Useful Promo, Mousepad Edition

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A few weeks ago we mentioned that it can be a clever gambit to create promos that people can use. Riad Represents recently sent editors here this oversized mousepad, which is designed to look like a corkboard with images by their photographers pinned to it. 

Some of us were in need of mousepad upgrades (but have obviously been too busy to shop for office accessories) and put these to use immediately.

Conor Risch

Scott Toepfer’s Photo Annual-Style Promo Book

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Los Angeles-based lifestyle photographer Scott G. Toepfer sent a 186-page promo book my way recently. The roughly 6.5” x 6.5” book contains a collection of images he shot in 2013, including both personal and commercial work, offering a look back at his year in the style of a photo annual. (His client list includes BMW, Triumph Motorcycles, Pacifico Beer, Allstate and Red Wing shoes among many others.)

The design is ultra-simple, and the images are nicely printed on heavy paper stock. “Promos seem to be getting more elaborate, and while a book is more extensive than a postcard, I didn’t want the design to outweigh the photos,” Toepfer told me in an email. He printed the book in a first run of ten using Blurb, sending them to “a few regular clients, a couple photo editors and agency creatives that I’m really dying to work for. I tried to do my homework as best I could on my favorite past/current campaigns so that I wasn’t wasting money or books,” he explains. He’s ordered an additional ten books.

Toepfer acknowledges that some might shy away from a large promo, and says his rep was a bit skeptical at first. It’s also expensive to print books, “but when I’m trying to build a rapport with folks, I’d rather they get a bigger picture of who I am, with a glimpse into the personal as well as the professional.”

—Conor Risch

Attention! Free PDN’s 30 Seminar, NYC

PDN and the School of Visual Arts are presenting a free seminar, “Transitions: Strategies for Young Working Photographers,” this Wednesday March 26, from 6:30-8 at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, NYC. The seminar is one in a series we’ll be hosting around the country as part of our 2014 PDN’s 30 programming.

Moderated by our managing editor, Meghan Ahearn, the panel features 2014 PDN’s 30 photographers Billy Kidd, Bobby Doherty and Bryan Derballa; Emily Shornick, photo editor at The Cut, and Sony Artisan of Imagery Tony Gale.

There will be a reception afterwards with refreshments.

Useful Promo Notebooks from Redeye Reps

Last month for Valentines Day, Redeye Reps sent out a promo that I’ll definitely hang onto for a while. It’s a slipcased collection of nine blank notebooks with an image from a photographer or illustrator or set designer they represent on the covers. Each image is credited on the back left corner, as well as on the interior covers. And all of the images use the color red for Valentine’s Day.

Every time I take notes using one of these notebooks I’ll think of the photographer and Redeye. Makes sense.

Notebooks, counter-clockwise from top: Adi Goodrich, Noah Webb, Zen Sekizawa, Cody Pickens, Meiko Takechi Arquillos.

Speaking of useful promos, a few years ago a photographer sent me a series of lovely notecards, all of which I either used or tacked up. But the photographer didn’t put their name on each individual card, so when I accidentally discarded the outer packaging I lost track of who made the cards. If anyone knows who made the below, “Landscape of Snows,” please let me know. It’s been on my wall for a couple of years and I’d like to thank the photographer.


Conor Risch

2014 PDN’s 30 Photographers on Tumblr

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Happy to announce that today we published the online gallery for the 2014 PDN's 30: Our Choice of New and Emerging Photographers to Watch. Several of the photographers profiled this year have used Tumblr to promote their work and to connect with audiences and other photographers, so we thought it appropriate to share a list of the 2014 PDN's 30 photographers who are on Tumblr:

Bobby Doherty 
Mosa’ab Elshamy 
Charlie Engman 
Laura Flippen 
Grant Harder 
Kiana Hayeri 
Theron Humphrey 
Kyle Johnson 
Billy Kidd 
Greer Muldowney 
Benjamin Rasmussen 
Jenny Riffle 
Bryan Schutmaat 
Marcus Smith 
Ralph Smith 
Brea Souders 
We Are The Rhoads 
Josh Wool 

Check out the profiles of all of the PDN's 30 photographers here, and read about how they got their starts and built their careers.

