Posts by: A Photo Editor

The Daily Promo – Lila Lee

Lila Lee

Who printed it?
I was actually visiting my sister who currently lives in China, & found a local shop that did it out there. It was hard communicating what I wanted because I’m not Chinese & unfortunately can’t speak any, but I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out.

Who designed it?
I did it, myself.

Tell me about the images?
My parents had planned a month long trip to Korea to visit all my relatives, but that was about the same time people were dying from SARS. It didn’t reach Heuksando, where my Grandma lived, so we ended up staying on the island for the whole month because everyone said going into the city was too dangerous. In a way, it was nice being able to stay for a longer period of time to really be able to see how my Aunts & Uncles lived day to day rather than when the family came on vacation. I shot these photos, going with them to work or roaming around the island because this is part of my family’s history. This island is part of my family & learning about them is important to me. I never really knew my extended family growing up because my parents moved to Hawaii before my sister & I were born. Taking photos of my family is kind of a compulsion, I guess. Even if no one ever sees them, I still have to. I was always a sentimental child & I think that bled into my photography. Preserving a memory is more important to me than how it looks. I ended up making this zine because my aunt said she wasn’t sure if anything would be left of this island in 10 years with everyone moving away & places deteriorating. I hope someone will see these photos & want to visit before it’s too late. And I really hope in 10 years I can take my kids to visit their great Aunts & Uncles & experience the quiet wonder that’s Heuksando.

How many did you make?
100

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I don’t have a set time or amount I sent out a year. I’m constantly making things just because & will send some stuff out as a promo if I feel like maybe a possible client might enjoy it. I know others make new promos twice a year & send them out like clockwork, & that’s what Art Center taught us to do, but I think the things I make are sometimes more personal than just promotional pieces so it’s hard to put a timeline on it.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I personally love printed work! Having something to hold & look at is nice. I just had a new photo book published, so I’m currently touring the middle to the east coast with it. People look through the book & strike up conversations, which has led me to meet a lot of great people.

The Daily Promo – Bojan U.

Bojan U.

Who printed it?
Blurb Books.

Who designed it?
I designed it myself and then had some close and trusted friends with a critical eye look it over and give me pointers.

Tell me about the images?
This collection came together over 3 different shoots for Cycling Canada last year: a portrait/training shoot focusing on the athletes; a shoot to accompany a new sponsorship announcement; and a behind the scenes photo documentary of a UCI Track World Cup. There was a lot latitude in the client specs which really afforded me the freedom to approach this from any angle I wanted.

The superhero physical stature of the athletes was striking to me and I really wanted to capture this in the portraits. I set up a makeshift studio against the concrete (industrial feel) wall at the bottom of the ramp that leads to the track. The athletes would stop by on their way to their post-training massage where I had about 2 minutes with each athlete to make a compelling portrait. Another challenge was the track itself. It can be very cluttered and the different races can be a little confusing. There can be a lot of waiting around but when things do happen, they happen quickly and being in position is key. All in all it was one of the toughest subjects I’ve ever photographed but it also turned out to be one of the most satisfying and rewarding.

How many did you make?
I only printed 50. I had a very specific mailing list for this promo. I will be making a second print run of these.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first time sending out printed promos. It’s a bit of a test run to see if I want to make this a part of my regular marketing. I’m thinking I will send out one or two printed promos per year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
So far the response has been very positive and I will definitely make this part of my marketing. I can’t say that I have gotten work directly from it but I have received really good messages and feedback about the promo.

The Daily Promo – Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj

Who printed it?
The promos were printed by a print house called Bording, located just outside Copenhagen, Denmark.

Who designed it?
I did myself, but inspired by a client of mine, who produced a deck of postcards with the images I did for them, I decided to follow that lead. I liked the idea of a selection of postcards inside a cover/sleeve, which was fairly simple. Not a lot of text, but just image driven.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a selection of images made during the past 6 months. It’s a mix of commissioned campaigns and personal work. They represent my general style very well. The product in focus, colourful and minimalistic.

Previously I have made a magazine-style promo with a lof of text and a large tri-fold, but this time around I wanted to make single sheets, that can easily be passed around and hopefully end up on the wall at the agencies.

