Wonder Machine CEO Bill Cramer was invited to speak about his work by APA/NY. His talk took place at the fashionably macintoshed Apple Soho store on Monday. Several Wonderful Machiners accompanied Bill (including another Philadelphia photographer, Shea Roggio).
The event attracted a packed house of photographers and industry folks who came to see Cramer discuss his thoughts on the world of marketing and branding photography. David H. Wells also spoke at the event, just before Bill, discussing his career in documentary photography.
Cramer’s talk began with his own career, and how his portraiture is often a struggle between control and spontaneity. Even though the bulk of his photographs are “staged,” he wants to authentically capture the subject’s personality to help illustrate their story.
Bill mentioned that he shoots plenty of businessmen and celebrities, as well as subjects like these from a beach assignment:
Bill’s talk continued with his suggestions for how photographers can successfully improve their branding and marketing. To make these points, he first showed several photographers whose branding was consistent across their website, emaill and print promos, letterhead and portfolio.
Bill showed Terry Vine’s work first, whose particularly ambitious print promotions include a wooden box with seven individual pamphlets, each on a separate theme:
Cramer went on to show the universe of marketing options that photographers should take advantage of, ranging from passive marketing (like online sourcebooks) to direct marketing (telephone calls, portfolio meetings, etc.).
Bill’s overarching theme is that photographers should have a consistent body of work, and one that doesn’t try to be a “scrapbook” of twenty different specialties. Art buyers and photo editors are trying to minimize the risk they’re taking when they work with a new photographer. And in a crowded marketplace, he feels that it’s essential to clearly present what you’re good at, and not try to be the right photographer for every type of assignment.
In addition, Cramer suggests that photographers show only the type of work that they’d like to be hired for. For a fulfilling career path, they should seek work that combines what they’re good at doing, what they like to do, and what the marketplace wants from them.
The irony of a blog post about marketing photography is that our regular camera wasn’t working and we had to use our new staff member Caleb’s iPhone. Which, all things considered, is better than having no images to share.
Pictured above are Mary Dail, rep and owner of Big Leo, home to a cadre of food and still life photographers. Also shown is Kristina Feliciano, the talented blogger for Stockland Martel’s site. We also had a nice conversation with VH1’s Daniella Nilva-Cunningham. They caught up with Bill after his talk.