We spoke with Helen, the founder of Raccoon London, an international photography agency and share with you the work that goes behind running an international photography & videography team.
Note: Some content in this article may be enhanced or paraphrased by using AI writer software.
Vivid Media x Raccoon London
When the team at Raccoon London approached us for collaboration to deliver works for their esteemed client, we instantly found a perfect match. Like Raccoon London’s team, we are heavily focused on delivering works for corporate clients. Moreover, the distinct photography style delivered by Raccoon London’s team closely matches what we have been delivering for our clients.
Our team consists of media professional with expertise in video production from pre to post. Consisting of videographers, video editors, director, project coordinators and graphic designer. Our portfolio is focused on corporate clients. And our works ranges from internal communication videos, brand story videos, virtual & hybrid events and corporate photography.
An Introduction to Raccoon London
An international photography and videography (or content creation) agency that has been running for c. 14 years initially London based and now operating in c. 15 countries and growing with global content production and visual content provider partners. Raccoon London currently work with global brands such as Shell, Bloomberg, TikTok, Amex, Strongbow, Disney, Shopify and Sky.
Raccoon London work with photographers and videographers who are highly experienced and successful within their own businesses, offering an agency structure whereby creatives can apply for jobs that suit them with no exclusivity to us as an agency, enabling them to retain their professional freedom.
All of our photographers have their own style and experience but we maintain a distinct agency house style that is bright, energetic, clean and clear that will stand the test of time. We pride ourselves in working with creatives who are proactive, hard working, enthusiastic and can do – we consider that working with nice people is just as important as working with talented people.
How did you get started?
The agency was started by photographer Amy Smyth 14 years ago and was primarily a London based party and event photography agency. When I first became a photographer in 2010 after retraining from a marketing career I started working for Raccoon. In 2020 when Amy decided to move to America we negotiated a buyout and I took over sole ownership of Raccoon.
What is your vision for the business?
After taking over Raccoon 5 years ago I started moving away from the private events and focussing on building up our repeat corporate client relationships. I expanded the video team and the international side of the operation.
We frequently act as a talent sourcing agency for our UK based clients who need resources internationally so can be very responsive in terms of reaching out to internationally colleagues. I would like to be more proactive in building relationships with other similar sized agencies globally to start creating a strong network of professionals who can grown and support one another.
Our international business has been growing much faster than our Uk business so I intend to focus next year on targeting the UK event industry.
I would like to create a mentoring scheme to assist under privileged up and coming photographers who need help with setting up their businesses – whether that’s technical support, grants for equipment, and the opportunity to work alongside our team to build their portfolio
We are looking to grow our office team next year in new business and production – and also develop our relationships with wider production agencies so we can widen our offering.
What are some challenges for media professionals in your region?
Photography has an increasingly low barrier to entry – high quality cameras make it a very accessible career and the industry is crowded with a lot of talent which makes it difficult to maintain rates and demonstrate value to clients. Similar the growth of ‘uber’ like agencies that offer the equivalent of fast food for photography with clients having little understanding of the quality.
AI is a fascinating area of growth which is going to significantly impact the industry. It will be important to keep up with developments and utilise the available software to ensure that we are competitive and maintaining our quality. The events industry is hopefully one of the genres least threatened by AI, unlike product, fashion and lifestyle where we are increasingly seeing how photography is becoming redundant. This may lead to more competition in our arena as photographers are forced to shift into other areas.
The matter of rights is becoming increasingly challenging to navigate. More and more larger companies are pushing for ownership of copyright, eroding photographers rights and the ability to retain control of their own work and the ability to benefit financial from the use of the work beyond the initial contract.
How has your international strategy serve the business and your clients?
From a personal level I enjoy very much connecting with other similar entrepreneurs and small media businesses and creative individuals, and growing our network which I hope offers support in both directions.
Our clients are increasingly using us as a talent sourcing agency, not just booking our existing photographers, but asking us to find teams all over the world – in the last year we have recruited new teams in Japan, Australia, Spain, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and Turkey. We are able to support our event clients as they outsource this aspect of their role.
Every time we build our team with a new country and add new photographers and videographers to our roster the SEO boost means we start receiving enquiries from that country so the time invested is paying off.
We are able to remain competitive by not add travel costs by finding local teams for our clients.
This year we completed a 5 day internal conference with Shell for 500 of their top employees. We provided a team of 5 photographers and editors coming from both the UK, Spain and locally in Budapest. We provided a local team in Dubai the previous year on a much smaller scale. We worked very closely with the event manager assisting with communications, briefing, scheduling, editing and delivery. We had to source an additional photographer who flew out immediately when the scope of work evolved and extra support was needed.
Last year we worked with FIRST agency for their series of events for Shopify, providing a photography and videography team for 3 two day events in Melbourne, Toronto and London ensuring a consistency of style across all teams.
Connect with Raccoon London
Look to Raccoon for talented, energetic creatives and event production professionals for your project no matter how large or small, UK or elsewhere.