Featured Promo – Paul Yem

Paul Yem

Tell me about your promo.
I used Paper Chase Press for these promos; they are a community-driven, environmentally conscious printing press based in LA. I had a lot of back and forth with Cole, and his knowledge and patience made a usually frustrating process seamless and rather exciting.

I designed these myself; I always laugh a bit at the overexertion of wanting to be found. I think it looks rather funny to list websites, email addresses, and Instagram handles, as they often are different combinations of my name: www.paulyem.com, info@paulyem.com, @paulyem, etc. etc., so I went a super minimalist route. I feel strongly about conveying a connection through my portraiture, so I didn’t want there to be much other than the imagery I’m passionate about. I trust that if the work resonates with who I am targeting, they’ll have no problem finding me through the one point of contact.

These images are a somewhat disjointed culmination of an exploration over the past 5ish years in finding my voice as an artist. I moved to NYC in 2017 to pursue a career as a photographer, and as many of us have come to find, being an artist isn’t exactly the easiest way to make a living. Through assisting other photographers, I started to identify the different tiers of what being a professional photographer could look like. I became very passionate about staying connected to my roots as a fine artist and started visualizing my identity being intertwined with my approach to photography as a career. I dreamed of the possibility of being hired for my voice, and I knew the more honest I was with what was bubbling up from my soul, the more compelling my images would be. Staying true to that voice has seemed at times ill-advised, as I never positioned myself as an attractive option for the low-hanging fruit, the e-comm jobs, the sort of mindless application of being a just technician. My goal was to be hired because I was Paul Yem not because I could own and operate specialized tools. More of this work can be found here https://www.booooooom.com/2021/04/15/fragments-by-photographer-paul-yem/

I printed 200 of these postcards, Paper Chase had a nice option where you can submit a handful of images per order, I thought it would be nice to send people a little stack of 5 through the mail or to have a variety of images in my pelican when I’m on set. They sort of act as free prints for me to give out.

Unfortunately, from what I’ve gathered through taking meetings with various photo editors, the printed matter is becoming a bit obsolete. I’ve found that our friends in the editorial world don’t often have the personalized desk space they once had, and the collecting of promos has become a bit cumbersome. I’d like to get into a better rhythm of printing things; I think it’s important for us to think about our work existing in the physical form as it gives the images more validity in my mind. I’ve found myself more in the habit of making PDFs; I’m on a much better consistency with reaching out through cold emails and to contacts I’ve made with a nicely designed PDF. It’s something that is minimally invasive and easily forwardable to other editors, and if I’m able to get a face-to-face meeting that’s where I’ll give out my printed promos. I’d say I’d send those emails once every 3 months. I’ve found following up after about a week of the initial email is the most successful in getting a response. Just make work and put it out in the world, and nothing bad can come of it (and emails are a lot cheaper).

I think what this industry lacks the most is honesty. Honesty in what we want to make, in what we want to be hired for, in how we truly want to convey a message through imagery. We are held so tightly by the anxiety of trying to make ends meet that we lose our unique voice. The beauty in art is being unique, pushing the envelope, and being unapologetically passionate. Being an artist is vulnerable, it’s daring, and it’s brave, and so we should let go and be all of those things. I want to see what people truly want to make, not what they’ve made to hopefully make money. I’m not exactly sure what my point here is, but if at the end of the day the rent is paid fuck everything else and just be free and true to yourself. I need our community to do that for my own inspiration and in return, I’ll promise to never compromise in the images I’m adding back into the pool.

Featured Promo – Adrian Mueller

Adrian Mueller

Who printed it?
Modern Postcard

Who designed it?
I designed it myself

Tell me about the images.
It is a mix of new personal and new client work for brands such as McDonald’s, Patron, UBER EATS and Angostura Rum. Stylistically, I’ve paired the vibrant shots on one side, and the somewhat warmer ones on the other. I like the fact that there is a coherent theme and look. Those are really my favorite images from the previous 12 months, as I don’t like to select work in a calculated way. I hope that approach resonates with the creatives who receive the mailer.

