After visiting New York for the past few portfolio events, we decided a change of pace and scenery in Washington, D.C. would do us well. Jillian, Alexandra and I headed south hoping for some warmer weather (no such luck!). With over 30 portfolios from our members ranging from portrait, lifestyle, conceptual, still life and food photography, we were ready to impress at McMurry/TMG, MDB Communications, Delucchi+ and August, Lang and Husak.
Despite battling some morning traffic heading through the heart of D.C., we enjoyed gorgeous views of the Washington monument and the blossoming colors of spring. We found the parking garage and made it to the first meeting with time to spare at McMurry/TMG, a custom publishing company who produces several magazines including “WebMD” and “Creative Living.”
Jillian and Alexandra pushing the portfolios through D.C.
Once the conference room was set up, senior photo editor Sara Elder and photo editor Katie Ellsworth joined us. Sara and Katie were both familiar with WM and enthusiastic about their experiences working with Wonderful Machine photographers David Arky, Scott Suchman, Ryan Donnell and Kyle Dreier. Katie was excited to learn about our search feature because it shows her the actual distances of photographers from the location of the shoot. She often hires for projects all over the country—sometimes in small, remote areas—and the search feature proves incredibly helpful when she’s not familiar with the location. Some of McMurray/TMG’s favorites from the meeting included David Zaitz’s quirky and creative conceptual images and John Kuczala’s colorful reimagining of everyday objects.
Katie, Sara and Alexandra discuss David Zaitz’s portfolio
Next on the agenda and only a 10-minute walk away was MDB Communications, an ad agency with clients ranging from the International Spy Museum to Blue Cross Blue Shield. MDB works mostly with local photographers, but often uses stock photography from all over the world. An awesomely huge statue of Big Boy greeted us in the lobby before we headed into our meeting with associate creative director Gretchen Carswell, junior designer Dre Rolle and senior account executive O’Keyla Smith.
Dre, O’Keylah and I talk about our photographers’ books and Wonderful Machine services.
They requested books with a heavy focus on conceptual and still life imagery and loved the humorous and whimsical world of Rickett & Sones. James Quantz Jr.’s book design was the most discussed—everyone admired his sleek binding choice and paper selection.
With our first three meetings all within walking distance, we had plenty of time to actually sit down and enjoy lunch together (this doesn’t happen in New York!) while we picked up catering from Brown Bag for our next meeting with Delucchi+.
Alexandra conquering a steep driveway like a champ!
The offices at Delucchi+ were an inviting sea of color (my favorite!) with abstract art adorning each wall. Delucchi+ is an ad agency working with a variety of clients—recently focusing on several architecture and real estate projects. We met with the director of creative services Ryan Strohl, and several art directors to begin looking through the books. John Fedele’s beautiful, crisp images were a hit and Christopher Shane’s handmade portfolio was admired for its originality and storytelling. Art directors Mike Leimbach and Lance Hayden were happy to learn our producers are available by phone for personalized crew recommendations. Take a look through Christopher’s portfolio below.
Chris, Mike, Erin and Jillian enjoy the variety of portfolios.
Back at the car, we were all shocked to learn that the cost of parking for 5 hours in D.C. is a mere $12! In New York, we easily spend over $100 in garage fees. We celebrate this small victory as we drive to Bethesda for our final meeting with August, Lang and Husak, an ad agency with clients like National Geographic Society and USA Football.
Wayne, Melissa, Alexandra, Jillian and Chuck enjoying some stories.
Creative director Chuck Husak told us he’s enjoyed working with WM photographers Robb Scharetg and Eli Meir Kaplan as well as with our executive producer Jess Dudley. He showed us some of the posters hanging around their office shot by our photographers while creative director Melissa Meyers shared some of the entertaining back-stories involved in getting the images.
Tadd Myers’ intricate tablet case and overall aesthetic made a strong impact (Check out the full portfolio below), and Thomas Liggett’s portfolio felt relevant and fresh and was incredibly well-received. After snapping some quick shots with the office mannequin/decoy and sharing some laughs, we hit the road and headed home.
This mannequin sits at the reception desk to greet new arrivals.
Final Thoughts: While at McMurry/TMG, Sara told us she’d recently been involved in a large Facebook discussion about the importance of having a print portfolio. As a photo editor, Sara says having a physical book in hand and being able to see the way a photographer’s work will look when printed in her magazines can make all the difference. She absolutely loved the variety of books with Wonderful Machine.
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