Kia ora, talofa, hello everyone. Welcome to the Adventures of Big Mark.
Hi everyone. My apologies for the radio silence. 2017 was a rough year for me and my family. I lost someone very close to me, so I’ve been spending a bit of time away just because I needed a bit of time away. I’m going to tell you his story one day, because it is a magnificent, amazing story that deserves to be told. But I need a bit of time before I’m up to doing that, so I’ll do that on another day.
But it is good to see everyone again! I’ve missed you all.
This is my blog, AKA “The Adventures of Big Mark.” I’m starting this blog fresh, not entirely by choice. (I managed to successfully “blow up” the first two iterations of the blog, this is version 3)
This place is going to be “my voice.” If you want to find out if you can work with us, this is a great place to find out.
I’m going to be telling stories here, sharing images from recent shoots, and some favourite images from the archives. I’m going to be talking a bit about how to be a better event photographer. And I’m going to be talking about the photography industry, because I’m an opinionated person, and I have opinions, and I must share.
A course correction.
The last six years have been a rough boat-ride. A couple of years ago the boat nearly sunk, but the rescue crew arrived, they bailed like crazy, and the boat continued on its journey. But the boat was still leaky, so the captain finally decided to take the boat to dry dock. Because the boat not only needed to plug the hole, it needed a complete overhaul.
In 2016 I had a pulmonary embolism, something that forced me to completely change the way I did business. I had to make some quick decisions in order to keep trading: my assistants stepped up as photographers, some good friends joined the crew and we all pulled together to make things work and to keep things ticking over.
But “ticking over” is another way of saying “just surviving.” And by the end of last year I was getting very tired of “just surviving.” The one good thing that came out of my time away last last year was that I had a good chance to have a think about the future of Big Mark Photography.
I asked myself a couple of questions.
What does the market want?
And what can we do that is better than anyone else?
What does the market want?
The world of commercial photography has changed so much since the arrival of digital cameras. And in the age of social media, things have rapidly evolved as well: and they continue to evolve.
How well your content does on social media is strongly influenced by algorithm’s determined by a programmer who lives on the other side of the world. What is “hot” today could be “stone cold” tomorrow.
So what does the market want? They want digital content that engages with their target market in a variety of ways, using a wide range of mediums. They want content that isn’t “held hostage” by an algorithm. They want content that provides return on investment.
What can we do better than anyone else?
We tell stories.
The very first photo project I ever worked on was called “Project 50.” My mate Big Al and my good friend Donna from Voda Models and Talent collaborated on a rather epic series of photoshoots that ranged from a “soldier on a lonely mission” to a group of sharply dressed business-people brandishing swords and sitting on a throne.
Project 50 was such a joy. And on reflection, this is what we did best. We create images that tell compelling, engaging stories.
Putting the two together: creating story-driven creative content.
Speed + Quality! Since the emergence of the major social platforms, quality has taken a backseat to speed. Engage the audience as fast as possible no matter how crude the quality. Brands are recognizing that speed PLUS quality is the winning recipe for better engagement, and hence will be turning toward more professional storytellers to capture and share their stories successfully in 2018. Andrew Fingerman, CEO Photoshelter
We are going to be transitioning from a (primarily) events photography company to an agency that creates story-driven digital content.
Our content will have a narrative focus. There has been a swing in social media that will prioritize content that promotes is optimized for comments, likes and shares, and we believe that story driven content is the key to driving engagement in those areas.
By content: I’m not just talking about photography. We will be moving into video, we are putting together a video production crew, and you will start to see a few of our productions over the next few weeks. We will also have a graphic design crew and a copy-writing crew as well.
We are going to operate primarily in two teams. The Event Photography Team is already up and running. I’m immensely proud of our Event team, they have covered some of Wellington’s biggest events with great skill and professionalism. We will be adding videography services this year as well as a range of services that will help you get your content onto social media faster.
Our Creative Content Team will focus on creating content for your business or organization. We start by listening. To tell your story we need to understand your story. We will be an agile team: quick to adapt to changes in the industry or the marketplace. We will also produce your content quickly, because you need fresh content now. But we will not compromise the quality of our work just to get it to you faster. We will work to a creative process that creates quality, professional, creative digital content delivered on time and on budget.
The new direction for the business is exciting. This is the most excited I’ve been in a long time. How excited am I?
A rare photo of Big Mark smiling for the camera.
It takes a lot for me to smile in the camera.
But I’ve been smiling a lot more lately. Because everything about this just feels so right.
This change in the business isn’t going to happen overnight. We are looking at about six months to bring it all together, we are shooting new portfolio work, putting together a business plan, figuring out exactly what the creative process will be. We will also be changing the name of the business. It will be very hard leaving behind “Big Mark Photography.” I’ve tried rebranding before, but we never managed to make it stick. But the name won’t work for the new direction we are moving. But to avoid confusing everyone (which I’m keen to avoid again!) we will stick with Big Mark until we are ready to change. 🙂
But this leads into my final point…
A polite request for a bit of help.
As I mentioned at the start of all of this 2017 was a rough year for me and my family.
I lost a couple of months dealing with dads illness, then his passing, and then spent a few more months dealing with the grief. I had to stop looking after the business for a while. And when you take the “eye of the ball”, that tends to have consequences a bit further down the track. And as luck would have it, I’m having to deal with those consequences now. 🙂
So this is a polite request for help while I get things back on track. If you’ve ever had a moment where you’ve laughed at one of my images, or you’ve shared it or used it for a profile picture, or if you downloaded a “low-res version” and always intended to buy the high res version but you kept forgetting, if I’ve ever given you a photoshoot and I’ve “forgotten” to charge for it, or if I’ve ever given you a really really good discount, or if you just really really like me, now would be a good time to return the favour. 😀
I’ve included a few links on the right. You can buy one of my legacy prints: these are my early works that will only be available for the next six months, they are all printed on metallic paper with the option of mounting and texturing.
I’ve also included a link to my event galleries, in case you haven’t had the chance to order your event prints.
And I’ve also included a link to buy me a “cup of coffee” or two. 🙂
Thanks to everyone: my family, my friends, and those that have been following along on my adventures, for all of your support. I couldn’t have gotten here without you. We’ve plugged the hole. The boat is getting a new paint job. And we will be off again shortly, on a new, exciting journey, I hope you guys will follow along. I’ll be posting pictures.