"If you rest, you rust."
Miles Keep and I first worked together shortly after his graduation from the Art Center in Pasadena. He was photo assisting at a San Francisco photo studio where I also worked as an in-house photo agent/executive producer. Our studio provided creative services to ad agencies nationally.
Miles' confidence, skill set and work ethic was a great fit for us, and after a month or so, we offered him a full-time studio position as our 2nd assistant, which he politely turned down and let us know that he was planning to open his own studio just south of Palo Alto in Mountain View, CA.
I was stunned. Palo Alto? Your own studio? Really? Sure enough, Miles opened his photo studio in the heart of Silicon Valley, plugged right into the dot com zeitgeist of the mid 90s and was off and running.
Graphic designers and corporate marketing departments were core clientele, and in short order he was running a very busy photo studio while most of his peers were still assisting.
When the dot.com morphed into the dot bomb, his business took a big hit, and Miles brought me in as a creative marketing consultant to evaluate his situation and make recommendations to help him to get traction in a new business landscape that was now more competitive than ever.
I reviewed his portfolio and marketing materials and found not even a hint of a creative signature or a cohesive marketing strategy. We tossed out all the "and I do this too" images, then established what he did best and created a new look and signature style that allowed Miles to reconnect with many of his earlier clients and helped him build a broader client base.
Later this year, Miles will be splitting time between his peninsula studio and one based in San Francisco. The expansion will allow him to service his existing clientele while making his creative services readily available to ad agencies and graphic designers either based in San Francisco or those wanting to shoot there.
Miles and I continue to collaborate on new images and have recently started to work with marketing consultant Suzanne Sease to get a fresh take on new opportunities and challenges that are popping up all the time. Miles also recently won first place in the still life/food category in the 25th anniversary APA national photography contest, Silver to Pixels.
These are all out-of-the-box, proactive adjustments that help insure Miles' creative vision. No matter where you sit in the food chain...top, middle or just launching, you can never afford to stop analyzing, marketing and reinventing yourself. If you rest, you rust. Miles continues to challenge himself and has managed to make his business evolve and thrive in our ever-changing 24/7 business landscape.
About Guest Editor: Bobbi Wendt - Photo Editor/Art Direction/Licensing Agent
Bobbi Wendt has worked in marketing and communications for 35 years. Her diverse resume includes a post as the national advertising director for 78 record stores, music sales and merchandising for A &M Records and sales and marketing for the Denver Children's Museum. She's also worked as artist’s agent, executive producer, prop stylist, media buying and sales, creative marketing and licensing consultation and editing. Her clients have included photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, commercial artist agents, ad agencies,publishers and not-for-profit organizations.
Wendt’s current practice is focused on art direction, creative development, branding, editing and licensing. She is fully booked through June of this year and is not currently accepting new clients in the near term. Bobbi Wendt can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com