How many did you make?
I only did 50 this time. I have sent them out to carefully chosen agencies in Copenhagen, and a few has been sent to London and the US.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try at least once a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think it is essential. It’s a great way to get your name and work in front of creatives. I am well aware that a good portion of the promos probably end up in the trash, but I feel the hit rate is a lot better than email promos. I don’t think photographers in Denmark use print promos as much as they do in the US. Therefore the Danish agencies are not bombarded with promos every week, and it is easier to get their attention that way. They get so many cold calls and 99 percent of the time they ask you to send an email with a link to your website. I prefer to skip the cold call and go straight to a print piece I know they will flip through and hopefully share with their colleagues.

The Daily Promo- Christopher Patey

- - The Daily Promo

Christopher Patey

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
The design was a collaboration between myself and my reps @ Day Reps. We kept the design as simple as possible. I really like the selection of work so minimal text and “doo-dads” were ideal when trying to give the viewer clean space to appreciate the pictures.

Tell me about the images?
We knew we wanted the use the pictures of John Goodman and the Roseanne cast (Shot for Hollywood Reporter) right in front because it was such a great shoot. These promo pieces were hitting the mail shortly after the show was set to air so it was also very current/relevant in the celebrity and entertainment genre. The following two pictures of Eiza Gonzalez (Hollywood Reporter) and Caleb McLaughlin (Shot on spec for his PR) were chosen because they look nice together and also show a bit of range between studio and environmental portraits. They were also a nice transition into the last picture of the Marvel group from Comic-Con which was also shot for Hollywood Reporter. We wanted to showcase my group portraits and that one has been a bit of a crowd-pleaser.

How many did you make?
500. I have a pretty specific mailing list so we don’t mail out a TON and I still have some left over to pass out as leave-behinds at meetings.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
2x per year

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Whenever I post new promos I get asked by other photographers about whether or not the printed piece is successful in getting work. My response is always yes/no. Does my phone start ringing with clients the week after I drop them in the mail? No. Do I get emails from recipients gushing over the piece and congratulating me on making good pictures? No. BUT at the end of the day, I got some printed photographs with my name on them in front of the eyes of clients that I want to work with. Timing is such a big part of getting in with a new client so by just reminding them you exist regularly is important to keep yourself on their radar. And who knows, maybe they’ll happen to get the promo on the same day they have an assignment that I’d be good for… HEY IT COULD HAPPEN!

Printed promos are just one part of the marketing machine. Consistency with mailers, email blasts, meetings, going to events, and keeping the website up to date are all contributing factors to getting work. I often fall behind on these things but try to use downtime to catch up when I can.

The Daily Promo – Katherine Wolkoff

- - The Daily Promo

Katherine Wolkoff

Who printed it?
Aldine Inc in NYC. They did a great job hand folding each one!

Who designed it?
Karly Mossberg, a really amazing freelance designer who has also done work for my agency Hello Artists.

Tell me about the images?
I wanted to make a promo that was grounded in my fine art work but also highlighted my more commercial work. I am always riding this line between art and commerce. We chose to use the blue shadow picture on one side of the promo and a selection of landscapes and portraits on the other side. I wanted this promo to feel unique – Karly came up with the idea of the die cut folding. It makes the promo feel like an origami package that you are unwrapping. The idea was that you were left with a really beautiful object to hang on the wall- there is minimal text.

How many did you make?
300

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Usually once a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I hope so! I always feel like I am sending my heart and soul out into the world and am never exactly sure where they land.

I am a professor at Parsons and was teaching my students about making promos as I was going through this process which was very humbling reminder to follow my own advice!

The Daily Promo – Tony Luong

- - The Daily Promo

Tony Luong

Who printed it?
Linco Printing in New York.

Who designed it?
My partner, Emily Luong. The process usually starts with me making small prints, shuffling them around, going back into old pictures or printing new ones out. One difficult part about the design is figuring out how each image ends up on the page as the top right image is always the same size and in the same spot so the rest of the layout is kind of dictated by how everything falls from there. The other challenge is working with scale and how each image talks to one another and of course the biggest task is defining the ethos of the piece all the while making it seem like it is effortless. I am most surprised by how different the final piece looks than how I imagine it will be when the process initially starts.

Tell me about the images?
It’s a mix of commissioned and personal work.

How many did you make?
400

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I have been sending these posters once a year at the beginning of spring for the last few years. I also do email newsletters twice or so a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. I have received some very thoughtful and nice responses about these. I also think it is beneficial to see work printed regardless.

