Michael T. Regan Photography
Michael T. Regan is an award winning photographer known for his photo journalistic style and his celebrity music portraits. His work has been seen in Vanity Fair, People, URB Magazine, Philadelphia Style, XLR8R, Metropolis Magazine, Scratch, Ray Gun and more.
Mike approached us to help him develop a revised brand strategy; one that would help him increase revenue without compromising his focus on music photography. Mike was at a crossroads in his career. Because of the complexity of running a photography business in today’s market, he saw a need to diversify his services to stay competitive. It would end up being one of the most challenging and nuanced projects we have worked on.
To understand the depth of the issues we faced with Mike, you need to be aware of two major factors that have contributed to the devaluation of commercial photography on a whole.Advances in technology and massive price drops have made professional level equipment available to anyone. This accessibility has flooded the market with untrained photographers with poor business practices and amateur abilities. Many drastically underprice projects or accept projects for “free” in hopes of gaining more business.The rise of stock photography has single-handedly reduced the overall quality and value of commercial photography. Stock photography sites turned a specialized field into a commodity driven business model where you can buy an image for as little as $1. Amateur photographers flooded these sites with generic, staged, uninspired, poorly lit work.
For these reasons, many professional photographers have had to close up shop or take on second jobs for additional income. In Mike’s case, he had the foresight to realize that it was time to adjust his business plan to not only survive but thrive in the new photography economy.
One of the biggest hurdles we needed to overcome in Mike’s rebranding was to find a way to diversify his services. He needed to branch out into other areas of photography where he could draw additional revenue. Having shot a few weddings for friends he decided to add wedding photography officially into his service offerings. The trick was to figure out a way to do this without affecting his commercial work. He was extremely concerned about the proper way to handle the presentation.
Here’s why: One of the more quirky stigmas in professional photography is the divide between wedding photographers and commercial photographers. Most commercial photographers go to great lengths to stay away from wedding work. The old thinking was that it was a formulaic lesser type of photography. An easy way to make a buck but a huge compromise to your art. Those that stepped away from their “real” work to shoot weddings rarely came back. It was where artists went to die. Ironically, in today’s market the quality of wedding photography has risen tremendously due to the influx of seasoned pros stepping into the role out of necessity.
After carefully researching the market and studying other successful photographers we proposed to address the issue of wedding photography head on. We recommended presenting him not only as a wedding photographer or a music photographer, but as a versatile photographer who could do it all. This unified message would highlight his work evenly across his portfolio and allow for us to leverage more of his higher-end work across all categories. With Mike’s agreement we moved forward to identify the segments of his work and how to leverage each area to drive more business.
- Personal work
With Mike’s brand strategy in place we moved to redesigning his website. Instead of creating a traditional picture gallery portfolio site we created a blog based portfolio to help him showcase his work and give him a platform to reinforce his messaging. It allows him to give personal behind the scenes accounts that help potential clients form a more complete picture of who he is as a photographer. We also present his portfolio with equal emphasis minimizing the stigma associated with wedding photography allowing all of Mike’s work to be appreciated equally.
With the website in place, we were now able to develop specifically targeted marketing campaigns to drive each category. The first was a guerrilla marketing awareness campaign promoting Mike’s music photography to agencies, music labels, and music reps in the Los Angeles area.
- Music portfolio
- Music direct mail
- Follow up direct mail
- Follow up poster
The goal of the campaign was to show prospective clients that Mike was already a music industry insider with an incredible passion for his subjects. Instead of creating just a simple printed portfolio book, we created his portfolio based on a 33rpm 12” record case each photograph was treated like a record cover with discography of the band and a write up about the shoot on the reverse side. Looking at his portfolio captures the same feeling you would get looking through a record collection. The awareness campaign ran three months and started with a direct mailer. We created the mailer to look like a 45rpm 7” six record sampler including an olive green classic record sleeve and hand stamped logos. The strategy was the same as the portfolio. We wanted to reinforce Mike’s brand and promote him as an industry insider.
The next piece in the series was a follow up mailer that was sent out to folks who had seen the direct mail piece or had met with Mike to review his portfolio. It was similar to the 45rpm sampler but was a single piece promoting singer/songwriter Tom Waits. Mike’s work was selected for Tom’s album, Glitter and Doom, and we wanted to highlight it to potential clients. It included several shots from the series as well as a write up and a shot of the finished album.
In the following weeks we sent out a limited edition silk-screened Tom Waits poster as a final follow-up to anyone who responded to the campaign or met with Mike. The poster depicted illustrated lyrics from one of Mike’s favorite songs off the Glitter and Doom album. We positioned it as a thank you gift and did not include any examples of Mike’s photography in the mailer. By removing any “promotional” messages on the poster, it increased the likelihood that the person receiving it would keep it. This carefully crafted plan was meant to be another way of reinforcing Mike’s love of music and to align himself long-term with his potential clients.
The following is a list of work we have completed for Michael T. Regan Photography.
- Brand Strategy
- Direct Mail
- Sell sheets
- Wedding brochure
If you have a project you would like to discuss, a questions about our services or would just like to chat about branding, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you.