Point, Click, Shoot
A few posts ago I mentioned that I was shooting with Anton and Kevin from SmugMug. Anton is the full time filmmaker at SmugMug Films who makes epic videos of their customers as part of their content marketing strategy. It's a really smart and effective approach. I was humbled and flattered at the end of last year when they contacted me and said they want to make one about me!
I have watched all of their videos and have been more blown away with each new video they release. The series was created to 'Inspire, celebrate and share their love of photography' and it delivers. They capture the essence of the photographer, what they are about and what drives them.
We spent two days together in late spring where they followed me as I went about my shooting. We hit some of my favorite spots around Tokyo. We started in Jiyugaoka, went to my office in Roppongi, then we shot around Shibuya, Yurakucho, Zojoji and Shinjuku. I went about my shooting and basically pretending they were not there and they followed and filmed.
I watch a lot of videos in my job. I had a certain expectation level for this video based on the previous videos I have seen from them. They didn't just meet or exceed my expectations, they smashed them. I have seen the video many times now and I'm still blown away by the cinematography and story telling.
Now without further ado; Point, Click ShootTokyo:
I often get requests to work with brands. I had three emails yesterday with paying offers to talk about products. Those that read ShootTokyo regularly know that I don't have any sponsored content on here. If I talk about something it's because I use and love it not because someone is paying me to promote. SmugMug is no different. I think their product is amazing and has helped me in ways I didn't initially expect.
I asked SmugMug to give ShootTokyo readers a 20% discount so if you haven't tried it and are interested you can click here. Typically when you hear this on a blog it's an affiliate link and they are being paid to promote the product. As I mentioned above I don't get paid to promote things on ShootTokyo so the only ones to benefit from this is you by getting a better price and SmugMug by gaining a new customer. If you want to support me in some way, please share the video, this blog, buy a book or a print or leave a comment below.
Let me give you a back story on how I got connected with SmugMug. I think it's a good lesson on how connected the world really is.
A few years ago I was in San Francisco over a weekend and met up with fellow photographer Ivan Makarov for brunch and some shooting. Ivan was someone I knew online as we were always commenting on each others photos and he asked me a lot about Leica cameras and lenses. I didn't know much else about him so figured it was a great way to spend my Sunday morning.
As we talked over brunch he mentioned he works in Finance for a company called SmugMug. I mentioned where I was working and that I was in town for a conference. It turned out their head of marketing Denise was speaking at the same conference and he suggested we meet up. She gave a presentation on their customer centric approach to customer service. The thing that stuck in my head was that their customer service employees were called Heroes. I thought this was a really clever way to instill the culture you want in your company. Customer Service Representative comes with one expectation while Hero a very different one. Who would you rather have working on a problem for you?
We chatted for a while after her presentation. A few months later Denise was visiting Tokyo with her brother and we met up again for dinner and for some shooting. Over dinner Denise convinced me that I needed to be using SmugMug in addition to my blog. Her selling point was that a lot of my best work was being lost in my blog post stream and a portfolio would be a great way to showcase my best work and would be a great companion to my blog.
We talked a bit about selling prints. This was always something I did as a one off through a very manual process when someone asked for a print. Their solution automates all of this in a way I never could myself.
(image is a still from the video)
This was actually a pretty big evolution for ShootTokyo. Prints were never something I thought I would try to sell but they became a huge part of my Kickstarter Project to create my ShootTokyo Book. It helped me to sell prints all over the world in a very professional manner. It also became a place where people came to buy a print to remember Tokyo when they were moving to their next city. I even sold some massive prints (3 feet by 4 feet) to law firm in DC as they set up their new office.
Denise is also the one who introduced me to web design genius Tomasz Nowicki who helped me set up my portfolio to look like 'ShootTokyo' and has helped me countless times more with the site including helping me to build this amazing site you are looking at now.
As the world continues to get smaller Denise now works at my current company.
(image is a still from the video)
I never thought my chance meeting and brunch with Ivan would have lead to all of these contacts, connections and friendships; Anton, Kevin, Denise, Tomasz, Katherine, Jennifer, and Kerry. You never know where relationships might lead or how one will lead into another. So if someone asks you for coffee, lunch, or brunch and you don't know them well take it as an opportunity to get to know more about them. See where you might have synergies. See where you can add some value to them and them to you. Who knows where it might lead...