How This Photographer Got Hired By The New York Times (UPDATED)

how does a photographer get hired by the new york times

Photo: © Wilhelm Westergren

For photographers, getting access to clients you want to shoot for can be one of the most difficult aspects of the business. Work comes in, but you wonder how and when those pie-in-the-sky jobs are going to start coming your way. Sometimes it can feel like these negotiations take place in a black box or some clandestine meeting place. You often find yourself wondering, “How did that photographer manage to land that high-profile campaign?” or “What goes on during the initial conversations?”.

For ImageBrief photographer, Wilhelm Westergren, getting hired to shoot on assignment for The New York Times for a story about Belgium’s Strawberry Fields was as simple as getting contacted via ImageBrief. Getting a message from the Travel Editor from arguably the world’s best newspaper sounds like a dream come true, so I caught up with Wilhelm via email to get the scoop on how it all happened and to pull the veil back on how getting contacted works.

UPDATE: Thanks to his stellar job on the first assignment, Wilhelm recently was contacted by The New York Times for another shoot. This time for a about “House Hunting in Belgium.” Click on the photo below to see that story as well. 

Photo: Wilhelm Westergren for The New York Times

Photo: Wilhelm Westergren for The New York Times

how does a photographer get hired by the new york times

Credit: Wilhelm Westergren for The New York Times

How does your experience stack up—i.e. being able to be contacted directly and work with the client directly—compared to other sites you’re on?

“I’m not part of any traditional stock agencies. I do most of the marketing work myself, which is very time consuming and not always easy to get to the right person. However, being a Premium Member with ImageBrief is great as clients can now contact me directly. As I’m based in Belgium, there are many US clients that it would be difficult for me to reach. Thanks to ImageBrief, I can now access worldwide markets and see briefs that otherwise would be tough to see. I also have an extensive image library spanning back almost 20 years—it’s great to be able to use it!”

What made you make the switch to the Premium Membership?

“I don’t think I had really taken the time to properly look into ImageBrief and how it could help me expand my business. When I got the email from The New York Times and after a pleasant conversation with Ken Pao [Director of Premium Photographer Accounts at ImageBrief] who explained the features, I decided that this was a great way for me to expand into markets which would otherwise be very difficult to access.”

What was your communication like with The New York Times?

“The communication with The New York Times was very clear and professional . It’s always great to deal with people that are on top of their game.”

How does it feel to have shot for such a world-renowned newspaper?

“One word: Fantastic! I only went full time with photography one year ago—after having worked over 15 years in a very different sector—and having worked for such a publication is really great.”

how does a photographer get hired by the new york times

Photo: © Wilhelm Westergren

Have you received any additional exposure since the story appeared?

“Yes. I have been able to secure some assignments and I have also received some very interesting proposals. It has also opened some doors for me with the job from The New York Times serving as a solid reference.”

What are some recent projects you’ve been working on or clients you’ve recently shot for?

“I recently did a job for the Louis Vuitton group and I have also just been hired to shoot promo videos for a major horse owner here in Belgium. I have a long term personal project which I call ‘Architectural Diptychs’ which explores the beauty of curves of women and architecture.”


Want to give over 8,000 brands, publishers, and agencies the ability to contact you directly and keep 100% commission of every image you sell? Sign up for a Founding Premium Membership now. Hurry though, the Founding Premium Memberships are limited and the program will close soon.

Jacob Pastrovich is ImageBrief’s Marketing and Content Manager. Previously, he was the Assistant Director at the New York Photo Festival and Director of The powerHouse Portfolio Review. He has also served as the Editor of the NYPH Journal and the New Media Associate at powerHouse Books. You can follow him on Twitter: @jacobpast.

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About Jacob Pastrovich

Jacob Pastrovich is ImageBrief's Marketing and Content Manager. Previously, he was the Assistant Director at the New York Photo Festival and Director of The powerHouse Portfolio Review. He has also served as the Editor of the NYPH Journal and the New Media Associate at powerHouse Books. You can follow him on Twitter: @jacobpast.