Hunter Freeman Shares Insights from his Portfolio Roadshow.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 3.20.03 PMHunter Freeman recently redesigned his blog and started posting more content.  One of his first articles shared his experiences on two recent trips to show off his portfolio at events in LA and NY.  In typical Hunter fashion, his approach is thoughtful and light hearted.  It is no wonder that he came home talking about all the new friends he made.

The one sentence that struck me in the whole post was the following:

“I met more people in two days – just two evenings, really – than I’d be able to meet in a week of traveling and coordinating appointments.”

We have been talking a lot about this in our group lately and are convinced that attending events like At Edge’s Face to Face , Fotoworks, and Debra Weiss’  (invite only) One on One are the most efficient way for photographers to show off their portfolios.

To read more about his roadshow experiences and how Hunter made his meetings meaningful, link to his blog directly.

6 Days, 7 Airplanes, 18 Taxis, 4 Hotels, 40 Appointments and 100s of Handshakes and Hugs Later.

In all the years I have been repping, these last two weeks have been some of the most productive.  I traveled to two great events and met with so many of the art producers and creatives that I have gotten to know so well over the years.   While I was busy doing my thing, three  of the photographers in our group attended At Edge’s Face to Face in NYC,  two attended Debra Weiss’s One on One event in LA and three of them ventured out on appointments.

All of those events and appointments together amounted to connecting with well over 200 people.

I have always said that the single most important thing I can do for my photographers is to make a connection.  And, if a photographer isn’t shooting, the single most important thing they can do for themselves is to make a connection. Doing so in this industry goes a long way.  And, having done this for quite some time now, I can say the relationships that have come from these connections – both personal and professional – have indeed been beneficial for everyone in our group.

Even though each event is very different, they all provide a very powerful path to making important connections.   See below for how we made each event work for us.

AT EDGE -FACE TO FACE

For those of you who have never attended an At Edge Face to Face  event, the goal is to connect top level creative talent with leading photographers.  (Link here to learn more)

Each photographer is scheduled for three 15 minute meetings with people they would like to meet.  When I attend the event, I accompany the photographers and help them to present their work.  Attending with them allows both of us the chance to connect one on one with the reviewer.

Our photographers made their own connections- without me.

Well, even though attending with them has worked well in the past, this time I decided to do things a little differently.  I learned a long time ago that if there is an opportunity for a photographer to have a meeting one on one without me, it can be more powerful than if I were present.   I have found that when I am present, the conversation can turns social and the photographer is left without the opportunity to tell their own story.

The fifteen minutes At Edge allows is not a lot of time, so why be a distraction? We decided that this time, I would merely make the introduction, say a quick hello and leave them to their conversation.

Hunter Freeman, Chris Crisman and Kevin Twomey all agreed that it was their time to shine at these meetings and all came back enthusiastic and excited about their new connections.  Connections that were entirely theirs.

Our photographers know that the quick, fifteen minute meeting, is just the beginning of their connection and it is up to them to keep it going.

I have heard photographers question how they can adequately show off their work in just fifteen minutes.  And I have also heard them say that it wasn’t worth the time and money to attend an event if they were only going to meet a few people.  I have always thought this was short sighted because all it takes is one person, one connection or even just one image that makes that next job happen.

Hunter Freeman had a great strategy.  He knew that he only had fifteen minutes and recognized that he was one of many that would be presenting their work that night.  Hunter started off each meeting telling the person that they would end the meeting with three things to remember him by;  Kids with Power Tools, Apple and Dreams.  His reviewers were intrigued and when he got to those particular images he would point them out and remind them that these were the images they were suppose to remember him by.   When the meeting ended each person – on their own – mentioned all three images back to him.  It was a successful connection.

Dreaming_Conference_Room1_HEweb_SIZED

In addition to Hunter’s strategy, everyone in the group spent the next few days following up with email and hand written thank you notes and not just to the people on their meeting list, but to everyone at the event.  There were so many flying around I could not keep up.

As we all discussed,  having a reason to connect with someone is half the battle.  At Edge provided so much more than that.

