Our February portfolio event kicked off with an early call time at Wonderful Machine headquarters. Enjoying the unusually warm weather, Jess and I arrived in New York City and unloaded our gear for meetings in the SoHo and Tribeca neighborhoods.
Our first meeting was at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (otherwise known as BBH), whose clients currently include Google, Sprite, Vaseline and British Airways. You may also recall BBH’s comical work for Axe in their “Clean Your Balls” mock-infomercial. After taking a moment to observe their space—complete with black sheep illustrations, a ping pong table and an incredible view of the NYC skyline—we set out the portfolios. We had some nice conversations with the BBH creatives about the work of our photographers including John-Francis Bourke, King Lawrence and John Fulton.
Once the BBH review was done, we headed to Starwood Hotels and Resorts, conveniently located just a short distance from BBH’s office. With hotel chains such as Sheraton, W, Le Meridien and Westin, we knew Starwood would be a great place to share the work of our hospitality and travel photographers. Upon arrival, we were escorted to a room adorned with worldly photos in ornate frames and a large conference table where we laid out the books of Raymond Patrick, Terry Vine, Julian Love, and Lauryn Ishak to name a few.
At the meeting we had a chance to learn more about the photographer selection process from Starwood photo producer/editor, Suzanna Shields. Suzanna explained that when choosing a photographer, they not only like to see appropriate shots in a portfolio, but also like to see outtakes as well. It’s important to Starwood that a photographer can both obtain the hero shot as well as capture a wide range of images that represent a location’s uniqueness. They also like for a photographer to be able to work well with hotel guests and resort managers. This is so important in fact, that Starwood has a questionnaire that they have photographers fill out covering a wide range of scenarios to gauge their experience.
After looking at some beautiful destinations and resorts, we wrapped up our meeting and drove uptown to grab a quick bit. Inspired by the warm and tropical locales on view at Starwood, we swung by Dos Caminos to extinguish our craving for Mexican. Afterwards we headed across the street to Parents Magazine—our final review of the day.
Our Parents review included a mix of children and lifestyle books from photographers like Natalie Young, Erin Kunkel, Ingrid Skousgard. The intimate meeting led to a discussion of the work they have a tough time finding. Their photo editor and director both expressed how it’s often difficult to obtain “real moments” in kid shoots, and that good kid photographers can seemingly make the camera disappear. They also stated their preference in print promos: small postcards with appropriate/inspiring imagery that they can tack to their bulletin board.
Once we were rapped up at Parents, we made our way to the Chelsea Daylight Studio where Jess gave a Pricing & Negotiating presentation for ASMP. The lecture gave insight into the major steps of a commercial production, from estimating licensing fees to pre-production and execution.
After the presentation, we capped off the night with a quick drink across the street at Pars Grill House, where Wonderful Machine members Landon Nordeman and Radhika Chalasani joined us. Also in attendance were our new friends from Phase One, who co-sponsored our ASMP event. Then it was back to Philadelphia to start planning next month’s review—see you soon Kansas City and Saint Louis!
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