Atlanta Diary: SCAD, Ogilvy, Atlanta Magazine, APA, BBDO, Images USA, Brunner
by Sean Stone
After our otherwise terrific trip to Toronto ended in a 20-hour delay, I was a bit hesitant to get on a plane again with Craig. But since I couldn’t convince him to take a 30-hour road trip, we once again headed to the Philadelphia airport, car loaded with portfolios. Oddly enough, check-in was smooth and quick, security was easy and our plane was on time… maybe Craig isn’t bad luck after all. After an easy flight down to Atlanta, an extremely friendly security guard asked what our plans were and if we were going to have time to take a tour of the Sweetwater Brewery. We told her probably not this trip. No problem, she says, “We got Sweetwater 420 all over Atlanta. You gotta GIT SOME!”
With a catch phrase for this trip already secured, we checked into the hotel and headed to my Alma Mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design. This was actually my first time on the Atlanta Campus, but it still felt like a little bit of a time warp—so much enthusiasm and so many piercings! We were speaking to a Business Practices for Photography class with Prof. Judith Pishnery. Judith was very excited to hear Craig’s talk on Pricing and Negotiating and my very truncated Branding presentation. Craig gave a great talk, though I’m sure it was a bit shocking for these students just how complicated it is to actually get paid for your work. Next came my thoroughly informative and possibly less intimidating presentation on branding. The students were very engaged for two and a half hours of very dense information. After Q&A we packed it up to meet up with our Atlanta shooters.
We drove the few blocks to a little neighborhood spot called Uncle Julio’s and found over a dozen of our photographers and their studio managers were there when we arrived, and most already seemed acquainted. We had the chance to talk with Jennifer Davick about her move from Israel to Birmingham, spoke to Leah Perry about a very promising opportunity she got through Wonderful Machine, and had a great conversation with Zack Arias about crafting a brand with distinctive facial hair. If only he and I had spoken BEFORE my talk at SCAD… but as much as we love getting to know our members better, we had to say goodnight and get our beauty sleep for the next day’s meetings!
We started our first day of meetings at Ogilvy. We arrived a little bit early and thought we could kill some time by taking a few photos for our fine blog readers. We were quickly informed that photography was not allowed on their property, by the most extraordinarily friendly security staff I have ever dealt with. We got smiles and handshakes, put away the camera and headed upstairs. It was still early, but the staff came out in big numbers, and with lots of enthusiasm. They were especially impressed with the work of Scott Suchman, John Fulton, and Christopher Shane. After handing out lots of t-shirts to a chorus of thank yous, we headed out.
Christopher Shane’s portfolio video:
Our next review was at Breen Smith, a small agency in a beautiful, historic building downtown. Under the watchful gaze of a gigantic taxidermy marlin, we had a great meeting with the art director and a member of the design team. We got to know a good bit about the company and their growing need for photographers. After our meeting and a quick tour of the awesome bank vault downstairs, the art director thanked us for coming and told us he hoped to be calling soon to work with our photographers. He actually made good on that sooner than we expected, calling the very next day to get recommendations for an upcoming shoot!
From there it was just a quick jaunt to Atlanta Magazine, where Craig had a great meeting with the photo editor. She was familiar with nearly all of our Atlanta shooters already, but got introduced to a couple of our newer members. She told us she was always on the lookout for good food photographers. Naturally we pointed her towards Jennifer Davick.
Jennifer Davick’s portfolio video:
After quickly unloading at the hotel, we cruised a few short miles to the very cool studio of Calvin Lockwood, who was good enough to host our second speaking engagement in as many days. Craig offered his expert advice on pricing and negotiating to a full house of very receptive photographers. Afterwords, we hung back a while to answer questions about pricing and Wonderful Machine before thanking Calvin and the other APA organizers and retiring to the hotel before another full day.
Craig’s Pricing & Negotiating presentation powerpoint:
The next morning we had a meeting with two art buyers at BBDO who were already frequent WM users, but a face-to-face meeting allowed us to walk them through the newest features of the site, as well as our other client services. There were more than a few new photographers they absolutely loved including Mark Katzman, Raymond Patrick and Joseph Anthony Baker.
We stopped for lunch at a place we found completely by accident, but I couldn’t have been happier to eat at Carver’s Country Kitchen. We got our fix of Southern Cuisine—fried chicken, cornbread, lima beans, collard greens—which made me so happy to be back in Georgia! Lunch was good enough that even a flat tire on our way to the next meeting couldn’t bring us down! Well, that and the fact that our tire blew within walking distance, So Craig and I just met up in the lobby of Images USA, a marketing firm with clients like KFC, Hillshire Farm and Amtrak. There, we sat down with the creative director and production manager, who both loved Joel Collins‘ portfolio. We had a great meeting and learned a thing or two about how they use both still and video for their impressive list of clients.
Joel Collin’s portfolio video:
We wrapped the trip up with a great group of creatives at Brunner. They loved every book we showed, but paid extra attention to John Schulz and Claire Benoist. The creative director was especially enthusiastic as we went into more detail about our many services for creatives. He strongly recommended we pay a visit to their Pittsburgh office. It was quite the successful review.
And with that last meeting, our time in Atlanta was done. With a van full of books, a fresh tire and a great portfolio event behind us, we said goodbye to the Peach State!