A Tale of Two Businesses (Mine and Yours)

A QUICK NOTE:   THIS POST IS A BIT LENGTHY, SO I’VE CUT IT DOWN TO THE NITTY-GRITTY  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ THE WHOLE THING, THE STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE PICTURE.  IT’S A FUN-FILLED BACK-STORY OF HOW I FOUND MYSELF WORKING MULTIMEDIA FOR INDEPENDENTLY OWNED BUSINESSES.

NOW ONTO THE POST!

I’ve decided to make an official upgrade in my business.  Up until now, I have primarily offered photo services, with additional media upon request.  JonKPhoto is now actively marketing a full selection of media services, from photo and video, to advertising and social media.

Basically, if you think your company could stand to have a classier look, market more effectively, and acquire more customers, give me a ring and we’ll chat.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a brochure for the multimedia services.  It’s a bit of a read, but there’s a pretty solid rundown of the primary forms of media that companies need and why they’re important.

– Jon

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… and now a little bit of back story.

A Project of Furry Proportions

Hooray!  I’ve been waiting quite a while to share this one with you guys, but I had to iron out the finer details first.

Way back in the spring, I began doing video work for The Michigan Animal Rescue League.  The promo spot caught the attention of one of their TheUrbanDogD56aR07aP01ZLsponsors, The Urban Dog, an all-natural dog food and supply store out of Rochester Michigan.

After a fairly lengthy amount of planning and conceptualizing, we settled on an advertising project that would include a promo video, a series of ad posters, and a collection of interviews about the store.

Then the fun started.

Probably a good 80% of the dog owners I know graciously allowed me access to their furry family members.  After a couple months of video, photography, editing, audio selecting, and post processing – the project is locked, loaded, and ready for you, the loving audience.

Also, be sure to swing by TheUrbanDogStore.com to see what they’re all about.  I learned a lot on this project I wish I had known years ago about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for your dog.

And I’d also like to mention how massively thankful I am to everyone who helped my out and let me borrow your dogs for the afternoon.

Check it!

Jon

One Giant Movie Set

It’s been kind of hit-and-miss with the nice days in Michigan this spring.  Now, I’m not really one to mind rain, but my camera seems to have a rather noticeable aversion to it.  Last week summer came out of nowhere and hasn’t shown signs of leaving.  That paired with a bit of free time, I journeyed into downtown Pontiac for a bit of photography.

If you aren’t local to Metro Detroit, I’ll understand if you don’t really know much about Pontiac.  Let me explain it like so:  If they were looking for somewhere to film “I Am Legend,”  Pontiac wouldn’t even need CGI or set design.  I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.  “Desolate” is a good word  for this situation.

I like to refer to Pontiac as Detroit v2.0.  In addition to the lack of anything redeeming, the city seems to be headed toward 2 extremes of a spectrum.  On one hand, artists and galleries are making their way downtown and creating a kind of depressing version of Ferndale-Corktown.  Also, by my count, there are half a dozen locally well-known nightclubs.  There’s also Erebus, a rather famous haunted house.

On the other hand the city is like a ghetto.  Nearly all the schools have closed, which forced the assimilation of multiple schools under one roof and has resulted in more than a handful of gang brawls, including shootings and the like.  Driving around, I feel like perhaps 1 in 7 buildings is abandoned or in need of demolishing.  A good 80% of the businesses that are still open are all lumped into a 3-block stretch of a single street.  I even drove past the homeless shelter yesterday and noticed there was a special parking area just for female staff members (it’s well-lit and right next to an entrance).

Even the cops left.  Seriously – last year the Pontiac PD was decommissioned.  The city is now paroled by State PD.

I’ve always liked Pontiac and I don’t want to say it’s hopeless, but when I see news articles about the “revitalization of Pontiac,” I usually just ignore them and move on.  Detroit has a fighting chance – enough people care and are actively trying to improve the city.  Pontiac isn’t really getting the same energy.

