Featured Promo – Samantha Wolov

Samantha Wolov

Who printed it?
Agency Access, sometime in 2021. Due to a massive mailing hiccup and “a series of unfortunate events”, the booklets weren’t actually sent out until this spring, around six months after their first mailing (thankfully I had extras and could mail out a second batch). Full disclosure: to my knowledge, Agency Access is no longer designing and mailing print promos, but I could be mistaken.

Who designed it?
I can’t actually remember specifics (design and production started in Spring 2021), but this was also with Agency Access. My website is organized by Standards and Deviations—more traditional, classic styling vs. more left-of-center—and the booklet was designed to reflect that division. I know their sister site, Found, produces booklets a few times a year, and I had asked if they could make one specifically for me. When I approached them, I explained I was hoping the booklet would be my “Alan Rickman moment”: before Die Hard, Rickman was working, but not as often as he liked, and only in smaller projects, but was consistently receiving positive reviews and feedback from that work. Then he shot Die Hard, and the rest is history. I see a lot of overlap between my career trajectory and his earlier experiences: under-employed, but fantastic response. I’m just looking for my Die Hard.

Tell me about the images.
I have a fairly unusual background, [feminist, modern] art history and studio art, and I’m a self-taught photographer who learned about making images from painters, not other photographers, so the work itself feels somehow simultaneously extremely niche, and yet, can’t fully be categorized. My general understanding is that people enjoy and respond to my work, but they don’t know what to actually do with me; “I desperately want to hire you, but I don’t know if I actually can”. It’s tremendously flattering but understandably frustrating. That’s why I divide my work into Standards and Deviations, I want to offer some guidance as to how to look at my work. I’m a photographer who can shoot more classic, approachable imagery, but I’m also a photographer who isn’t afraid to experiment and really lean into that studio art background; I’ve made mixed media pieces with my prints, silkscreens using makeup instead of paint, and physically altered the composition of beauty products to use them as art supplies. I can’t have one without the other, I would feel incomplete otherwise.

Tell me more about the images in the Deviations category.
I have Sensory Processing Sensitivity, but what that means for my work is that nothing is purely visual, they appeal to at least one other sense, usually touch. For me, I need to be able to feel an image, not just look at it. I didn’t even realize it was a part of my work until I showed my work at a portfolio review, and someone said he could imagine the smell of one of my images (it featured copious amounts of sunscreen). Since then, I’ve come to understand how unique my SPS is and moving forward, I’d like to print and design booklets that feature images that better represent my mental process, not just my artistic identity.

How many did you make?
I printed 200 booklets, I believe. This was an experiment, so I didn’t want to invest too heavily, but I also wanted to make sure the booklets had a chance to make the impact I was hoping they’d have. This was also all done during COVID, and very few people are returning to offices, so my plan had been to personally reach out to every potential recipient (500+ individualized emails), explain what I was trying to do, and hoped they felt comfortable sharing the appropriate mailing address with me (I recognized most of those addresses would be personal, and I didn’t want to overstep a boundary). Miraculously, people replied. I knew statistically I would only get a small number of responses, but it was enough. I’m thankful I printed as many as I did since as best as I can tell, no one received the original booklets, mailed in November 2021. After waiting until after the holidays (thinking there might have been a massive seasonal issue), I had to mail out a second batch.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out email promos once every two months, and in the “before times”, I sent out a printed postcard version of the same images to anyone who might not have received the email due to server blocks and whatnot. Now that RTO is hit or miss across the industry, there’s no effective way to send out printed material, but I think print mailers still have their place. Despite all the mailing issues and delays, I’d like to try this again, maybe make a new booklet once a year. I’ve always maintained that a photographer should always present their work in any medium in which it could be consumed, and for me, that includes print.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
The booklets themselves? I’m not sure yet, I haven’t actually heard much about them. Oddly enough, I think what had a bigger impact was the email I would send to a potential recipient asking for a mailing address. Those were personal. I think it’s easy to forget that the names on one’s mailing list are actual people, and those people surely get bombarded on a daily basis by photographers demanding their attention, even if only for a few minutes. I take tremendous pride in being warm and personable, attributes that are nearly impossible to communicate digitally, and the emails I sent asking for addresses were a chance for me to connect with another human being, not a title. I could essentially say, “I admire the work your company produces, and I would love to work with you, but I also recognize that times are weird, and I’m a stranger asking for your address, but maybe we can meet each other halfway, and you can set a boundary for yourself while I attempt to do a somewhat awkward part of my job.” Marketing feels so anonymous, and honestly, it makes me uncomfortable. Before COVID, I attended in-person portfolio reviews religiously, and at least 75% of my jobs came from those meetings—I got booked because they liked me (which is such a wonderful compliment and never ceases to floor me). It’s much harder to make that connection with a person now, and if we’re being honest, I’m struggling with that. But with these booklets and the emails, I was able to approach someone and say, “I made a thing. I worked hard on it. I didn’t make that many. And I want you, you specifically, to have one, because I want you to have one.”

Featured Promo – Jason Willheim

Jason Willheim

Who printed it?
I print all my promos thru Newspaper Club. I just love the Digital Mini I feel its a beautiful presentation of your work

Who designed it?
I have Lisa Thackaberry design my promos. Lisa is my portfolio advisor so, its fun for her to help create these booklets. Plus, she knows my work. We are up to seven booklets and each one gets better. Carsten Steinhausen my retoucher also helps put this together and helps with the fine tuning

Tell me about the images.
The photos for this promo are from The Race of Gentlemen, which is one of the coolest events. Drag Racing on the beach in New Jersey. And I also have photographs, From when they raced in Santa Barbara. The Hot Rods are all pre 1934, thou the engines Can be no later than 1954. The motorcycles are all 1947 and older. Everyone is out to have a fun time, but they get serious about racing. I have realized that all my personal projects are of people that do something because they have a passion for it. It’s not about money. Its for the love of, in this case, being the fastest on the beach

How many did you make?
I usually print out 50, but its super easy and super fast to have more printed if I need them, as I tend to hand them out when I meet with people. I use to mail them, but since Covid and people working at home and not wanting to give out their home address, I also have this set as an email version and then when we meet, they get the hard copy.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
It varies how many promos I create each year. Each promo relates to a portfolio on my web site I am waiting to make three promos, but one will happen, when its finished being retouched and two will happen when the film they are related to is released.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
With more people working from home, I feel email versions of these booklets have been more effective these last two years, but I will continue to create these booklets, as I love to give these Away to clients. I feel that the Digital Mini is a beautiful way to show your work and its not really that expensive and everyone loves them. And after giving this promo to a client, they asked if I would show eight prints in the Agency gallery. And everyone in the agency has been really excited about seeing my work and a few in the agency are looking forward to going to the next Race of Gentlemen.

Featured Promo – Clay Cook

Clay Cook

Who printed it?
Fireball printed the interior pages and Bindery Partners printed the cover as well as assembled and bound the books in a cloth-wrapped, while foil-stamped o-ring bind. We originally had several of the pages die-cut to resemble “ripped paper” which was incredible, but ultimately we had to change printers due to the quality of the cover.

Who designed it?
While I came up with the idea, most of the credit goes to Lindsay Thompson with Wonderful Machine who designed the book. Honore Brown developed the edit of images.

