Posted January 30, 2015 by Nicole Tapp

Rachel Apostoles works in Rhode Island. She does not personally know San Francisco, but she has crossed a digital bridge to get there and accomplish a project she needed for work.

This bridge needed to lead her to just one destination – it was dropping Rachel’s creative idea at the feet of a creative professional who could do the job.

Apostoles works at a furniture startup called Focal Upright, which creates office furniture designed for standing and leaning. The renderings her company was using to showcase the furniture within the workplace just weren’t cutting it. She had to find a way to show the furniture actually being used in real office settings.

Her problem had an additional twist: the company is based in Rhode Island. Most of the customer businesses which have bought Focal Upright’s furniture are located in California.

Furniture Photography by Tue Nam Ton

Focal Upright is a start-up, so sending someone across the country to get photos of Focal Upright furniture in action wasn’t in the budget. She had to find a freelance professional photographer in the area willing to work with a start-up budget to create a gallery of furniture photography.

“We realized that our renderings were good, but they didn’t appeal to the institutional buyers and dealers who inquired about our furniture,” Apostoles said. “They were reluctant to buy anything without actually seeing the furniture in a real space to get a sense for its utility because it is rather unusual. We are a disrupter in the office furniture space, and we needed to sell them on the idea that this furniture is useful.”

Furniture Photography by Tue Nam Ton

She knew she had to find a photographer in San Francisco, but she did not know anyone there. However, she did have a friend with some advice.

“We are a start-up, and we like to keep abreast of other start-ups and the different things they have to offer,” Apostoles said. “One day I talked to a friend, who is also running a start-up, and this friend told me about SmartShoot.com.”

As the new marketplace for photographers and videographers around the country, SmartShoot.com became the bridge Apostoles needed to get her idea over to San Francisco. This helped her come up with a couple of case studies for Focal Upright furniture that could be used to demonstrate the versatile and innovative uses of the furniture in an office setting.

Furniture Photography by Tue Nam Ton

We put out a request for some photos of our furniture being used inside the offices of a couple of our customers in the Bay Area,” Apostoles said. “Once we got those customers on board, we put the project on SmartShoot. Within a short amount of time, we got about 10 different proposals from very talented photographers in the area, and we were able to choose one whose portfolio was really compelling.

“We picked Tue Nam Ton because he had photographed furniture before, and had a very compelling portfolio that had the feel we were looking for with our photos. It certainly helped that he already knew the SmartShoot platform and had worked with it before. He knew what he was doing and he collaborated with us throughout the process.”

Once Tue Nam Ton was selected, he went to work contacting West Coast businesses using Focal Upright furniture, and scheduled times take photos of workers using the furniture in real-world situations. His collaboration with Apostoles occurred off-platform but was still efficient.

Furniture Photography by Tue Nam Ton

“We were able to communicate through e-mail and we shared some ideas through Dropbox,” Apostoles said. “We were able to show Tue Nam some furniture photo ideas we saw from other companies to give him a sense of what we wanted, and then he sent his photos back to us the same way, so we were each able to communicate our expectations.”

Furniture Photography by Tue Nam Ton

And the results?

“Tue Nam was fantastic,” Apostoles said. “He was highly organized, communicated with us very efficiently, and did a great job coming up with photos that truly showed the utility of our furniture. I love that we now have a relationship with a high-quality photographer in the Bay Area – where a lot of our customers are – and we can go back to him for future projects we may have.

“We could not be happier with the results of the project. The photos turned out great, and the whole experience was just outstanding. I would definitely recommend the SmartShoot platform to anyone who needs quality photography. The process was efficient, and the professionals are highly-regarded. I am very pleased with what we were able to get from the platform, and I look forward to using it more in the future.”

About Nicole Tapp

Nicole Tapp is a writer from San Diego, CA. Along with photography and videography, she enjoys researching and writing about many different topics pertaining to contemporary and digital art.

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