Looking to add celebrity portraiture to his repertoire, David E Jackson reached out to the management team of writer, cookbook author and TV personality, Ted Allen. (You may recognized Ted from being the food and wine guy on Bravo’s hit show Queer Eye, or as the host of Food Network’s Chopped.) After initial contact from David, Ted and his team browsed David’s portfolio and, loving his style, saw an opportunity to update their own publicity images for online and printed materials. So, they called David up and set up a shoot while Ted was in Milwaukee promoting his new book. A “win-win” in David’s opinion.
David was looking forward to the shoot, seeing it as a great opportunity to start branching out into the celebrity portraiture world; and, after watching a fair amount of Chopped, he could tell that Ted was “genuinely a great guy.” However, all this didn’t calm his pre-shoot jitters,
Of course, shooting a network celebrity for the first time was a little nerve racking. But once he walked into the room, I could breath easy. He was just a regular dude. Super easy to work with, constant jokes. In fact, we talked more than we shot. This is so important; great work and business growth stems from building honest relationships with clients and just being able to hang out as normal dudes.
Even if Ted was a “normal” dude to David, the shoot was still somewhat atypical for him—especially in it’s time constraints,
This was different from most of my assignments, as I was fairly limited with time. We managed to get about twenty minutes with Ted, as the shoot took place just before his book signing. Truth be told, we knew we had roughly a 30 minute window, but ended up with 20. Situations like this, I typically plan on having about 1/3 the time we’re told.
Though is a was a short shoot, it was still a sweet one according to David. He’s happy to have shots to put into his new celebrity portfolio which he hopes to continue cultivating so he can work with agencies that promote network television shows and create movie collateral. Also, Ted now has some nice new images for his own publicity use as well. A win-win.
Wonderful Machine portfolio reviews happen once a month, come blizzard or 100 degree heat wave. Jess and I braved the latter last Wednesday as we packed up portfolios and headed to New York. Once in the city, we made our way to one of my favorite New York high-rises, Hearst Tower, for our morning portfolio review at Food Network Magazine.
After making our way up to the 35th floor by way of the freight elevators, Jess and I met with Food Network Magazine photo editors Kate and Lynn. As we settled in around the conference table with a load of food portfolios, Kate and Lynn began to express their love for Wonderful Machine and our photographers. They use the site so often in fact, that they recognized the work of almost every photographer we presented. Lynn appreciated the updates Stacy Zarin Goldberg recently made to her portfolio, saying that it now better reflected her skills, while Kate discussed how much she liked Scott Suchman‘s naturally lit photos. Michael Piazza‘s book was complimented as well, especially his Taza Chocolate work and Jody Horton got a lot of attention for his quirky and unique squirrel shots.
The four of us had a good time chatting about food photography, celebrity chefs and Wonderful Machine before we packed up to go. Kate and Lynn happily took WM tees and shared the tidbit that their favorite promos are those that contain recipes, such as Dhanraj Emanuel‘s. Once out of the building Jess and I debated on whether we should walk or drive over to our next meeting. Seeing that it was only a 15 minute walk, we made the decision to get from Hearst Tower to the Conde Nast building on foot. In hindsight, this was not the best decision. By the time Jess and I made our way through the super hot and humid streets of New York, we looked a little worse for the wear and were in some serious need of water.
Luckily, the Conde Nast building—which is located in Times Square—was refreshingly air conditioned and we soon regained our composure before meeting up with the photo editors of Bon Appetit. A nice intern lead us to the conference room where we spread out our selection of food portfolios. The editors flipped through each book carefully. They wanted to know where each photographer was based and were happy with our diverse selection of locations. Lincoln Barbour was an instant favorite with his clean style while Jody Horton’s quirk caught this groups eye’s as well. They were happy to see a Denver food photographer in the group (Jeff Padrick) and commented on how much they liked the travel work of Ball & Albanese (we hadn’t brought their book but they’d seen their work on our site). The group chatted about the best Philly foodie spots as they browsed through the books—PE Alex told us that Monks is her absolute favorite! Alex also told us that she and her husband own the Brooklyn beer bar The Diamond. Stop by sometime for some free shuffleboard and a cold beer.
After we were thoroughly hungry from looking through all those food photos, we said our goodbyes and Jess and I stepped back into the heat-stroke-waiting-to-happen that was New York City. As we sweated our way back to the car, we people watched and pointed out interesting only-in-New-York sightings such as Scott Adsit (aka 30 Rock‘s Pete Hornberger) as he walked down the street.
Once back into the car, the A/C blasting, we drove out of the city. Our last meeting of the day was at Cline Davis & Mann‘s Princeton, NJ office which meant we were able to flee New York long before rush hour traffic!
We arrived in Princeton a bit early so we drove around Princeton University’s campus searching for a place to grab a bite to eat. We had salads and sandwiches at a little student oriented pizza shop before making our way to CDM.
Cline Davis & Mann is a pharmaceutical ad agency with clients such as Merck and Novo Nordisk. Their art buyer had contacted us the day before the review asking if we could bring some portraiture work. We happily obliged and brought who we felt was the most appropriate according to the brief they sent, along with some lifestyle/pharma centric portfolios. As we drove up to the CDM building we noted how different the office was to a normal NYC building, mostly because of the vast amounts of corn. That’s right—CDM’s office is in a corn field! That didn’t stop them from having some nice interior touches though, such as a projected wall of color and bright red chairs.
Princeton reviews are slightly different than New York...
We set up in their conference room with about 20 books laid around the table. Soon the creatives started pouring in and flipping through portfolios. One art director loved 808 Inc‘s motion reel while another commented on Sean Gilligan‘s striking Harlem portraits. Several recognized Mark Katzman‘s winning Communication Arts cover shot while Jonathan Chapman‘s BMW work was praised as well. Everyone loved Christopher Shane‘s homemade portfolio but the most attention went to Tom Cwenar and his portraits portfolio. One art director thought the style was so perfect for their upcoming project, that we let him keep it (no worries, we have several more back at the office).
So after a successful review with around 15 CDM creatives shuffling through and learning about WM, we packed up and headed back to equally hot streets of Philadelphia, a bit sweaty but satisfied nonetheless.