What’s the difference between photo editor, art buyer, producer, art director, etc. Who should I be talking to?

EG: Generally speaking.

Photo Editors – Work at magazines. When you’re starting out, getting to know Photo Editors is your main job. They have long lists of other talented photographers and they try to pair a few of them with jobs that line up aesthetically.

Photo Directors – Work at magazines. They’re the big boss. They oversee the photo department, ie all the Photo Editors.

Art Buyer – Work at ad agencies. This title is kinda “old” now and they’re usually called Art Producers.

Art Producer – Work at ad agencies. They research, connect with, and recommend photographers to creative teams (Art Directors). It’s their job to pair a photographer to a project that needs a certain style. They collect bids (ie estimates) from photographers. Usually, they have to bid at least 3 photographers and they may even tell you that you are the “agency recommend.” Ultimately, the agency has a presentation where the 3 photographers are shown and a client chooses which one to use.

Producer – Most commonly, this is a person that is hired by an ad agency or a magazine (with healthy budgets!) or by you to be the producer “on the ground.” They are in charge of staying on schedule, booking the caterers, booking the talent, making sure the RV is there on time, etc etc. They deal with all the hard logistics of a shoot. But there are producers for video, for retouching, for pretty much everything, so the title sometimes gets confusing. For our purposes though, they are people that ensure sh*t gets done on the day of the shoot.

CC: Typically my first point of contact for jobs are Photo Editors and Art Producers. I’ve also spoken to Visual Editors, Creative Directors (at startups or smaller companies), Producers, Photo Directors, Integrated Producers (work at ad agencies and produce both motion and stills), Design Director, Photo Publicist, etc. It doesn’t hurt to talk to a variety of folks because you never know where they’ll be next and whether they’ll have the responsibility of hiring or recommending photographers. If this feels overwhelming, stick to a few titles but you never know how your name will end up in the hat.