At November Eleven, we get a fair amount of email that reads like this:
Dear Lightstalkers, I would like to talk to [your name] about using their photos in our [magazine, web site, et al]. Can you send me information on rates and availability?
We’re not an agency, of course, and we don’t have the resources to provide this kind of service; our standard response is:
Thanks for your note. Please consult [photographer]’s Lightstalkers profile; you can submit your request using the contact information listed there.
If you’re a freelance photographer, this is a good reason to include lots of contact information in your profile. You can do so here.
Now, if you work from home, you probably don’t want to publish your personal contact information, for privacy and security reasons. There are still ways to get contacted without losing your privacy.
GrandCentral http://www.grandcentral.com/ This service will give you a free US phone number to use as your “work” number. You can have it forward calls to you in real time, or you can simply use it as a voice mail system.
Gmail http://mail.google.com Consider setting up a separate email account for work inquiries (email@example.com, for example); you can then make that address public, and include it in your Lightstalkers bio. We recommend Gmail for its spam filter, and, if you’re clever, you can set it up for your domain.
The UPS Store http://www.theupsstore.com/ For a couple hundred dollars a year, you can have a public mailing address; they typically offer 24-hour access to your mailbox and will receive and hold packages for you. It’s not a “PO Box”; you get a professional-looking address. (Tip: Get the smallest size of mailbox they offer. If it fills up with mail, they’ll just keep it in a pile for you behind the counter… nice for when you go out of the country.)
You don’t have to do any of this; you can list your personal contact information in your profile, or none at all. This is just a tip for those of you who want to be as accessible as possible to potential clients.