QuadPhoto's relationship with Private Clubs magazine began with the opening of QuadPhoto's Dallas, Texas, studio location in 2001. As a life and leisure publication for some of the wealthiest in the world, Private Clubs hired QuadPhoto to create both in-studio and on-location photography that would capture the interest of its affluent audience.
In August 2008, Private Clubs took on the challenge of redesigning the publication to be edgier in both look and content. With the help of renowned design consultant Maryjane Fahey, it evaluated the ability of its outside creative staff to fall in step with the new direction of the publication. At the end of the evaluation, QuadPhoto photographer R.J. Hinkle and his Dallas studio team remained.
"Time and time again, QuadPhoto has made our magazine look good, in both the process and final product," says Private Clubs design director Lori Cusick. "I don't have a single concern about what I will see when working with QuadPhoto."
It was that consistency and creativity from QuadPhoto that ensured its continued work with the publication as it was being restructured, securing its role in photographing Private Clubs' latest trend: high-end travel and off-the-beaten path editorial content.
"I was extremely flattered when Lori approached me about traveling to Zambia for an article on African safaris," says Hinkle. "She had a lengthy list of photographers to choose from. The fact that she chose me speaks volumes about her trust in our company."
With the redesign and current economic constraints, how did the QuadPhoto team manage to stay off the Private Clubs' chopping block and get the opportunity to photograph in Africa?
Be Willing to Take Chances
Prior to sending Hinkle to Africa, Private Clubs sent him to Zion National Park in Utah to photograph a feature on family adventure travel for its July 2009 issue. With limited experience in canyoneering, Hinkle secured his camera around his neck and rappelled and climbed to photograph the deep and fast canyons of the park. "The photographs that R.J. brought back from Zion completely blew me away," says Cusick.
It was Hinkle's photographs from that assignment that secured his participation in the Zambia safari. "After working with R.J. for so many years, I was aware of his amazing studio skills, but the photos from Zion clearly show that he shines both in and out of the studio," adds Cusick.
In keeping with the mantra of the late Quad/Graphics founder, Harry Quadracci, "Together we can do more than as individuals apart," Hinkle and his Dallas studio team work together to ensure client satisfaction. With nine studios across the United States, there is a team dynamic throughout each location. In part, it was this team dynamic that assured Cusick of Hinkle's success in Africa.
When asked about the rest of the QuadPhoto team, Cusick is not short on compliments: "From the ground up, the support staff at Quad has executed the art of customer service." Hinkle attributes much of the successful QuadPhoto/Private Clubs relationship to basic communication. Listen to your clients and provide them with constructive feedback, he advises--the best photos are always a collaborative effort.
Both Hinkle and Cusick attribute the Private Clubs/QuadPhoto relationship to respect, highlighting the friendships that have been formed after working as a team for so many years. "Our evolving partnership with Private Clubs, as colleagues, is one that is both trusting and reciprocal," says Hinkle. "Lori and the Private Clubs staff are a photographer's dream client, always very supportive but not afraid to tell you if you're not hitting the mark. Fortunately for us, we have been consistently successful." Clearly sharing similar sentiments, Cusick states, "If you can't tell, I'm a huge QuadPhoto fan."
Living the words of American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust," the QuadPhoto/Private Clubs business relationship thrives on knowing that each is reliable. Cusick sent Hinkle to Africa with limited direction but faith that he would capture Zambia authentically, and in a way that would intrigue her readers. "I can't wait to see the Zambia photos," says Cusick, explaining that scheduling differences have prevented her from viewing the photos with Hinkle. "Even so, there is not a doubt in my mind that they will be amazing."
QuadPhoto is a network of nine full-service photography studios strategically located throughout the U.S., providing complete studio and location production services. As part of Quad/Graphics, Inc., the world's largest independently owned printer, they offer seamless integration to design, imaging, and printing services. For more information about QuadPhoto, visit www.quadphoto.com.