Recently, photographer Luke Copping came to me for help on a project. He’d put together a brochure to promote his corporate portraiture to businesses, a client base that’s been steadily growing for him. Luke had written copy for the piece but was looking for a writer to help edit it, and possibly jazz it up a bit. I was happy to help, and as I reviewed the brochure, I noted how well designed it was. We work with photographers all the time on print and email promos, and even a few special projects, but I’d never worked on a photography brochure before. It seemed like a great way to target his intended audience (the corporate world loves informative brochures!), so I thought I’d get in touch with Luke to see about sharing and learning more about this unique promo piece. Below, I interview Luke about his foray into the corporate culture. Enjoy!
What do you typically photograph on assignment?
Because I primarily photograph people it can change wildly day to day. In the past year, I have photographed musicians, artists, writers, politicians, gutter punks, and in one of my more somber assignments, the family of a murder victim. But this variety is one of the reasons I love what I do.
Where did the idea to create a brochure to corporate clients come from?
There were a few factors involved. The first was that, even though I live in Buffalo, NY, I do a majority of my business with clients outside of my local market. This is a way for me to broaden my local business in a manner that may be more appropriate and relevant to those clients than the work I normally do, which may be a little too editorial feeling or conceptual for many of them. The second reason was due to the increasing frequency that my advertising clients and editorial subjects were hiring me for secondary internal projects like this – often having me create executive portraits or formal images of important business guests during special events. And this is a secondary market I would like to explore further and in a more active way. And finally it is part experiment, because I do truly feel that my normal marketing materials, which are aimed at ad agencies, PR firms, and magazines focus on a different set of benefits and values than those that are important to smaller business and in-house clients. I wanted to create some sales tools that I could use to communicate directly to those types of clients.
How did you get into shooting corporate work?
Shooting corporate assignments in this manner is very new to me, as I’m primarily an editorial photographer, but I believe that we constantly need to be exploring new avenues and new ways of communicating with potential clients. The photography market is constantly in flux, and it worries me that I see many fellow photographers become so set in the ways they do business that they stagnate. I think being agile when cultural or business shifts come around is very important. That said, I think that these first forays into growing my business are going to be a learning process (on the business and marketing side). I’ll have to let you know how it develops in the next few months.
What do you like about corporate work?
Apart from the given differences in logistical and scheduling requirements, I try to approach my corporate assignments the same way I would any other—including a good amount of research and preparation. Getting to know a company’s brand philosophy, and creating images that work for them, is very similar to getting to know a client on set and feeling out their personality. Doing your homework ahead of time can give you a huge advantage. Sometimes it is even the smallest non-photographic details that can make a client comfortable on set and make a production successful. I try to make the shoot itself a memorable and pleasurable event for them so that they are excited to participate rather than viewing it as a hindrance to their already busy schedules.
Who designed the brochure?
This first version of the brochure was designed by me and it is very much a prototype that I am going to use as a soft-test for this diversification of my business. Only a very small number of these will be sent out at first to a mix of pre-existing clients and other select businesses that I am targeting in Buffalo, NY and its surrounding areas, and I plan to use this soft launch to do further research on where my services can fit into this market and to get direct feedback from potential clients. The next step will be to work with a designer that I work with regularly to refine this piece (using what I learn from the initial feedback) into something more polished and target specific for a more widespread general launch.
Why did you come to me for copy help?
I wrote the initial copy for the brochure, mostly as an exercise to get my thoughts on paper and somewhat ordered before partnering with you and Wonderful Machine. You served very much in the role of an editor to help me polish the language and tempo of the text and to distill my fragmented and somewhat broad thoughts into a tighter and more concise version. I have seen other writing projects that you’ve worked on and been very impressed with your ability to meld creative writing with a direct and economical use of language. You have a great ability to get the point across and to know who you’re writing for without being long winded or delving into using the type of obfuscating buzzwords and sales language that we all hate. You got what I was trying to do, and you got me, which is really key for me when I am looking to add someone to my creative support team.
The brochure will be hitting mailboxes soon! And to view more of Luke’s work, check out lukecopping.com.