The Daily Promo – Heather Sten

Heather Sten

Who printed it?
Magcloud, which I believe is now owned by Blurb. I’ve been printing with them since college and they usually do a great job with the zines. If you buy in bulk you get a nice discount.

Who designed it?
My partner, Doug Richard, who also happens to be an insightful, remarkable designer. We thought about how it should look and feel for a while. I printed out some of my favorite images that I shot last year, and we taped them all up on our studio wall, and moved them around trying to figure out pairing, which images should be in it, which should be taken out, etc. I completely trust his taste and opinion 110%, so that made this process easy and fun. He comped 5 or 6 different cover designs and taped them to our home office, and I lived with them and looked at them for a bit until I decided which one I liked best. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it was a labor of love that I’m proud of.

Tell me about the images?
They’re a mixture of commissioned work and personal work. I wanted all the images to flow well together, speak to one another, and be a reflection of the type of work that I’d like to be commissioned for in the future.

How many did you make?
350.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually like to send out 2 printed magazine promos, and 1 or 2 rounds of postcards (a more cost-efficient promo!) a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. I reflected on how I wanted this promo to feel for a long time, and I’ve gotten a lot of really wonderful responses from this one. I think it’s really beneficial to have editors see your work in print.

The Daily Promo – Delaney Allen

Delaney Allen

Who printed it?
It was printed at home in my studio. I’ve got an Epson P8000 that I’ve been using for making small-batch promos. With that speech promo, I’ve been using Moab’s Lasal double-sided matte paper. I’ve found it to hold the ink without much bleed through of the images. It’s a very time-consuming effort to get these promos built. Each print takes roughly 4 minutes on the printer. With 10 images per promo, that’s 40 minutes alone just on the printer itself. There’s also the info insets that I’ve got to print as well as trim in occasions (I use a lot of various papers in my studio). All in all, it seems like from start to finish the print time for each individual promo is one hour.

Who designed it?
I designed it. I was hoping to create something simple that allowed for the images to be the focal point. I also attempt to make promos and takeaways that are hard for the client to discard. So making this loose leaf booklet was a strategy to give the client a book that could very well be made into individual prints that could hang on a wall as well. It also allows them integration with the book allowing them to mix and match the images and seeing how they can work as diptychs.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a various collection from the past few years. I’ve just signed with Redeye in LA so it feels a lot of people on the commercial side of photography aren’t familiar with my work. I wanted to put together something that showcased a variety of what I’m able to capture. A promo like this also gave me a template to create work that can be specific to individual clients as well. There seem to be a few images that are included in each booklet but I typically change out what is in there.

How many did you make?
With the one you received, I ran a batch of 20. I had been taking them to meetings as takeaways. Those specific promos are 11×14 inches. I’ve now changed to using the 8.5×11 paper for my promos I’m sending out.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I just started sending out promos a year ago. For that, I sent out a collection of 20 postcards to each client as well as these small handmade books I’d made. This is only the second promo I’ve sent out. I think I might need to find a way to make some that are a little more time efficient.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’m hoping so. I’ve been fortunate to find some success and contacts with what I’ve been able to get out there in the world.

The Daily Promo – Rowan Fee

- - The Daily Promo

Rowan Fee

Who printed it?
The promo was printed by PCL Digital in the UK (https://www.pcldigital.co.uk)

Who designed it?
I designed this one myself with help from Tom Ashton Booth (https://tomashtonbooth.co.uk). I’ve collaborated with Tom on a number of projects including the Lightning Bolt image in this promo.

Tell me about the images?
This was a cross-section of my work both commissioned and personal.

How many did you make?
200 like this with the bags.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I aim for printed promos twice a year if possible, mixed in with online marketing.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I personally always enjoy receiving something unexpected in the post. I hope my clients/prospective clients feel the same and my printed work hangs around on their desks a little longer than an email.

The Daily Promo – Jared Soares

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Jared Soares

Who printed it?
Smart Press in Minnesota. I’ve been using them for all my printing needs lately.

Who designed it?
Though I designed the piece, I had a lot of help in the process. Matt Eich and Justin Gellerson gave me solid thoughts on the edit/sequence of images. Amy Wolff provided substantial feedback on the design as well as the image sequencing. If I did everything on my own it would look like hot garbage.

