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Obtaining photo gear sponsorships
James Leash, Photographer
Sacramento | CA | USA | Posted: 3:56 AM on 08.20.14
->> I'm looking for some advice on getting one or more photo gear sponsorships. First off let me say I'm not talking about the biggies like Nikon, Canon etc... Maybe a digital media manufacturer like Lexar or a strap manufacturer like BlackRapid. I use both of these companies products btw, however my goal is to use these associations if I can obtain them to benefit me toward expectance in other associations.

With that said, I'm looking for general advice in how to proceed with initial steps in contacting companies and what to expect. I'm sure quite a few pros here have been through this and may even be able to offer info on specific brands and what they look for. Thanks all for your help!

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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 5:32 AM on 08.20.14
->> Jim:

I think the starting point is to take the prospective sponsor's position ... "What's in for me?" I think most would be interested in how giving you free gear is going to help them sell more product.

The next logical question would be, "Why you?" There are tens of thousands of professional photographers .... what makes you a better choice than others?

Finally, if a company did sponsor you, what would they expect in exchange? I'm not sure I would spend a lot of time writing a review, for example, for a free camera strap.

Not trying to dash your hopes. Just trying to look at your idea from the other side of the fence.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
New England | | | Posted: 9:40 AM on 08.20.14
->> James

The sponsor route, for gear exchange, needs to have a clear ROI and placement for the brand. What is in it for the company to provide you with the gear?

Do you run a well traffic'd and established blog? Do you host workshops or other teaching events where you have a captive audience? Are you frequently written about or referenced in a way where you can provide beneficial product placement for the company?

If you are active in social media, with a sizeable targeted audience, what is the rate of return on your engagement? What metrics can you provide the sponsor in terms of unique impressions?
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 10:31 AM on 08.20.14
->> And are you willing to appear in a NASCAR style photo vest, with logos everywhere....
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 11:18 AM on 08.20.14
->> I would think just buying the stuff you want would save you two things in the long run. Money and your dignity.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Atlanta | Ga | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 08.20.14
->> +1 on Chuck's post
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:42 PM on 08.20.14
->> You would have to make an absolute spectacle of yourself in front of a TV camera for this to draw enough attention for a large audience to notice the product, and at that point you would be attracting the wrong kind of attention for it to be beneficial.
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Mike Huffstatler, Photographer, Assistant
Rancho Cucamonga | Ca | United States | Posted: 11:22 PM on 08.20.14
->> Everyone here has already added the best information but let me toss a little in too. Having had sponsorships in a completely different industry I can only echo what's already been said; sales, sales, sales. How are you going to increase their sales?

A company has to know there is a return in that investment. You are expected to be an ambassador, a strong and visible example of success due to that product. Some high profile folks will have companies approach them to be featured as a pro in advertising or other engagements and I think that usually is a win all around. That changes however from a sponsorship deal to an endorsement arrangement.

Before you approach any company be sure you have a clear proposition about how you will help the company. The ROI needs to be as clear as possible, with defined objectives. You will likely not get very far without a plan. Use your existing contacts as well. It very, very hard to get something even as small as a strap. Every single one of these companies have multiple inquiries every day. From sponsorships to club raffles to special events.

Good luck! It won't be easy but it is possible.

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Thread Title: Obtaining photo gear sponsorships
Thread Started By: James Leash
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