LE BOOK CONNECTIONS LA

At first glance, you may describe a Le Book Connections event as chaotic or even overwhelming.  There are so many exhibitors, countless attendees and too many portfolios, ipads and images on display to count.

If you had never attended before it would be natural to ask, “How can you digest all of what you are seeing so that the event is meaningful?”

Here is how we do it:

•  Create a compelling and colorful environment. 

We make sure our booth is inviting and shows off imagery, not just portfolios. We use a combination of music stands and tables to showcase the work.  Every book is kept open to an image.  People often comment that the booth draws them in every time.

IMG_9859

•  Curate our work so that we can easily show what is the newest.

The question most asked is, “What do you have that is new?” This is an obvious question and helps people digest all the work they are viewing.  We ask each photographer to update their books before the event and also provide us with any special presentations of their latest work.  Since so many people are already familiar with our photographers this is an easy way to get them to take a second look.  This time, Ron Berg’s Kentucky Derby Fashion promo was a big hit and fun for people to flip through.

•  Provide an Agency Portfolio

We learned after the first Le Book that not everyone has time to review every book like at a regular portfolio show.  So, to combat that, we created a AGENCY PORTFOLIO.  However, rather than group the portfolio by photographers like most other agencies do, we group the book by  SPECIALTY.  That way, a reviewer can see which photographers in our group shoot still life, food, lifestyle, landscape etc and if they see something they like we can direct them towards a particular book.  It is amazing how many times someone goes from book to book once we show them the group portfolio.

•  We Know How to Throw a Good Party

At the Le Book Connections NY event last year, we hired a very nice looking bartender (can’t hurt, right?) to mix martinis for the cocktail hour.  The shake shake shake and the martini glasses wandering around the room were a hit and drew people to our booth for sure.

Well, this year, we upped the ante and partnered with Brite Productions.  We asked to be placed next to them and together we hired the bartender, served martinis again and added pigs in the blanket for a little Mad Men style.  It was a party not to be missed.  And, the sense of community was unsurpassed.

 IMG_9909 - Version 2

 

DEBRA WEISS’ ONE ON ONE EVENT

I have never personally attended one of these events because they are by invitation only for the photographers. However,  whenever I receive an invitation for them to attend another one, I always encourage our photographers to do so.

Her event is similar to FotoWorks in that photographers meet one on one with many art producers and creatives to present portfolios. They are allotted 25 minutes and they see upwards of ten or more people.  It is a very productive time and many connections are made.

I am sometimes asked why photographers in our group attend events like this.  People wonder why photographers at this particular level would need to do this?  Why wouldn’t they just reach out to the creatives and art producers on their own.  Surely, they would get an appointment.

My answer is simple.  Efficiency.  There is no other way that a photographer (or a rep for that matter) could see that many people in that short amount of time.  Ron Berg and Hunter Freeman saw 10 people each at Debra’s One on One. Chris Crisman and Richard Schultz met 20 people each when they attended FotoworksNYC.  Any rep will tell you that coordinating 20 appointments for one photographer would never happen in two days, ever.  You would be lucky if this happened over a week and to get a photographer to commit to a week on the road promoting their work is a long shot as well.

photo

CHRIS CRISMAN’S LAST MINUTE ROAD TRIP TO NYC

3:30PM (West coast time) on Wednesday of last week, I received an email from Chris Crisman.  “I am headed to NYC tomorrow for appointments, can you help me out?”  3:30 my time is 6:30PM in New York.  YIKES!  While I was thrilled that he was hitting the pavement with his new portfolio, I was not quite sure what I would pull off for him given that most of NY was headed home.   Regardless of the time, I began sending emails.  I started with the art producers that have called in his work or estimated a job with him in the last year.  I then reached out to friends, knowing that I would at least get a reply from them!

Well, by the time I got back at my desk the next morning, Chris had eight appointments.  Eight!  I was so grateful for everyone for even considering such a last minute request.  On top of the eight appointments, countless others replied with their regrets – which I thought was amazing given how busy everyone was and I never expected that many people to even reply.  And, as I said to Chris, even a regret means they had to think about you for a second.  Who knows, maybe they even clicked on his website.