Tell me about the images?
The photographs included in the booklet are a combination of personal and commissioned work from last year. My goal with any promo is to share what I’ve been up to and highlight images that I’m excited about.

How many did you make?
200 booklets were printed. 190 of them were mailed out and the rest will be kept for in-person meetings or anybody that I forgot.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
In terms of print promos, at least 3 to 4 times a year. An overview booklet gets sent near the beginning of the year then I follow up with tailored pieces when it makes sense.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
In the past 2 years, print promos have lead to work. Additionally, conversations were sparked because of the pieces, which later lead to assignments.

The Daily Promo – Jennifer Roberts

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Jennifer Roberts

Who designed it?
The promo was designed by Studio Wyse http://www.studiowyse.com/ in Toronto. The Creative Director, Vanessa Wyse and the Art Director, Nicola Hamilton are incredibly talented and it was wonderful to work with them on this. Since I am such a big fan of their work, I felt pretty open to whatever concept they came up with.
I probably drove Nicola the art director (and also my sister-in-law) a little crazy going back and forth on the paper stocks. Her instinct was to go with a textured paper while mine was to do something a little smoother. We both wanted an uncoated finish so the mowhawk cougar was a happy compromise. The finished piece is a six-panel, accordion folded booklet that easily tears into single postcards, so you can pin your favourite image.

Who printed it?
They were printed in Toronto at Flash Reproductions.

Tell me about the images?
The objective of the promo was to highlight my portraiture and lifestyle work. I pulled a wide edit of photos and then Studio Wyse selected images from both my edit and from my website. I really trusted Studio Wyse’s direction and some of the photos they chose weren’t in my edit but when I saw them in the layout, they totally worked. I would have never thought of using the cheer squad photo but then when I saw their design, I loved it. When I saw my photos in their beautiful layout I felt like a better photographer.

How many did you make?
We did a run of 200 promos. I figured that way they could be divided up between the multiple markets I was targeting.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first time I’ve ever made a proper print promo. I’m very happy with it and it’s been well received so I think realistically I’d aim to have a new made once a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think for me printed promos are a fantastic marketing tool. The timing was right because I’ve recently started dividing my time between Los Angeles and Toronto. In Toronto, my background is in newspaper photography and I’ve been trying to advance into more portraiture and lifestyle work. In Los Angeles, I’m new so it seemed like a good way to introduce myself. So far I’ve mostly sent them to new clients and they’ve been a great way to introduce people to my work. They’ve been great to hand out at meetings and a good way to reach clients that aren’t in the same city.

The Daily Promo – Marco Girado

Marco Girado

Who printed it?
The promo was printed by smartpress.com

Who designed it?
I did the art direction and design.

Tell me about the images?
The images are a series of photographs of ordinary elements that through the use of color and composition transcend their simple appearance and become symbols of beauty.

How many did you make?
About 500. Two sets.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I like to send out promos at least twice per year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think that paper has more impact. I had better results with printed promos.
But I consider it is also important to combine print and digital marketing.

Jeff Stockwell on Testing

- - Working

Interview by Andrea Stern of SternRep

Jeff Stockwell is a car + lifestyle photographer based in Long Beach, California.  His client list includes Mercedes, Adidas, Vans, Car and Driver, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Cadillac and more.  Jeff came into this business about four years ago and hit the ground running bringing in big name clients quickly. As his rep, I have to believe it is in part because he tests often. He constantly provides me with new images and keeps his portfolio fresh always having new work to show off. I wanted to do this interview with Jeff about his testing because I see it as one of his greatest strengths and something that really sets him apart from the pack.

Andrea Stern: Why do you test so much?

Jeff Stockwell: Well, I guess there are a couple different reasons. I test a lot because I feel like every time I test I get better at shooting.  Being behind the camera is the only way to learn. I try to push myself beyond what I normally create, approach something different styling wise, use a different location or a different model.

In this day and age with Instagram, it can be hard for a photographer to be banging out content all the time, so sometimes you have to shoot things for yourself.

People want to see new work.  If you are trying to be a commercial photographer and you come out with work every 6 months, and your stuff looks the same all the time, that’s a problem. You have to keep yourself relevant.   That’s what creatives want to see, they want to be inspired by someone. They want to get a sense of your commitment and passion for photography and they also want to know what you shoot on your own time.

What is it that you, and no one else, would bring their shoot to take their project to the next level?

