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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!"

Just because your company is a startup doesn’t mean you have to look like a beginner.

I recently worked with the very young company (established only months ago, plus full of very recent graduates): Search Fund Accelerator, to help visually portray their company.

SFA selects a handful of young entrepreneurs who are dedicated to acquiring and running a business.  They provide experience, guidance, and support systems to help these entrepreneurs get traction in the real world.

Our photo shoot documented what was literally one of their first meetings as a group.  It was fascinating to see these very polished and focused kids trying to jump over the same hurdles I or anyone else in business has to jump over.  How do you identify potential partners, learn what makes them tick, cold call them, and become integral to their business plan?

The energy of the group was palpable, and the images we took help portray them not as wannabes, but as players in future markets.

You can read about SFA and see two of the portraits here.

It’s a lot harder shooting for yourself than for a client.

I’m often hired to visually brand a company, where I collaborate with the art directors or designers.  We articulate how we want their company to be seen – what the images say.  This could be “We are established and rock solid” or “We are cutting edge and think outside the box.”  The client is usually at the shoot and there is a creative give-and-take that ensures the images illustrate the brand message.

Not so if you’re your own client.  When I shoot a test or for stock, I push myself until I fail – I try techniques that may not work, but make me a better photographer.  This is the incubator where I develop new ways to approach an old subject.

So here are the results of a recent corporate business stock shoot.  We shot in the boardroom of a client with offices at the John Hancock. We built the shoot from the ground up, choosing the location, models, make-up, styling – everything but the stormy weather (kind of the Challenge Round for natural light photography).

An exhausting day, but a productive one.

As stock, these images are available through my studio and through Corbis in New York.


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

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 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:

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

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


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