When it was all over, Chris had an opportunity to show off his new portfolio, talk about potential projects and meet new friends.   Something he would not have otherwise been able to do from behind his desk at his studio.

——–

A special thank you goes out to Glen Serbin, Susan Baraz, Elizabeth Owens, Alex Orlowski , Debra Weiss and all the NYC Art Producers that took time to schedule appointments and reply to my emails  for making our time on the road very very productive!  We are part of a very special community of creative, talented and generous people and we are very grateful.

Heather Elder Represents Rethinks the Agency Portfolio.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 5.23.28 PM

Last year, we decided that it was a good time to create an AGENCY PORTFOLIO.  We had a fantastic group of photographers and many opportunities to show it off.  We didn’t want it to be a typical group book that had a section for each photographer.  While we like those and they are always very strong, we wanted ours to be a little different so that it would stand out more at events such as Le Book’s Connections.

What we came up with was a portfolio divided by SPECIALTY instead of by PHOTOGRAPHER.  We liked this idea because it allowed us to showcase the type of work our group can offer while allowing the viewer to file our group away by different specialities.  Of course it is always our main goal for a creative to learn who our photographers are and what they shoot individually.  This will never change.  But, by offering an alternate way for them to view the work in our group, we are opening up another opportunity for them to remember the work.

More often than not the Agency Portfolio is shown in conjunction with the individual portfolios so if a viewer is interested in seeing more, they can choose to do so right then and there.  This is particularly helpful in a setting like Le Book Connections because there are so many books to view and it can get overwhelming for some. We have found that our agency book provides a breath of fresh air in a crowded market.

Take a look for yourself and see.  It is no mistake that we chose the song, Breathe by Sia as the background music.  Enjoy!

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Click here to see the video of our Agency Portfolio

Happy Holidays from Heather Elder Represents! Enjoy our recap of a great year of blog posts.

© Chris Crisman

© Chris Crisman

Happy Holidays everyone.  Lauranne, Taya and I hope you are surrounded by friendship and family this holiday season and are able to take some time off to enjoy everyone you love.

We wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your support for our blog.  We had no idea when we started this almost two years ago that it would be embraced by the community as it has.  The conversations we have had this year are compelling, interesting and fun!  We really appreciate how you all engage with the blog and help keep it alive.  It is a special part of who we are at Heather Elder Represents and we have you to thank for that.

Since our offices will be closed until Monday, January  7th we will be taking a break from posting.  Until then, enjoy some of our most popular posts this year.

•  Have you read the post about One of The Original Mad Men?  Leigh Beisch’s dad, Chuck Beisch.  He worked with some of the greats, Diane Arbus, Avedon, Hiro and Bruce Davidson.  Link here to read the post.

•  Did you catch the controversy brewing on Chris Crisman’s blog on What defines a photograph?  This one went viral.

•  Did you get to attend Le Book Connections Chicago?  Link here to see what it was all about.

• How about the Community Table NYC posts?  Very informative conversation with NYC art producers.  A three part series that followed up our Community Table NYC posts.  Link here to see all of the Community Table posts.

•  We had some really wonderful Art Producers interviews for our Art Buyer Insider  and Solving Mystery Series.  Sandy Boss Febbo, Char Eisner, Suzee Barabee, Jason Lau, Lisa Crawford, Beverly Adler, Julie Rosenoff , Cindy Hicks and Ken Zane just to name a few.

•  Were you ever a waitress?  If so, you will enjoy reading this one.  I am Good at my Job because I was a Waitress.

•  How about Andy Anderson’s post about his series Birth Water?  Powerful.

•  Want to schedule 64 meetings in 3 days?  Ron Berg, Chris Crisman and Richard Schultz did just that. See how here.

  Why do we print?  Let Chris Crisman answer.

•  What the heck?  Birth of a Gummy Bear?  How is that even possible?  Kevin Twomey shows you with video.

•  Hunter Freeman shares how partnering with a CGI artist is a powerful combination.  Link here for the story.

•  Sheri Radel Rosenberg offers some tips on being freelance. A must re-read for the New Year.  Link here.

•  Looking for a new playlist?  Link here to see what David Martinez plays for his clients during a shoot.

