Featured Promo – Justin Cook

Justin Cook

Who printed it?
I work with Smartpress in Minnesota. Their ordering process is super simple, and they have file prep and print guides.

Who designed it?
I did! One of my best friends, photographer Jared Soares inspired me to make these zines. He makes some killer zine promos too.

Tell me about the images.
The images are a collection of my photos that I made in 2021 while on assignment, and from on-going personal projects, such as my work in Princeville, North Carolina, the oldest town in America founded by Black people, and its complicated relationship with the Tar River and climate change.

I love making zines because print is not dead, and my annual zine is a way to reflect on the year and celebrate my work and the people who helped me make it. Also, I often end up making images while on assignment that are never published, so it’s a way for those images to have life, and to see how my photographs speak to one another.

I am an avid fossil hunter, so at the end of the zine are photos from my fossil hunts in waterways of eastern North Carolina, where you can find the remains of prehistoric sharks and whales from when the eastern part of the state was an ocean millions of years ago.

For the cover, I chose a portrait of a huge old tree that is growing out of the Tar River. My friend and fellow photographer, Megan May, helped me light it as I waded out into chest deep water to make the photograph. I love making lit portraits of old trees using the same techniques I’d use to make a portrait of a person. The name “Old Growth” is a mantra for how I want to work and grow: slow and steady, like that tree.

How many did you make?
This is an edition of 25.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Once a year. I send them to editors I love and editors I’d love to work with. I made my own imprint called Tiburon, so I also sell them in my online store so everyone has access to my printed work. I also keep extra copies so I can give them to people I am photographing on long term projects so they can understand my work and see themselves in it.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I hope so! I often don’t hear back from editors, and many editors were not working in their offices during the pandemic so I have no idea if they see the zines. But I still make them because it’s a fun exercise.

Featured Promo – Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson

Who printed it?
The folded poster promo and packaging was printed by Paper Chase Press in Los Angeles, and the book was printed by Small Editions in Brooklyn, NY. Custom printed washi tape by Continental Tape in Deer Park, NY.

Who designed it?
They were both designed by me.

Tell me about the images.
The images in the folded poster are from a few projects, some personal, and some commercial – They are intended to portray a glimpse into what I do as a photographer, for hire or otherwise. They were chosen to give a good sense of color, energy, and variety in subject matter that I feel is important to represent in my work.

The photobook [Nearest Neighbor] is entirely personal, released as a book and as a gallery show as well. The work in it speaks most honestly to my personal style and viewpoint, and is very close to my heart. It was a tough project to take on from the ground up – learning how to publish and lay it out on my own while trying to retain the integrity and quality of something more bespoke and custom was a huge challenge. It features photos taken around the world while travelling for work mostly, using either a 55mm Voigtlander Bessa III 667W or an 80mm Fuji GF670, which I scanned myself on a Nikon Coolscan 8000/9000. As a project that spanned several years, my gear either changed or broke down, but 6×7 film became the only format I used for quite some time. The photos are meant to explore other peoples spaces + environments, how they are inhabited, shaped, and how often they seem so strange and peculiar from a foreign persons’ eye.

How many did you make?
For the folded posters, I believe it was 150, and for Nearest Neighbor, an edition of 300.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the first set that I have sent out, and I have just completed a printed portfolio with an edition of 50 for 2022. I plan on doing one photobook/lookbook style portfolio per year and two folded posters per year, with the intention of finding specific creatives and art producers to direct them towards as opposed to casting a wide net.

Bookmaking and designing materials [when it comes to my work] has become something I really enjoy, I currently have several books that I would love to make – they end up coming from the strangest places, I kind of feel my way through them. It’s the one thing aside from shooting that continually gives me joy, it’s a bit narcissistic but I love looking through my own photos and creating cohesive collections. I have a deep relationship with them and the stories they evoke in me, so I feel like they’re better in a printed form, out in the world rather than on a hard drive.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
We will see! I have found that having a variety of printed material makes it more likely for something to land in the hands of creatives, when they may not want to take a full book, they are likely to take a small folded poster. My personal photobook has been effective, especially seeing as i’ve done a piss poor job of getting it out there. It has gotten me some work over the years, and for me is really great way to spark a conversation on why I love photography – also something I can speak to at length very easily.

Featured Promo – Paul Treacy

Paul Treacy

Can you tell me about your promo?

No one else is involved in this endeavour. Nor is it a promo piece. Rather it’s an exercise in focusing my mind.

I’ve been a contributor to Millennium Images here in London since 2003. However, I’ve not always been consistent in supplying material for curation, particularly during a period when I was primarily a carer to my two sons. So in an effort to produce work I needed some kind of facility.

Between 2008 and 2020 I had been making work in my neighbourhood of South East London which I put out as a handmade book called Hinterland. I sold about 40 of these and received copious encouragement from my peers. But I didn’t know how to follow it up.

I continued making work during the pandemic which was featured on the BBC. Someone who had moved overseas years earlier had seen this work and it made them homesick. They contacted me and asked me to make work in their old neighbourhood for them over a period of time. I had no idea how to go about this. Their old haunts overlap with mine so I figured I would just keep doing what I was doing where I was doing it. So the Passerby Zine project emerged from all of these influences.

