Heidi: The content for the health service magazine relies heavily on the art. How do you keep coming up with fresh ideas for the same stories?
Sarah: That’s one of the biggest challenges. We really work as a team on our art and photography. We also look to photographers to come up with creative, fresh ideas when we feel like we’ve hit a wall. But honestly, coming up with fresh ideas is one of the highlights of the job.
Are you part of the early editorial process?
Yes, I’m usually at the early planning meetings, along with my design director, Theresa Griggs, and we’ll shout and scream when we think the visuals are going to be amazing.
How much outdoor shooting do you do in L.A. during the winter, since you are on the East Coast?
We shoot a lot of our fitness features in L.A. or Florida during the winter months.
I saw that James White shot the cover for Men’s Health and your cover. How much crossover is there between the titles? Do you collaborate much?
Brenda Milis, the Men’s Health photo director, and I always enjoy working together. It’s fun to collaborate on a project for both magazines. Last year, we did joint covers with stars from the Twilight movies. We had Ashley Greene on our cover, and Men’s Health had Kellan Lutz. And each magazine used both stars for their fashion stories—Greene starred in the Women’s Health story, while Lutz starred in Men’s Health’s.
Are you looking for beauty photographers as well as fitness ones?
Yes, I love beauty photography. For example, I’m a huge fan of Donna Trope, who has shot for the magazine a few times. I like for our beauty photography to have a little humor or be a bit cheeky and not just be straight beauty, if it works for the story.
What resources do you use to find new talent besides e-mail and mail promos?
I look at ad campaigns, look books, Le Book creative, and portfolio reviews at schools. I love the way New York magazine found Danny Kim at a portfolio review. And just think about how many more talented people are out there! Also, I try to go to the current photo shows at the museums and galleries to get inspiration.
How much stock are you running?
I would say we run about 30 percent stock.
How often do you open e-mail promos, or is that relegated to other staff?
I always look at promos. But my staff is great about telling me when they see or meet someone they like.
If I want to shoot for you, what’s the best way to get your attention?
The best way is to e-mail me a few favorite shots and a link to an easy-to-navigate website. I’d much prefer an e-mail over a cold call.