How many did you make?
I’ve printed 250 of them

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I usually send out a promo with new work 1x a year to specific and select clients who have opted in to receive them. The rest I hand out during in-person portfolio reviews and meetings.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
As a targeted approach, I think it is an appreciated reminder for those who are connected to me and really want to receive them. I’ve stopped sending mailers out to contacts I don’t personally know, haven’t worked with or haven’t met. I have a curated, personal list of about 1100 creatives I’m connected to that way and about 200 have opted in to receive actual mailers. I see it as an old fashioned way of staying in touch and I would of course love it if everyone on my list would opt in. I understand though that many don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal address, which is absolutely fine. This way, I don’t waste natural resources, money and efforts and know that I don’t bother anybody with unwanted mail.

Featured Promo – John Lok

John Lok

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club out of the UK. This is my first time printing with them and I was impressed with their quality and customer service.

Who designed it?
I worked with Samantha Ricca, a talented designer and art director based here in Seattle. I love design so I found the process of working with her very exciting and collaborative throughout. We each provided input on the scope and direction of the promo, down to the small details. During one of the early brainstorming sessions, she came up with the idea to incorporate some of my behind-the-scenes stories from the photos, as well as my general thoughts/philosophies on how I approach my work. They appear as copy blocks and pull quotes in the promo, and help give it a magazine feel, which is exactly what I had envisioned.

Tell me about the images.
Ultimately, I wanted the piece to showcase my portraiture, which is my biggest love, and the area I feel I’m strongest in. The images come from many different projects spanning my career so the portrait theme was a natural way to keep the promo cohesive. The edit includes some favorites from my time as a photojournalist, where I first developed my affinity for portraits, and now as a commercial/advertising photographer. I not only wanted to show clients the style and quality of my work, but it was important to also convey its range and diversity of subject matter. Part of the reason why I enjoy portraiture so much is that I really enjoy working with all kinds of people, and am always excited at figuring out how to tell their story visually. These were some of the main things I hoped to convey in the piece.

How many did you make?
I made one copy as a test to make sure it looked good. I was happy when I opened the package to see that it was great, so I went ahead and ordered 100 more copies. Since this was my first time with Newspaper Club, I was a little concerned on whether the quality of the second run would be consistent with the single copy run, but they really nailed it again on the bigger order. They were identical in all respects.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
To be honest, this is the first promo I’ve ever made, so I’m still trying to find a good cadence that works for me. Overall, I think I will aim for once a year for promos of this size.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Yes, I do. I feel it’s a wonderful way for clients and anyone else who receives it, to remember you. I have begun sending these out in an organic manner and the response has been extremely positive, and heartening. Given the feedback, I get the sense that it not only serves as a promo of your work, but also as a gift of sorts, in a gentle way. It fits the way I work and my personality, so this first experience with promos, so far, is extremely encouraging.

Featured Promo – Libby Volgyes

Libby Volgyes

Tell me about your promo.

The magazine was designed by Monashee Photo Consultant and printed by Blurb. We did a first run of 100 to send out to ad reps and marketing reps, and other people I wanted to work with. I suspect I’ll make more to hand out once I’m brave enough to start trying for desk-side meetings.

I’ve sent out print promos before, but this was the first big print campaign, and I enlisted the amazing Monashee that I’ve been working with the last year. I am REALLY terrible at design – so terrible that when I was studying at the University of Missouri-Columbia and taking my Photojournalism Capstone class, Rita Reed made me do an extra project on design because I was so terrible at it. So I think I knew from a pretty early age in my career I was never going to be a photo editor or designer and that I’d always need someone to hold my hand for design projects.

I think, particularly in this day and age of social where we barely have the energy to double-tap an image, there’s something incredibly beautiful about the permeance of prints and collateral. I don’t feel bad at all if anyone throws it out- I can’t stand clutter, so I would understand that. But I hope for the moments when they’re holding, feeling, and flipping through my book that they’re enjoying a couple of moments of peace. And to me, that’s what prints are about. Permanence even in impermanence.

A lot of the images in the book – and most of the ones you featured on Instagram were personal projects. 20 years into this profession, I still just really LOVE taking photos. So when I had some time off, and my food stylist did too – and I’m lucky to have a really wonderful relationships with my food stylist – one I consider “my muse” — we get together and play. It is unbelievably fun. The picture of the fish and the hanging fruit were both play days. Sometimes we look to art – paintings from the Dutch or the Flemish and are inspired by their light and their subjects that we can easily translate realize. Often we’re motivated by beautiful old props or stunning ingredients. That’s enough to make a photo many days!

