Hazelton, PA-based photographer Brian Riedel came to Wonderful Machine’s Creative Coaching program hoping to hone his creative process and solidify his photographic voice. As a photographer specializing in aerial drone photography, architecture, and headshots, Brian works with architects, real estate agents, construction firms, and corporate offices but he wanted to strengthen his overall portfolio to attract new clients.
When I began working with him in July 2021 he wanted to target more architecture and interior design firms, do more advertising product photography work within the commercial and residential fields (i.e. product work for brands like Sherwin Williams, Bissel, etc), and ultimately get a higher return from his marketing efforts.
Creative Coaching is a service that helps photographers polish their creative effort and provides direction on aligning their efforts with their career goals. Every photographer is different and much of this process is going to be driven by their personality, creative style, and motivations in the field of photography but I always look to answer the questions “What is the type of work they want to be doing, and who do they want to be doing that work with?”
When working with photographers I think it’s crucial to take a holistic approach and examine all the aspects of their presentation, portfolio, branding, and creative process. Understanding how they work and tailoring their marketing efforts to their needs helps to set them up for success. My professional background is largely in production and commercial photography but I also have an educational background in fine art and art history. This knowledge allows me to help the photographer look at both their technical abilities and creative voice within their photography.
We started by defining his target audience and editing his website to create a more cohesive presentation. We identified a few dream clients and some ideal clients that would be good for him to target. The website edits involved cleaning up the site, re-organizing his gallery, and crafting a more thoughtful edit that aligned better with his goals and his photographic style.
For the photo edits, I combed through his extensive portfolio and selected images that reflected the type of work he wanted to get more of. Then, I added in more architectural & design details, selecting images that show a variation in style, composition, and subject. I also sought to achieve an editing style that felt timeless and elegant.
Brian also wanted to try getting more hospitality clients for his architecture and interior design photography (restaurants, boutique hotels, etc.), so we discussed some personal project ideas and possible spec work with local and regional brands. To continue to strengthen his portfolio, we have been curating and editing new work as it came in from his current/new clients.
Once we felt we had dialed in Brian’s presentation and edits on his site, Brian set up a personal project to add a selection of work that catered to hospitality clients. He organized and produced a shoot with the Townley House, which is a historic boutique hotel in downtown Easton, PA. In return for allowing him to shoot for his portfolio at the location, he offered them the work for use on their site and social media.
Brian’s project turned out great and we’ll soon be editing and adding this work to his site. He has also connected with a few architectural and interior design firms recently that liked his work and seemed interested in partnering up with him in the future. He has been happy with the results so far and we want to continue to curate his presentation as he gains more of this type of work.
I have been nothing but pleased with how that relationship has developed, Andrew is like my second set of eyes. He is a creative director by trade so he sees what I don’t. He gives me guidance, and allows me to discover while being there in the background.
I think we have made a lot of progress and dialed in his creative efforts in a direction that we’re both excited about. We’ve both agreed that at this stage we can begin to shift our focus to marketing his work and connecting with new clients so we will soon be transitioning into a Marketing Mentorship and putting together promos for client emails.