I’m hoping to do occasional articles like this, looking analytically at both my own work and that of others.
Software dev FXHOME just released PhotoKey 7 Pro, the latest version in a long-running series of image editing products. I’m the lead copywriter at FXHOME and was responsible for writing the copy for the new website. It turned out to be a lot of fun. You can check out the results here.
Being the seventh version of a well-defined product could lead to laziness in both the writing and the overall presentation of the product. Once a good product has built a solid enough reputation you can almost trade on that alone. FXHOME’s attitude with PK7 was the complete opposite: the PhotoKey series has never been presented so well or felt so fresh – the product is also still top of its game, which helps.
As always, the website is the result of a lot of work from a lot of talented people. The words I wrote wouldn’t do anything if they weren’t displayed on a lovely website, surrounded by lovely images. Here’s a few thoughts on the project:
Who is reading?
The PK7 copy is very precise in terms of understanding the reader. PhotoKey is an interesting product in that there are always two parties to consider: first, the photographer, who is the one making the purchase; second, the photographer’s client, who is demanding to be impressed by the photographer’s work (and therefore, indirectly, the capabilities of the software).
Journey from mountaintops to tropical beaches and cities around the world. PhotoKey 7 Pro takes you and your clients anywhere.
We’re communicating with the photographer, but it’s the desires of the client that we’re referencing.
PhotoKey is a product designed to do a very specific technical task (green screen removal and background replacement) to a very high quality. With previous versions I’ve often focused on its technical prowess, focusing in on features and impressive technology. PhotoKey 7 Pro takes a different angle, instead showcasing its creative potential. That’s what photographers are ultimately searching for – something which will enhance their creativity without getting in the way.
PhotoKey is used by professional photographers all around the world. Some of these people use the product every day at major corporate events, where they’ll set up shop and photograph thousands of people in an afternoon. PhotoKey is the product these guys choose to use above all others because they know it’ll do the job. PhotoKey makes them money, so it’s a no-brainer investment.
Being a very British copywriter means getting over some cultural politeness. This is not a time to be humble. It’s also not a time for meaningless hyperbole, so a balance has to be struck.
For over 8 years PhotoKey has been the software of choice for creative photographers. When images are your business you need a product you can rely on.
Coypwriting (and marketing in general) is always easier when the truth is on your side. It gives your words real weight and every point has a solid foundation. A skilled copywriter can enhance mediocre products, of course, but give us something genuinely good with a trusted brand – as is the case with PhotoKey and FXHOME’s other product HitFilm – and everything falls into place beautifully.
A mistake I’ve sometimes made in the past is to assume that everybody wants to know every technical detail and feature of a product. That’s certainly how my mind works, as a filmmaker and purchaser. But filmmaking in the 21st century is an inherently digital and computer-led experience – it’s difficult to make videos without having some kind of enthusiasm for keyboards and mice. My HitFilm copy tends to skew a little more technical, for that reason.
Photography is a very different beast. You can be a world class photographer without having any interest in computers. Sure, you’ll be running your images through an image editor at some point, but the burden of effort and skill is still held within the camera itself. When it comes to software, you want something that just works.
Step away from the computer and focus on your photography. Let PhotoKey 7 Pro do the hard work, from fine tuning a portrait in your studio to processing thousands of images at major events.
Keep it minimal
Looking back at my work from 10 years ago I’m most surprised at its sheer verbosity. In the early days of the web everyone was still thinking in terms of magazines and brochures, whereas the 2010s are about efficiency and not wasting the reader’s time. Doing more with less.
The PhotoKey 7 Pro website is minimal and to the point. That espouses the virtues of the product itself: it’s a precision tool which does a specific task extremely well. The whole point should its simplicity – the more words I expend trying to explain the whole thing, the more I make it sound unnecessarily complex.
Be the face of a magazine, plant a flag on the moon or run quarterback at the Superbowl – PhotoKey 7 Pro brings dreams to life.
The copy paints an aspirational picture for the photographer’s clients and in doing so makes it clear to the purchasing photographer that it can help their business.
Copy meets design
Words can’t really exist in isolation, especially on a product showcase like the new PhotoKey website. The copy style and tone of voice has to match the visual design in such a way that it feels like they were always one and the same, rather than elements created by entirely different people.
PhotoKey has had some lovely images produced over the years by a variety of photographers but this time round FXHOME brought in Erin Patel, a local photographer who has imbued a deeper sense of character personality in all the images. It’s less about beautiful models and more about hinting at fascinating stories.
That’s backed up by some really delicate and classy web design. Words and images exist in balance, each given their chance to shine and enhancing the other. The main Overview page creates the luxurious feel of a glossy magazine without falling into the trap of pretending to be one. There’s a depth and conviction to the page which serves to give customers confidence. Animation is used sparingly, and has a big impact when it does show up.
I’m really rather pleased with how it all turned out. The end result feels fresher and more exciting than ever, even after so many years of working on the series.