Well, scattered among the vast seas of parking lots, there are quite a few grand structures that deserve some photographic attention.  So, I suppose I’ve found my new project.  Here are a few of my favorite shots so far.  They will be on my fine art site and available for purchase after I feel I’ve really sunk my teeth into the project.

– Jon

A Fair(way) to Find New Clients

It’s summer and I want to go hang out up north.  As such, it makes sense to find some clients up there.  So, I’ve begun marketing to country clubs (they’re rather abundant in vacation towns).

Anywho, I figured it might be a good idea to start small.  So, I began with the one at the edge of my neighborhood – Pontiac Country Club, in Waterford, MI.  As this doesn’t really require much more explanation, I’ll just jump right to the pictures.

Would you golf here?

– Jon

History Repeats Itself

When it rains, it pours.  When it rains dogs… well, speaking in meteorological terms, that’s impossible, but the idea of it is straight awesome.

The last three posts were all about our fuzzy, drool-covered, blanket-hogging, best friends.  So I see no need to stop while we’re on a roll.  Here’s dog post numero 4.

Back in another life (it was something like 6ish years ago) I worked at a dog training company for about a year.  Recently I got back into the whole Rescue League scene and organized a pet adoption fundraiser (That post down there has all the nitty gritty).  Well, in the process of organizing the whole thing, I found myself in touch with that very same trainer.

You’ll never guess what happened.

OK, you probably will.  I mean, why else would I be writing a post about this?  So to answer the question that’s clearly been screaming from the dark recesses of your mind: YES!  Yes I have taken even more pictures of dogs.  Not only that, but I also re-branded his company.  It looks pretty spiffy if I do say so myself.

Also – not sure how many of you fine folks have adopted or are about to adopt, but I would like to mention that Canine Resolution has my highest level of approval when it comes to learning how to make the best of your time with your best friend.  Tell ’em Jon Kopacz sent ya.

Here’s some pretty stuff.  Have a gander!

– Jon

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Head Of The Pack

I would apologize for three dog posts in a row… if it weren’t awesome.  But, as it is, dogs are pretty much the best thing in the entire world.

Everyone agrees?  Great.  Let’s move on.

So back at the beginning of the month I mentioned that I was doing some work for Pedigree’s Dog Adoption Project.  While that was an awesome experience, it was only the tip of the iceberg.  I got the Pedigree job as a referral from The Michigan Animal Rescue League.

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Back, about 2 and a half years ago, I did a bit of volunteer photographic work for the Rescue League.  You can check out some of the images in my fine art gallery (click that image on the right to link to it).  It culminated in a couple small photo shows at local galleries and a bit of work for the Rescue League to use on their site and such.

This time, while I was already digging in, I figured I might as well give it my all…. so here’s what’s going down:

The Rescue League needed a commercial.  This place has been helping you find your best friend for over half a century.  People should know how awesome they are.  So that happened.  Check it  –


While I was working on the commercial, one of the volunteers came up with the idea to strap a camera to a spoon and give peanut butter to all the dogs.  The whole concept made me feel like a child ’cause I wasn’t smart enough to come up with such an awesome idea… but that’s beside the point.  For your viewing pleasure, here’s a boat-load of dogs eating peanut butter:

All the media is fine and dandy, but I felt this time around it would be better to keep pushing and put together an event.  So here’s the deal.

My longest-running client owns a bowling center and restaurant in Commerce, MI – Wonderland Lanes and The Mad Hatter Pub.   He happens to also love dogs.

He’s graciously agreed to host a pet adoption fundraiser on May 5th.  There will be food, music, glow bowling, art sales, and – of course – lots of dogs and cats ready to love you forever.  Here are the details:

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You should totally come.  Even if you don’t bowl, the food is great, it’s a great cause, and how else would you rather spend a Sunday than playing with puppies and kittens?

See you there!

– Jon

Im-paws-ibly Awesome People

While a small handful knew some details, the campaign went live this weekend, so I can officially unleash (as it were) the project.

