Q+A with Professional Photographer James Worrell

Simplicity, color and humor. These are the keys to the powerfully graphic images that James Worrell’s clients depend on to tell their stories and sell their products.

When it comes to promoting his work to new clients and keeping connected with previous ones, the New York City-based editorial and advertising photographer uses those same concepts to stand apart from his competitors.

“To have an affordably and beautifully printed version of my portfolio in this day and age when everything is online – it’s extraordinary, and it makes a lasting impression,” Worrell says. “There’s something still wonderful about the printed piece.”

  Tell us more about your work and your “Photography for Thinking” philosophy.

James Worrell I’ve been a still-life photographer for the past 17 years, shooting everything from cosmetics to food. What I love to do the most is conceptualized still life. Clients will call with rough ideas – maybe they’re telling the same story over and over and they need a new way to present it visually.

That’s where “Photography for Thinking” comes in. My wife and I bounce ideas off each other, produce sketches and send them to the client. The back-and-forth process starts from there.

  How does publishing your portfolio fit into your marketing strategy?

JW My clients are inundated with marketing pieces from photographers and other creative types. So if I can do something slightly different and slightly more special, I’ll increase my chances that someone will pick it up, look at it and even save it.

MagCloud is a wonderful tool that allows me to do a substantial piece, in short print runs, and get it out there at a decent price. And, from a visual perspective, it looks really good. A lot of print-on-demand services are expensive and the quality is poor. My brand is my brand – everything I produce is of the highest quality.

I always turn to MagCloud for part of my marketing process. You have to keep working and exploring ideas, and you have to remain excited about your work. MagCloud is one of those platforms that keeps you fresh.

  You did a very special promotional piece this summer.

JW Yes, in July we ordered 70 custom-printed boxes with my logo on them, each with a light bulb jar filled with yellow M&Ms candy – some had a star printed on them; others featured “Think Worrell.” And we included a 40-page printed catalog of my work called “Worrell: Photography for Thinking.” We created the catalog using MagCloud. We hand-delivered about 45 boxes and mailed the rest. Plus, we shot a fun video of how we pulled the whole package together.

That promotion resulted in three strong gigs right away and several nice thank-you emails from clients and potential clients.

  What got you started publishing through MagCloud?

JW I’ve always been an early adopter of technology. I read about MagCloud on a photo blog, right when the service was introduced. I’ve stuck with the service because it works.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

JW My best piece of advice is: Don’t overdo it. MagCloud offers a simple, elegant platform. Just get started. Don’t overthink it. Use it for what it is: a way to show your work.

  If your portfolio was an ice cream flavor, what would it be and why?

JW I see my business as the perfect vanilla ice cream cone – not some crazy Ben and Jerry’s flavor – just a simple, elegant vanilla. Usually, less is more and the simplest idea can be the most effective, if you produce it properly.

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