Back With the Best of Both Worlds!

Well hey there, folks!

Nope – I didn’t drop off the planet and I didn’t take a crew position on the H.M.S Galactica. In reality the answer’s a bit more boring.   Life’s been busy, projects have been in flux, and work’s been less visual and more consultation-based.

Over the last 6 months I’ve acquired some new clients, started fresh projects with previous clients, and been on a number of adventures.  Why, I even started teaching at an accredited institution and have been presenting a growing series of motivational presentations directed at upcoming professional creatives.  (So, I can safely say you should be expecting some content that’s excited to jab at your cerebral cortex.)

To kick things off, I’d like to showcase a recent project.  It took about a month to put together and ended up producing one of the best outtake reels I’ve ever shot. (That’s coming a bit later).

Going on a year and a half ago, I put out this post for a recently finished project.  Canine Resolution contracted me for a branding package, photo series, and promo packets.  It’s now 18 months later and video’s the name of the game.

I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Canine Resolution is the Metro Area’s best dog training institution.  No – really.  They just won 1st place in the 2014 Detroit A-list Competition for “Best Dog Trainer.” They work in all programs from puppy and the A.K.C Canine Good Citizen Program, to agility, scent training, and schutzhund (attack training). Their program shuns shock collars or negative reinforcement and promotes simultaneous training of owner and dog.  All things considered, it’s pretty awesome.

So, let your eyeballs be entertained and soak in the official Canine Resolution Commercial.

– Jon

Crowd-Sourced Creation Fodder.

There’s only so much non-photo work I can do before I either have a boredom-related breakdown or start obsessively photographing whatever’s within reach. The problem with the latter option is that everything you look at daily just seems boring. It might not be, but it’s just so ordinary you don’t even thing about its value as the subject of a image.

That’s why I implemented a tactic from a few years back: Crowd sourcing anti-boredom assignments.

The first run of this was just after I graduated with my Associate’s Degree. I was still fresh enough that I didn’t have constant work, and I was also so used to assignments that it was a bit tricky to think of one-off images that didn’t involve a full-blown project. After pondering the situation, I asked the folks of the internet to suggest everyday items of which I could create unique images. The resulting images from those suggestions yielded 6 pictures that are still in my permanent portfolio, and 3 of the most popular stock images I’ve ever shot.

Well,  I’ve had a ton of supplementary work lately and I’ve been gettin’ the ol’ photo itch. So, I put out the request and the feedback was just lovely.

There were a few that I’d certainly like to try out (lava lamp, pocket watch, tea kettle…) but those will have to wait for next time. One of the pleasant side effects of the project was that it got me pondering the visual value of other common items. As it is, I’ve been making home-made sausage lately and realized those should also be included in the lineup. PB&J was easily the most time-consuming.

If you’re ever in a pickle and need a bit of inspiration, be sure to turn to the internet.  The folks of the interwebs are full of interesting ideas.

Here are some of my favorites – enjoy the shots!

– Jon

New Look for a New Year!

It’s the mid-winter reset!

OK so the New Year isn’t a clean-cut video game reset.  The past still happened and the ramifications still exist, but that’s not what the whole “resolution” thing is all about anyway.  The New Year isn’t for starting over, but for learning from last year and reinventing yourself.

Which is precisely how I’m getting down… now, where to start…

IT’S A WHOLE NEW CITY!

As of a week and a half ago, JonKPhoto is Royal Oak official2013-12-27_Royal Oak_DSC4760!  Royal Oak, Michigan is my new base of operations.  You may not think 15 miles would make much of a difference when it comes to clientele, but it it’s surprising how many companies you notice in an area when you’re always there as opposed to just driving through.

20131227_111525 WPThere are a few details that need sorting.  Paper work needs organizing. My desk still needs to be relocated – I’m currently coffee-tabling it up.  But all things considered, I’m stoked for the new market.  What with being a solid half-hour closer to downtown, I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities.

IT’S A WHOLE NEW COMPANY!

Well, yes and no.  For about 2 years, I’ve been offering media services beyond just photography, but they were almost entirely by request.  As of 3 weeks ago, this site and all my promotional whatnots are firmly rooted in multimedia.

