Update – 12/26/15: The blog post below, announcing my signing with Wonderful Machine, is from May, 2010. I ended my relationship with Wonderful Machine (WM) this past summer. In the five years I was a member I did see a net profit in terms of WM generated jobs vs. the cost of membership but that was only because of landing one very large job in the fall of 2014, a project which involved shooting both stills and video. All of the other assignments WM brought in were small editorial ones, none of which would have ever recouped the cost of membership.
So, why leave? There were a number of factors including the quality of WM leads, the amount of jobs, and my level of confidence with WM, but the final straw was WM’s recent changes to its photographer search engine.
One of WM’s primary member benefits is its heavily promoted search engine, an online tool for art buyers to find photographers by searching within a specialty and/or by location. Earlier this year WM’s search engine began randomizing the data of members working within fifty miles of a searched location. This sounds innocent enough but for someone like myself, working within fifty miles of two urban centers (Philadelphia and New York City), the change caused direct referrals from WM’s site to my own to drop by more than 75%.
WM argued that this change would benefit me by increasing my odds of showing up more prominently in searches specifying Philadelphia or New York City but that was never the case. Those searches were unaffected. The bigger downside was with searches local to me. Given the number of photographers in Philadelphia and New York City now being mixed into the pool, I not only no longer appeared first in search returns but my name often appeared much further down the list; on the second, third, or fourth pages. Below the fold and out of sight. It created a situation where I was, in essence, paying for WM to promote other photographers ahead of me for work in my own backyard.
The 2010 blog post follows below.
I’m excited to announce that I have just joined up with Wonderful Machine, a web portal and photographers’ representative dedicated to connecting art buyers with photographers. Part sourcebook, part agent, Wonderful Machine actively promotes its photographers through its website, print ads, direct mail, email promos, and portfolio showings. It has managed to hold buyers attention in a crowded dissonant marketplace by carefully selecting its members and promoting them only within areas where Wonderful Machine sees a deep proficiency.
When you sign up with Wonderful Machine, as with any rep, they decide how you will be marketed and which images will be used. Users of the web portal can search by city or specialty, or contact Wonderful Machine directly to find the best fits for their projects.
It was great to see that Wonderful Machine’s photo editor saw the depth in my work to include me in five categories: architecture, corporate, institutional, landscape, and fine art.
My page at Wonderful Machine.
Wonderful Machine’s home page.