Email promo newsletter

Towards the end of 2012  I started planning some large changes to my marketing plan and how I promote myself. I had two major goals for these changes: to make my blog a central part of my marketing plan, and to get away from generic promo e-mails that had little more functionality than a traditional print postcard.

I am lucky in that I get to see a lot of promos (both print and digital) from a lot of photographers, illustrators, and designers – I request them regularly from artists I respect or who I feel are exceptional marketers to share with local photo students and interns during a regular marketing seminar I host. I have formed a lot of strong opinions about what I like and don’t like in promotions (turn-ons: simplicity, bold design, to-the-point copy, relevance, and a variety of choices on how you want to interact with the material. Turnoffs: buzzwords, bad links, no depth of content when visiting the site or blog)  The e-mails that have really been standing out to me lately are those that have a newsletter/digest format. Rather than featuring just one image they feature 3-5 stories from a photographer’s recent projects accompanied by short excerpts of text and link to more in-depth features on that photographer’s blog.

Over a few weeks before the holidays I worked with designer Shauna Haider from (who originally created the identity elements that I use and is an all-around superstar) to transition from the e-postcards I had been sending out to a more versatile newsletter format that shares highlights of what I have worked on lately in a more specific and useful way. Shauna put together a wonderful and  easy-to-implement template for me that lets me share stories from my blog with my readers, as well as providing direct access to my homepage, e-mail, and several social media channels that I am active on.

This sort of format just makes sense to me. It is easy to quickly read and understand, gets the point across without being overly obtrusive, features a range of current projects that recipients may find relevant, and gives them a choice of which stories they want to engage with and explore further. Last week I launched my first marketing campaign using this new format and in just the first day the positive response made it one of the most successful promotional drives I have undertaken yet.

I’ll be following these e-mail promos with a collection of simple large format postcards that feature the same stories from the e-mail campaign, like the ones below.

Jan 2013 postcard front Jan 2013 postcard back

Signal One

For the last few weeks I have worked with editor Solomon Nero to create and mix this reel of my still photography work. My mission this year has been to create experiences that exist outside of the standard postcard/e-mail static that so many creative buyers and editors have to sort through daily. I like making and sharing cool things that are a little more fun and personal – like this video and my recently released magazine promo.

If you enjoy this work I would love it if you would share this promo with others  – and you can always see more of the work featured in this video in my main portfolio. 


Rubber stamps by The Inkorporated

I was so excited for this package to come in the mail – I can get a bit nerdy about little things, but when I am working on new marketing and promo ideas it escalates to RPG level epic +1 nerdiness. A little while ago, in an edition of Required Reading, I posted about the The Inkorporated and the unique return letter press inspired return address stamps they were creating. They took on a custom commission for me to create not just a return stamp, but also stamps of some of my brand imagery, that will be used in the packaging of my recent magazine promo. 

Rubber stamps by The Inkorporated Rubber stamps by The Inkorporated

Making My Own Magazine

I am always looking to change things up and add different elements to my marketing mix to keep things fresh – partly to move away from the too many generic e-blasts / too many generic postcards burnout that a lot of photographers get stuck in, and partly because I just love making cool things and sharing them with others. To kick of 2012 right I wanted to share a project that I have been crafting with the help of the phenomenally talented Nubby Twiglet (Who I have worked with on my identity and branding projects for a couple of years now. I never cease to be impressed with how well her design and layout work complements my photography), a 58 page magazine that collects some of my personal favorite  images and series. I have used the MagCloud service in the past in my work with Auxiliary Magazine and always been impressed with their quality, which has just gotten better and better over the years, so they were the clear choice for me when it came time for me to print the small runs needed for my publication.

I grew up obsessed with reading whatever DIY music, art, and literary zines I could track down at local record stores in Buffalo and Toronto and made my own hand bound photo-digests for years – and I think that services like MagCloud keep that spirit of self-publishing alive in a new tech and design savvy iteration. There is something pleasurable about holding a magazine or book in your hands, turning those pages, and finding something new on every page that never gets old. I was so excited to create a vehicle  for my artwork that was in the same vein as those zines and underground art rags that I loved so much when I was in my teens.