Andrea Stern: Recently you did a test where you hired a model and a producer, got a permit for a location and had the images professionally retouched, this is a big investment, what was the inspiration and motivation that led you to do this level of testing?

Jeff Stockwell: That’s what it takes now. This test in particular I was going for a different age demographic. A lot of my work has highlighted young people. From a creative’s perspective, it might be hard to imagine an older person in my work and I wanted to show what I could do.

I pushed my boundaries by using an older male model, someone with a prestigious and refined look, a high class overall feel, and rented a really nice car etc. I even got hair and makeup for a guy, which is uncommon.

The permit was not very expensive and the stylist, hair and makeup artist and producer all offered their time for the test, for their own portfolios. I spent the bulk of the money on renting the car, my assistant, lunch/coffee etc.

Andrea Stern: Right! The producer, Courtney Zupanski had actually reached out to me around the time this test was happening. The timing was perfect and I asked her if she wanted to help with your test. Rather than just “helping” she ended up taking the initiative to go out and find a stylist, location scout, organize hair and makeup, sent out a call sheet, organized lunch and was there all day at the shoot. She blew us away and is now bidding on a job with Jeff, because of how impressed we were with her.

Andrea Stern: Did you have a budget for your test?

Jeff: No. But it did end up costing over a 1,000. It was an investment. And definitely worth it.

Andrea Stern: How did you plan for your shoot?

Jeff: I scouted the day before. I knew what the light was going to look like at what time and where.

I had two specific shots I knew wanted to get in my mind.  But generally, I like to keep it off the cuff. I might look at some inspiration the night before, but I want it to be my own vision. I want it to be real and fresh.

Andrea Stern: How did the shoot go?

Jeff: Images came out great. It was the exact look and feel I was going for. It is kind of crazy because when it came down to the actual time that we shot it took four hours. And I shot a LOT.

Andrea Stern: Do you enjoy testing? Why?

Jeff: I really do love it.  It doesn’t feel like I am going to work.  I especially enjoy testing after all the hair and makeup is done and the clothes are on…all that stuff. I despise the other part of it, which is contacting people and trying to get people lined up, but the creative aspect I love.

Andrea Stern: What is your attitude around testing?

Jeff: Some of the tests you are going to do are not going to work out. You have to be able to be like, ok that did not go as planned, next time I am going to scout more thoroughly or know what I am getting myself into, reach out to an agency and get better models, etc. You do tests to learn.

Andrea Stern: Have you ever had a test lead to paid work? If so, what?

Jeff: It’s a little bit hard to say but I do have an interesting story about that.

Recently, a production company for Adidas sent out a mass email to about 30 reps, looking for a photographer for an upcoming product/lifestyle shoot in LA.

I put together a PDF of all the athletic and sneaker work I had done. I had recently shot a test with a basketball player and the images turned out really well.  I had never done an athletic test quite like that before, and it definitely filled a need in my portfolio.

And you know what, out of thousands of photographers…I got hired.

So, it’s kind of hard to say whether that test “got” me the job, but when the job came to light, I had the right thing to put forward, and they liked my work.

Andrea Stern: One piece of advice for photographers?

Jeff: JUST GO TAKE PICTURES. ALL. THE. TIME. You aren’t going to learn unless you are behind the camera. Pick up the most basic camera and just go shoot.

And always bring what you do best to the shoot. Not just what is asked of you!

To see more of Jeff Stockwell’s work: www.Jeff-Stockwell.com

Project produced by Courtney Joan Zupanski (www.CourtneyJoanZupanski.com), styled by Luke Langsdale, hair/makeup by Nicola Hamilton, model Travis Marshall, Next Models, and retouched by the awesome Gloss Post Production team. (www.GlossRetouching.com)

 

The Daily Promo – Heather McGrath

- - The Daily Promo

Heather McGrath

Who printed it?
Puritan Press printed the postcards. http://www.puritanpress.com Repeat Press did the Letter Pressed Enclosure. http://www.repeatpress.com Working with Mike Dacey over at Repeat was incredible because we were also able to get new business cards out of the opening window in the enclosure.

Who designed it?
Freelance designer Monica Greenwald http://monicah.co

Tell me about the design?
I am really inspired by old prints and the family photos that our great-grandparents used to have. Over the years all of my promos have been a twist on that. My designer Monica found a little postcard set for a lake in upstate Nyc that must’ve been from the 40’s That’s what inspired this promo, to give someone a tactile keepsake, hopefully, that gives you a little sense of nostalgia and inspiration.