Tell me about the images.
This project was for a start-up tequila brand “Celaya Tequila”. The project took our team to Jalisco, Mexico and Los Angeles, California. Celaya is a startup spirit brand that unites brothers and retired NFL athletes Ryan & Matt Kalil. The goal of the tequila brand is to pay homage to their Mexican ancestry. It all began with their grandmother and the stories of her grandfather, Jose Celaya, who crafted his own homemade tequila on his Sonora Ranch in the late 1800s. Our job was to document Ryan and Matt on the ground as they walk through the process of harvesting and distilling agave in Tequila. They not only needed portrait and documentary photography of their experience, but also still life photography of their final product.

How many did you make?
We printed 125 sketchbooks. All were sent to advertising agencies in the United States.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
It depends on the promo, but I tend to send out one big promo a year. However, this year I intend to send out two. We are already working on the new promo: a full-size poster scroll.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do, but it can be a shot in the dark without and analytical data. That said, I’ve received many calls over the years with compliments about the promos. I think it can be an excellent way to stick into peoples minds and find a VIP spot in their rolodex. I have converted leads from a big promo push to actual awarded bids.

Featured Promo – David Burlacu

David Burlacu

Tell me about the promo.

Lindsay Bevington who’s an amazing friend and supporter started a printing company about a year ago and we’ve been flirting with the idea of printing a book for this project. I made two other books before this using Blurb but they weren’t really mail friendly (totally my fault, blurb does a good job at printing materials) – the first one was 12in x 12in and the second one was over 100 pages. Neither of these attributes make them ‘promo’ friendly. The printing company wasn’t going in a right direction so she decided to close it down. But before that she really wanted to make something for me. That was the catalyst to put this thing together.

I did the design myself – I wanted it to feel punk and ziney so I used 4×6 white cards, printed the images on my Canon Selphy printer, wrote the copy with a label maker and put it all together with tape. Won’t spend too much time talking about the carpal tunnel I got from the label maker haha. But as the first promo I ever made I wanted it to be as personal as it can get. I’m basically introducing myself to a bunch of people and I want to be as authentic as possible.
Which leads us to the images – when I was in the process of selecting which images will make the cut and which won’t I had my friend Alessia over to help with the process – anyone can tell you it’s not fun to axe your own creations by yourself. So we had 2 walls filled with images, green and red stickers and some negronis. A few hours in she looks at me and says ‘you know I think this is the most comprehensive self portrait I’ve ever seen’. I knew then we were on the right track.

I started shooting these portraits a few years ago mostly because work was slow and I needed to do something to keep me from going nuts. I was living in this place that I still doubt was zoned for residential living. But it did have a private terrace which in New York is basically unheard of. To be fair you had to jump out of my window to get on it. Still not sure if I was supposed to be there. If my landlord is reading this – sorry not sorry.

Most of these guys are people I’ve met in my years living in New York. As the project grew more people were asking to be shot which gave me an opportunity to meet and swap stories with interesting characters. You get pretty chummy when you realize you have to jump out my bedroom window to ‘get to set’.

I kept the project going when I moved from that apartment to the new one & now I moved somewhere else with a killer courtyard that is off limits but I’m hoping I can weasel myself into shooting there as well.

I made about 80 copies and sent out about 30-40 so far.

This is a new endeavor for me so I can’t really tell if it’s going to work or not. I have gotten good feedback from the book and I hope it leads to some jobs but I’m still in the ‘planting seeds’ part of the journey. As a rule of thumb, and this is a direct quote from all my friends that have been working in the industry for years ‘ any way you can get eyeballs on your work is important’. You kind of have to do it all, man – social, print, linkedin, instagram, shouting it from the rooftops whatever is considered a platform. Survival of the loudest, right?!

Featured Promo – Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan

Who printed it?
Smartpress printed it.

Who designed it?
Steve Secviar at Less + More in San Diego.

Tell me about the images.
The images I chose to print were ones that I thought might capture my audience within the food and beverage industry. My audience being art directors, editors and even specific restaurants.

How many did you make?
I ended up printing 100 promos based on cost.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I try to send out twice a year. I will be mailing out promos again towards the fall of this year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
In terms of feedback/response from using printed promos, I’ve yet to determine if it’s beneficial. I mean I guess it would be hard to qualitatively determine if the printed promos are helpful, especially with such a strong social media presence these days. But I think most people like having something tangible so I’m hoping that someone who sees it will take into consideration the time and effort that went into making them.

NFTs Part 3 – The 10k Project

(Part 2 is here)

If you barely dip your toes in the NFT community, you will encounter Punks and Apes. You will see many influential people using them as their PFP (profile picture or picture for proof), and there’s a never-ending discussion about their floor price and utility. The Punks are 10,000 computer-generated pixel art pictures of… punks. They were created by larva labs in 2017 and given away for free to anyone who wanted to claim one. The lowest price to buy a punk right now is $122,808 (floor price) and the total lifetime sales of punks changing hands are nearly 2 billion dollars. Apes are BAYC (Bored Ape Yacht Club), another 10,000-piece NFT collection of computer-generated cartoon primates created in 2021 that initially sold for 0.08 ETH ($190 at the time) and are now worth $233,209. The Apes are famous for their utility which means owners get perks (coins, dogs, mutants, land), and they own the IP (Intellectual property) to their drawing. These extremely successful NFT projects have spawned thousands of copycats, and this is also where you will find most of the scams taking place. Projects where the founder disappears with all the money or just pump-and-dump behavior are rampant with 10k and PFP.

In January of this year, @fellowshiptrust announced they were bringing the world’s first-ever 10K+ photography NFT collection (Note: when this tweet first appeared, the link did not have the photographer’s name) to the blockchain.

Given the action around Punks and Apes, this looked like an excellent idea for the photography community. Fellowship seemed to know this was an opportunity to make history, and project information was filled with hype: “The release of this project will mark a turning point in the history of photography.” In addition to the hyperbolic writing, there is a process for selling the NFTs to achieve maximum FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), where VIPs were given the opportunity to pre-mint the NFT (this is called a whitelist) before the artist behind the project was even revealed. It’s common for 10k NFT projects to work with VIPs and create whitelists for early access because it all generates a feeling of exclusivity. When a project is popular and sells out, this guarantees an increase in price once it becomes available to the public, similar to what happens with IPOs on the stock market (oversubscribed). The people who got in early can flip the NFT for a profit.

If that weren’t enough, project creators taking a cue from Punks, build rarity into the NFTs and withhold revealing what you minted until a project has a chance to sell out. You have a one in ten thousand chance of getting something rare at the reveal, and that lottery-like feeling drives the floor price of collections. Photography archives have this already built-in because a small percentage of images are popular or appear in important collections or books.

So, once Fellowship assembled the whitelists and images were pre-minted (with a placeholder) it was revealed that the photographer was August Sander, and the public was allowed to mint any remaining images. The entire collection sold out in minutes. A big reason for the project’s popularity had to do with the price. It was offered for free “just gas”. This means you don’t pay a fee to mint, just the gas fee for the NFT to be written to the Ethereum blockchain (usually around $20).

