Are you my Perfect Client?

April 6th, 2010

I’ve had a terrific response to this new site, and thanks to all who’ve contacted me with good wishes!

Let’s assume you like the work you see here. But you can’t see how it applies in a commercial setting- pretty, yes, but can it sell?

Hell, yes.

So- who’s my Perfect Client?

Let’s start with the most obvious- upper-end destination properties, particularly with a family appeal. But first, a little background.

Top-line destinations- hotels, resorts, cruise ships, museums, art galleries, national parks, hospitals (yes!) retirement communities- all tend to be pretty conservative with their imagery. Lots and lots of perfectly produced beautiful photography of interiors, lobbies the obligatory shot of the half-naked woman, breasts-down (but sexy and tastefully revealing side-boob shots) with hot stones on her back. [How many times have we seen that shot?] And let’s not forget the shot of the dining couple confronted by salads, either toasting with sparkling wine or watching the waiter (we sell service!) pour the wine. And how about the ballroom/meeting room shot or the entry portico with a bellman (we sell service!) carrying the bags, enamored couple beginning their resort journey, on their way to the next photo, relaxing in the hot tub with umbrella-ed drinks on a tray wielding server (we sell service!).

I’ve created all these for clients, and they all represent what I consider “ad copy” derived imagery. Because each image has a mental word-based checklist:

Beautiful interior
Beautifully designed facade
Service component
Extra facilities, also beautiful
Luxury linens
Big bathtubs
Pool with bar
Golf course, perfectly manicured at sunrise

However cliché, without these images consumers can become wary. Deviation from those tired images might cause hesitation prior to clicking on a final reservation page that displays many safer options.

So these destinations continue to cough up the same images.

My Perfect Client can see beyond that cliché- and add appeal to their destination. Perfect Client understands it’s not sufficient to show what the property looks like, but what the property feels like. How that property will appeal to their customer on an emotional level.

Emotions are not rational like the previously mentioned ad-copy derived images. Emotions (and the imagery that results) are more abstract in nature- pleasure, fun, motion, glow, elation, respite, calm, sympathetic, curious, eager, gleeful, mischievous, wonderful. And how do these emotional words transfer to a destination? Easy- it means sales.

The art of advertising not only includes being informative, but it’s the illusive emotional appeal that immediately converts the informed to customers. I believe it’s no longer sufficient to inform with literal ad-copy based imagery, but properties can (and should) add the emotionally derived images to the mix.

Enter [stage right], my Perfect Client. Have a quick look at my site’s images, in particular the “stories” section. These images are not substitutions for the informative images, but are very powerful ways to help Perfect Client’s customers connect emotionally to their destination. These images reflect a creative freedom from the informative list, They’re fresh, fun and are emotionally driven. From there, the equation is pretty simple-

Emotional Response x (your brand) = Sales.

Perfect Client understands that equation, and will shape their destination’s appeal with that firmly in mind.

How do you create emotional appeal for your destination?

My quotes in Huffington Post

March 24th, 2010

Had a few comments to make about image licensing with Dave Taylor in today’s Huffington Post.  Have a look.

Yes, but will it make money?

January 12th, 2010
Paul M Bowers

That's me ^

Here it is, the site I’ve been wanting to do for nearly ten years.  The site that’s based on “I love this image” not “will this image speak to potential clients and bring new accounts?”

If you’re a creative professional, you’ve always wanted to do something like this. Throw caution (and maybe common sense) to the breeze and show what you want when you want, and how you want.

But will it make money?

I don’t really care- there are plenty of ways to make money.  Sure, I’d love to find a few- just a few creative art directors and clients who “get” this type of imagery.  But that’s a rare person.  They need to be very confident of their own abilities and need to inspire confidence in their clients.

Commercial and advertising work has a lot of fear built into the process, and the fear-reducing mechanism can rob the creative impulse from the final product.  You know the drill- concept, use a stock image for a placeholder, wrap type around it, present it to the client who’ll tell you to fill the blank spaces with copy.  Then the client signs off- ahh, risk reduction.  Now, all that’s necessary is to create an image that will fit with the notion with which you’ve filled the client’s head.  Any deviation increases risk.  So creative impulse is discouraged from the beginning.  We’ve all been on these shoots- “what’s he doing? This stuff’s not in the comp, and we’re wasting time- we must CONTROL the process!”

I’ve wanted to break that [brace yourself, incoming cliché] paradigm for years, and here are the results.  Obviously based on personal work, but with an approach that has great value to the right few creative people on our earth.

You, maybe?

Moving, but not action.

January 12th, 2010

Much of what I shoot is directly from my life’s adventures.  This was shot Sunday in the middle of nowhere. I like a lot of negative space- there are plenty of excellent “sports” images of motorcycling.  Crazy immortal teenagers flying through the air- perfectly shot, perfectly lit with a lot of action.

Motorcycling is a sport that has a contemplative side, too, and for most riders, it’s the side that speaks to them.  Just like any other exercise much of the benefit comes after you stop the activity.  This was a brief pause while riding a new trail in an old off-road park.

Does this image say anything to you?

Canon G9, f5.6 1/800