Arts & Entertainment, Design & Style

Commercial Work: Pitching and Working With Clients

Jimmy Chin

Lesson time 11:15 min

Learn Jimmy's strategy for winning commercial clients, executing effective work, and integrating your creative voice into brand campaigns.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Working With Clients • Pitching and Landing Commercial Work • Bring Your Voice to the Work • Advocate for the Resources You Need


If you're not familiar with the difference between commercial and editorial work, it's important to understand the distinction that commercial work is really focused on the final image and campaign and to basically present a brand. Editorial work, you're telling a narrative and you're documenting. There's a certain ethos around it. There's journalistic integrity. There is a lot less constructed scenes. The great photojournalists in the world are out there capturing moments as they happen. How that translates in climbing is that, for a commercial shoot, a professional photographer's fine to pose on a climb, and maybe they've never done it before, but it's really about collaborating to create this end objective, which is this specific image that we're trying to make. In editorial, if I was to ever ask some professional climber to pose on a climb that they couldn't do or haven't done before, that would not be OK. If people found out about it, that would totally take away from their street cred and that would, you know, label them as a poser. So, in a different scenario, in a real-life kind of social story about, let's say, the opiate crisis in the United States, and James Nachtwey is going to go shoot it, he's not constructing these scenes. His craft is to go out and shoot it as it's happening in real life and positioning himself to get that perfect image and to do the amazing compositions that he does, on the fly. And it's just very different. [MUSIC PLAYING] Working with an agency and a client is very different than going out on an editorial shoot where you have a lot of creative freedom. On an editorial shoot, the expectation is that you take your creative freedom and you express that and you come back with a series of images. On a commercial shoot, it's usually much tighter. Much stricter. More restrictions around the creative. They have an idea. They have some specific shots that they want you to bring back. That area varies as well. You know, some commercial assignments have a specific image that they want and they know exactly how they want it shot and exactly how they want it to look. And then there's kind of a spectrum. On the other end, it's a commercial client saying, hey, we love your work. You know, here's the kind of broad strokes of the idea. We want you to go out and do what you do. Then there's everything in between. So you need to pay attention to the client's needs and you need to pay attention to the creative agency's ideas. It's important to understand what the expectations are, understand how restrictive the creative is, and then work with the agency and the client to hopefully take that idea, make sure you execute on it, but then, if you have some better ideas, don't be afraid to pitch it and don't be afraid to try it. And a good way to set that up is to talk to the agency and the client and say, hey, look, I know I can get this shot. Let's deliver on it. Here are a couple ideas I'd like to do if we...

About the Instructor

Jimmy Chin has built his career taking photos at the top of the world, earning him the cover of National Geographic and multiple awards. Now he’s taking you on location to teach you techniques for capturing breathtaking shots. In his photography class, learn different creative approaches for commercial shoots, editorial spreads, and passion projects. Gather the gear—and the perspective—to bring your photography to new heights.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jimmy Chin

National Geographic photographer teaches his techniques for planning, capturing, and editing breathtaking photos.

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