horton – Stephens: As you’ve heard earlier, we work very hard to maintain and enhance the quality and relevance of our “product”, our stable of photographers. We work very hard to make our web site supremely easy to use whilst being full of features. All of this however is a waste of time if we don’t get all of this hard work in front of the right people. This was true when we used to spend more time going out to showing physical folios and it’s even truer now in our digital age. For us production paradise makes those connections worldwide. It shows people that know us what we’re doing and it reaches out to people that don’t know us yet, giving us the opportunity to put our work in front of them where they would otherwise remain unaware of our existence.

Horton - Stephens - Nick Dolding

 PhotographerNick Dolding

We would like to thank the Photo Agency Horton – Stephens for taking the time to speak with us. You can see more of their artist´s work on Production Paradise and their website. Find more London-based photo agents in our London Directory.

If you want to show off your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, contact us now at showcasemagazine@productionparadise.com or spotlightmagazine@productionparadise.com

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