As I love the craft side of self-publishing and have some design chops having studied graphics in art school, I figured I would use the tools I already have to shoot, make and promote a periodical. I’ve been a serious street photographer since the late 80s and have a camera on me all the time so it seemed like an obvious thing to do.

The plan is to gather a handful of decent images every 4-6 weeks then edit and sequence them into a tiny home printed zine. From each edit there should be some strong photographs that can then be submitted to my agency for curation and consideration for editorial and commercial licensing.

As I settle into this project I am already thinking of spinoff projects, including timed print sales and an annual best of book.

Niall O’leary, Creative Director at Millennium Images, said of my work the I “like to find mystery and menace in the everyday”. He’s right. And that’s what Passerby is all about.

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.

Featured Promo – Charlotte Schreiber

Charlotte Schreiber

Who printed it?
Gutenberg Beuys Feindruckerei GmbH

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.

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
(858) 526.3600

Who designed it?
Richard Haynie : he’s designed a few books for me over the years.
(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.
(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.

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

Featured Promo – Sol Neelman

Sol Neelman

Tell me about the promo you sent me. I had assumed it was something CLIF Bar made as a promo of their own.

The last big print campaign I worked on before the pandemic featured soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe for CLIF Bar. Fresh off the Women’s World Cup title, Megan was to be one of a handful of CLIF-sponsored athletes promoted internationally ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

While the last-second logistics was a little nuts, my art direction was pretty straight forward: take photos of Megan kicking a soccer ball. Megan was great to work with, client was really happy with selects and we wrapped up early. It was a good day. To me, the best part of the entire experience was collaborating with fun and talented creative directors and photographers I also consider close friends.

I don’t know who remembers REGGIE! candy bars, but I was stoked to learn my photo of Megan would be inspiration for a limited edition CLIF wrapper. Pretty surreal and fun. When the bars launched in early March 2020, I was excited to share what I had been a part of. Then the pandemic hit, and the print spots were held back with the Olympics on hold.

With the Summer Games officially back on, now for 2021, I was finally able to share the entire ad campaign. I had been noodling on soccer-themed promos, something that an art buyer would use/keep/share. I like producing fun promos that are unique and hard to toss. I kept coming back to customizing a miniature foosball table.

The problem, of course, was that no one was working in an office, let alone having in-person meetings. No point in spending a ton of money on a full promo campaign. But you, Rob, have a very large social media presence (44k followers on Instagram and 133k on Twitter). Many of the clients and photo agents I was hoping to reach follow you. So I decided to invest in a single, one-off foosball table and send it your way.

Despite what some might think, the entire promo wasn’t really that expensive – or that large. The 27” travel-size table was about $40 on Amazon, plus a few bucks for modeling paint, adhesive spray and a print of the ad. The s/h was the most expensive part, but again, I only had to ship one. I tossed in a couple double-sided tickets with my contact info and a fresh box of Megan’s CLIF bars.

For the record, I don’t think promos need to be expensive. Almost all of mine involve plenty of cheap DIY crafting. I do think promos need to be worth the time and effort of producing and delivering them. And I think they need to properly represent your work and personality. My brand is literally fun and games, so a kid-sized foosball table totally worked for me. This is really a continuation of what I’ve created in the past, like with my custom Weird Sports trading cards.

I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t sure whether to warn you or not about a massive box landing on your front doorstep, Rob. But I also wanted it to be a surprise. Love that you originally thought it was a CLIF-produced promotional gift, instead of something hand-painted and assembled on a dining room table in Portland. Pretty flattering. Thanks, Rob. I appreciate you for sharing my work.

Featured Promo – Dave Creaney

Dave Creaney

Who printed it?
It was printed at a small web press operation in Marble Falls, Texas. (about an hour outside of Austin) Their website and contact seem to be gone, I fear they didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Who designed it?
I designed it in photoshop myself but had a friend give me a hand getting it properly laid out in InDesign and press-ready.

Tell me about the images.
The subjects are all types of folks from in and around Austin. The cover shot is actually a judge out in Bastrop county, the Honorable Charles Carver. He and I worked in kitchens together years ago; one time he chipped my tooth with a microphone during a duet version of ‘My Way’ at karaoke. There are musicians, chefs, tattoo artists: weirdos, and friends of mine. I hand-painted the backdrop in my friend’s driveway and tried to light them all more or less the same.

How many did you make?
Since they were done on a web press, most of the cost was in setup fees. When the owner of the print shop called to quote me for 500 copies, he said the cost for 1000 would be practically the same. So naturally, I went with 1000. I still have a lot to give out though!

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I’m still pretty new to the marketing game. I’ve sent out a handful of postcard-type mailers with different designs before these newsprint ones.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
People are usually very responsive to these if I put one into their hands. It’s hard to judge the mailed versions though. I love printed materials regardless. That’s what’s especially great about these in my opinion – I really don’t have to be precious with them. I leave them in bars and coffee shops and put them into anyone’s hand that will stop long enough to let me.