Friday December 6th, 2013
by Meg Dibley
LinkedIn may not be the largest network in the world, but it is the largest professional network, which is undeniably useful for business. Essentially, this acts as your online resume. Not only can you flaunt your brand, but you can reach specific lists by utilizing features that help narrow down your search. For creative freelancers, this is a goldmine. Every photographer should have a LinkedIn account and be regularly using it in their marketing plans to connect with as many potential clients as possible. Let’s just say, with direct access to all of the folks who do the hiring—photo editors, creative directors, art directors—you do not want to be the missing link.
Optimize Your Presence
Use every bit of real estate to show off your personality, interests, goals, and professional capabilities. For example, instead of writing “Producer at Wonderful Machine” in my job description, it says “Promoting Photographers Worldwide at Wonderful Machine.” Small details can help you turn bland into brand. Receiving recommendations from other LinkedIn members is a great way to instantly build trust with anyone viewing your page. If respected professionals can vouch for your skills and support your work ethic, people will feel that much more comfortable hiring you. Often, by putting in the time to write positive reviews for the people you’ve worked with in the past, they’ll return the favor and talk you up as well. LinkedIn users can also endorse the skills and expertise you list on your page–further confirming that you’re the real deal.
Make sure to link back to your work in one or more places on your page, so prospective clients have easy access to your portfolio at all times. We recommend using the Creative Portfolio Display application by Behance that enables sharing thumbnail links to projects. Link the people you collaborated with on those projects to get even more connected.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile?
Track who is viewing your profile to avoid missing out on any opportunities to make connections. Keep in mind that this feature is reciprocal and LinkedIn members can see you surfing too. Overall, this feature is a great way of tracking interest and valuable prospects.
The Advanced Search
The options available to narrow down a search is a great convenience when looking to get specific. It allows you to zero in on the right people for your business. Do a targeted search based on general keyword, location, industry, company, job title or name.
If Your Search Seems Limited…
Never fear–this could simply be because you need to connect with more people! The LinkedIn social network acts as a ripple effect. By making more first degree connections, you make more second and third degree connections. Your second and third degree connections are the contacts of your contacts. Your network has more room to grow every time you connect with someone new. Joining professional groups and participating in discussions will also assist in getting your name out there.
I recommend sending a personalized message when sending an invitation to connect with someone for the first time. It shows that you’re interested in engaging, and gives personality to an invitation that may otherwise seem random and unfamiliar to the person on the other end of the internet. You want to use LinkedIn as means to break the ice. The real goal is to cultivate relationships after doing so.
If you’re willing to pay for an account upgrade, you will gain access to more connections, get more details on who’s viewing your profile, and make more targeted searches with additional advanced search features. Most importantly, you’ll acquire a number of InMail messages, which allows you to send messages to any user on LinkedIn without having any contacts in common with them or inputting any personal information. It’s guaranteed that your message will reach them. The Talent Basic Account seems like the most appropriate upgrade for a commercial photographer, which will cost you $39.95 per month.
Whether you go the free route or decide to make an investment, LinkedIn is full of opportunities. Once you’ve got a page branded to perfection, don’t forget to invite our Wonderful Machiners to connect!
Friday December 6th, 2013
by Liz Ream
“Real Pets — Not Actors.” This is the slogan printed on the back of the Whole Foods Whole Paws products, emphasizing the fact that they utilize real talent, as opposed to trained animal talent.
However, it did take a special talent to bring Whole Foods the candid shots they were looking for in their recent ad campaign. They found it in Austin-based photographer Nicole Mlakar, who has been photographing animals for years. Nicole tries to incorporate candid, real, and lighthearted moments into her work, so she was excited about this challenging opportunity. A lot of patience and an army of dog treats later, she had a number of adorable images.
Nicole was brought in early to consult on the animals and the outdoor location chosen. All of the dogs were photographed at a park in downtown Austin, while the cats were shot in owner’s homes to keep give the images a very natural feel. The crew worked over the course of two weeks, alternating between dog and cat days. Aside from the sometimes cold and wet conditions, Nicole elaborated on the challenge of shooting animals that are not used to being in front of a camera:
“Animal talent will always be highly trained and used to working with cameras and multiple people on a set. Trained dogs can hold a sit/stay in pretty much any environment and cats know how to work for a camera. It’s a completely different ball game when working with untrained animals. You have to bring every bit of patience you have and a whole army of high-reward treats, toys and sounds. I had a great animal wrangler helping out with the shoot and we did out best to pre-screen all of the pets to ensure they wouldn’t be totally freaked by the experience.”
The feedback from the campaign has been fantastic, as Nicole has received compliments on how “fun and fresh” the images look. Of course, with any job, and especially when working with animals, Nicole has learned to be flexible:
“Ideas, pets, weather, etc. can all change at a moment’s notice and you have to be ready with a fresh approach and new ideas. My team and I were faced with many new challenges each day and I truly feel we handled them all quite successfully.”
For more of Nicole’s work, check out her website.
Wednesday December 4th, 2013
by Liz Ream
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that develops after a terrifying ordeal that involves physical harm or the threat of physical harm. PTSD has become more widely recognized in recent years, and is common among war veterans.
Recently, war veteran and 2013 Tour Divide finisher Kevin Campagna started Pedal Against PTSD, a young non-profit organization that is intended to bring awareness to PTSD and how cycling can help heal this disease. Dallas-based photographer Matt Jones set out to Moab with Kevin to capture him on a multi-day ride, bringing us healing images that are being used for promotions and fundraising for Pedal Against PTSD.
