Dustin Satloff is an objectively busy guy. Over the past couple of weeks, he’s been in Tokyo, covering the Olympics and, of course, working on his website bio with me.
Given that I was twelve time zones away, we worked primarily via email, iterating the work in process through questionnaires, editing, and other refinements.
Dustin is an accomplished sports & fitness photographer with a resume that left me tongue-tied. While that provides a wealth of content and stories to draw from, we needed to distill it into concise and efficient copy.
As a person who is not a self-promoter by nature, I trusted that Wonderful Machine would be able to provide a strong but not overbearing summary of my career and areas of expertise.
Of course, bios are meant to do more than summarize. Dustin wanted his bio to be in the third person and informative, polished, and casual. We began the process by having him fill out a basic questionnaire that, for some odd reason, makes photographers quake in their boots.
Dustin has a matter-of-fact way of writing, so I wanted to mimic that with a bit of flair to keep any reader engaged instead of being overwhelmed with all of the brand, team, and school names. He was comfortable enough answering the straightforward questions, but he left the ball in my court when it came to more abstract or opinion-based inquiries.
So, I did some digging. I poured over his website, his Instagram, and anything else I could get my hands on. Without the ability to call him up, I began to piece together how I thought his voice really sounded.
This is what I knew: that Dustin was somewhat of an adventure seeker and a born entrepreneur, although he seemed to downplay that fact. I also knew he was very professional and passionate about his business. What I needed to figure out, though, was what made him Dustin — what was different about working with him. Everyone has something that makes them unique, and that is what a website bio should convey.
I learned that what makes Dustin special is not only the accolades and the resume but the way he views sport. His unique perspective is what makes him and his work stand out from the crowd.
I wanted to highlight that, so I sent him these three options.
Option 1 was the most formal of the group giving a rundown of Dustin’s professional career with very little fluff. Option 2 was my personal favorite, with a more thoughtful feel and descriptive tone while still hitting all of the key points. The third option touched more on the idea that Dustin could do anything and everything. While this option could be seen as more “exciting”, I felt as if it was in disagreement with the personality and voice I had gleaned from his web presence and correspondence — I think he agreed.
Dustin replied within a few days, having decided to combine options 1 & 2 and fill in the information gaps.
Having never had a bio written about me before, my goals were somewhat open-ended, but with an aim toward providing prospective clients some information about my interests and style that might not be apparent solely from my portfolio.
His edits provided precisely what I needed — the extra details tied everything together and painted a picture of not only his skills but his love for his craft. I edited some grammar and sentence structure issues, then rearranged the piece slightly to make the intro stronger.
I moved the 3rd paragraph up to the top, effectively setting the stage of who and what he is before diving deeper into the “how.” I believe it flows more naturally this way and helps draw readers in, even if they’re only there for his credentials.
I found the Wonderful Machine team to be very engaged and eager to produce the best possible product. I felt that they had my best interests in mind at each step, and I that my consultant (Shannon) not only wanted me to be happy, but she wanted a product that would have the desired result, which was to captivate potential clients.
All in all, Dustin was a dream to work with. Once he could see the vision for the piece, he knew exactly which details needed to be added, making my job a thousand times easier. With a little tweaking, we were done.
The final bio is some of which Wonderful Machine should be proud. It accurately conveyed the skills, talents, and background that suit me while not sounding like a sales pitch.