Crain’s Communications is a relatively large publisher with over 30 business and trade magazines under its’ brand, several of them which are based in Chicago. As I have been putting much of my focus on corporate photography, I had been targeting two of their magazines for over a year in hopes of setting up a portfolio viewing but had not gotten very far on my own. Shortly after I started up with the Agency Access’ Marketing Campaign Manager, their telemarketing efforts paid off as they had gotten me appointments with both Crain’s Chicago Business as well as Business Insurance Magazine.
Both meetings went exceptionally well and I was awarded editorial photography assignments from each publication. Specifically, Business Insurance was sending me off on a full-day shoot in Indianapolis to photograph their cover story for an ongoing feature highlighting the 2013 Risk Managers of the Year.
The scheduling was crucial as we needed to drive over 3 hours one-way, set-up our different scenarios including a group shot with of over 12 people, not break a sweat and get back to Chicago to process the files for approval. With the help of the Photo Editors’ direction and my contacts in Indianapolis, we were able to nail down the timing, complete the required four shots and with time to spare, snuck in one more scenario for good measure.
One of things that stuck with me that day was the formal cautioning I received from the Risk Managers’ Assistant prior to shooting, when she said our main subject was extremely formal, held her breath for a few seconds and seemed to be glaring at me. I had given no indication that she could expect anything less than absolute professionalism so I could not help but think she was concerned that I look as if I may have just gotten my license to drive though I am about to hit the big 4-0.
I took note of her advice and when speaking with Michael, the Risk Manager of focus, proceeded to let him know what I wanted to show through his portraits: Approachable Authority. He immediately agreed, both relieved and confident in how I was coming at the story, opening up just a little bit more as the day went on.
Finally, after completing our last shot, Michael asked me if we wouldn’t mind coming up to his office to do a “quick” portrait of him with the Capitol rotunda in the background. While I was with him in the office, he was completely appreciative, remarking on how easy we made this whole production appear and thanked me for my professionalism. I am not entirely sure what he had been expecting but I was certainly relieved we gave him what he needed to feel comfortable.
Once the job was delivered, my Photo Editor and Creative Director were thrilled as was Michael and all of the staff at Simon Properties.
Whether it is just taking one more step in the marketing cycle, not just an e-mail or a postcard but reaching out though a phone call. Or taking the time to not only listen but absorb what our subjects have to say as they will always tell us what they need to in order to be more engaged and open. The whole process from seeking out this client to delivering the final product reinforces the idea that excelling truly lies in the details.