As soon as I found out it was August Sander, I went to the project website and read up on the collection. August’s great-grandson Julian Sander had put the project together to create a permanent archive on the blockchain where I was told information about the images could be added by the community. I liked the idea of utility and owning a piece of the archive and the possibility that I could interact with other photography fans and even the estate because of my ownership. I also thought about winning a valuable August Sander NFT that I could flip for a premium.

So I went on Opensea.io and bought one, paying the lowest available price of 0.042 ETH ($98 at the time plus $50 for gas).

Then the reveal happened, and not only did I not get a famous image mine was this terrible scan:

Whoever got the well-known bricklayer image flipped it for 3 ETH ($10,000).

The secondary sales continued to climb and surpassed 400 ETH.

Then in mid-march, the entire collection was taken down from Opensea.io At first, people thought it was a glitch of some type. Then on March 19, Julian Sander released a statement confirming what many were already discovering with simple google searches: “It was suspended because a third party, which claims to have certain rights in August Sanders’ photographs, submitted a complaint to OpenSea. I believe the complaint is not valid, and I am liaising with my legal advisors to get this resolved as soon as possible, and for the collection to be reinstated on the platform. This is my top priority right now.”

That 3rd party is https://www.photographie-sk-kultur.de/en/august-sander/reproduktionsbestimmung-august-sander/ SK Stiftung Kultur, and if you google “August Sander Estate,” you will see that back in 2017 Julian and SK Stiftung Kultur clashed over ownership of the archive.

How is it possible nobody mentioned this? Many well-known people championed this NFT release, including Christie’s own Darius Himes, who was reportedly involved in bringing the project to @fellowshiptrust and interviewed Julian on his Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/tv/CZ0UoULIqIj/). Still, nobody thought to bring up who owns the actual copyright to the estate?

And this is the nut of the problem with NFTs and this project in particular. Nobody seems to give a shit about copyright. When the project was removed from Opensea.io everyone involved simply said the project is still on the blockchain and is visible on marketplaces like rarible.com, where DMCA takedown notices have no effect. A central tenet behind NFTs is decentralization, so there’s nobody to complain to when your images are stolen. In one of the twitter spaces, I listened to Julian say that photographers have too much power and the DMCA is a problem. He went on to say that placing the collection on the blockchain was fair use arguing that owning a print gives you the right to sell it as an NFT (this changes the nature of NFTs from artist issued originals to eBay for anything in your possession). The members of Fellowship seem to agree with this sentiment as nobody is concerned that this is a legitimate copyright violation and they shouldn’t have put the project to live forever on the blockchain in the first place.

One other aspect of the project being glossed over is the claim that the NFTs were given away for free. Yes, you could mint one with no fee given to Julian or Fellowship, but when I asked Alejandro Cartagena, founding member of Fellowship Trust specifics of the project, I was told that they kept 4.5% of the 10,395 images. Also, 10% of the secondary sales (over $1,000,000) go to Julian (7.5%) and Fellowship (2.5%). In online conversations, I’ve listened to Julian talk about wanting to profit from the work and that the money will determine its value. Anyone saying the project was given away for free is being disingenuous. Not to mention that involvement in a historic project like this has enormous value beyond simply making money off it.

Finally, one aspect of NFTs that I absolutely loathe is the idea that as Alejandro put it to me, everything is “publicly accessible on the blockchain for anyone to read and verify.” When I asked him about randomization process or people minting then selling the NFT’s on the secondary market, I’m told it’s all visible online. The truth is that most people own multiple wallets where they move NFTs and ETH around so you can’t track them. Finding out who owns all the different wallets and following the path from one to another to the marketplace is quite tricky to verify. There are bots buying and selling, people selling to themselves, and money being traded behind the scenes, making it impossible to know what’s real. The transparency of NFTs is a joke.

I’m not sure why everyone involved in this project fumbled so hard. People associated with it refuse to admit they knew about SK Stiftung Kultur before the takedown notice was issued, and all seem perfectly complacent with the idea that the blockchain doesn’t care either. Overall, I’m just disappointed that my NFT purchase doesn’t give me access to the actual August Sander Estate, and instead I’m stuck with Julian, who, as the Great Grandson of the famous photographer, seems bitter about where the archive ended up.

Supporting Photographers With NFTs

Part 2 – Buying an NFT

Once you are up to speed on the terminology, licensing and have converted fiat (government-issued currency) into ETH, you can purchase your first NFT (Part 1 of my NFT series is here).

If you spend a few seconds on Twitter anymore, you will see streams of tweets from photographers in various stages of promoting their work in the NFT marketplace. From what I’ve seen, there’s a progression to how most photographers get involved for the first time and continue to promote their work on Twitter:

  1. Talking about your work and posting images on Twitter. Engaging with collectors and influential photographers by retweeting and commenting on their tweets.
  2. Getting an invite to a platform like Foundation.app and setting up your profile.
  3. Creating a collection and “minting” a number of pieces inside that collection.
  4. Tweeting out the availability, then doing a long thread on the collection or each piece to let collectors know the history behind it or your motivations for creating it.
  5. Starting a twitter spaces to talk about the work.
  6. When someone places a bid letting everyone know an auction has begun (when and NFT is bought there’s a 24 hour period where someone can outbid you to encourage a bidding war).
  7. Tweeting out a sale!
  8. Buying NFT’s from other photographers with your proceeds.
  9. Congratulating other photographers on a sale.
  10. Periodic tweeting of the number left in the collection or secondary sales that happen.
  11. Tweeting out a list of photographers you admire, have collected, or interact with.

So I was scrolling when I saw this:

Thought it was a fantastic image so I started following Adam and a week later this popped up on my feed:

I decided immediately that this was the photo I wanted to collect, and after I got my wallet and ETH situated (which took a week), I bought my first NFT. The beauty of the whole transaction was that I was able to find a photographer whose work I liked (I did visit his website several times https://www.adam-powell.net), and he had a project and image that spoke to me, and I could support that photographer with cash immediately. In exchange, I got a photo for my digital wallet that I can also display in an online gallery or digital picture frame. The ease with which it happened (once I had a wallet loaded with ETH)  made me think this is a pretty great way to support photographers.

Adam reached out to me after the sale to see if I wanted to know more about his work, so I asked if I could interview him for this article:

Adam moved to Brooklyn, NY, from East London 6 years ago and started wandering the streets every day, taking pictures with a film camera his dad gifted him. He immersed himself in the street photography scene and was a part of the collective NYCSPC https://www.nyc-spc.com for a while, but then the pandemic hit, and suddenly, there was nobody on the street to make pictures of.

Influenced by the subculture documentary work of Louis Theroux, notably his series Weird Weekends, Adam had visited various niche subculture events and conventions, beginning to explore the stranger sides of the American culture. Adam said, “at some point, a lot of street photography started to look the same to me, and I wanted to reestablish my photographic Identity. I moved away from the well-trodden paths of midtown Manhattan and began making work that reflects how weird the world is in small moments hidden in the every day, right under our noses, in NYC and across the USA”.”

Adam started sharing his work on Instagram, posting regularly, and at first found a lot of community there, but he says, “it started doing terrible things to my mental health.” The number of likes a photo got warped his view of his work, but he said, “it’s a load of shit because an algorithm that doesn’t understand photography controls what gets likes and what doesn’t.”

