Creative Self-Promotion for Photographers

Posted in Adorama Rentals by tonygale on December 1, 2010

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Self-promotion has always been something that I and many photographers I know struggle with. In conversations with photo editors and art buyers over the last couple of years the only consensus has been that there is no consensus. Email is good, email is bad, postcards are good, postcards are bad, etc … Everyone wants the magic bullet, the cheap, easy and quick path to fame and fortune. Since that doesn’t actually exist, here are three photographer’s ideas on more creative approaches.

Tony Gale, lunchbox

This is a promo I had been thinking about for quite some time, it took a long time to find a source for reasonably priced lunch boxes that could be imprinted with my logo. I had thirty-six lunchboxes made, and I am sending out thirty-one, to a very targeted list. Each box has a packet of 5×7 photos, and hand written note, chocolate milk and homemade cookies among other goodies. So far it has been received very favorably, I have just began distributing them. I have had people call to thank me, and have had one Director of Photography who I have had zero response from over several years actually get back to me. They bring a smile to people’s faces, and who doesn’t love the occasional chocolate milk?

Monte Isom, behind the scenes

Isom, who has always been very creative with self promotion, has started using “behind the scenes” videos as a promotional tool.

In his words:

Recently I have been promoting using Behind the Scenes videos to showcase how I go about my productions as much as the finished products themselves. It allows potential art buyers to see how I and my crew will be on future shoots they may want to hire me for. It also is a fun way to display my work. I have clients that now hire me to shoot the behind the scenes in addition to my fee for the photo shoot itself.  It has also landed me my first director role for a TV spot. I deliver these videos via branded 4gb usb flash drives, on my website and also on vimeo. My latest video is track and field test shoots that I’ve done to go after the advertising work for the 2012 London summer Olympics. It has also been interesting being on the other side of licensing intellectual property (music) as opposed to being the licensee (photos). You can view this and other BTS videos in the backstage section of my website.

Michel Leroy, magcloud custom magazine

Leroy, a NYC based photographer is using Mag Cloud to create a project-oriented promo piece:

With MagCloud I have found the perfect medium for low-cost, high-quality, short run printing. My style of commercial assignment photography leads to new locations and people every day, but often not much longer than a day. After years of shooting in this manner, I began to crave long-view projects with more depth and broader focus. To fulfill this professional need I began a two-month personal project in the summer of 2008 to photograph motorcycle rally culture in America. The result was a portfolio of unrelenting black and white images revealing a personal connection and shared humanity previously unachieved in my work.

However, sixty-three images of bikers would hardly fit, stylistically or otherwise, into my regular portfolio so I decided to dedicate a perfect-bound MagCloud book to my Rally Biker images. The result was an 80 page catalog of the project that matched the depth and detail of the project itself. Clean, crisp black and white images, graphics, and typography better than many magazines available at the newsstand. For just $17.00 a copy I printed a limited edition of amazing quality themed magazines for distribution to “Select” clients.  I ordered one to make sure it looked okay. The test looked amazing so I went ahead and printed twenty-one more. I have delivered them directly to clients or used them as leave behinds after important meetings.

The first copy I gave to an art director was a huge success! He literally said, “I’ve never seen this magazine before – it’s fantastic, we’ll [agency] have to subscribe”. He was astonished when I told him it was a limited edition of my own work and not available on newsstands. He felt like he had received something very special, I reinforced my brand and showcased my personal project in a format everybody knows and loves – magazines.

All-in-all I’m thrilled to have found MagCloud and look forward to using it for other projects in my annual marketing materials to select clients. While a single copy isn’t exactly cheap, the ability to order on demand with such high quality makes every copy a real value for me.


Tony Gale is a NYC based photographer. Besides lunchboxes, you can see his work here.


3 Responses

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  1. […] via Through the looking glass […]

  2. […] • Through the Looking Glass is my newest blog obsession. The articles range from photographers profiles to discussions about photography’s place in the new web economy to great examples of self promotion. […]

  3. Tess @ Pro-tography 101 said, on March 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I love the idea of this blog and do similar on mine. Great blog!

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