Jason Myers’s “Fresh” Promo

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It’s not everyday we get promos from photographers in a 12”x19” box, but one recently arrived amid the usual postcards, zines, and occasional book. Eager to see what was inside, we opened it to find three juice oranges, a small jar of “Fresh” Florida honey, a bright orange metal hand held orange squeezer, a clear plastic tumbler with a “Fresh from Florida” logo, a package of promo cards including a map, and a personalized note—all from photographer Jason Myers. We wondered: Why such an elaborate self-promotion? How did he do this? How many did he make? How much did this cost?

We contacted Myers, and he explained that he recently re-located to Nashville from West Palm Beach, Florida to put himself closer to a broader base for regional and national clients. ”This is a big move for me so I wanted to announce it as loudly, creatively and as targeted as I could,” Myers tells us via email. He regularly sends out 100 direct mailer cards, but only made 50 of the “Fresh” promos, sending most of them to regional clients (ad agencies, music labels, magazines) within traveling distance of Nashville. One of the smartest items in the “Fresh” package is a 21” wide fold-out map highlighting cities in Myer’s range, with a handy guide showing the distance vs. hours in a car or plane. “My focus is to let clients know I’m closer than they think.”

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For something this big, and risky (Myers may have spent $75 per box, not including additional fees), it’s important to with the right folks. Enlisting the help of Heyday Branding and Creative, based in Jupiter, Florida, Myers developed the concept, logo, stickers, and stamps, keeping in mind that his shooting style is thoughtful, organic and fun. “I’m a normal guy who keeps things pretty simple and while it took a lot of effort to put this [promo] together, I didn’t want it to seem too produced..kind of like my style of shooting.”

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Additional help came from Myers’s consultant, Jennifer Perlmutter; Agency Access, which did the printing; film school students at Florida State University, who produced the “Fresh” video; and several of Myers’s friends, whom he enlisted to write the film’s jingle and lyrics and help with other tasks.

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"There were a lot of moving pieces in this. For example, the foam is in three parts and each [piece] had to be marked and cut then glued together to hold it all in place. The burlap was then cut to fit, cut again to make it snug before the contents were put in. Rob and Andy [from Heyday] started sourcing and designing things (hand drawn logo and the map) a few months ago. They made mock ups and we moved things around, changed some of the contents, etc., until we found the right items."

Myers mailed the promos on July 5, and has already received a few emails and a phone call from Sony Music Nashville. “My main goal was to get people’s attention and let them know I’m here. I realize I won’t be what they need for every project but when something comes up that may be a fit I want them to think ‘Hey..let’s call that Fresh from Florida guy!’”

Assorted posters, booklets and cards received today. #pdnpromos thanks, @meredithjenks @francescotonelli #robertseale @gandolphoto @lizkuball @jeffsinger

Assorted posters, booklets and cards received today. #pdnpromos thanks, @meredithjenks @francescotonelli #robertseale @gandolphoto @lizkuball @jeffsinger

Received today. #pdnpromos

Received today. #pdnpromos

Tags: pdnpromos

Justin Fantl’s Perceptual Reversal Poster

Los Angeles-based still life and conceptual photographer Justin Fantl explores colors, shapes and shadows. Fantl’s carefully constructed in-camera images appear like drawings or illustrations, challenging the perception of the viewer. His client list includes Wieden + Kennedy, Google, Old Spice, Bloomberg Businessweek, GQ, New York Times Magazine, and Wired, but he always finds time for personal projects. His newest promo, “Perceptual Reversal Series no. 01” is a double-sided, glossy, 16.5”x21” poster, he mailed to commercial and editorial clients he currently works for and some he hopes to work for in the near future.

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The idea for the piece came from his interest in optical illusions (text from the poster can be found at the end of this post). “I saw these trays and the potential to make shapes… I hadn’t made a poster before and it seemed like a great way to present the work,” Fantl told me via email. He contacted George McCalman, Creative Director at McCalman, someone who’s worked with many photographers (Aya Brackett, Jessica Antola, Jason Madara and Maren Caruso to name a few), and someone Fantl has worked with in the past. “Finding a designer that has a good read on your work is so important. I sort of roughly told him what I had in mind and provided some inspiration imagery…mostly old diagrams and scientific illustrations.” Though Fantl is represented by Giant Artists who regularly makes promo pieces for their roster, Fantl also likes to produce his own. “I enjoy the process of putting these pieces together. It’s nice to use your own imagery to make something that you want to. You can put your work into a context that you yourself envision and that can be very satisfying.”

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Fantl’s promo text: My interest in optical illusions can be traced to an M.C. Escher print that hung on the wall of my grandparents house. It was a version of the Fish and Birds series and I sought it out at every visit. At times I would see fish and then all of a sudden I would see birds and there was a peculiar tinge of delight and confusion whenever the switch occurred. This switch is know as “multistable perception” or “perceptual reversal.” I recently discovered a physical manifestationof this phenomenon in the “Kaleido Trays” designed by Clara von Zweigbergk and decided to explore different photographic variations. If you spend a moment looking at the images from this series you may experience a spontaneous reversal of your own. It isn’t something you can force…you just have to look.

