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7 insights from the Slack AMA with photographer Cory Popp

Popp let the community pick his brain on everything from his outreach strategy to his style as a photographer. Here are some choice excerpts.

Philly, as seen though Cory Popp's eyes. (Photo by Cory Popp)

During our Slack AMA Wednesday afternoon we caught up with photographer Cory Popp, who shared tips with the community about his outreach strategy, how he measures content success and his favorite places to shoot video in Philly.
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Here are a few things we learned from Popp (with minor edits for clarity):
1. How do you measure successful content?
On one hand, view count is a terrible metric because I’ve seen cat videos with millions of views, and my most successful video has 85,000 views. But, those are really people watching my video because I’ve captured something they loved, and delivered it into a story that made them feel something.
On the internet these numbers become so abstract, but think about it, 85,000 people have seen that winter video, that’s 2x the Phillies stadium at full capacity.
2. If you don’t like view count, what would you call an important metric?
What I really care about are interactions I have with people because of my work. View count is okay at letting you know if people are seeing it or not, but what really matters to me, for example, are tweets that someone really loved the story I did about their neighborhood, or business opportunities as a direct result of what I’m publishing.
3. What’s your outreach strategy?
The biggest insight I can give is that all these press sources are just looking for new content. Getting published is incredibly easy as long as you have a story that is relevant to their audience, and you don’t make them work to hard to capture the story.
4. Do you use drones in your photography?
I’ve never actually flown a drone, and a big reason why I haven’t bought one yet is because, while I think they get impressive footage, it rarely makes or breaks a story. I’m working really hard on creating great stories, and sometimes tech, like drones, can get in the way of that.
5. How did you develop your style as a photographer?
It takes a long long time to figure out your taste. It took me about 4-5 years shooting on and off until I really dug into my niche right now which is Philadelphia storytelling. Above all things I love filming stories about people and places. Definitely watch this, if you haven’t seen it, regarding discovering your style.
6. How do you make money?
A majority of my income is still freelance, producing videos for companies that never end up on my website. Over the past six months, I’ve been making the switch so that the storytelling that I do about Philly is my full-time income. I imagine most of that will be through licensing of clips and stories, and corporate sponsorships.
7. What are your favorite spots to shoot in Philly?
I love Race Street Pier and the South Street Bridge above all other places in Philly. So many great angles of the city from those two places, you can never get a bad shot.

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