This December, we were able to schedule meetings with Family Circle, Glamour, the highly regarded German publication, Stern, and McCann Echo. The three publications composed our first round of meetings in NYC on the 5th. Our agency meeting with McCann Echo was in NJ on the 19th.
In NY, earlier this month, we saw three very different publications, which meant that we needed an assortment of portfolios. Certainly more portfolios than one man could carry, so I brought our marketing consultant, Thomas Lawn.
Our first meeting was with Meredith property, Family Circle. Family Circle has been around since 1932 and is one the “Seven Sisters” publications. These publications are the classic home-oriented magazines, which include Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, McCall’s, Woman’s Day, and Redbook. Like the other “Sisters,” Family Circle is geared towards women. But unlike those publications, it focuses primarily on family-related topics — there is a family angle on everything they publish. And from food and travel to fitness and health, they work with a lot of different kinds of photographers.
Their main rule of thumb is that there must be a natural, bright light in their photos. Photo editor, Maggie McKenna says that they want their images to, “feel like you’re there.” With that in mind, we showed her Tom McCorkle, Lisa Tichané, Liz Nemeth, Lauren V. Allen, Kyle Dreier, Natalie Faye, and William Geddes. Most of what we displayed was food photography, which she loved. In particular, she was a fan of Kyle Dreier. She said that his work was perfect for their publication. She was also a big fan of Lisa Tichané and William Geddes. However, Tichané mostly works with younger children, which is already accessible for them to find. A more difficult task is to find photos of mothers and teens — especially teenage boys.
Our next two meetings were with Glamour and Stern. The appointments were tightly scheduled and were far apart, so we decided to split up. Thomas took Glamour, and I went ahead to Stern. Glamour, which is a Conde Nast property, is across the street from Meredith in the new World Trade Center, so they have hefty security. During our last meetings with Conde Nast publications, it took us nearly 40 minutes to get through it all. While my meeting with Stern was a solid 20+ minute walk, the security was much laxer. Either way, we both had to move on to the next appointment.
Thomas’ meeting with Glamour started by approaching the new One World Trade Center tower with a suspiciously large Pelican case loaded with portfolios from Clay Cook, Inti St. Clair, Amber Fouts, and Anthony Cunanan. Despite the hurdles, he was on time to meet with Glamour’s Deputy Visuals Editor Kathryne Hall.
In between portfolios, Kathryne and Thomas discussed Glamour’s move to digital, which is expected to have little impact on how the magazine uses photography or how the editors generate assignments. Kathryne did mention the need and desire to assist in representing marginalized voices and the work by organizations like Authority Collective.
As we browsed the portfolios, Kathryne mentioned familiarity with Anthony Cunanan’s work. She saw it at a portfolio review and was pleased to see how his edit had come together. Kathryne also gave us a tip on creating books, particularly for glossy magazines like Glamour: make sure your portfolio media matches the look of the magazine! If you’re showing fashion images for a glossy page, a heavyweight, textured, matte paper for your book isn’t going to read as well as a satin finish!
While Thomas was at Glamour, I met with photo editor, Angelika Hala at Stern. Angelika, who is incredibly smart, was able to tell me a bit about the history of Stern before starting the portfolio review. As it turns out, the company that owns Stern also once owned several Meredith publications, including Family Circle. Small world! She also was able to give me a bit more insight into Stern as a publication. Angelika described the publication as a German version of The New Yorker. She said that they often write popular culture reviews, think pieces, scientific articles, and human-interest stories. They do a bit of everything. She described Stern as “general interest” and “prestigious.” If you can get your hands on a physical copy, whether you know Geran or not, I would highly recommend getting it. They use incredible images and lay their pages out beautifully.
They have very high standards. Of the sixteen portfolios that I showed, Angelika would work with four and recommend two others to her colleagues. That’s incredible considering that we pride ourselves in also having high standards for membership. The portfolios that she liked were from Angelo Merendino, Gregory Miller, Kyle Monk, and Fernando Decillis. She noted that Fernando Decillis had great style and was capable of very high production value. She also said that Angelo Merendino, Gregory Miller, and Kyle Monk had great light, adding that excellent control of light is essential for them. Equally important is making sure that the subjects in their photos look natural.
After our meetings, Thomas and I regrouped to head out of town. As we waited for our car, we went over our meetings, concluding that it was an overall successful day.
Our final meeting in December was with McCann Echo in Mountain Lakes, NJ. We typically like to bring our producer to meet with agencies — so Craig tagged along this time!
Since McCann Echo is an agency that specializes in working with clients in the health and pharmaceuticals industry, we brought many of our health portfolios. To keep things interesting, we also brought some lifestyle and conceptual portfolios as well.
Since the meeting was just before the holidays, the team was less busy than usual. This was great because it allowed several members of the team to drop by and check out our portfolios. Overall, everyone was very impressed, noting that they loved looking at physical portfolios and complimenting us on the paper and print quality, as well as the creativity of the promos. In particular, they loved looking at portfolios from John Fulton, Fernando Decillis, Tom Cwenar, John Kuczala, and Wolfram Schroll.
As far as promos, they were impressed by Lisa Tichane’s candy tins and Terry Vine’s incredible wooden boxes that house several small portfolios. Both of which were very popular and disappeared fairly quickly.
This meeting was our first with McCann Echo. It was an excellent opportunity for us to expose our member photographers to a new client and build a relationship with a great agency. We’re looking forward to introducing them to more photographers and potentially collaborating with them in the future.
December has been an excellent month for meetings, and we’ve already got a few more scheduled for early January. If you’re interested in having your portfolio in our next round of meetings, feel free to reach out!