Now this was an interesting project.
For several years, I was on the board of directors for Association Media & Publishing, a national organization that serves writers, editors, designers, and other online/print professionals in the member and trade association space. AM&P, as it is known, has a bimonthly print magazine (called Signature) that focuses on related trends in the field.
While on the board, one of my tasks was working with editorial director Carla Kalogeridis to develop content and structure for the recently rebranded and rapidly growing magazine, which does an excellent job on a shoestring budget. Although I have not been as involved with AM&P since leaving the board and starting my freelance career, Carla and I have continued to talk and email back and forth on occasion.
Several months ago, Carla emailed me with a question: Would I be interested in helping to shoot a cover photo for Signature?
The idea was intriguing for a number of reasons. First, Signature has never had people on its cover. Second, even several years removed from the board, I knew what the likely editorial budget was, and it wasn’t much. And finally, what did Carla mean when she said “helping”?
Carla explained that she wanted to put people on the cover because PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, had acquired a business-to-business media company (Summit Media Group) that specialized in custom digital media, magazines, and newsletters. In the association world, this was a very bold move.
All is well and good, except that the management teams of the two groups were in Northern Virginia and Chicago. They weren’t scheduled to be in the same place before Carla’s deadline, and Signature’s budget would not allow us to get them together.
So, Carla asked, would I be willing to take pictures of the PMMI staff at its Reston office, while another photographer handled the Chicago group? And, given my association with AM&P, would I do it for a lower-than-usual rate?
The answer to both questions was yes, and what you see at the top of this page is the result. Before the shoots, we had a conference call between Bates Creative (the magazine’s designers) and Kyle Bethea, PMMI’s Chicago-based photographer. We agreed to take several individual portraits of the different professionals in a variety of poses (facing one way, facing another, smiling, not smiling). Bates then cut the photos out individually and arranged them into the cover you see.
After seeing the final result (and the magazine), I’m glad to have taken part in the project. As Carla writes at the end of her “Under the Covers” column explaining the execution of the concept: “Don’t shy away from something just because it seems too complicated and unlikely to work out. Sometimes, just taking a few steps in the right direction reveals a path you never knew existed.”
Sounds like a good mission statement for a freelancer, doesn’t it?
To see the issue of Signature, as well as other photos that accompanied Carla’s cover story, go here.