Sometime in 2020, his friend Zak Krevitt told him he should be making NFTs. Adam had invested a bit in crypto and saw the headlines of artists like Beepel selling work for millions of dollars, then Zach sold a trans liberation march piece (all for charity) for 17 ETH. Around the same time, Adam photographed the capital riot and took these crazy photos that he thought he could sell for a lot of ETH, but when he uploaded the images as NFTs, nothing happened. He told me that at the time, he didn’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes to make these big sales, so he logged off.

Six months later, Adam had coffee with David Brandon Geeting, who was starting to get some traction in the NFT space and thought there might be some longevity to this now that artists like David, whose work he liked, had collectors buying it. So around the holidays, he dove back in and said he found Twitter to be “a very good place to be, very very supportive where Instagram is just a click world, Twitter is more engaging.”

Adam decided to start with his “6 favorite photos from 2021, the best photos I took that year.” The first photo he minted out of that group sold the same day. He thought, “this is going to be easy,” and slowly minted five more over the course of a few months, and even though a pretty prominent collector bought another one, he didn’t sell any more from that group.

Initially, Foundation, the marketplace where he minted his images into NFTs allowed you to sell individual images, but they changed the policy only to allow collections going forward, so Adam decided the next project would be “Enjoy Your Stay!” which is where I collected my first NFT. No others have sold since I bought my piece, and Adam says he doesn’t know why. The posts he made got good engagement, but the collectors and DAOs he DM’d said the work did not line up with their personal taste, which Adam says is ok because “this is an experiment; I’m not relying on it to make a living.” He says, “If it had sold out, maybe I would not be as motivated to continue to build the work. It invigorated me more.”

Adam told me this winter when he minted the pieces, he had a lot more time on his hands to promote the work and spend time on Twitter engaging with people, but now he’s seeing consistent assignments and doesn’t have time to promote his work. He says the assignment work “will always be number one for me because that’s how I get access to subjects.” He says he’s “worked very hard to get where I am professionally” and “creating personal work is the most important part of my photographic practice” and doesn’t want to give that up to spend more time promoting his NFTs.

I asked Adam about all the work required in the NFT space to promote yourself to collectors, and he said, “it’s not exclusive to NFT; you have to play the game” in every aspect of professional photography. He said, “the people doing well right now are really good at community building and promoting their work/brand; when collectors see that, they see people trying to grow the NFT space.” He thinks one aspect of the space that needs more attention is that it’s becoming a “criticism-free zone.” Adam says, “for good art to exist; criticism is an absolute must so photographers can improve their practice.” Adam thinks the fear of criticism comes from a fear of “offending the collectors and prominent artists.”

Adam says that buying an NFT from an artist is “one of the more impactful ways that someone can work with a photographer.” As someone who’s still establishing themselves, you cannot command much for a print, and the day rates for photojournalism are not high, but “.5 ETH is $1600 and can make a huge difference for a photographer.”

I asked him why he chose to price his work at .5 ETH, and he said, “Firstly, because it seemed on par with others whose work I like in the space, and then a lot of work I see being bought on Foundation is sold at the same price.”

If Adam had been offering prints or a Patreon to support his work, I would not have done either, but purchasing a 1 of 1 NFT seems like a good match to me. I can certainly imagine some future world where I have a digital gallery online displaying the original works I’ve collected over the years. I have stacks of books and prints lying around my house that I never look at, and I feel like I’m more apt to take a quick look at my digital collection than pull out some dusty book I’ve long forgotten. And as a person who collects to support photographers and have something to enjoy, this fits my model well. I do not believe NFTs will ever go away, and it’s something photographers can easily add to their business model right now if they are not relying on it as the primary income source. Many people are seeing outsized success or even defining their careers through NFT sales now, but for 99.9% of photographers, what’s happening with Adam will be more the norm.

Save The Date: ASMP Colorado Presents A Day With Wonderful Machine

Wonderful Machine has a fantastic event planned that you should check out:

The Business of Photography

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Wonderful Machine is teaming up with ASMP Colorado for a fun and informative virtual event covering the business of photography. You’ll learn about current trends in branding, marketing, social media, SEO, estimating, and shoot production from our photo editors, marketing specialists, and producers!

Event Schedule


Opening Conversation

10:30-11:00am ET / 8:30-9:00am MT

As our viewers settle in, moderators Rick Souders of Souders Studios and Bill Cramer of Wonderful Machine will share some thoughts about what they’ve learned in their combined 70 years in the photography business.

Rick Souders | LinkedIn | Website | Instagram
Bill Cramer | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Rick Souders
Souders Studios

Bill Cramer
CEO of Wonderful Machine


Building a Compelling Photography Website

11:00am-12:00pm ET / 9:00-10:00am MT

Join Senior Photo Editors Honore Brown and Deborah Dragon as they discuss what makes a great photographer’s website and share a few examples of successful sites. They’ll cover how to create a cohesive edit and how photographers can present their pictures effectively online to cater to their target audience.

Honore Brown | LinkedIn | Articles
Deborah Dragon | LinkedIn

Honore Brown
Senior Photo Editor

Deborah Dragon
Senior Photo Editor

Read More…
Expert Advice: Building A Functional Photography Website
Expert Advice: Web Design Basics For Photographers


Self-Published Photo Books

12:00-1:00pm ET / 10:00-11:00am MT

We’ll learn how two photographers turned their self-assigned projects into self-published books – and the impact on their photography business. Joining us will be photographers Muhammad Fadli and Tadd Myers. Wonderful Machine Creative Consultant and Daylight Books Cofounder Michael Itkoff moderates.

Michael Itkoff | LinkedIn | Website

Michael Itkoff
Senior Creative Consultant

Muhammad Fadli
Photographer

Tadd Myers
Photographer


Creating Memorable Marketing Materials

1:00-2:00pm ET / 11:00am-12:00pm MT

Senior Designer Lindsay Thompson provides us with a bird’s eye view of the many ways to share your photographs with clients (including emailers, print promos, print portfolios, promotional gifts, PDF presentations, Adobe Express, stationery & business cards).

Lindsay Thompson | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Lindsay Thompson
Senior Designer

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Expert Advice: Visual Identity For Photographers
Expert Advice: Photographer Logos


Email Marketing for Photographers

2:00-3:00pm ET / 12:00-1:00pm MT

Join Senior Project Manager Nicole Poulin as she breaks down how to identify your elevator pitch and target clients that match up with your goals (touching on client research, individual emails, email campaigns, and client meetings).

Nicole Poulin | LinkedIn

Nicole Poulin
Senior Project Manager

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Expert Advice: The Best CRM Apps For Photographers
Expert Advice: Why Photographers Need A CRM
Expert Advice: Email Marketing For Photographers
Expert Advice: Client Types: Brands
Expert Advice: Prospect List Services
DemandScience: Which EU Countries accept B2B Emails post-GDPR?
Komyoon: Liz Miller-Gershfeld, V.P Exec. Art Producer, BBDO on How to Show Your Portfolio


Instagram & TikTok for Photographers

3:00-4:00pm ET / 1:00-2:00pm MT

Project Manager Marianne Lee moderates a conversation with two photographers who are producing content for (as well as promoting their business with) Instagram and TikTok. Joining us will be Taylor Brumfield and Andre Rucker.