Update: You can read about designer Nubby Twiglet’s take on the project here.

A grid of proof layouts from my recent magazine promo

This will be going out to a pretty targeted list of recipients (and some long time dream clients of mine), but you can still check out the design with the digital edition available below.

I have a lot of plans this year to keep making cool stuff and finding new ways to share my work and I promise that I will keep you all posted as I finish putting them together.

Update 2: Thank you all so much for the wonderful response to this project. I had not initially planned on doing this but I have received so many requests from people that want to get their hands on a copy (far beyond even the small print runs I produced for my promotional needs) that I have made the MagCloud version public. If you are one of those people that wanted to get your hands on a copy you can now do so.


Supreme General Promo

Supreme General – Promo from Luke Copping on Vimeo.

Now that I have finally recovered from the respiratory infection and throat injury that have kept me out of commission the past few days, I wanted to share the final version of the small promotional video I shot and edited together for Supreme General. Getting used to working with motion has been quite the learning experience, I know theres some kinks to work out but Im excited to keep moving forward with it.

Resolve to Make Mistakes

As I sit here in the post New Years eve chaos that is my apartment (There are house fires that look more orderly) I have been thinking a lot about new years resolutions and how futile they often are. For many people its a matter of giving themselves a task with no real goal. “Im going to lose weight” instead of “I am going to lose x pounds over y time.” For creatives it may be something that sounds like “I am going to leverage social media to make x dollars this year” or “I will book those three large wish list clients in the first business quarter of 2010” As well intentioned and noble all of these self promises may be, I think that sometimes we lose sight of some of the important aspects of what we do. making grandiose promises that should be goals to work towards rather than the deal breaker promises we blindly make to ourselves.

I have made myself two resolutions this year which I have tried to temper with a good dose of reality and good advice from others.  they are:

“I will shoot at least 2 self directed projects a month for myself to bolster my portfolio and attract clients”

I think that many photographers and creatives get caught up in frenzy of social media, marketing, branding, and market placement. While all of the above are important aspects of being a photographer in this new decade ,  they mean very little without the work to back it up. We should always be striving to create better images, to push our limits, and to create pictures that we truly love. Its hard to sell a product that you don’t believe in, by pushing yourself to make images that matter to you, you make it that much easier to make images that matter to your clients. Remember what Steve Martin said “The best way to make it is to be undeniably good”

“I will willingly make mistakes and fail more often”

Its only when we fail that we learn. Not every single shoot we do for ourselves has to result in portfolio images. Its so important to get out and experiment, have fun with your work, push limits, break boundaries, try new techniques, fail, realize your mistakes, correct them, and move on as a better photographer, illustrator, editor, writer… whatever. Its when you get to point that you stop learning and stop teaching yourself that you really start to lose your edge, and there is no excuse for it, not in this age where information is freely available, where peer review is abundant and democratic, and where we have more control over our creative output than ever. This resolution directly effects the first. I will be trying new techniques and workflows, new ways of looking at images, and at how I create these images.

While it has been a tumultuous holiday season, there is a lot to look forward to as well. I am in the process of launching a new brand identity, which may already be apparent to some of the regular visitors to this blog and my website. I’ll be talking about this process in the coming weeks as well as continuing to work with my fantastic new designer Nubby Twiglet on a variety of new brand and marketing elements, I’m ecstatic to be working with a professional designer after years of taking care of my design needs myself. I am also a lot more conscious of presentation and how to get my work in front of the right people, I have met some people lately that have given me some great advice on how to best do that. Moving into 2010 is a time thats filled with excitement. For a lot of people this is a significant era, its filled with possibility, uncertainty and opportunity, I can’t wait to see what the new decade has in store.

A question: what creative resolutions have the rest of you made this year?

The Blog is Back Baby!

Welcome to the new blog here at Its been a hectic month completing the first part of an ongoing rebranding project. We have a new portfolio site up and running and are finally working on the new version of the print portfolio. Additionally I have been working furiously over the last two weeks to bind the 30 handmade books that are going to be shipped out before the end of the month as one of my larger promotional campaigns for the year. I plan on making quite a few more versions of this as the months go on, using a variety of techniques to evolve the project as I send out new rounds of promos.