This past year was beyond pretty good to Tori Soper Photography.  We (when I say we, I mean everyone that helps me make this possible including my trusted Assistant Whitney, my better half who keeps me caffeinated and of course Charlie Parker, my four-legged companion who is excellent company during the long hours of post-production) managed to stay consistently busy and completely out of trouble which is quite an endeavor.  There were  several larger projects for both new and returning clients that included everything from environmental portrait cover shoots and corporate lifestyle assignments along with a handful of larger conventions over at McCormick Place and I got back to doing some on-location product photography which admittedly I have missed doing.

As the year comes to a close it does get quiet and this brings with it a much appreciated breather and just enough time to consider the invaluable changes made over the past year and how I want to move into and position myself for the following year.  A few key ingredients of this years’ successes evolved from both the actual photography itself as well as what goes on behind the scenes to make sure the phone keeps ringing and the inquiries keep coming.

It can be incredibly easy to fall into and rely on a formulaic approach for creating environmental and corporate portraits and of course it can work for all purposes, cash flow, client satisfaction, etc. but at some point the style needs to evolve.  And I am at that point.  I consider my work to be clean, approachable, somewhat still and almost classic  but I would like to push it and experiment even more.  We started doing this a few months back  with more varied lighting and utilizing available light, incorporating candid portraits with the subjects looking off camera and shooting outdoors.  I want to get those shots that make the viewer feel that they are seeing this person in the photo as they are, not as I want to present them.

One of the keys to approaching this is having the flexibility to shoot in whatever location we want with access to power not being an issue.  I have done many a location scout searching for the best environments to set-up for our assignments and spend as much time looking for outlets as I do scouting the scene.  But not anymore.  I finally found a reliable solution to powering our equipment that does not weigh as much as a small child and packs more than enough power.  These 3.5 lb battery packs from Photogenic have proven to be worth every penny and have completely opened up our options.  Outdoors?  No problem.  Wasting time taping down cords with an excessive amount of gaffers tape?  Not anymore.  Now we have the mobility and the freedom to shoot anyone, anywhere.

Chicago Commercial Photographer

Chicago Commercial Photographer

And of course, there is the business end of things.  The joy of my life that is e-mail blasts, marketing calls and postcard mailers that I have been outsourcing is all being brought back in-house as I love devoting my time to this.  As the saying goes “half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  So, rather than outsourcing, I may as well give it a go on my own as I have a feeling I may very well know what I am doing at this point.  The e-mail blasts, postcards and PDF portfolios have been given a refresh along with the website which will have several new images to show as of the new year.  The list of potential clients that I believe my work is a solid match for is made and the schpeel is a-go.  Now it’s time to get this all on the schedule so in most cases it’s just a matter of pressing send and making a run to the post office.  The key here is make small blocks of time devoted to the rest: social media, blogging (which I kinda love) and the phone calls and attempt not to overwhelm myself by over-committing.

And finally, whether it is this coming year or 10 years down the line, the commitment that I will always carry along with me from year to year is the objective of never giving my clients a reason to worry and the promise to make my work consistently ambitious.