Marianne Lee | LinkedIn | Website

Marianne Lee
Senior Marketing Specialist

Taylor Brumfield
Photographer

Andre Rucker
Photographer

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Expert Advice: Instagram For Photographers
Expert Advice: Insight From Instagram Gurus


Top 7 SEO Tips for Photographers!

4:00-5:00pm ET / 2:00-3:00pm MT

SEO Specialist Ashley Vaught shares his thoughts on best practices for attracting organic web searches. He’ll also show how to track and understand the traffic coming to your site.

Ashley Vaught | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Ashley Vaught
SEO Specialist

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Expert Advice: Search Engine Optimization for Photographers
Expert Advice: Google Analytics Setup
Expert Advice: Google Analytics FAQ


Pricing & Negotiating Commercial Photography

5:00-6:00pm ET / 3:00-4:00pm MT

Executive Producer Craig Oppenheimer explains the basics of creative briefs, estimates, terms & conditions, treatments, and creative calls. He’ll also provide insight on how to negotiate effectively with clients.

Craig Oppenheimer | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Craig Oppenheimer
Executive Producer

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aPhotoEditor: Pricing & Negotiating
Expert Advice: Treatments
Expert Advice: Terms & Conditions
Expert Advice: Estimate Worksheet


The Photographer & Producer Relationship

6:00-7:00pm ET / 4:00-5:00pm MT

Senior Producer Bryan Sheffield will explain his process of producing a big-budget photoshoot including crew, talent, styling, and location needs, how to manage a budget, and put together a comprehensive production book. Bryan will be joined by photographer Emily Andrews to discuss a recent project they worked on together.

Bryan Sheffield | LinkedIn | Website | Articles

Bryan Sheffield
Senior Producer

Emily Andrews
Photographer

Read More…
Expert Advice: How To Create A Production Book
Expert Advice: Hiring Crew


Closing Remarks

7:00-7:30pm ET / 5:00-5:30pm MT

Bill and Rick share their highlights from the day’s events and open the discussion up for anyone who wants to jump in!

Bill Cramer

Rick Souders


As this is an all-day event, please pop in and out of the sessions as needed. We hope to see you there!

Featured Promo – Charlotte Schreiber

Charlotte Schreiber

Who printed it?
Gutenberg Beuys Feindruckerei GmbH
www.feindruckerei.de

I had worked with them on one of my books ’SUD’ (http://www.charlotteschreiber.com/sud/ https://shop.charlotteschreiber.com/product/sud-photographic-notes-from-south-america) before and was really pleased. I’m very particular when it comes to colors and handling paper and they did it very well.

Who designed it?
My dear friend and brilliant designer Max Weinland https://www.maxweinland.com/ who I have been collaborating with for years.

Tell me about the images.
Over the years I have come to realize that my body of work is not easy to categorize so it was important to show a variety of what I do, still making sure they stay connected through what I would say is essential to my work: the warmth, the stillness, the colors, the light and atmosphere.

Except the portrait of my friend Bettina, who I have been photographing regularly over the years, it’s all commissioned work, and I like to show that as long as you want my way of seeing things, I can photograph anything. No matter if it’s a magazine story about a family and their allotment in the suburbs of Hamburg, a story about the new S-Class for Mercedes or a portrait of the relationship coach of a new established Dating Agency for Best Agers. The image it completely unfolds to is from a commissioned travel story that took me through a more rural part of Japan. I like the idea of making people stop and take a breath when they look at the greenness/freshness of that captured moment, and maybe even put it up in their office. When people ask me what I do, I always say, I get paid to tell you stories and make you dream about it, to make you long for and wonder. – That’s what all these images do.

How many did you make?
We ran a print of 300.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I used to send them out twice a year. They were mostly postcards in a bigger format, with one big image printed on thick matte paper.
I did a similar one to this here that also unfolded into a A3 poster a few years back. Max Weinland designed it as well: http://www.maxweinland.com/charlotte-schreiber-portfolio/ Since then mailings have become less regular and then the pandemic made me stop completely. This one is the first I’ve sent out since and I wanted it to shine bright.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes. The postcards began as something I would hand out after portfolio meetings and every time I came back I would see them hanging in offices, cubicles or on Instagram that they found a new place in an editor’s home/fridge/postcard wall, and these collections grew when I started sending them out regularly. I still find it a good way to be kept on their mind/eye.

Also while everything and everyone needs to be available on social media all the time, without pausing ever, I feel like people appreciate touching work once in a while. Seeing having someone put thought into layout, image selection, paper, into the feel, smell, the importance of that photographers work and simply the effort that went into making something. I believe the way you handle your work goes a long way and adds value to it, it also leads the way to how others, i.e. potential clients handle your work.

Supporting Photographers with NFT’s

Part 1 – Getting my feet wet

I decided to dive headfirst into the NFT world a few months back. I wanted to understand how it all worked, and I gotta say, it’s not really something you can dip your toe in… so I decided the only way to do it was to become a collector.

If you don’t know already, Twitter is the place where most of the NFT action takes place and you will hear lots of discussions about how the photography world on Twitter is so supportive and kind to photographers. After spending lots of time building an audience on Instagram, many are coming over and seem to be having a much better time of it.

I have been on Twitter for a long time and have to say it’s been refreshing to see all the photography discussions on there now. In the past, Twitter was dominated by news organizations, and during the Trump presidency, it was simply unbearable with all the breathless takes every 5 min. Once I started following more people engaged in the NFT photography world, my feed filled with photos.

Another aspect of photo NFT and crypto, in general, is that the slang and abbreviations make it difficult to understand what’s going on. If you are just getting started, you will spend lots of time googling terms and concepts. Here’s a glossary you can start with: https://www.finder.com/nft-glossary Unfortunately, the terms people use make it difficult to follow along until you have memorized and studied a bit. At the root of all this is the blockchain and a token called Ethereum. It’s helpful to watch some videos or visit the official Ethereum site: https://ethereum.org/ to get familiar with the underlying tech. Many photographers would be happy to “onboard” you to this world as well.

As a collector, once you’ve identified an NFT you want to own, you need a wallet to buy it and store it, and before you get a wallet, you need some ETH to make the purchase in the first place. A quick note on Ethereum… the price is volatile, making messing around with this world difficult if you don’t have money you can afford to lose. Since I’ve been involved these last 3 months, I’ve seen the price of 1 ETH in USD go between $2,500 and $3,500. If you buy some ETH at the peak, you can easily lose thousands.

I opened an account at coinbase.com, linked my bank account and bought an ETH. Then I got a Rainbow wallet https://rainbow.me and tried to transfer the ETH over but soon found out that for your own safety, there are delays in purchasing crypto and transferring it out of your account which in my case took a week before I had it in a wallet where I could make a purchase. This is a good thing but be aware that moving between USD, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs can take time.

