Wow, I like this idea over on Heather Morton Art Buyer (here). Your printed portfolio becomes a super creative promo that’s too expensive to leave behind and too impressive to ignore. Maybe it’s already happened. I’m out of that loop.

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  1. Nothing new here.

    The website (nor the printed folio) need be voluminous – both require focus and should be *special*.

    There is never just one approach.

  2. Thats why my one book is a scratch and sniff, and the other one is a pop up

    • @christian,
      Scratch ans sniff is so passé. Paint-by-numbers is the new sh*t!

  3. Wow.
    A folio arms race.
    That should get the economy moving.

  4. I’m paraphrasing Steve Martin here when I say, just make the work so good that the AB/AD/PE/PDs can’t ignore you. If you’ve got the money to make a delicious looking book, go for it. A couple of 50-yard line tickets to the Super Bowl wouldn’t hurt as a leave behind, either.

  5. These types of challenges to convention are both encouraging and daunting. It seems like it’s getting more important to discover and cater to the specific preferences of each art buyer as a demonstration of your commitment to their interests.

    Would it be a bit too cheeky to drop off a Mac Book Pro in a nicely embossed black leather case? :-)

  6. I once landed a nice job at an agency by dropping off my book gorilla style. They would not take any of my calls and emails were not working so I just drove up to the place and set my book on the receptionist desk and told her the creative director was expecting it.

    They held on to it for six weeks and finally called but called with a job. I won two addys with that job.

    I do think in the near future I’m going to be putting my work on some type of large tablet when I get to meet a team. This way I can show my stills and motion but I will still do printed books for some time to come.

    • @Giulio Sciorio: kudos on your chutzpah, and — it’s guerrilla.

    • @Giulio Sciorio, I’m ten seconds away from trying that myself!

  7. What if publishing a leave-behind didn’t have to be expensive?? I have seen a number of photographers/artists/designers using MagCloud to print portfolios that look fantastic and don’t cost a fortune. Because of the quick turn around time you can actually tailor them to the audience. Brilliant.
    Check out two great examples:

    • @Lauren, I dig mag cloud but the quality is no where close to what you can do with a solid Epson and a RIP package. Mag cloud is a good deluxe mailer to give to prospects between book drops.

      • @Giulio Sciorio, i’ve shifted my thinking from wanting to manage my own prints for my book to having someone else do it. what i don’t save in money, i save in time and frustration.
        plus even if i had the money:
        epson 4880 : $1900
        RIP : $1200

        so before counting paper and multiple full cartridges of ink, i’m already over $3 grand.

        but then again , if money wasn’t an issue, who cares! though i know i’d be getting a canon large format and not an epson :D


  8. I think though that the idea of a book is so that someone can get more of a tactile look at the work. I mean the difference between on screen and printed on the same image is just that its a little more literal I guess when you can hold it and touch it in your hands? Im not an AD/CD etc so anyone who has more insight feel free to chime in. Im asking in a simple form, whats truly the difference between viewing a portfolio through a website, vs a printed book? If you are allocating only a certain amount of time to it as a creative to see a body of work or particular style, then is there that much of an emphasis placed on having a book in your lap vs visiting a website with essentially the same content? Sometimes I wonder if it is an extra step that is or isnt necessary.
    I have followed the promo/ book debate for a while now and this recurrent theme seems to be that you must stand out, but whats more important? The images standing out, or the “gimmicks”? The name escapes me of the photographer who got some coverage for his promo piece for Frito Lay, and he sent out cards in a box with some fake grass and a bag of Fritos in it. But point taken, thats what I remember of it, the “Party favors” I couldnt tell you what the images were. Not saying it was bad, nor that I was on the recieving end of his marketing, but it was covered I think in PDN and online as well, but that is what I remember. If that can help gain work then hey why not, but if what we are foremost are photographers, then shouldnt that be the focus, our work? Not the leather, or the paper, or the food? But then the flip side is that in joining the masses, how do you stand out right? Are the CD/AD really that bored that they need to be entertained with a portfolio? If thats the case maybe Ill throw in a Ninteno Wii and have it delivered by a male stripper if that is what it takes to get noticed. But then, are you going to remember my work, or the Latin hunk Raul who stormed into your office, dropped a boombox and danced to “Wiggle it” whilst slipping my leather portfolio out of the back of his thong?

