Jasmine DeFoore, former Redux rep and current photographer consultant, has a 3 part self-promo series running on her blog starting today. She rightly concedes that nailing down creatives on what works is impossible because if you “ask 5 different people [you will], get 5 different answers.” The general consensus as noted by DOP Brenda Milis is “not a lot of money needs to go into making a good, impactful photo promotion” and DOP Allyson Torrisi who says “great talent will stand out on a single postcard with two images. The goal is to drive me to your website to see your work.”

It’s well worth a visit (go here) because there are lots of examples and even discussion of certain promos.

Molly Roberts, Director of Photography, Smithsonian
Molly Roberts, Director of Photography, Smithsonian

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  1. Thank you Jasmine for taking the time to do this- it is so helpful for photographers to see the pieces and hear the thoughts of those who receive them. I did a test lately with two art producer friends to save their printed pieces for a week- shockingly small amounts received but the e-promos were over flowing!!!

    Happy Holidays!!

  2. @suzanne, you are welcome. It’s fascinating to hear everyone’s different takes on things. One creative director I talked to said she got 100 e-promos a day… how totally overwhelming. Her write up will be part of the ad agency article I’ll post on Wednesday.

  3. Great article, thanks for sharing.

    I wish the links on some of the examples would have shown the promotion they are referring to and not just the photographers website. The editor from Rolling Stone in particular, since this is about promos I want to see those not the website. Everyone seems to be saying simpler is better and a postcard is just fine, although I still think it’s really hard to stand out with just a postcard. I really believe great design and packaging can help get someones attention as long as you don’t overdo it and the images are strong. We are all drawn to good design and packaging it’s why we buy half the products we do. I still firmly believe you have to do a little bit of everything. There is no silver bullet and if you ask 100 people you will get 100 answers on what they like and what works for THEM. For some it’s email, others it’s direct mail, or a blog or the behind the scenes, even cold calling can do the trick.

    It is a necessary evil. Most in the industry are overwhelmed and over saturated with all the marketing efforts from photographers. However without some form of marketing how will they find you? A good art buyer/editor will take the time to find new fresh talent, it’s their job.


  4. It’s just put a huge smile on my face to realise that one of my pics is on Molly’s wall in the above photo. I sent it out earlier this year as I was going to be in the area and wanted to know if it was worth dropping by with my book – I didn’t hear anything at the time but it’s still nice to see she’s kept the mailer! =D

  5. @wendi thanks for the feedback. You can see all of the examples that Sacha from Rolling Stone talks about by clicking on the gallery at the beginning of this write up.

  6. Good post – whenever I contact art buyers in following up an emailer or snail mail promo – on the rare occasion they pick up their phones – they are unfailingly polite, acknowledge it is tough out here and you have to self promote and are pretty gracious. Every single one of them says they are overwhelmed with emailers, and whether they open your or not depends largely on their workload on any given day and their mood. They all also say it is much harder for them to completely ignore a snail mailer and second the sentiment here that a simple postcard is fine.

  7. It’s always helpful to hear what creatives think about this kind of stuff, even if their views are divergent.

  8. Another very helpful post, Rob — thanks for sharing it.

    And thanks to Jasmine DeFoore for doing that research for her blog posts!

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