Image Re-Toucher, John Flynn, Talks Post-Production for Major Sports Brands and Adapting To An Ever-Changing Industry
Image retouching expert and founder of *POST, John Flynn, has over twenty-six years experience in the digital imagery field. Working on everything from creative retouching, to colour grading and CGI, *POST assists photographers, advertising agencies, publication houses, and corporations within the commercial market, create stunning imagery and bring their visions to life. So it wasn't long before major sports brands like Under Armour, Nike and K-Swiss came knocking at John's studio doors to assist in the post-production on some pretty epic shoots. We had the pleasure of speaking with John about some of the incredible projects he's collaborated on with these sports brands and where he plans to take *POST in the future.
So John, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to establish your own studio?
I've worked in this industry for a long time. Before Photoshop 1.0 was even released, in fact! When Photoshop came out I knew almost instantly that this new app would change my career path and hopefully allow me to work in the industry for a long time. And, indeed that's what happened and I'm still working with PS everyday and loving it. We started our own studio in 2005, after years of working for various local companies. We started with two clients and since 2005 we have grown the company to work with many clients and major global brands on an everyday basis.
"When Photoshop came out I knew almost instantly that this new app would change my career path and hopefully allow me to work in the industry for a long time."
You’ve worked with the likes of well-established sports brands Under Armour, Nike, and K-Swiss. How did these relationships
I realised pretty early on that a good online presence would be vital for landing more work. So we worked hard to grow our portfolio and establish a great online presence in hopes that it would attract clients. For Nike and K-Swiss, we collaborated with the photographers and the advertising agencies to deliver the final imagery. With Under Armour, we were lucky enough to have someone from the corporate offices reach out to us in 2015 and ask if we could work on a project. Since then they have become one of our biggest clients. All of the work we receive from our clients would not be possible without a good online presence. So I owe it all to the hard work we put in early on, and never giving up on my dream.
What aspects of the job do you find most challenging when working on post-production projects for these sports brands, and what’s most enjoyable?
I love the collaboration aspects of all projects but especially with these clients from the sports sector. Meeting with the brands to talk through ideas and the creative vision is a tonne of fun and being able to help create their vision is very rewarding. The most challenging aspects vary but they usually revolve around timing, colour, and quality. What I mean by that is everyone needs their projects sooner than in years past and that puts pressure on our studio (or any studio for that matter!) to be able to develop a tight workflow that allows a quick turnaround of images while maintaining high-end quality. The other issue is colour management and colour accuracy. We are lucky enough to be present at a lot of the shoots but we still have to be able to match the colour of the product or shot for use online and in print. That challenge will always be present so we have to have a tight grasp on colour management, workflow, and knowledge of web usage and print usage to ensure clients are happy with the final product.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day would be considered boring to most people because I spend quite a bit of time at my computer or in meetings. Communicating with our clients and working on the projects are still my passion. We maintain a high level of customer service and technical expertise so most of my day seems to revolve around that as well as the quality control of all images that we work on. Not too exciting to most I'm sure, but I love it.
"All of the work we receive from our clients would not be possible without a good online presence. So I owe it all to the hard work we put in early on, and never giving up on my dream."
What do you believe has got you where you are today? What’s your best piece of advice for anyone looking to establish themselves in a competitive industry?
Passion. I believe that the most important ingredient to a successful business is passion for what you do. I'm passionate about post-production. I love it. So much so that we named the company *POST. My advice to anyone starting out in this industry is to find your passion and your niche market and then work your ass off to become really good at your craft and create a great online presence. Also never give up on your dream.
What are some of your ambitions moving forward with *POST? Is there anything you’re looking to branch out into?
In 2018 we went back to our roots, which is high end still-image retouching. We dipped our toe into motion but didn't love it so we decided to re-focus our attention on the still imagery side of the industry and we ended up having our best year ever. So, for 2019 we plan on updating our online presence and marketing ourselves at a higher level so that we can continue to grow and land quality clients. Our niche remains still life retouching so we will continue to push into that market but I also want to get back into working on more projects with people and athletes.
Finally, as our name suggests, here at Mantra we’re curious about what keeps our favourite creatives driven and pushing forward. What’s your personal mantra?
In the beginning we didn't create a mission statement like most companies do. Instead, we created more of a 'business mantra' that we still use to this day. I think it is simple yet effective. Our mantra is, work on cool projects with cool people! I came up with this mantra since that's really what we all want in this industry and the simplicity is refreshing and easy for everyone to understand. I really do want to work on cool projects with clients that are cool and easy to work with. The beauty of owning your own studio is that you can pick and choose the clients and projects that you work on so this mantra holds true just about everyday for us.
Check out the work of *POST here.