Also, for more about the PDN's 30, and/or for those interested in hearing some of these photographers speak about building photography careers, be sure to check out the about page and the listings of educational programs we'll be organizing throughout the year. Info here.

Related posts: 2013 PDN’s 30 Photographers on Tumblr
2008-2012 PDN’s 30 Photographers on Tumblr

12 Days of Promo Cards from Jordan Hollender

New York-based portrait photographer, Jordan Hollender, and his wife, Diane Collins, produce an annual holiday card together. Hollender killed two birds with one stone this year by also making a revamped “12 Days of Christmas” series of printed mailers to send to a targeted list of clients. Credit for the idea goes to Karen D’Silva, a consultant Hollender works with on his promos. When Hollender sent out the first card in late September he included a hand-written note explaining the project: he would produce one shot a week and send out one promo card per week for the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas. It was a challenge to produce and send a mailer every week while keeping up with his regular schedule. “We enlisted the help of others to brainstorm shoot concepts since it’s always fun to get some creative input,” Hollender told Promos We Kept. “Jeremy Schwartz at Truth Collective helped come up with Day 7, “Stars-a-Struttin,” which features NYC’s infamous Naked Cowboy surrounded by costumed-characters like Minnie Mouse and Smurfette in Times Square.

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Jose Rodriguez at Proof Integrated Communications conceptualized “Dogs-a-Dashing,” a young woman on a snowboard getting pulled by 11 charging canines.

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The “12 Days” project also became a short film. “We knew we wanted to record the song with our lyrics, so our biggest challenge was coming up with shots that worked both visually and lyrically.” Hollender’s wife helped produced the still images, his brother, Scott Harris, arranged the music, and Harris’s wife, Emily Warren, recorded the vocals. Jan Sabach designed the promo cards. To see another one of Hollender’s creative self-promo efforts, check out this article from PDNPulse.

—Amy Wolff

Gary Land Gets Tough With Mudders Book Promo

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Like a lot of photographers, Gary Land shoots all. the. time. When he had some downtime recently he was looking around for a way to kill a couple of days. A recent cross-fit shoot for Reebok inspired him to check out Tough Mudders, and he found a race that fit his schedule. “I didn’t go with the intention of shooting a promo,” Land told Promos We Kept. He just though he’d get some images for his site. “I think in my first 35 minutes there I knew it was going to be my next promo. There was so much color and personality there, and the overwhelming feeling that it wasn’t really a race or a competition… Everyone just wants to finish the race, so it was just a matter of helping your team get to the finish line, and I thought that was a really cool vibe.”

Land took the work and created a 6x9” softcover book, with a cover that’s embossed to give texture to the photo of mud. The images show the emotion, exertion and telling details of the Tough Mudder races.

The promo wasn’t cheap, Land says. But he’s received a lot of feedback and “a few jobs from it already.” As we noted in a PDN article  (available to subscribers) about Land’s huge baseball book that caught a lot of clients’ attention, he isn’t afraid of big promo efforts. A book of basketball images he created two years ago is still getting him jobs, he says, and he only printed 50.

The other result of the Tough Mudders promo? It inspired Land to start training to participate in a race.

—Conor Risch

PDN Is Hiring

Photo District News is seeking an experienced, motivated, and talented Art Director to join the magazine’s editorial and Custom Media art teams. Are you that person? Do you know that person? All the info here: http://bit.ly/17wGZcR

Tara Donne’s Hand-Stitched Guide to the Good Life

Brooklyn-based photographer Tara Donne sent this nice little promo book a few weeks ago. She worked with Alaska House NYC on the design and hand-stitched bookbinding, and the piece was printed by Latitude, a creative agency that donates 50% of their profits to charity. Her name is embossed on the cover and the stock is uncoated, giving the whole package a classy, unfussy feel. In the book she blends her food, travel, lifestyle and kid photos seamlessly. The individual images are beautiful, appetizing, and so forth, and they fit together nicely, showing a consistent esthetic. To me the book suggests that Donne knows what the good life looks like, and can find it wherever she goes.

—Conor Risch