I should also mention that it’s somewhat trivial for someone to steal all your money (your wallet address is public, and everyone can see what’s inside the wallet). There’s a private key that only you have access to with a passphrase of 20 words that you have to store somewhere that gives anyone access to your wallet. You can put this in a file cabinet in your house (don’t lose it or the wallet is lost forever) but putting it on your computer or backing up to iCloud or google drive leaves you vulnerable to hacks. You can also accidentally click a link and authorize someone to wipe out your funds. If you are playing with lots of money here, you need to take security seriously and it’s not an easy topic to understand. Here’s a thread that explains it: https://twitter.com/punk6529/status/1506175497834795012

Are you still with me? Once you get all set up it’s very easy and fun but there’s a steep learning curve to get started.

Once I found an NFT, I wanted to buy… I realized I had no idea what I was buying, and further research was needed.

Without getting into the weeds too deep, my research revealed that most NFT transactions happen on the Ethereum blockchain because it’s where a contract can be written. You can start here if you want specifics: https://ethereum.org/en/nft/ but what I was really interested in was the license associated with the image you are buying. Turns out there isn’t one. In very simple terms, an NFT is a digital receipt that points to an image. You own the digital receipt in the form of a token. I think it’s common knowledge that you do not own the image, but I don’t think most people know you don’t have any rights to the image either. ZERO. The erc-721 token, which most NFTs use, simply creates a unique digital receipt in the form of a token that points to an image.

But there must be rights associated with NFT photography because marketplaces, wallets, Twitter posts, and virtual galleries display images all the time. I discovered that these rights are given to you by the marketplace where you purchase the NFT. For example https://foundation.app, a popular marketplace with photographers, states the following:

When you collect an NFT on Foundation: 
* You own the NFT that represents the artwork on the blockchain.
* You can display and share the piece.
* You can exhibit the piece on any platform or in any virtual space. 
* You can resell or trade it on a secondary market.

What you can’t do as a collector:
* You can’t claim legal ownership, copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights.
* You can’t use the artwork in a commercial context.
* You can’t make any changes to the artwork.
* You can’t share the work in a hateful, cruel, or intolerant context.
* You can’t create additional NFTs that represent the same artwork.

The actual terms of Service spells it out even further: https://foundation.app/terms

So what happens when you resell the NFT, or the marketplace disappears, or the NFT is delisted because of a copyright dispute? I don’t know, but I have experienced this firsthand and will address it in another article. Let’s just say that as a photo industry veteran, the whole licensing aspect of NFT is stupid. It’s such an afterthought right now, but I’m hopeful that this will change as more people who understand that licensing is everything get involved. We shall see.

I’m finally ready to buy my first NFT, which I will get to in Part 2. But there’s the elephant in the room I haven’t even addressed that makes NFTs a nonstarter for most people. Energy consumption. I believe this will be solved very soon with changes proposed many years ago that Ethereum seems to be on the verge of implementing. If these changes are not implemented, I don’t want to participate in the photography NFT world. Here’s an article that covers the changes https://coinmarketcap.com/alexandria/article/how-will-ethereum-2-reduce-energy-consumption. This series of articles assume the wasteful energy consumption of doing things on the blockchain will be addressed.

Pricing & Negotiating: Industrial Images For Energy Company

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine< Concept: Images of employees at work in industrial settings

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of all images captured in perpetuity

Photographer: Industrial and Lifestyle Specialist

Client: Energy company

Here is the estimate:

 

 

Fees: The client had three facilities across the country, and while the scope included one shoot day at each facility, the overall production including travel time would equate to a 10-day project. There wasn’t a defined shot list, but we knew the shoot would involve a combination of employee lifestyle images, and shots of the equipment within each facility as well. Rather than basing the fee on a certain number of setups/scenarios, I used previous knowledge of similar shoots to come up with a fee of $6,000 per shoot day, which felt right for the limited usage.

Crew: The load would be light, and the photographer only needed a first assistant for the production.

Equipment: We included $1,000 per shoot day for use of the photographer’s personal cameras, lenses, and grip.

Travel: I included appropriate rates based on local research for the 10-day production details in the job description

Misc.: This covered any unforeseen expenses that might arise during the production and while traveling.

Post Production: We anticipated about 20 images per location needing some basic processing, and we noted $100 per image, which would include up to 1 hour of retouching.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project.

Featured Promo – Tracey Mammolito

Tracey Mammolito

Who printed it?
Gotprint https://www.gotprint.com/home.html
Being on a tight budget, I took a chance with this lower priced option. However, I did do a bunch of research and thankfully most printing companies will send a free sampler pack which is super helpful to see/feel the quality. I was impressed with the wide selection they have and was a fan of the Square orientation in multiple sizes. Unfortunately there was an initial printing issue on one of the cards but their customer service was great & very responsive.

Who designed it?
I did. Once again – on a tight budget, but my background in design came in handy. In a previous career making moodboards was my specialty so I took that ‘thoughtfully curated’ approach. I like how each card is a mini moodboard that could stand on their own or altogether. Having said that, I spent more hours, days, weeks, months on it than should be humanly allowed. Call it being a recovering perfectionist … or just terrible at editing down my own work. Probably both.

Tell me about the images.
Since this was my first promo card, I went with the “Overview Sampler” concept to introduce my work in three main categories. Mostly I selected images with a similar color scheme to further drive the curated idea. Also to illustrate a cohesive energy in the shooting angles, light+shadow. The images cover products, people, & places — all things I enjoy photographing and wish to offer a potential client. There’s action, stillness, texture, expression, directional lines… but overall a clean style. I aim to connect the dots across Fitness, Wellness, and Adventure whether it’s in the studio, out on the city streets, or out in rural nature spots.

How many did you make?
100 qty of each. Roughly half for mailing out and half for handing out in person.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is my first time so we’ll see how it goes. But I’d say once or twice a year seems sufficient.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Definitely. Perhaps because I’m old skool and started a design career when waiting for white-out to dry before re-faxing a sketch was a thing… HA! But seriously, I still believe in printed materials for the visual creative art world. It makes a more lasting impression and a more professional appearance. Beyond just snail mailing, I have found promos also helpful for physically handing out at tradeshows, meetings, etc. Especially now in such a saturated social media universe.

Feature Promo – Ben Girardi

Ben Girardi

Who printed it?
I printed the promo with Moo.com. I’ve tried a few different printers in the past, but I have found that Moo seems to be the highest quality for a reasonable price.

Who designed it?
The layout of the cards was done by myself. However, in the past year I worked with graphic designer Helen Bradford (http://helenbradford.com) to create a new logo and color palette for my brand which I used on the cards.

Tell me about the images?
Most of my work is in a niche world of winter action sports. For this promo piece I wanted to choose a group of images that represented this work specifically. Throughout the series of cards I wanted a similar feel, to showcase my style, but also wanted each card to stand alone in case an individual card got passed along.

I tried to make a selection of images to showcase different styles of imagery to appeal to people either on the brand side who are interested in more product specific images, or on the editor side who might be more interested in the action. Some of this imagery was from commercial shoots, and others were shot on spec for editorial all within the previous two winters.

