Photographer/Creative Director: Ian Spanier
Art Director/Design: Warren Mason
Editor: Brian Dawson
Heidi: What compelled you to do your own magazine?
Ian: Last summer I met with Creative Director Warren Mason to discuss ideas on what together we could create as a promotional piece. Being someone that shoots a wide variety of work it is always a challenge to show all the areas that I work, especially in one place. Initially we thought about making a poster from a personal shoot I did but the more we looked at my notebook of the past year’s shoots the more the idea of making a multipage piece came to light. Warren being a seasoned veteran of magazines, it seemed like a no-brainer to just make our own magazine.
I know you were formally a PD, would you say it’s easy for you to edit your own work? For this project, do you give edited images to design or is this a collaboration?
I’ve always been fairly good at removing myself from the fact that I shot the same photographs that I am editing, so I am able to provide Warren with a very edited version of a story, and/or only a few additional options to consider when I need input. Ultimately I can change an image if he chooses one and I think a different one is better, but he and I have always worked well together- having worked together at one magazine and as well on a coffee table book. I wanted to collaborate with someone on this- which I think it a very important thing to do, particularly when you have a lot of respect for that person. I’ve seen Warren make some amazing layouts so I trust his opinion…and he likes my work- which helps! I was also able to enlist Brian Dawson, a great editor whom I had also worked with in the past. Brian is able to take my medicore copy and turn it into much more concise and clear thoughts. His input on the look of the magazine is also helpful as his years of experience provides one more checkpoint in the process of the magazine as a whole.
Tell me about the process of putting this together? You have an editor and a CD?
I basically create an issue by collecting options for cover, features and “ads” by going through my Lightroom catalogs. Since I made a feature from a personal shoot in the first issue, I now make a point to do a personal shoot for each issue. Personal work of course is important for all photographers and having a place to show it has been great. In many ways I owe that first personal shoot credit for giving us the idea to make a magazine. Now I basically come up with a new mini project for each issue.
From there I create some lores folders and send that to Warren. We have a quick conversation about what what works together. I am trying to keep the variety up, and at the same time make sure that there’s some cohesiveness to the magazine. I also contact one of my clients to get a quote from them about what it is like to work with me. As a whole, the point of the magazine is to give the viewer a glimpse about what I bring to to the table as a photographer, who I am as a person and what it is like to work with me. I think people loose sight that the photography part of being a photographer is just a small piece of the puzzle. Not to discount the ability it takes, but talent in many ways is the given, we are hired for jobs based on the prospect that we can shoot, so getting across how you are to be on set with, what your presentation level is, and how you run your business is what I believe really builds you up as a successful photographer.Brian, as I mentioned is the editor and Warren is the CD.
Do you have a printer version?
Initially I only thought this would be for iPad and issuu.com which is a great site Suzanne Sease turned me on to. As timing was, Blurb offered a printed magazine and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to print out a few copies for meetings and whatnot. I ordered about 20 copies and was amazed at the quality, and as well, the members of Team Braveheart (subjects in the first issue personal project) all wanted copies as well. I was able to send them the link to Blurb and there they could order their own copy. It’s not cheap, but it is very nice.
What other promo materials do you send out?
I send out one-off electronic promo cards regularly to all my contacts as well as to potential clients about every 5 weeks. I also utilize social media a ton, I don’t post personal stuff, minus a comment about the Yankees or Bruce Springsteen from time to time. I don’t believe people care about pictures of my food, so I try to keep it to what I am working on, behind-the-scenes shots and interesting articles or great images from other photographers that I like. I also push to have a lot of meetings. I feel the personal contact is extremely important. Getting meetings is hard, but I am always trying for a few minutes of face time. I do have printed promo cards and such, but the cost of mailing then out doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, I’d rather hand them to potential clients face-to face.
What sort of response have you gotten from art buyers fellow PE, clients?
So far response from art buyers and photo editors, creatives, etc. has been great, recently I switched to showing my portfolio on my iPad, and having a printed piece to show people I think really drives home the right message- I like people to see that my work holds up when ink gets to paper. As well, having a copy on set has been very nicely received, it’s a great conversation piece.