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  • Welcome to my blog

    "I am a Boston-based commercial photographer and short film maker. This blog is a companion to my main website. Instead of simply offering up more photos, it is the place for behind-the-lens glimpses into campaigns, reflections on the photography/marketing industry, and a more expanded view of a shoot - not just the best image. Enjoy!"

Spent the day with this solid and forward-thinking financial group.

John Naviens heads up a small group of financial advisors under the larger Baystate Financial umbrella.  These natural light business portraits and working images were taken to rebrand his look on the web and in print ads.

You can see the company’s portraits, candid working photos, and group portraits at www.jnavien.com.

Online video has increased eightfold in five years, and short storytelling introductions are quickly becoming the go-to for defining entire companies.

In today’s business climate, consumers want to know about the inner dynamics of a company.  With a positive connection, they feel trust, a shared sense of values, and even an emotional relationship with the business.  It is a powerful call to action.

Tully & Holland, a boutique investment banking firm, asked me to help them rebrand the face of their company.  Updating their site gave us an opportunity to incorporate a short introductory video as well as the banner and bio stills.  Their strengths are their sincerity, passion, and expertise – virtues that separate them from other groups in their sector.

My first video (see below: “A Short Action Film (Not Short on the Action Though)) was an unapologetic fast-paced, hand-held extravaganza that reflected the high-impact nature of a karate dojo.  Form follows function, right?  But the Tully & Holland film was paced differently: it told the firm’s story in a comfortable and accessible way, as if you were sitting in one of Tim Tully’s inviting office chairs.  Tim and his wife/business partner Elizabeth look you in the eye and make contact.  There’s a genuineness and confidence that permeates their office.  This is what I tried to infuse into the video.

The revision of  www.tullyand holland.com was a collaboration with the client; we developed the concept, script, and production hand in hand.  This was Tim’s first time narrating a video, and he handled it with patience and humor.

Some of my favorite parts of this video are the “reveal” at the beginning: Tim enters their offices and the T&H signage almost rolls off his back.  I also love the early focus shifts which hint at how previously murky things clear up as Tim starts to work.

It’s a tall order to sum up 20 years of a company in 2 minutes, but the company’s personalities and extraordinary capabilities shine through.

“David Shopper is not only an exceptionally talented photographer/director but he is intelligent, articulate, and instinctive. He readily understood our business culture and successfully portrayed that in his work.  He became an invaluable part of our marketing team, providing effective advice, strategies and solutions throughout the process. His unique combination of business savvy and superior artistic talent is what sets him apart” – Elizabeth Richards, Vice President, Tully & Holland.

Boston corporate video director David Shopper talks about his second short film. Boston corporate video director David Shopper talks about his second short film. Boston corporate video director David Shopper talks about his second short film. Boston corporate video director David Shopper talks about his second short film.

 

Any photographer calling themselves a professional can’t help but have a personal style.  It’s what sets you apart; it’s the way you see the world.  But if that style remains static over time, then you’re shooting the same photo over and over again with different people, and you’re dead in the water.

I just had an opportunity to revisit a couple of executives at my longtime-client Cerulean Pharma.  I produced Cerulean’s original life science portraits in 2009 when it was a fledgling startup, and they asked me to update their portraits.

Successful companies, like successful photographers, can’t afford to remain static.  Cerulean expanded, moved to new digs, became established. Hello theme.

Here are two new portraits of previously-photographed executives, with the older ones underneath:

2014 Life science portraits in Boston, MA that brand companies.

2009 Life science portraits in Boston, MA that brand companies.

 

2014 Life science portraits in Boston, MA that brand companies.2009 Life science portraits in Boston, MA that brand companies.

Notice how the new images have a more polished, established, and confident demeanor.

Every photographer wants to shoot for growth companies: they get bigger and have bigger projects.  But as companies grow, they get more sophisticated, and this is the time when a lot of photographers lose their clients.

I believe a photographer’s visual sensibility has to evolve in tandem with their clients’ growth.  As your clients mature and come into their own, your photography has to embody that confidence and stature as well.

 

I don’t shoot product.

Well, not as a rule.  But who can resist shooting EMC’s worldwide releases for their kick-ass VMAX and XtremIO data storage systems?

They’re as big as a refrigerator and sport a mixture of highly-reflective surfaces, matte perforated metal, and inner LED glows — a veritable photographic Disneyland.

These days, I’m usually photographing people, but many clients know that in a former life I used to be one of Boston’s top product photographers.  I enjoy spending days in a dark room moving a light head around by fractions of an inch until it’s just right.  And balancing that strobe light with the colored light emanating from a product.  And gracefully handling highly reflective surfaces.  Because you don’t light a product like an EMC rack system, you create an environment that its reflective surfaces can “see” and come alive around.  Whereas shooting portraits celebrates the emotions and uniqueness of the moment, still life work explores the technical perfection of a subject.

A technical challenge for sure: probably the hardest thing you can think of to shoot. Except for maybe the human face.

“David is a superlative photographer.  Beautiful product photography with wonderful lighting, interesting angles full of depth and nuance.”  –Denise LeBlanc, Principle Graphic Designer, Brand and Creative, EMC Corporation.

More of my clients are seeing the wisdom in bucking the system.

For clients in the financial sector, traditional portraits (lit with strobe and set against a canvas background) have been the default setting for decades.  But in a crowded marketplace, a company’s natural light portraits can define their individuality.

More and more I am asked to capture the credibility and professionalism of traditional portraiture using natural light and a soft conference room background. And for some reason, a horizontal format lets personalities come shining through.

It’s more genuine and engaging to present executives in their natural habitat.

These portraits were taken for my longstanding client HarbourVest Global Private Equity Partners.  They were taken at a short break during their Board of Directors meeting.