How many did you make?
This specific promo piece was very targeted towards the winter action sports industry, so all in all I probably sent out about 50 pieces just prior to the winter. I have a more extensive list, but this includes people who are outside this specific space and I thought a card like this would miss the mark.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I don’t have a specific schedule. I’ve usually sent them out once a year, but would like to bump it up to twice per year as lots of my work if very season specific so being just ahead of that time is relevant.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Overall I think the promo piece is an important part of my marketing. While it’s not a major effort in the digital age I think it is a great way to get in front of people that is different than just sending an email, or connecting via Instagram. I believe delivering something tangible is a good way to differentiate my work when many people are purely focused on digital marketing. I always send cards to people I have worked with in the past as I find it is a good way to stay relevant and remind them of your work, without expecting any obligation of a response such as you might get with an email.

With this specific promo piece I had a handful of people I knew reach out directly saying thanks for sending the card. For the effort put in I would call this a success as you know they thought about you, which means your top of mind next time something comes up.

With people I don’t know who I send cards to it’s a good non-invasive introduction to your work and when I do reach out in the future, they’ve ideally already seen my name at least once. That being said since it’s via the mail I didn’t have any confirmation that people actually received them. It’s quite possible that they never even make it to the desk of the intended person.

Featured Promo – Kyla Rys

Kyla Rys

Who printed it?
My promo cards are a little less conventional. I printed these promo cards on 8×10 Canson Inkjet paper and backed them with 5×7 postcard stock at my school computer labs for my Business for Photography course at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I then wrapped them in 5×7 clear envelopes I bought at an art store nearby.

Who designed it?
I created the design for the images in Adobe Indesign. I made three different variations of the promo card with different combinations of the two front photos.

Tell me about the images.
I took these cover images in my hometown of Frisco and Keystone, Colorado. Being surrounded by such vivid environments heavily influenced a lot of the nature and warm colors I include in all of my photo work. I had my friends help me style and model for these images as I wanted to play with fashion and landscapes. They are some of my favorites!

How many did you make?
Since I was hand making the cards, I only sent out ten. I plan to send out more with the rest of my paper as I look for post graduate jobs.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I aim to send them out twice a year once I get a stronger body of work to send.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think promo cards are an effective marketing strategy if the client looks at the card. It is a great way to catch their eye in a space larger than a business card. I think emails and social media messages on instagram and linkedin are cheaper ways to catch some client’s attention however. Promo cards are a great tangible thing to share if you can afford it!

Featured Promo – Niki Cutchall

Niki Cutchall

Who printed it?
I printed the magazine through Blurb. Another photographer recommended them. After comparing their products to a few other companies, Blurb was my best option for the type of promo I created. They made it easy to start with an Adobe InDesign plugin, and I appreciated that I could order a single copy as a hard proof. I went with their magazine and upgraded to premium paper. The postcard was printed through Moo.

Who designed it?
I did! I don’t have a background in graphic design, but I felt confident that I could create something that made me proud. I started it in Adobe InDesign because Blurb had a template and plugin for the tool. My photography trends towards a more minimal, elegant style, and I wanted the magazine’s design to complement that. This was my first print promo, so I wore every hat on this project, from creative director and graphic designer to photographer and stylist. It pushed my creativity as a photographer and made me appreciate all the work that each function puts into a piece of content.

Tell me about the images.
This was my first print promo, and it started as an assignment in a small group fellowship run by Andrew Scrivani. I wanted to create something that felt like me and powerfully debut my work. As I was brainstorming ideas, I kept returning to an image I shot of brownie batter (the image on the postcard) and an idea I had to do a monochromatic series on brown food. It’s a color I love working with, and I knew I could capture it beautifully. Andrew encouraged me to run with the idea, and I took off with it.

I started by brainstorming a list of brown foods. I knew I wanted to include recipes and focus them around a meal. I ended up going with a breakfast, lunch, dinner theme because it gave me a good range of foods to choose from. The challenging part was identifying recipes that are naturally monochrome. I could have included some images of single ingredients to keep with the brown theme, but I wanted the challenge of photographing a final dish that was entirely brown. I decided on four recipes and a cocktail; then, I sketched out my shots. I planned each recipe to have one main hero image and 2-3 supporting photos. I shot and styled all the photos, specifically for the promo. As I was designing the magazine, I had some additional space that I didn’t plan for initially. The Kamikaze was a last-minute addition. It was shot for a different purpose, and it was a happy accident that it worked with the brown color palette.

I live outside of Philly, so I had to include a cheesesteak! Those photos are my favorite in the series. I love the composition, the lighting, and the texture; everything about them. They are an excellent example of bringing the idea in your head to life.

The hero image for each recipe includes a descriptive word or phrase. These are words I use to describe my style. I included them as a way to clearly express my strengths without being too lengthy or adding in additional text. I planned to include them initially, but I did not shoot specific recipes to match a particular description. I matched them up after everything was shot based on the strongest qualities in the photo.

Lastly, I like creating GIFs, and I wanted to include those because it’s part of my services. I planned a GIF for each recipe. Then I made a dedicated page for the series on my portfolio. I included a QR code on the back of the magazine that would take you to that page.

How many did you make?
I printed 85. I thought it was a good number for my first promo. Not so large that I would struggle to mail them out, but not so small that I would have a hard time choosing who gets one.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This was my first promo, but I plan on sending them out at least twice a year. They won’t always be on this scale. The next one I have planned will be something simple, like a postcard.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I think it’s too soon to tell. I think it’s a long game and part of a broader marketing strategy. I’m going to keep trying, see if it works, and reassess at a later time.

How can you tell what works and what doesn’t?
Food photography is a second career for me. I was a data analyst for several large corporations for ten years. I specialized in web analytics, looking at how clients are moving and interacting with the companies website. I use a lot of the same techniques in my photography business now. Collecting data can get overlooked, but I think it’s important to understand the health and growth of your business. From the beginning, I intended this promo to live across multiple channels. I knew I could track traffic to my portfolio from social and email, but I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t follow it from the print version. It would be nice to know if the print promo drove traffic to my site. Then I realized the QR code I included on the back serves as that tracker. I created a unique URL called a UTM tracking URL. It’s a URL with additional parameters at the end where I could specify that this link came directly from my printed promo. I embedded the UTM tracking URL into my QR code. Anytime someone with the print promo scans the QR code, I see a marketing channel called “print” come through in my Google Analytics. This only works if the recipients scan the QR code, but regardless, it’s better than not tracking interactions with the promo at all.

Featured Promo – David Zickl

David Zickl

Who printed it?
Rebekah Smithson at My Clear Story
https://myclearstory.com/
rsmithson@myclearstory.com
(858) 526.3600

Who designed it?
Richard Haynie : he’s designed a few books for me over the years.
http://www.hayniedesign.com/
(480) 734-4371

I think it’s important to note that 50 year Grand Canyon veteran guide, author, boat builder and Grand Canyon historian Brad Dimock contributed the opening. He’s story teller and gives great interviews.
https://fretwaterboatworks.com/
(928) 853-2007

Tell me about your promo.
I’ve been working on this project for 8 seasons in the Grand Canyon. I didn’t plan on it. It just sort of evolved once I discovered that I could hold on, stay in the boat and shoot the drama of these veteran rowing in the biggest whitewater in North America. I’ve been perfectIng the equipment and my technique on each trip.

These days I use a Sony A7 R III with an Aquatech Housing.

