AOP 360° - Looking Ahead to 2023 #6

With many still recovering from the effects of lockdowns and the pandemic, how best to face further uncertain times?
We’ve asked several industry experts within our community for their insights and tips to help you navigate the coming months and year ahead.

Sarah Thomson, Head of Art Production at OUL Ogilvy in London

How do you think 2023 is looking for the industry (from your perspective)? Do you have any predictions? 

I think over 2022 the industry began to absorb the changes wrought by Covid over 2020/2021.  Some things feel like they are knowable now and more workable this year after the mental and physical anguish of the preceding years.  Not all these things directly affect Photographers but many will indirectly: Client’s hybrid working patterns, a relaxation of routine, the attendant flexibility and the necessary and revived all-encompassing creative thinking. 

There are challenges of course, old and new!  New(-ish) ones are the necessity of copiously increasing sustainability in all production and significantly greater inclusion of Photographers, crews and cast on every project.  It’s essential to celebrate cultural diversity, resolutely empowering women and all marginalised groups.  That said, in the troubled times we are navigating, it is an exhilarating possibility that photography can still articulate the sheer beauty and magic of living too.


What advice would you give photographers looking to prepare themselves for leaner times?

Shoot personal work, evolve all personal practice, take every opportunity to shoot, be proactive about finding opportunities to shoot, incorporate film if this interests so potentially you have more skills to offer, maximise your social feeds, photograph with authenticity for truthful relatability, be aware of how your work will be received, be aware of the context in which you work will be seen, enter photography competitions where appropriate, stay ahead of and embrace digital technology.  Most of all, absorb the art being made around you and become part of the powerful collective that can be a tool for social change.


Are there key pitfalls they should avoid?

Overspending!  Great work can be made anywhere by anyone with a belief in their work.


What should they be doing now to futureproof their business?

Along with the advice above, I would try to find strength and purpose from joining groups and sharing your experiences of the industry and your ongoing projects.  The AOP would be one such example!  



Portrait by Patricia Niven

Sarah Thomson, Head of Art Production at OUL Ogilvy in London

Sarah is Head of Art Production at OUL Ogilvy in London.

Prior to this she was Head of Art Production at Fallon and an Art Buyer at DDB London and AMV BBDO.

Before working as an Art Buyer Sarah was Gallery Manager at the Zelda Cheatle Gallery, Producer for Nadav Kander and a Photographer’s Agent.  

She has judged numerous Photography and Illustration Awards, and advised, talked and contributed to various books and articles on the subject of advertising, photography and illustration

AOP Photography Awards

The AOP Photography Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ of the photography world. They celebrate excellence in the creative photography and image-making industry.
This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry. Our 38th AOP Awards finalists are now revealed…