Interview by Holly Stuart Hughes
and Client Focus
PDN: As an art buyer, do you usually rely on a stable
of photographers who you work with repeatedly, or are
you looking for new talent?
© RichaRd E. Schultz
JAmie AppelbAum: Both. I do have a stable of photog-
raphers that I go to first, depending on the type of project,
how large it is, [how] complicated. Budget is a large factor in
how I approach a project, and the time frame. Other things
I look at are how senior or junior the art director is, and who
is the best photographer and producer to pair together on a
project. If I have a very junior art director, I prefer to pair him
or her with a very seasoned photographer. If I have a more
senior art director, they often like to see fresh work, and I can
pair them with someone new knowing that they can make
something happen. Or I can call on an up-and-coming pho-
tographer and pair him or her with an experienced producer
and know that the production end will be taken care of.
a great digital tech they work with, I am less concerned
… as long as the files are collected correctly for the final
needs. The technical aspect just needs to be figured out be-
fore we head to the shoot.
With 20 years of experience
in art buying and production,
Jamie Appelbaum has worked on
print, digital and social media
campaigns for a variety of brands
and clients. She is currently senior
art producer at McGarry Bowen
in New York City, which works
with JPMorgan Chase, Reebok,
Marriott Hotels & Resorts and
Chevron, among other clients.
Prior to joining McGarry Bowen as
a freelancer, she served as senior
art producer on a freelance basis
at Deutsch, TBWA\Chiat\Day,
BBH, Razorfish, Ogilvy and other
ad agencies in New York City.
For seven years Appelbaum was
director of art buying at Team One
in El Segundo, California.
Here Appelbaum talks to
PDN about finding the right
photographer for a job, what skills
are important to shooting ad
campaigns in all media and the
slights that photographers should
not take personally.
PDN: So experienced art directors are interested in see-
ing new talent? And you’re happy about that?
JA: One hundred percent. When I look for ne w talent, it’s
primarily through Web sites, and promos I’ve collected of
people’s work I liked. If a rep has ne w talent, I am always
happy to look at either a book or a link. I meet as many pho-
tographers as I can in person, as that is a deciding factor
when putting a photographer together with an art director
PDN: What role do you believe photography and visual
storytelling can play in helping brands set themselves
JA: The ads running presently for Chase Private Client were
shot by photographer Julian Dufort with i2i Photography.
The [campaign’s] story shows the humanity that I was
speaking about before. When you look at these people, they
communicate who they are to the viewer.
I worked at Team One for 14 years, and it was obvious
what staying with the same agency brought to the brand-
ing of Lexus. They have been with Team One since Toyota
decided to create a luxury car. There was a clear message to
the consumer about the “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.”
That’s still [Lexus’] tag line today. Although we used lots of
photographers over the years, the message, the esthetic and
the overall feel stayed the same.
PDN: How would you define mcGarry bowen’s style or
JA: McGarry is very client considerate. I wouldn’t say there
is a particular “style,” but there is a dedication to human-
izing the campaigns as much as possible. I have worked at
several agencies. All agencies have their own DNA (for lack
of a better term); some are purely creatively driven, others
are account heav y. We have some very high-profile clients
who might not be known for being groundbreaking in their
creative, but that doesn’t stop us from promoting great cre-
ative. It’s about bringing them the proper creative.
PDN: Do you think the way you commission photogra-
phy is affected by the fact that photos have to work on
a variety of platforms and in many formats?
JA: Every job has an interactive/social media or Web compo-
nent. Some are more print heavy, others
more Web heavy. That may determine
what type of equipment we shoot, or
how image files are delivered, whether
we need large files uploaded to an F TP
site or photographers are handing me
two or three hard drives.
Basically if the photographer has
PDN: besides strong images, are there other qualities
or traits you are looking for in the photographers you
JA: Talent is an important part but by no means the only
criteria for hiring photographers. This is commercial art and
the clients at Mc Garry Bowen are fairly corporate. The visual
message is the starting point for a project but the produc-
tion value, the [photographer’s] business practice, the per-
sonality of the photographer and his or her rep are also key
in making the entire job successful. How do you conduct
yourself as a businessperson? You can shoot with anyone
for a day, but how are you to work with on a six- or seven-
day job? The photographer’s personality, how buttoned-up
their production is, can make it more comfortable for every-
one from the client to the junior account person. The team
the photographer pulls together is key for the success of the
shoot and how probable it is that we will do business again.
601 W. 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
PDN: As someone who’s worked at ad
agencies for a few years, how would
you say the role of the art producer
JA: Years ago the art buyer was a partner
with the art director or creative director
specifically. We worked very closely from