Because Moab is such a vast and remote area, Matt and Kevin were overwhelmed with where to begin. They dealt with the challenges of light, as they spent most of their afternoons and evenings looking for appropriate camping spots. Therefore, they had to take advantage of the early and mid-mornings as prime shooting time. Matt found the shoot rewarding despite it’s challenges:
Our goal on this particular trip was to capture as many images of what a participant would likely experience during a multi-day ride as possible. The adventure is part of the healing process, which is what we worked at capturing. Aside from the location itself, I found enjoyment through embracing the challenge of a new location and a new sport. Everything about this shoot was challenging, but rewarding from all angles. Of course camping underneath the crisp, clear sky in Utah pretty much tops the list!
Through this project, Matt learned a lot about how cycling can help those that fight with this disease, and he has been inspired to help grow the organization:
A victim to PTSD, Kevin has found endurance biking as a vehicle to fight this disease. His story, like many veterans, is one that will inspire many. By providing all gear necessary to go on both single and multi-day, self supported rides, no one will be hindered financially. Hopping on a bike, the open road, nature, campfires, building friendships and healing together is what it’s all about.
Matt plans to keep this project going as Pedal against PTSD grows. For more of Matt’s work, check out his website.
Monday December 2nd, 2013
by Liz Ream
The winter months mean holidays, vacations, and icy weather! Despite the cold, we have been keeping warm here at the office with a good amount of Wonderful Machine traffic. In the month of November, our search site saw 12,786 visits and 18,745 pageviews. The average visit duration was 8.5 seconds, up 70% from November of last year.
Below are the top sources of search site traffic in November. Google organic search led the way with 59% of new visits, followed by direct visits to the site, the WM blog, Feature Shoot, LinkedIn and A Photo Editor.
Below are the top clicked photographers from November:
As for the blog, it saw 19,179 visits, up 5% from this time last year, with 64% of these being new visits. These visitors took our pageviews to 65,302.
We love hearing success stories! Below are some recent successes:
- “Wonderful Machine comes through for me again! Just booked an editorial shoot next week for Popular Science Magazine! Best team I’ve ever been a part of.” – Jacob Slaton/Little Rock, Arkansas via Twitter
- “Within less than 2 months of being on WM I got my first assignment through you all and have drastically increased my web traffic. You all have definitely helped make my relocation from NYC so much easier (and less scary) to handle.” – Joe Buglewicz/Nashville, Tennessee
- “Last week I was hired to shoot the cover for Time Out NY! It was the perfect project for me, an image of the NY subway with lower Manhattan in the background. I was excited to find out that they found me through Wonderful Machine, and wanted to say thank you!” – Donna Dotan/New York, New York
These were our most popular blog posts in November:
And that was November! If you need help understanding your own Analytics, we have a tutorial on Google Analytics and Google has an informative Help page as well.
Monday December 2nd, 2013
By Mark Harris
Josh Anderson is the perfect client: cool, calm, and collected. He had an idea of what he wanted when he initially approached me about designing a print mailer, but it needed some bending and molding in order to bring it to life.
Josh didn’t have a logo, which is necessary to create marketing materials–before we moved forward, this had to be taken care of. I looked through the work, ideas, and notes Josh sent over. I understood the style he was trying to achieve with his graphic identity and was confident that I could design a logo that embodied the simplicity of his work. I also kept in mind the clients he wanted to go after–Bloomberg Business Week, Design Bureau, Vice, Apartamento, The Fader, Urban Outfitters, Vans–to name a few.
We went through a few rounds to determine the proper layout. The logo started with his first name on top and his last name underneath. We eventually decided to organize the 12 letters of his name as three letter rows with four columns. This proved to be the best way to keep things balanced. One initial concern we had was the possible struggle of distinguishing between his first and last name, which we later solved by adding color.
When it came to designing the postcards, I kept in mind something Josh said in his first email:
I think what I would like to be promoting right now is more a specialty than a project. I’m interested in marketing myself as contemporary editorial and youth culture-ish. I’m also a big fan of “odd” images. I’d like to present myself in a way that maybe reads “odd” but not in an off-putting way that might seem inaccessible but more in a way that seems unique.
The “odd” aspects came naturally to me (so I might be naturally odd?)–I just knew the proper direction for the logo. Seeing how Josh uses lots of frontal lighting on his subjects, my thought was that Josh’s name could almost be like a flash over his pictures. For the back of the cards, I mirrored the front image and lightened it slightly so Josh’s information would be the most prominent. Because his name was not only in a geometric typeface (Futura), but also organized typographically into a square, I decided to let the rest of the text follow the same rule. I used simple geometric shapes on the whole package. Josh’s website link, email, and “view more” tag are organized in a rectangle, while his client list is in a triangle and his pins are circular.
As for printing, Josh knew he wanted to do a spot varnish on all of the cards. I convinced him to do the extra gold foil on the first card. My reasoning behind this was to add value, which I attempted to do even more by adding a client list to the back of the fourth card with a blue overlay to support the brand. A client list acts as a track record for potential clients to view. The list also added diversity and avoided redundancy.
The addition of the stamp and pins came later, when we both agreed it would make the package more memorable. I’m happy that everything came together the way it did. I didn’t spend time over-thinking the project–the flow between photographer and designer was effortless.
Josh gave us some feedback once the final product was complete:
I recently worked with Mark Harris on the design of a new promo card. I had a general idea of how I wanted the card to look but wasn’t sure how to get what I was looking for. Mark was able to take my ideas into account, get exactly what I was trying to say and turn it into a beautiful looking promo. His suggestions were things that I never would have thought of and that I ended up loving. That is exactly why I originally decided to get Wonderful Machine’s help with this project. When I got the cards back from the printer both the woman at the counter and myself said, “wow” when she opened up the box with the finished cards in them.
If you’re interested in working with our designers, visit our Consulting Page for more information on the services we offer.