Tell me about the images?
The images are an assortment of my lifestyle/adventure portfolio. With a couple of my product and beauty shots sprinkled in. This promo is to attract more of my adventure outdoor side. I work a lot in the studio but my heart is outside playing in the dirt.

How many did you make?
There are 10 shots per promo and there are 3 different sets of images so 666 each totaling 2000. To be mailed out every 6 months.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Twice

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do. I was a graphic designer before a photographer and I know the impact that print can have. Plus I figured it proves I can do more than what looks good on an iPad since everything looks good on an iPad! Print may be dead but its one smart way to stand out. I hope this is a promo people don’t throw away.

Celebrity Shoots Count

- - Working

Guest Post by Cybele Sandy, August Image

This piece arose from the blowback I’ve recently had from artists on the subject of shooting celebrity. The reaction was so severe that I felt like my extremely proper Post-Colonial West Indian delivery was somehow morphing into the vilest of curse words. This is my unequivocal stance on the subject: Celebrity Shoots Count. Perhaps in this era of Kardashian dominance, the idea has morphed into an unappealing, congealed mass. The majority of my career has skewed toward working with celebrity art, so I have had considerable experience with the genre. In other words, I’ve seen first-hand the propellant power of a celebrity shoot.

I know that there are photographers who insist on channelling their efforts toward fine art, or to the gravitas of contemporary photojournalism, and that’s a terrific goal. You should be aware, though, that relying on your fine art portfolio to shop for paying commissions (be they advertising, custom content or entertainment buyouts) can be a risky proposition. Fine art can be challenging for the viewer to interpret, especially given the environment of a quick go-see with an art buyer. An image of a recognizable celebrity can compellingly deliver your aesthetic. It doesn’t have to be Angelina Jolie, but there should be immediate name recognition. A buzzy stylist, up-and-coming musician, hot new model or emerging fashion designer can do just as well.

Celebrity editorial dovetails nicely into the career facets I’ve spoken of previously: personal work- >editorial work-> advertising/commercial projects-> licensing. In other words, bringing the aesthetic honed from personal work to a celebrity shoot may lead to more editorial and commercial projects, with the editorial being of huge benefit to your licensing archive.

[Sidebar: When awarded a commission, always give serious thought to whom/what you shoot. How will this serve my career? Will this work for licensing opportunities down the line? In the words of my Glorious Leader, William Hannigan, licensing is a photographer’s 401K.]

Here’s why:

1. The recognition factor provides an instant point of connection between yourself and the reviewing photo editor/ art buyer.

2. It’s nice segue into the messaging you want to leave behind in terms of your art: talking about your experience shooting said celebrity can break the ice and calm any nerves you may be feeling.

3. It provides an immediate boost to your social media profile and buzz for your brand.

4. They provide an “in” to the PR world and to publicists who hold a tremendous amount of leverage in terms of who gets to shoot.

5. It provides a terrific, real-world test for your nascent team. Can they hold their assigned ground in a pressurized situation where there isn’t a whole lot of time to deliver the money shot?

However, this is all predicated on a recognizable celebrity. It doesn’t have to be Angelina Jolie. It can simply be someone with a strong pop/ cultural profile- the star of a hit tv show or a fashion/ media personality.

Things to Bear in Mind For Celebrity Shoots:

Pre-Shoot:

  • I’ve worked on shoots that have gone extremely well, as well as shoots that have been extremely painful. Do your homework. Ensure that you know the sublime to the mundane- what’s their upcoming project, what sort of music would they like to hear on set?
  • Ensure that all the players have a clear understanding of all of the elements before-hand. The theme of the shoot and looks to be worn, as well as hair/ makeup should have been agreed to prior. This will forestall on-set drama. (Not always, but we live in hope.)
  • It’ll be stressful, so make certain that what is in your power to control day-of-shoot is done well: being on-time and set up early will go a long way toward keeping the environment calm and upbeat.

On-set:

  • Keep the chatter to an as-needed basis. Save that great joke for your buddies at the bar.
  • Art Streiber, during his lecture at this year’s PhotoPlus, delivered these words of guidance: “Treat celebrities like ordinary people and ordinary people like celebrities.” Keep it cool and respectful, yet make sure that you maintain control of the set.
  • Everyone working in sync is the very best demonstration of credibility that you can offer.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of all of the players before they leave.
  • A great on-set experience is the shortest route to being recommended by a celebrity for other editorial and even for advertising jobs.