The portraits are from a project I started four years ago called “Faces of Food” where I wanted to improve my portraiture, so I set about to photograph the faces behind the food industry. It ended up being a huge body of work– I photographed close to 100 food professionals (bartenders, farmers, chefs, pastry artists, etc.) over three days for a final edit of 18. It ran in the local magazine, we had a nice art opening, and I displayed the art around town; finally, it displayed at Food Photo Festival in Vejle, Denmark, where it was a finalist for the Feature Award. Today, I’m still photographing “Faces” whenever I get the chance. Props, similar lighting and the same backdrop. It just keeps being fun for me.

Honestly, I shoot a lot in my spare time. I’m bi-coastal – my husband and dog live in a small town in Oregon (Hood River), and my business is based in West Palm Beach, and I have studios in both places. So I get exposed to different light and different ingredients, and there’s just something crazy intense in me that just loves to shoot for myself. It’s probably a sick compulsion and needs to be medicated but there’s nothing in the world that feels like, “I JUST TOOK A PICTURE THAT MIGHT BE GOOD.” Just for those few moments when the world just stops…and you can breathe … that’s what I can’t wait for.

Featured Promo – Daniel Brenner

Daniel Brenner

Who printed it?
SmartPress

Who designed it?
I did, with some guidance from Ben Rasmussen.

Tell me about the images.
This is a personal project I’ve been working on for a few years. When I transitioned from a newspaper photographer to freelance, I lacked a project I cared about. I met an addiction counselor with an unconventional approach to treatment. He fosters relationships while bonding on a cliff or revisiting a traumatic setting. His experiential therapeutic program is designed for tormented, traumatized, drug-using and self-sabotaging young men.

How many did you make?
150

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Once a year.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Most certainly. It’s a critical tool to connect with editors, especially now when we are separated by zoom screens and the oversaturation of images on social media.

Featured Promo – Markus Altmann

Markus Altmann

Who printed it?
Königsdruck in Berlin. My designer had worked with them before and knew they would be open to a small project with some challenges.

Who designed it?
Dagmar Dunkelau (who is a graphic designer at BogunDunkelau, www.bogun-dunkelau.de) and me. I came up with the idea for the layout and the sequencing of the images. I thought two different-sized pages would work well – putting the portraits on a smaller insert in front of a larger double-page landscape image. The inserts are printed on thinner paper too, which adds to the contrast. Dagmar was a great help in the design process. She also did the cover design and handled the final artwork and production.

Tell me about the images.
They are from a personal project I shot a few years ago. Wonder Valley is the name of a community near Twentynine Palms; some of the images were taken around there, some in other parts of the Mojave. Since this is really more a zine than a classic promo, I’ve included an insert in the booklet: “The Mojave Desert northeast of Los Angeles: for some a place of longing, for others tough everyday life. An extraordinary living space, without a doubt, challenging and inspiring at the same time. For a personal project, I visited people who have made it their home – in search of alternative concepts of living, inexpensive land, untouched nature, and freedom. My thanks to all the people who shared their time and home with me. They are just as special as the places where they live.“

How many did you make?
We did a print run of 600, and I mailed out about 400.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I used to send out one every year on average but had stopped a while ago. This is the first one after the start of the pandemic.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
They used to be. I think that if you still do a printed promo, there should be some extra value to it, a reason why you didn’t just send a PDF. Hopefully, it will deliver some inspiration that will get passed on. This promo was really more about keeping in touch than showing new work. And I have received great feedback, especially from people I value much.

Featured Promo – Bill Phelps

Bill Phelps

Who printed it?
It was printed by Brian Johnson at Fresh Color Press in Minneapolis. freshcolorpress.com

Who designed it?
The art direction was a collaboration, inspired by the format and functionality of my international drivers license.

It was designed by Molly Sullivan of Minneapolis. http://www.missmollysullivan.com

Tell me about the images.
The images are from various years. A mix of large format Polaroid studio and location shots. The Polaroid work is personal, some inspired by a passion for vintage machines, and European motorsport. The opening frame is a medium format Polaroid shot on the tracks of the JMZ subway line above my own café in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

The color images are from various assignments for Condé Nast. Ireland, Mexico City, Yangon, as well as more personal views.

How many did you make?
On this first round we printed 500 pieces, though we plan to do another printing of them soon, they were incredibly well received.

Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
I find great satisfaction in the power of implied storytelling, beauty and simplicity. The lyric, mystery, story living in the shadows of an image, the inbetween.

I find a similar power in the printed page, the subtlety of design, the tactile, a reconnection.

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
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.

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.