Breaking into the creative industry is no easy feat—even the most successful artists had to start from somewhere.

That’s one reason why Getty Images is thrilled to partner with D&AD for the Next Photographer Awards, a great opportunity to discover and nurture new talent.

Of course, awards are only one way to launch your career. We caught up with three industry visionaries to see how they made it happen and what advice they have for those coming up through the ranks. Here’s what we learned:


Patrice de Villiers, photographer


Patrice de Villiers is an award-winning food & still life photographer whose unique approach has led her to work on commissions for Selfridges, L’Oreal, Heinz, Rolex, Land Rover and Harrods among many others. Her recent Inglorious Fruit & Vegetable campaign has won over 80 awards worldwide.

“Early on in my career I met with Tony Chambers, who was working at The Sunday Times Magazine, to show him my portfolio. A few weeks later, I got a call from him saying they were doing a weekly series of food portraits and he wanted me to work on it. I was so excited to shoot for one of the biggest magazines in the country. I asked Tony what kind of images he was looking for and he said, ‘I don’t care how you shoot it, as long as it’s not boring.’ That was the best bit of advice I could have ever received as a young photographer. It meant the only limits were my imagination. It was amazing to have the chance to be creative in a commercial environment so early on. It gave me the freedom to develop a style that has led to so many fantastic commissions.”


Thomas Brown, photographerThomas Brown headshot


Thomas Brown is best known for his thought provoking, innovative still-life photography. He has worked with several big name clients such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Swarovski and Cartier.

“‘’Make work and your audience will find you,’ is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.

A few years ago I was hired to do a Cartier campaign, which was really huge for me. I never imagined I would shoot for a client as big as them. I don’t think there was one thing in particular that got me the job, but rather a culmination of all my previous work leading up to that moment. It made me realize that I could in fact achieve the dream goals I set for myself when I was a 19-year-old  they weren’t just a pipedream anymore.”

Brown attributes his success to his ability to stay true to his own vision.

“You have to be really honest with yourself and not try to be someone else, you’ve got to be you.”


Andy Saunders, Getty Images Senior Vice President, Creative Content


Andy Saunders is the Senior Vice President, Creative Content at Getty Images. He works with photographers, filmmakers and his global team of art directors to create imagery and footage that is used in award-winning advertising, design and editorial around the world.

“After studying photography in college, I got a job working in the darkroom at Tony Stone Images, one of the well-known photo agencies at the time. I considered the job a small detour since I was still pursuing becoming a photographer, but it actually ended up being my lucky break since Getty Images acquired the company shortly after I began working there. My creative philosophy of utilizing creative research and trying something new as often as possible was really aligned with Getty’s outlook and that’s what persuaded me to stay. My job has evolved over time, and it’s fascinating for me to look at what’s happening in the world and figure out how to translate that into a picture.”

After years of working in the industry, Saunders has pinpointed the qualities that set apart the photographers that thrive.

“Dealing with people is key. You can be creative, but if you’re difficult to work with that’s always going to hold you back. It’s essential to be open, positive and always think about how you can solve your clients’s challenges with your skill set.”

D&AD’s Next Photographer Award is now open for submissions.  Find out more .