Post- shoot:

  • Gratitude makes for good karma and certainly, a good old-fashioned paper Thank You note can count for a lot these days. Certainly send one to the celebrity and his/her publicist, as well as the assigning editor. A print from the shoot is always a nice takeaway.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that music & film festivals are actually a nice segue into the genre for my photographers. It’s resulted in relationships that have led to more incredible opportunities in more intimate settings, and the art itself becomes a calling card. The Shayan Asgharnia image of Erykah Badu below (shot at the Roots Picnic Festival) is what made me reach out to him. In its turn, it was part of a body of work that I showed the veteran agent Angela De Bona on my ‘phone over lunch, which in turn led into her signing him for assignment representation.

Another talented artist I represent, Taili Song Roth, managed to capture an arresting, classic image of Clint Eastwood at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

So the takeaway is: take a step back from your less than savory view of this genre of photography. There are ways to approach the work in a smart, credible manner that will not hurl your artistry onto the funeral pyre.

And you will come to realize that it is in fact a sound investment, one that will prove to be a strong, long-term ally to brand-building.

Erykah Badu/ Shayan Asgharnia/ AUGUST

Clint Eastwood/ Taili Song Roth/ AUGUST

The Daily Promo – Leah Fasten

- - The Daily Promo

Leah Fasten

Who printed it?
HH Imaging here in San Francisco
http://www.hhimaging.com/home

Who designed it?
I worked with Flight Design Co to create an overall brand for my business. As part of that branding process, they provided me with design assets and a branding guide to use in my design work. I did the actual art direction and design of the promo using their brand guidelines and assets.
http://www.flightdesign.co/

Tell me about the images?
2017 was a really, really busy year with a ton of client work and candidly I fell behind on my personal work. When this happens I push myself on location or on set to create both images that thrill the client as well as images that surprise me and inspire me. Working this way is what keeps me madly in love with this career.

Initially, the idea for the promo was a kind of “greatest hits” of 2017. When I started looking at the images I was truly drawn to I realized that none of them had actually been printed anywhere. They were all work done in collaboration with clients, yet these weren’t the hero shots or perfect shots. These were the photos that happened in between or didn’t quite illustrate the story. And these are the images that surprised me and inspired me. My attraction to these images was interesting to me and I wanted to explore that a bit more. I used the promo as a kind of sketchbook to do that. (with notes!)

How many did you make?
500

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I do a larger mailing of postcards to hand-selected people 3-4 times a year with smaller, personal postcards sent out on an ongoing basis as I feel emotionally moved.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Oh gosh. Who knows what’s effective. Is it the postcards? The Instagram feed? The portfolio meetings? Word of mouth? The nice comment my mom made about me on Facebook? That time we stayed out too late and drank too much in LA?

I know that I love postcards. I love sending them. I love receiving them. There is still something so magical to me about print. It’s the same feeling I have when I see my image full bleed in a magazine or feel the weight of the paper for a portfolio print. It’s a great gift when a photographer friend sends me a postcard. I want to share that love with people I’d like to work with.

The Daily Promo – Andy Reynolds

- - The Daily Promo

Andy Reynolds

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard.

Who designed it?
I designed this one. I’ve always left it up to someone else. I was focusing on the advertising market so I included archive (film) and new material (digital) that I thought went together to show off my personality. The logo/name was designed by Jenna Yankun at Jyakun.com who also did the sheep gif on my website.

Tell me about the images?

Meat Trump comes from my series of faceless people. I wanted to show as much of a person without showing him. Shhh- it’s my uncle Al- the wig was made by Ashley Naegle at the Seattle Opera. I had the setting in my head of a butcher shop, white walls and metal and the grinder with the meat. The meat was on sale at Safeway too so no brainer.

The potato chip bag is all about gluttony. Saw it in my head, sketched it, collaborated with an AD to shoot it. Joel is an actor at a theater company here and is fun to shoot with.