•  Considering redesigning your website?  Good luck!  Ron Berg offers some helpful hints in this blogpost.

Don’t “Freak Out” – you can now see Hunter Freeman’s portfolio on video.

As with the others in our group, we have created a video for Hunter Freeman’s portfolio.  And, in keeping with his style he chose a song that will make you chuckle. Hint:  See title of this post.  And, to add his own brand of humor, the song is performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Check it out below.

Hunter Freeman’s Video Photography Portfolio

If you would like to see Hunter’s portfolio in person, please email us here.  And, to see more of his work.  Be sure to link to his website.

Hunter Freeman is NOT responsible for this!*

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

When I first saw Hunter Freeman’s new series of work, “Kids with Power Tools,”  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!  Did he really do this?   When I asked him what he was thinknig giving power tools to kids, here is how he replied.

“It’s not like any of you haven’t thought of doing something like this yourself.  Of course you have (it’s ok to admit it, especially the guys).  Everyone’s been a kid, and as you recall, one of our young life’s goals was to maximize the fun we had.  So, why not do that again?  In my case, since I am no longer seven years old (except, perhaps, mentally), I thought that I’d just grab some little munchkins and some power tools and see what the h*!! would happen.
 
As we all know, you need the right tool for the right job.  In a bit of a switch (if you’ll pardon the pun), I started with a tool.  First up, a Milwaukee brand Hole Shot Corded Electric Drill with 1/2″ chuck – an awesome piece of equipment that can drill through anything.  Next, where shall we drill?  Why not a little home improvement?  There’s always room (several rooms in fact) for improvement.  So, cabinets it is! And, of course, they can always use some ventilation! Next, ask one of the neighbor’s sweet kids to make some nice, pretty holes in another neighbor’s cabinets. (Mazie was such a dear, hard-working helper, btw)  Then, just capture the fun.  Here’s how it all went…
 
Hunter:  “Ok, Mazie, the little trigger makes the drill work, so just press it and push the drill nice and slowly into the cabinet.”
 
Mazie:  “Mr. Freeman, are you sure it’s ok that we do this?”
 
H:  “Oh, yes, Mazie, it’s just fine.”
 
M:  “Um, are you sure, ’cause the Lerners aren’t home right now.”
 
H:  “I’m sure they won’t mind at all.  Ok, let’s go ahead!”
 
M:  “Ok.”  (sound of drill)
 
M:  (shouting)  “This makes a lot of noise, but it’s really fun!”
 
H:  “It sure is, Mazie!  It sure is!”
 
When we finished, we packed up my gear and swept up (didn’t want to leave a mess).  Mazie asked if she could borrow the drill, but I told her that I don’t lend my tools to just anyone.  But, I told her, I would be happy to let her use another one, like my disc sander.  I told her how it could make tons and tons of pretty sparks when you grind on a metal surface, like on a car.  She was really really excited about doing that.  I asked her to start looking for a really nice car to try it on.  She was totally up for that.
 
*Hunter Freeman is not responsible.  And is shocked, shocked he says, that your son/daughter said he gave them the idea to do something like that.

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

© Hunter Freeman – http://www.hunterfreeman.com

The Power of the CGI & Photography Partnership as told by Hunter Freeman and Michael Tompert

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More and more nowadays, photographers are needing to partner with other artists to help create the content that the client requires.  It has led to interesting partnerships for sure.  On a recent project for Covidien with Lehman Millet, photographer Hunter Freeman partnered with digital artist Michael Tompert of Raygun Studio to interpret the art director’s layouts.  A combination of photography, CGI and a lot of creativity helped produce the final ads.

When we asked Hunter and Michael to share with us what was most note worthy about their experience, here is what they had to say:

Hunter Freeman

“This project was designed to have a lot of CGI in it, and the photography needed to do a couple of things.  First, the captures of the talent had to convey/support the concept behind the ad, and two, the images had to be shot so that Michael would be able to easily integrate them into his CGI work, e.g. having matching perspective, lighting, etc..