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A few weeks ago, I was hired by Pedigree, these guys –>  https://www.pedigree.com/ 

For a bit, now, they have held a national competition where a number of rescue shelters receive free dog food for a year.  The event is divided up regionally and during this round, Metro-Detroit was one of the picks.

As for my part, I was tasked with documenting the goings-on at the rescue shelters in Flint, Pontiac, and Dearborn.

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Those you who know me know I am an animal lover and have a very hard time dealing with, knowing about, or being exposed to the many ways people mistreat animals.  That said, I understand the feeling a lot of people have when they visit a shelter.  It seems depressing and hard for the animals – and it is.  It is especially hard when a dog or a cat is used to having a home and is suddenly thrust into what probably seems to be a jail.

I could keep explaining the negative side, but you’re on Facebook, you see the news, and you watch the commercials.  So, I won’t drive my point home any further.  What I WILL do is tell you about the other side of the story.  I want you to know about the people that make these shelters work – the staff and volunteers.

The definition of volunteer tells you a bit about a person right from the start.  They aren’t being paid, they aren’t receiving time off work.  These folks are giving up their time to help with a situation a lot of people don’t want to even hear about.  More than that, they LOVE these animals.  When a dog has been at a shelter for five years, you might look at it and think it has nothing left and it will never be happy again.  Then that one person – THAT DOG’S volunteer – walks in and it’s like he’s a brand new dog. Tail wagging, ears up.  It’s his favorite person in the world and they’re there just to see him.

The “staff.”  I don’t like that word.  It implies that this is simply a job.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s their job, but it’s also their life.  At each of the shelters I photographed, I found out the staff members regularly foster dogs at their homes, teaching positive behavior and building emotional bonds, knowing that they will have to give up the friendship so that the dogs can have  happy lives.  Trust me when I say this is a LOT more than a job for these people.

While this project is all well and good, I’m using it as a platform for something much bigger.  Confirmation on a few planned events should come down the line early this week – so stay tuned for the updates.  Plus, a few videos are on their way soon.

In the meantime, check out some of the shots from the three shelters.

To vote for the region to win free dog food, swing by the Facebook page, here.

This campaign may change the lives of a number of dogs, but there are tens of thousands out there that could desperately use your help.  Shelters are constantly in need of things like food, cleaning supplies, newspaper, and bedding.  Those last two are things you probably have sitting in the corner of your basement waiting to get thrown away.

Please look up your local shelter and drop off a thing or two.  It may only take a second of your time or a bit of spare change, but it can make all the difference in the world to a pet that need s home.

If you would like to see the full gallery of images from the different shelters, click here.  All the pictures are for sale and half of all proceeds are donated to the shelter where the picture was taken.

Thanks guys

– Jon

 

Still as sporadic, slightly more understandable.

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A question I get a lot is “What have you been up to?”  or sometimes “What projects have you been working on?”  There are assorted variations of this question, but they pretty much all mean the same thing.

I usually respond with… OK – no.  There is no usual response, because it’s so rare that I have more than one current project sharing similarities that we can just pretend it doesn’t happen.  Next week I may be working with an architectural-agricultural hybrid company, a local animal shelter, a community-based restaurant, and a national organization conducting a student competition.  I mention these examples because there was a week last summer where those were the open projects I was working on.   (It was a busy week).

So when I answer the first question and describe my current clients, I’m almost always greeted with the same follow up question, “Oh, wow.  So you’re taking pictures for ALL those?  What are the pictures of?”

Ah.

This seems to be the general consensus about my company and I figured it was time to elaborate a bit on what I do.

Let me begin by saying this is a completely understandable thought process and if you glance up to the those giant words at the top of this page, you’ll agree with me.  I began my company as a photographer and for all my dabbling and involvement in other forms of media, if I find myself going a week at a time without using my camera I get all shaky and my hair starts falling out… OK it’s not THAT bad, but I do find myself daydreaming about the next project in which I’ll actually get to create an image.

