Dwell Magazine has a new column online called “Promo Daily” where Photo Director Anna Alexander and  Associate Photo Editor Julia Sabot highlight promotional pieces they love. You can view their picks here:



I asked Anna a few questions about the new columns and promos in general:

Tell me about the new Promo Daily?

My associate, Julia Sabot, and I were talking the other day about promos. We love them. I know we’re a rare breed, but we actually do hire people based off of their mailers. So, we started to ponder whether or not photographers knew how important they are and how awesome they are, and that promos aren’t dead. I still have a James Acomb promo from like 2004- when I was at Wired- might be because it’s of Henry Rollins and I have a huge obsession with him, but I still have it pinned to my desk.

The first & only post I did on a promo was of Noah Webb‘s FANTASTIC Berlin Passport (http://www.dwell.com/post/article/photographer-we-love-noah-webb). It blew us away. Yes, I know he’s a Dwell photographer already- but he didn’t just send it to only us. Honestly, we hadn’t commissioned him in a while and it was a big fat HELLO! reminder…so, he did our next shoot that came down the pipes. I got so much photographer feedback from posting that (not just from Noah and his beautiful agent Maren at Redeye). We already occassionally post about photography under the title Photography Focus, as well as Julia’s weekly QA, but we wanted to give something back to the photographers who give us mailers, both email and post mail. We’ll be posting our favorite promo of the day with a little info as to why it’s so awesome- because photographers need to know that they’re not just pimping their art out into the USPS system never to be seen again.

When you speak to photographers about promos what advice do you give them?

The last couple of photo portfolio review events I did, I kept getting asked about promos (including emails- which we will also post) and if photo editors/producers toss them immediately in the trash and erase them from their inbox. I actually got in an argument with Armin Harris across an auditorium of photographers at Texas Round-up…it was awesome. Maybe we’re alone here, but I personally know other PE’s who feel the same way I do about promos. We’re photo editors, it’s in our nature to look at an image and know in .5 seconds if it works. We’re all aware that promos are expensive, as well as a traditional portfolio book which is a huge reason why so many are going digital for promotional materials. It’s unfortunate. I typically advise that they make sure they’re sending it out to a current masthead, with a current address to the company/publication. We still get promos to an old address & for photo editors who left 8 years ago. Also, one should be sent to each member of the photo dept / art buying dept- It takes time, but when something is personally written to us it gets noticed. Know who you’re sending your work to, for some reason we get a lot of wedding photographers.

What’s going on at Dwell with photography these days?

Summer is actually our busiest because of the weather, even though grey days are perfect for natural interior light- the overcast sky blows out the exteriors. Also, we’re working to get more profiles on our pages because there’s too many outstanding portrait photographers out there who we need to show-off.

My photo editor readers will want to know how you became the Photo Director at Dwell. Tell us.

I started at Wired in 1997 as the Photo Intern, left for a year during the tech boom bubble to Industry Standard, then went back to Wired. In October 2011, I got a call from Dwell’s Creative Director Alejandro Chavetta and that was that- I was totally poached. Wired and Dwell photography are COMPLETELY different, that’s no secret- but it’s still the business of editorial photography, and both are known for kickass photography. it’s not like I switched to Cat Fancy (I wish).

Mail and email for your promos:

Anna Alexander
Dwell Magazine
550 Kearny St., ste 710
San Francisco, CA 94108

Julia Sabot
Dwell Magazine
550 Kearny St., ste 710
San Francisco, CA 94108

digital promos to:

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  1. That back and forth between Anna and Armin at the Texas Photo Roundup was one of the highlights of the event for me. Was so great to have such experienced and generous photo editors in the audience!

  2. This is a really generous gesture especially for an interiors publication. It’s so inspiring to see other photographers ingenuity when marketing themselves. Looking forward to checking this out every day.

  3. I’m a long-time Dwell subscriber and hadn’t realized they were running these. I need to pay more attention to the Dwell website. Very cool.

  4. Showing that Anna and Julia are even interested in looking at, and in some cases hiring, photographers that don’t necessarily specialize in interiors/architecture is a wonderful revelation. Kudos!

  5. Nice of them to single out and post photo promos, photo eds themselves are obviously still interested in good photography however, why anyone would waste money sending magazines printed promos anymore in the hopes of winning an “all right, all uses” assignment that pays $400 boggles my mind. I predict within 2 years, magazines will be getting photographers to pay them to publish their pictures “for the exposure”.

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