Most rapids have 8 to 15 seconds of high drama and I typically shoot 50 to 150 frames looking for one moment. Serendipity and making my own luck play a key role in the outcome.

I spend a whole day with one guide going through a number of rapids just trying to get one image of them.

Now many of the guides I’ve photographed have become friends and they support my project by giving me opportunities. I typically do 1 to 3 trips per season. I usually drop everything when someone calls me to be an assistant on a Grand Canyon River trip.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
One promo distributed throughout the year as needed.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes but I can’t tell from this particular promo. It has generated awareness but not any tangible jobs.

Featured Promo – Erica Allen

Erica Allen

Who printed it?
Mixam, a friend of mine printed a mini portfolio with them a couple years ago and I really liked quality.

Who designed it?
A friend and mentor helped me decide the sequential order of photos, and I designed the layout in Adobe InDesign. I have a BFA in photography, but earned a minor in graphic design. I am no expert, but I can design simple things here and there 🙂

Tell me about the images.
The images were from various shoots over the past year or so. Many, but not all, were from test shoots. I love the freedom that testing brings and really enjoy collaborating with other creatives in my field to make our personal visions come to life. I work with prop stylists and food stylists on all of my test shoots and believe the final images are very much part of a team effort. I wanted the images in this booklet to tell a story, not just showcase pretty settings. Story telling through food is so interesting to me. Seeing the farm where it’s grown, to the chef turning into something delicious, to the final product, to the table scene where it’s being enjoyed, to the final crumbs of the last piece of pie is thrilling.

How many did you make?
I printed 100 copies.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
My goal is to send printed promos twice per year and email promos four times per year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I do. I acknowledge we are moving faster and faster into a digital world where printed marketing materials and printed works in general are growing obsolete. This saddens me because I appreciate the tangible. I love feeling the coating of the paper, flipping the pages, looking at it in different light, appreciating the way different types of paper accept ink, etc. I believe there are still creatives in the industry who feel the same way, and these are the people I hope receive my promos. Printed cookbooks and printed magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Food & Wine, and Cooking Light are dream clients of mine. I want the promos I send to resemble the type of work I’d like to shoot, in the format that it would be seen.

Featured Promo – Laura Chase de Formigny

Laura Chase de Formigny

Who printed it?
The postcards were printed by Moo and the box was printed by Packlane.

Who designed it?
Nicole A. Yang designed the postcards and the box. She did my logo and branding several years ago, so I knew she’d be able to keep things on-brand for me. She’s fabulous and so professional. I’ve already booked her again for my next promo and I don’t even know what I’m shooting yet! I just know that it won’t shine as bring without Nicole’s keen design sense, so I made sure to get on her calendar early!

I creative directed what I wanted the box to look like. I knew I wanted an orange box so that it would be eye-catching, but also evoke the clementine vibe right off the bat. I picked out products to include in the box that was part of the custom cocktail recipe James Beard Award winning cocktail writer M. Carrie Allan created for the project. It was a no-brainer to include the Clementina San Pellegrino, but I did a lot of research on tea before I settled on Tea Forte to include in the promo. Their packaging is so beautiful and also I appreciated the individual packaging of tea bags during covid times. And of course, the tea is delicious and made the promo box smell wonderful!

Tell me about the photos:
I spent an enormous amount of time researching and conceiving my shot list. I also used this time to really hone in on what kind of lighting I wanted to cast. I’m often lighting things based on what my client’s needs are, but this was a chance to define what I want my photographic voice to look like. I settled on the word “punchy” to evoke the kind of lighting and mood I wanted the photos to give off. To me, punchy photos have crisp shadows, vibrant colors, and plenty of fill. The light is contrasty, but not necessarily high key. It also means that every little detail matters because sometimes it’s the littlest thing that makes a photo pop.

I wanted to show clients that I can produce food lifestyle work and produce it at a high level. I felt like my portfolio had been missing the lifestyle side of food work, so I wanted to send out a promo with images showing I can do the lifestyle side of cookbooks, in addition to just food and beverage. Readers connect to cookbook authors through lifestyle imagery in their cookbooks and on social media. These lifestyle moments are critical to set the tone of an author’s book and overall brand. I couldn’t be more proud of how these images turned out.

We photographed 10 sets and Photo Editor Stacy Swiderski chose 8 images for the final edit. Every set was photographed with the cocktail in both an elegant cocktail glass and in the custom Laura Chase de Formigny Photography Tervis Tumbler I had made and included in the promo box. It definitely took extra time to shoot everything twice, but I’m glad we did! I ended up not publishing any of the images with the tumbler because the edit looks so much more elevated shot with the beautiful glassware prop stylist Giulietta Pinna selected.

I ordered 65 boxes and 60 Tervis Tumblers. I wanted room for error if boxes got returned, which is why I ordered a few extra. I ended up mailing 50 promos in total. It was a difficult undertaking because of covid. Since most of the country was working from home at the time, I had to pre-email everyone on my list and ask if they felt comfortable sharing a personal address that I could mail the promo to. This is my first promo ever, so very few of these people knew who I was! I did end up sending several boxes to office addresses with the hope that one day the recipient will return to their desk and find a lovely surprise. This also happens to be the biggest reason I did not include perishable items, like a clementine, in the promo box. That would be a very unhappy package to come back to after months or even years away from the office!

As I mentioned, this was my first promo. Go big or go home, right?! I’m planning to continue doing print promos biannually. Definitely nothing to the scale of Clementine Skies, just a postcard a couple of times a year. I just thought I’d kick off my marketing with a bang!

I’m honestly not sure if print promos are effective marketing anymore. What I do know is that most creatives have a bulletin board of inspiration and I want my photo to be on it, so all I can do is try, right?

This project was conceived while I was pregnant with my daughter, Frances Clémentine. I executed the project only a few months after her birth because I want creatives to know that there are badass female commercial photographers out there producing exceptional work while balancing a family. I want my kids to watch me chase my dreams so that someday they do the same. More on this in the behind-the-scenes video on my website.

I was very clear with the recipe writer that I wanted the recipe to be non-alcoholic. I wanted the drink to be family-friendly and accessible to all recipients. You never know what someone else is going through, so I didn’t want to send somebody an alcoholic recipe if that could be potentially triggering for them. Also, since the inspiration for this project was a baby, it just seemed more appropriate to keep it kid-friendly.

I was very, very detail-oriented while sourcing for this promo. I color matched the model’s nail polish and lipstick to my business card. I also bought a real, live clementine tree to have on set to cast shadows in the background of one of the images. I wanted everything to feel super authentic so I didn’t cut any corners and I’m glad I didn’t! Food stylist Nichole Bryant ended up using some of the leaves from the clementine tree by gluing them to actual clementines on set! Chance favors the prepared, indeed.

Credits
Photographer, Director, Creative Director⁠⁠: Laura Chase de Formigny
First Assistant: Matthew Dandy
First Camera Assistant: Alex Papalitskas
Prop Stylist and Art Director⁠⁠: Giulietta Pinna, Limonata Creative
Food Stylist: Nichole Bryantt
Videographer: Jimell Greene
Hair and Makeup: Kim Reyes
Wardrobe Stylist: Alyssa Sadler
Recipe Development: Carrie Allan
Photo Editing: Stacy Swiderski