Cubicle Wall is another collaboration on an image in my head of awkwardness. I like pratfall and comedy but it’s got to be subtle… also I think when I light stuff I default to sitcom lighting. It ain’t supposed to be ‘lit’ so you light an area motivated by reality/practicals/sun and let the talent do their thing. I try not to date myself with lighting or ‘technique’ – remember how cool cross-processing was? not

The office spread is an outtake from an ad I shot in Chicago for LeoB. The shot called for an office set full of redundancies. Originally they wanted like 12 and we ended up with near 40. I pitched the af-am twins and it happened! That is one shot with minimal p’shop. It’s probably my favorite ad job when I think about logistics, client, crew, and talent. Top Drawer.

How many did you make?
Only 250 I think. I have a small mailing list!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I am making a commitment to send out 3 a year. Don’t know if I can top this one though. The last one I sent out was on your feed, maybe 2 years ago? “Chipmunks having sex on a photocopier” lol

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I’d like to think so. I had WMachine compile a list so we’ll see how it goes. In the past, I’d print 500 and send a dozen. Is it me or are these buyers getting harder to find? Seems like they move or have weird titles now.

This agent I talked to when I was starting out – Julian Richards- told me I had to do stuff myself- portfolio review, mailers, follow up calls- or else no one would, not even agents. So I’m gettin back on the horse.

The Daily Promo – Jeffery Salter

- - The Daily Promo

Jeffery Salter

Who printed it?
Anthony Wright who is the owner of Aw Litho a printing firm which specializes in high end offset printing. He’s been doing this for 10 years and is a master of his craft.

http://www.awlitho.com/

Who designed it?
I was blessed to have Heidi Volpe layout and design the promo. She has the wonderful ability to see clarity in chaos combined with an admirable amount of patience. It took me quite a while to choose which images to show. It was great to have an objective pair of eyes of a good editor to select, organize and paginate. She saw connections and relationships in feeling, light, color, mood, textures, and tone in my photographs. Heidi is currently the design director of Vogue India.

https://heidivolpe.com/

I would prefer to be out taking pictures, it can be difficult for me to sit still at computer culling and editing images. What really helped me with the initial image selection was printing 8 x10s and taping to them my office wall. Seeing the images every day, reminded me that sometimes the most dramatic image wasn’t necessary the picture which lingered in the mind.

Tell me about the images?
The photographs in my promotional magazine are a mix of terrains, in the human face and landscapes. The portraits are from commissions, magazine, advertising and personal work with subjects ranging from pro athletes, cowgirls in Florida to an 80-year-old hiker and everything in between. The landscapes were taken in the Highlands of Scotland, rainforests in Olympic National Park and along the rocky Pacific coast, from Carmel to Vancouver Island.

It’s funny that my approach or method to each was vastly different, yet the images each have a connecting thread running through them. With landscape photography it’s up at dawn, lace up the hiking boots and head out with a single pack containing a camera and a lens. Once reaching a potential location, along a waterway, down in a valley or up the side of a hilltop, I like to sit and clear my mind, to see the patterns, shapes, lines or curves that bring order to the visual chaos of nature. As they say in landscape photography, the composition is the stage and lighting is the performance.

Portrait photography, be it for an advertising campaign or personal photo essay is about control and overcoming any limitation. My goal is to make a connection with my subject in order to help reveal something about them. Additionally, it’s my job to control the lighting, choose the composition, location and or set all within whats typically a limited amount of time. Even when you have a shooting script or mood board you still have to be flexible enough to capture a great image when it reveals itself. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the lighting and composition is the stage and the connection with the subject the performance.

How many did you make?
The first print run was 500. I’m mailed out about 300 and kept the rest for leave-behinds during portfolio presentations. There are a total of 32 images, in the 9.75” x 11” magazine, including the horizontal cover image that wraps around to the back. The paper is 70# uncoated smooth opaque text with Saddle stitch binding and printed with CMYK UV inks.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first mailer of this type for me and it’s been quite awhile since I have sent out any printed promos. The new plan is to do one magazine a year targeting dream clients and to follow-up with quarterly trifold mailers.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I believe in the power of the printed photograph. Printed promos showcase images which for better or worst linger in the viewer’s mind, compelling a second or third look. A printed piece is tangible, it screams “touch me, hold me”, rather than just swipe left or right. As much as I appreciate and enjoy digital marketing via email blasts and social media, I think some images are meant to be printed, held, and looked at.

At the end of the day, images reflect who the photographer is and the depth of his/her’s visual vocabulary.

Thank you for having me.