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Creative Consultants for Photographers

Creative Consultants for Photographers

Brief overview of working with three stellar creative consultants plus two additional names of people that friends have worked with in the past year.

I’ve worked with quite a few consultants throughout my career. Often times, I felt that the advice I was given, was prepackaged and their advice regarding promotion, testing and career avenues were often the same advice suggested to other photographers. (photographers do compare notes and experiences with each other about equipment, consultants, helicopter pilots, assistants, you name it.)

With that in mind, here are three consultants that I have worked with, who I feel are honorable, trustworthy people, who absolutely have your best interests at heart.

For fine art consulting, there is only one name - Swanee. Mary Virginia Swanson is the absolute best person in this business to help guide you into the fine art world.

I first worked with Swanee in 2013. I attended her one-week fine art photo workshop in Tucson, Arizona. (Her home base)

Since then, she has consulted with me with a couple of one-on-one sessions.

Check out her bio here. Just a few tidbits: Executive Director for one-year of Look3 in Charlottesville, SwanStock a fine art stock agency that merged with ImageBank (which was absorbed into Getty) plus the best book on the business of publishing a photo book.

From her bio page: “Ms. Swanson is the author of The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices, and coauthored with Darius Himes Publish Your Photography Book (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011, updated and revised 2014).”

Swanee is the real deal. Take her class, buy the book, schedule some time with her. It is worth every penny.

Next up is an incredible Creative Director and Editorial Designer - Heidi Volpe.

Heidi was suggested to me by my friend Jeffrey Salter, a very fine editorial and portrait photographer out of Miami.

Heidi did a logo redesign for me plus my current set of promo pieces. She has a world of editorial experience. Currently she is the Creative Director at Patagonia and just finished a gig as Director of Photography for Vogue India. Her bike goes with her everywhere. Super talented, easy going and most important - a really nice person.

Take a look at the piece she did for Jeff Salter: Landscapes + Portraits

Heidi often writes for A Photo Editor.

Stephanie Menuez is a former NYC rep who now lives in Vermont and knows everybody.

I was given the gift of a significant amount of consulting time with Stephanie and it proved to be a wonderful intro to a highly energetic person who truly understands the business of commercial photography.

Her advice was spot on: the portfolios that she created have led to significant new work from new clients.

She and her husband also have an art consulting directory, that I purchased, and am starting to use to promote my fine art images. She knows her stuff. Check out the Art Advisors Directory and Menuez Creative Consulting.

Jeff Zaruba is a photographer I’ve known since I was a photo assistant.

Besides being a world-class location shooter, he is one of the nicest people I know. His black and white work is stunning. Back when I was assisting, I used to marvel at how he could get could such incredible tones out of a 35mm Plus-X negative.

Jeff works with Bobbi Wendt and speaks highly of her. She is well known in the industry and if you take a look at Jeff’s web site portfolios, her eye for pairing images and pacing is pretty incredible.

Contact her via: 650.594.2857 or

Matthew Rakola is Washington DC based photographer who is the former Chair for APADC.

Matt is a location shooter who speaks highly of Stacy Swiderski in Philadelphia. Check out Matt’s new site - Stacy put it together. It looks great.

Stacy has an excellent reputation with photographers and I like her approach to portfolios, flow and to business.

UPDATE: I worked with her in the spring of 2019 and she was a delight to work with - she has a great eye and insight.

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Capture One | The Image Alchemist

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