    Im just thinking out loud, anyone have any opinions?

  9. @8 Christian: you are right, these gimmicks grab a lot of attention but if the work isn’t solid (or stunning), I’m not going to hire you (but maybe someone else will). On the other hand, if your work is amazing, this is a great way of grabbing attention.

    My original point is that I’d like y’all to really look at the purpose of the book in today’s web-based world, this is what Christian above is alluding to in his print vs. web query.

    I think the book will always have a place but that place is changing. For more discussion, please see the original post:

    • @Heather, What if the work is solid and/or stunning and the photographer made laser copies to show? Should the creatives be able to recognize good work without judging the cover?

      Here is a quote from a previous post:

      “On a cold January morning in a Washington, DC Metro Station, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time about two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

      […]In the end, only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. When he finished playing, no one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

      The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell had sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.”

      Which one of these positions a creative belongs? one of the six? 20? or the others?

      • @Metin, I think your analogy is a little flawed. Excepting the acoustics of the concert hall which would be lacking, everything else about Joshua’s ability is appreciable during his street performance (even the tools: the violin). On the otherhand, the quality of reproduction of an image is an integral part of it’s artistry and a laser copy will give a very particular result.

        Having said this, I think that we CAN identify photographers with vision, with unique perspectives etc. from a laser copy. Mark Zibert and Chris Buck’s work for example would catch attention despite the reproduction. But, how’s the finesse of their post work? And the tones they are capturing, the quality of the blacks etc. The laser copy isn’t sufficient to judge this kind of thing. Perhaps Nadav Kander or Ryan McGinley’s work might suffer more on the lasers then Zibert or Buck- their abilities and style are subtler.

        Also, I know you are just making a point- and an interesting one, but, the way you choose to package yourself, the care you take with your images and your image is important- you are, after all, talking to a bunch of designers, artists and marketers- they are sensitive to these things.

        So, I think you are right to suggest that Creatives need to have the ability to see potential under less than ideal circumstances but as a shooter, I don’t think you are doing yourself ANY favours by showing lasers. Whipping out your iPortfolio (Rob, are you marketing this product yet?) on the other hand may be appropriate- I’d want to see bigger images eventually, and maybe your book, but the usability of the iphone (“the best portfolio is the one in your pocket” I suppose) can’t be denied.

        • oops- misquoted Chase Jarvis. Meant to say “the best portfolio is the one that’s with you”

          • @Heather, Of course, you are absolutely right that a well prepared presentation is important for a professional. I do not show lasers of my work. My portfolios are meticulously prepared. I think it is important for new photographers not to get hung up on portfolio preparation If there is no money for an expensive portfolio package. It is more important to develop a vision with significant, penetrating content. Many photographers spend too much time in post processing, as a result creative camera work suffers. I believe a good photograph is not just a pretty picture, not an exercise in elaborate techniques and sheer print quality but a product of trained eye, imaginative mind and informed intellect.

  10. Why no plastic sleeves? I know we’ve had this discussion a long time ago, but if you don’t use double-sided rag inkjet paper, what is the best alternative to the sleeves?

    • @Christopher Bush,

      The Inkpress Luster Duo paper is great. Looks and feels close to a real c-print. And it holds a lot more detail than any matte surface rag paper can.

      • @Bob O’Connor,

        Thanks. I never could deal with the lack of blacks in rag papers, as I shoot a lot of black and white film. In fact, I’ve resurrected the home darkroom and may make a book of only “real” prints.

  11. My previous book was double-sided rag. For the new book I just produced I used single sided matte then had a bookbinder glue the pages together and attach hinges.

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