So, honest and true, when I’m face to face with a person and they mention that they’ve heard I’m a photographer, I don’t mine.  In fact I actually get a bit of pride out of hearing that.

But when it comes to clients (we’re talking businesses, here) I regularly find that they’re trying to put out new media and have over half-a-dozen contractors assigned to as many different things… and none of them are even talking to each other.

It makes sense for each person to have their own style and that’s what gives a healthy dose of diversity to any good marketing campaign.  But for the finished collaboration to come together in a clean fashion there has to be… well, collaboration.

That’s where I come in.

I may be a photographer, but I’m also a videographer, graphic designer, consultant, and advertising professional – and my client list is rather, shall we say, varied.

More than that, I work with a tight-knit group of media professionals that specializes in everything from web design, branding, and marketing to layout, copy-writing, and packaging.  So when a project on a massive scale comes along or when six assignments come in at once, that are just too much fun to turn down, I can still guarantee success and some top-notch quality.

In the end, when I explain what I’m working on for a certain client, people aren’t usually expecting my answer.

So, I made this to help me explain things a bit more clearly.

– Jon

Turning The Community Inside Out

_DSC5778  “Art-Cities” are rather prevalent these days.

In the US, New York is a given.  Philadelphia, and Boston are also getting pretty influential.  Of course there are a whole bunch on the west coast, as well.  But, when it comes to the Midwest, it’s not so much the city-proper that are havens for artists, but the smaller communities that make up portions of downtown.  Detroit is a great example.

It’s actually gotten to the point that the art and creativity is spilling out of the few neighborhoods and showing up on city-maintained structures like early-century corporate buildings, public transportation vehicles, and a lot of the general infrastructure of the city.

The best part is that while downtown is letting its creativity fly free, a lot of the suburbs are following suit and encouraging artists to publicly display work and construct customized installation pieces.

In fact, the Detroit Institute of Arts has gotten very involved and has begun donating replicas of famous works for public display on local communities.  Check it out –> http://www.dia.org/get-involved/community-outreach.aspx

Some of you may have heard of JR.  He’s a French artist who won the TED Prize in 2011.  Here’s his talk:


As you can see, his concept of a world-wide art project is pretty grandiose and wide-sweeping.

Well, it’s working –>  http://www.insideoutproject.net/  and Metro Detroit is taking part.  The city of Walled Lake is digging into the art world and will be playing host to the DIA’s project, JR’s Inside Out Project, and a whole slew of work from local artists this spring.

Be sure to check the city website for details and swing back here to see some of the shots!

– Jon

Getting into Character

Through a fortuitous chain of events, I was recently introduced to an acting group in the Canton, Michigan area by the name of the “Spotlight Still Got it Players.”  They are the senior acting troupe associated with The Village Theater At Cherry Hill.  Recently the Still Got It Players, picked up a stage play by a Mr Howard Kingkade called “One Foot In The Gravy.”

They, being performers, and I, being a photographer, naturally found ourselves in a mutually beneficial situation.  A couple nights ago, I stopped by the theater to get some headshots and a few candids for their promo in the local news outlets.  Of course none of this seems terribly interesting, but please try to remember that I am (somewhat) unused to the presence and mindset of actors, backstage.

I arrived before my contact –  the only person from the group  that I knew or had ever even spoken to.  When I went in to study the building and find the best place for lights, I met a rather friendly gentleman who had no idea who I was, why I was there, or even that I was planning on taking pictures.

He also happened to be holding 3 incredibly over-padded bras, trying to decide which was the best fit…  Also keep in mind that I had no real idea what the play was about or who the actors would be portraying.

So of course, as friendly custom dictates, he inquired as to my opinion on the bras and which he would look best in.   That was my introduction to these people.

These folks are HILARIOUS.

We started off with the head shots and I don’t even want to elaborate anymore.  They each sat down, INSTANTLY got into character, and I got awesome shots in less than a minute per person.  Straight “pro” all around.

Check it!

– Jon

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