To get a feel for what I’m talking about and to see why multimedia is so incredibly important for the success of a business, swing by my ABOUT page and take a gander at the breakdown.

IT’S A WHOLE NEW AUDIENCE!

In the last 3 months I’ve been regularly requested to critique portfolios, review projects, and speak to media students.  Developing into my career I always knew the ability to communicate clearly was essential, but it never crossed my mind that I may actually enjoy public speaking.

Each and every one of my clients and projects requires a unique and completely customized solution.  It’s the exact same with audiences.  Whether you’re talking with a 45-year old hobbyist about to turn pro, a room full of undergrad students, or an auditorium jam-packed with high schoolers ready to start their education, you’ve GOT to connect with your audience.  It’s just the kind of challenge I love.

So 2014 will see the next big evolution in JonKPhoto.  Motivational seminars for current, upcoming, and future creative professionals are about to hit Metro Detroit like so much inspiration!

In the meantime, the JonKPhotoClasses site has been totally overhauled and is fully loaded with an array of personalized photo and career development courses, ready to shock-&-awe you right into your new career.

IT’S A WHOLE NEW BODY OF WORK!

If you’ve been anywhere near my site in the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard me mention the fully re-vamped fine art site.  If you haven’t, then let me elaborate…

I began my photographic education as a fine art photographer.  In the process, I got bits and pieces of experience with the skill sets and lighting techniques essential for commercial photography.  The rest is history.  But that’s not to say I ever stopped shooting the stuff I simply like to shoot.

Over the past years, my portfolio amassed a rather sizable selection of work.  While organizing and reconstructing the site, I realized that while I refined and adjusted my techniques and styles, the subject matter never really changed (at least on a broad scale).  It became apparent that nearly all of my imagery is of Michigan.

So the site was overhauled and is now the home to a body of work devoted to images of and inspired by Michigan – my home state and pretty much the most awesome place I’ve ever known.  To get an eyeful of Great Lakes goodness, check it out at JonKArtography.com

EVEN SOME NEW PICTURES!

You know me – a conclusion isn’t a conclusion without a bit of shiny new eye candy.

In the recent holiday season, my parents gifted a lovely set of forged-steel Wusthof blades for my culinary endeavors.  As with any sparkling new metal instrument, some pictures were in order.  Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

And have a glorious new year!!

– Jon

This City’s on Fire

On the way to a friend’s house in Southfield, MI, I drove over an intersection with good visibility and saw a plume of smoke on the horizon.  Thinking it would be something close, small, and insignificant, I picked up my buddy and we went to check it out.  (We are photographers after all).

Well, as we were heading in the direction of the smoke, we realized it must be bigger than I thought because we didn’t seem to be getting closer.  Turns out it was actually 20 miles away.

From what I gather, it was an abandoned factory complex on Detroit’s West Side and the PD have no idea what happened.

To reiterate the scale, we met up with a volunteer firefighter from a northern suburb.  He was there because he saw the fire from Auburn hills – almost 40 miles away.

Here are some of the shots.

– Jon

The Golden Gang

A friend of mine has a golden retriever.  His name is Mondego (after the character in Alexander Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo).  He also happens to be the smallest fully-grown male golden I’ve ever met, tipping the scales at something like 40 pounds.

But that’s beside the point.

This dog is a member of an extended family that also loves goldens.  Parents and siblings included, there are 6 golden retrievers… and I got to photograph them.

Oh, and there’s a cockatoo as well.

Here are a few of my favorites.

– Jon

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 Midsummer Night’s Celebration

Well hi there!

It’s been a minute…

I don’t know about you good folks, but this summer’s been a wee bit crazy.  By “crazy” I mean busy, and by “busy” I mean I have projects coming out of my ears.  There’s been corporate-y stuff, assorted events, videos, commercials, and one big-time marketing campaign for a regional company that’s about to go national… there’s also been a bunch of dogs (like you’re surprised).

But all that in time.

To get you guys caught up, here’s a little ditty from earlier this month.  A couple friends of mine tied the knot at Indian Springs Metro Park in White Lake, MI and I got to photograph it.  It seems that each summer I end up shooting one wedding.  So, who’s gettin’ hitched next year?

– 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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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