It’s a fun challenge to get the talent to imagine themselves in a completely imaginary environment, and all of our group did a great job.  I shot them on a simple white background, and, in some cases, had small structures for them to lean on, or work around.  Mostly, though, I got them to really imagine/believe they were in Michael’s fantastical CGI environment.

Having Michael there to place the images into his illustrations – while we were shooting (!) – was a huge help, not to mention a ton of fun.”

Michael Tompert

“Having worked for and with Hunter on various occassions in the past, I didn’t hesitate when the call came to cover the CGI portion of a project he was intending to land.

I have many projects in the portfolio that are completely CGI, meaning I shoot the pictures not with a camera, but with a raytracer, or raygun, I still prefer working on projects that combine real photography with CGI. It’s kind of a best of both worlds scenario.

It also means, there is a photo shoot instead of just emails, iChats and conference calls. And as photo shoots go, they might very well be the last thing left that hasn’t been virtualized, put on the Internet, or made into an app in the digital image creation process. It’s a chance for everyone from the client, art director, photographer, CGI artist to meet for a day, face to face and learn a little about each other. A great opportunity for everyone involved to stick their heads together and riff on what the image can be or could become and try things on the fly.

And best of all, you get to have a great lunch and cream puff cakes for dessert.

It was no different in this case where we started out quite early in the morning, trying out all kinds of things, from different props, to different lighting and angles and could drop screenshots right into the live 3D scene where the model of the CGI art sculpture lived and building the hospital room in front of the art director as the photos came in to see if everything chimes.

In what was really a very long day, Hunter shot I think 3 or 4 talent in any imaginable pose and all kinds of contraptions that made up the hospital room. it was a little past dinner time before the final file was copied over.

It’s interesting how these two worlds, the CGI and HGI (Hunter Generated Images) are so different, where most of Hunter’s time is spent weeks in advance prepping for the shoot with castings, and wardrobe and props, calendars and travel arrangements all culminating in this one day.  While my world just starts on that day and the weeks of rendering, compositing, art direction, beautifying and finalizing are all still ahead when I leave with the drive.

But for that one day of the photoshoot those two worlds are one and the same.”

I am glad that I market to advertising people.

In March of 2011, I hosted a group meeting for our photographers to get them to start thinking about how they were going to participate in the new media market that had emerged.  I challenged them with the question, “Have you picked out your new glasses yet?”   The conversation encouraged the photographers in our group to reframe how they think about their business, decipher what is valuable to a client now and figure out how they can best participate as things evolve yet again.

It was no surprise that one of the biggest part of the conversation revolved around social media.  It was an area that some in the group at the time were resisting and others just did not yet understand what role it played.  Many wondered if it worked at all and others were worried that their “true voice” would get lost in marketing message.

A few months later, I co-hosted an event with the APA in San Francisco and realized that my group was not alone.  There were so many photographers out there wondering how to use social media in their business and if their target market really paid attention to it.  What we discussed resulted in one of our most highly viewed posts, 20 Important Things to Know About Social Media and the Photography Industry.

Fast forward a year from our meeting and all of our photographers have embraced social media.   They have found their own way to utilize it as a marketing tool that works for them and all would report back that it has made a difference in their recognition and connection to both current and potential clients.

So, when an advertising agency in San Francisco, Heat,   published the results of their social media study on how advertising professionals used social media, I thought it was a good time to revisit the conversation.  While Heat used it as a cautionary tale on having the right perspective when using social media when targeting a mass audience, I saw it as proof that the people in our industry do use social media, and much more than most. (Of course, it is still up to you to use it effectively in order to see results.)

Even though The Huffington Post’s spin is that Advertisers are More Socially Obsessed than the Rest of Us, I think Will Burns, President of Ideasicle and contributor to  Forbes.com says it best, “Advertising People are the New Medium.”  Be sure to read the article in full, the success story examples he shares are worth the read alone.

So, if you are still doubting the power of social media in our industry, it is ok.  As Hunter Freeman said, “it is ok if you are not out there.  That just means there is more room for the rest of us!”

If you have questions, or want to keep this conversation going, please email me or comment.  Sharing the posts are always a good idea too – you know, the power of social media!

© Heat Advertising – http://www.sfheat.com