—Amy Wolff

“Your successes in editorial are very public. Money is rarely the driving force in editorial photography. Editorial can be great promotion.” Image © Kareem Black

Dave Cooper’s Story On Chesapeake Bay Boat Builders

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Maryland-based photographer Dave Cooper recently sent in this promo that features his personal project on wooden boat builders that work at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Saint Michaels, Maryland. A 16-page booklet is the meat of this promo. It tells the story of the boat builders through environmental portraits, and detail shots of their shops, materials and some of the boats. The text, written by the photographer, talks a bit about the history and current state of this traditional work. Cooper also included a 90-second multimedia piece on DVD. The book and disk are gathered into a cover, which is printed on nice card stock with a nautical map of the bay. A flap at the bottom of the cover creates a pocket to hold the booklet, and a foam tab secures the DVD.

Cooper often photographs kids and family lifestyle work, so he created this promo to show editors and agencies “what my aesthetic and style is when working with adults,” he told me via email. He also wanted to “share that the way I think is very narrative and lends itself to stories, photo essays, and the like.” Cooper, who in the past worked as a graphic designer, designed the piece himself. Initially he thought he’d print them on his Epson printer, but was having to compromise too much to make it work. “I quickly realized that I could not be the writer/editor/photographer/designer/printer/fulfiller and still wind up with a good product sent out in a timely manner,” he says. “In the end I redesigned the piece to suit a professional print shop and the results of having pros ‘finish’ the promos was well worth it.” He worked with a Baltimore-area print shop that used an HP Indigo press. 

When Cooper came up with the idea for this promo, which he printed in a small run of 100, he had a particular magazine and photo editor in mind. “The emailed response from the photo editor was one of the best emails I have ever received.” He’s sending other promos a few at a time to a targeted list. 

When he sent it to me, he included a small note saying that Maggie Brett Kennedy at Garden & Gun, who’s recommended promos to us in the past, suggested he send it. Thanks for the look, Maggie!

—Conor Risch

365 Days of Diana Zalucky

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A few months ago we were sent a not-quite-pocket-size but not too big (5” x 7”) 24-page booklet by Los-Angeles based photographer Diana Zalucky. We wrote about Zalucky in the December 2013 PDNews section of the print magazine, discussing how she turned a staff job at Disney into a successful freelance advertising career. Zalucky’s rep, Cynthia Held, was quoted in the article. “She is constantly [test shooting], and challenging herself. She’s not shy about reaching out to art directors and creative directors directly. They sense immediately that she has a tremendous energy and spirit.” Zalucky’s “energy and spirit” are the reasons why her 2014 promo booklet caught our attention. Zalucky collaborated with the designer Xochitl Munoz and printed it with Paper Chase in Los Angeles. She says “I wanted it to be filled with all the things that I love shooting…lifestyle, travel, adventure and food.” But Zalucky was also conscious about her audience and wanted the promo to be something that the promo’s recipients would keep and regularly use which is where the monthly calendar pages come in.

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"It was also important to me that those getting it could write/ doodle all over it if they wish and be small enough to take with you on meetings. I want to make an effort of sending more thoughtful promos that are both useful and beautiful. Also to feel similar to something I would send personally to my friends."

—Amy Wolff

All photos © Diana Zalucky

52 Weeks of Limited Edition Prints From Emiliano Granado

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All images © Emiliano Granado

Each week since the beginning of the year, Emiliano Granado has announced a print sale via social media, and each week he’s sold out the edition of three in a matter of minutes. 

The 11x14 prints aren’t expensive. Their $10 price tag signals that this isn’t really a money-making effort. Instead it’s an opportunity to “get more three-dimensional things into the world,” Granado told PDN. It also allows him to connect and interact with his network each week.

He sells the prints via quesofrito.com, a separate website from his portfolio site. The separate site, Granado says, is an opportunity to “extend the parameter of what people see me as, which I think is really important.” Quesofrito.com and the print sale effort, he adds, signal that he’s “somebody that creates and publishes and makes work in the [analogue] world versus just [creating] pixels.”

It also allows him to do something with images that don’t necessarily fit in his portfolio. “I have all of these photos that no one has really ever seen that I think are great… I want people to see them and I want people to have them,” he explains.

Granado set the price so that he would cover his costs, and sized the editions so they would sell out immediately and wouldn’t create “a ton of back-end work for me” to fulfill the orders.

Not only do the images sell out each week, he also connects with people in his network, who lament not getting a print on Facebook or Instagram, or reach out to him directly. “Every week people text me, email me, whatever it is, and that’s part of it: having this limited thing, it’s like a little game that can happen.”

Conor Risch

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