Our story starts in a small apartment in Shanghai, on a very hot and humid summer day in 2004. We were chatting about the fact that there are literally millions of companies producing products in China – The World’s Factory. We also knew that most companies would send samples overseas to get them photographed over there.
So we sensed there should be an opportunity for us to offer a solution to get items shot directly in China! We invite you to read our full story below.
John Ray: “Instead of blindly starting another photo studio in Shanghai, we used our previous business experience and called some companies in Europe. We knew they produced their products in China, but still did the photography work in their home country. We told them they could not only save on time, but also on money and logistics by doing their photography in our photo studio, in China! The companies we approached instantly liked the idea. Very soon they started sending us samples (directly from their warehouses in China to our Shanghai studio) so that we could photograph them.”
Christoph: “Two weeks after our first talks, the first box full of products arrived at Lorenz’s apartment. Without being photographers ourselves, or having any previous experience, we realized we had to act quickly. We found a photographer through a local newspaper, and created the first photos in Lorenz’s apartment. The client liked the images and asked for a quote and time estimate to shoot another 350 products. Wow! Right away we saw the potential, we looked at each other and immediately agreed that ‘yes’, we want to do this. So, we quit our jobs, rented a small office space, bought a camera and a couple of computers. This was the beginning of Rimagine.”
John Ray: “Our first office was a small 120 sqm space which I found on Yongjia road. The idea was to hit the ground running. First get a small place and then look for a bigger studio to meet our needs. Very soon, we had more than eight talents. We ran into problems because our office couldn’t support the electricity for all the computers, cameras and studio lights in this minuscule office. We had a very cold winter that year, to save electricity (and not overload the fuse box) we had to work with our coats on in the office and retouched images with gloves on (no kidding!).
A few months after we started, an article appeared in the Shanghai Daily.. read it here. This was a huge milestone as it was the first real public news piece on us. “And after another 8 months – we reached another important milestone for us. We found a great studio location on Wang Han Du Lu – (turns out we would stay for the coming eight years in this exact photo studio in Shanghai). We renovated it for three months to make it perfect before moving in. Moving from a tiny location into a custom-built, modern and fully-equipped commercial photography studio was a great feeling for the entire team. Everybody suddenly saw: ‘How cool, the idea really works!’”
Christoph: “We changed our claim from “Product Photography for Clients Worldwide” to “Rimagine – The Photography Company” after some of our clients kept saying: ‘You guys operate differently from other studios and agencies .. you are more like.. a photography ‘company’! We realized that we apparently did things differently from the rest. Also, at that time, we did not simply just do product photography as we had originally planned, but a lot more: Interiors, exteriors, people, industrial photography and so on.”
Lorenz: “We gained more and more focus on the kind of companies we worked with: mostly our clients were manufacturers, trade or retail companies which produce, source or distribute products in or out of China. At that time, we already had several long-term clients with dedicated client teams, but we also worked with many small-to-medium sized companies just on a per-project-basis. Such clients only used us one to ten times a year. After our first year, we saw our core competence in managing photo shootings – no matter what sort – in an efficient and organized way.”
John Ray: “After two years, we provided the services of photography, retouching, graphic design and print management. An integrated A-Z service was demanded (and appreciated) by most of our main and long-term clients. They just preferred to have one reliable service partner – especially in a ‘crazy’ and ‘chaotic’ service landscape such as China.”
Christoph: “Photography is clearly our forte! This is where we come from, and this is what we do. All our other services can be considered as ‘modules’ – some clients only want us as a regular photo studio in Shanghai to photograph their products and send them retouched and print-ready files. Other clients really enjoy the fact that not only do we do photography, but that we also can produce final artwork files for their various packaging. They send us their own-brand manuals, and we do line-extensions on a daily basis.”
Lorenz: “Rimagine not only emerged to be a magnet for great creative talents, but also for interesting projects. We now do full-service catalogue productions, including location scouting, model castings, set design and building, and so on, but still everything still revolves around ‘photography’. This makes us really unique in the creative market within China. Our photo studio in Shanghai is used on a daily basis, and it’s just a great feeling walking in and hearing and seeing the strobes in action.”
John Ray:”In retrospect, 2008 was a great and important year! We did several large catalog productions, where we took care of 100% of the production, including the layout of the catalog, the design of each page, the schedule and planning of the production, the photo shoot, the location scouting, the model casting, the set design and build, the prop hunting, artist booking, and also the final print management. This really showed us that our core competency is in the organization of complex photo shoots, and significant catalog productions! Some of our commercial photographers loved the fact that they could be part of a catalog production, something they have not experienced before.”
Lorenz: “2009 was a good but also tough year. The worldwide financial crisis hit our industry bad, but not as most other industries in the Q4 of 2008, but in the Q1 and Q2 of 2009. We did about 50% of the projects we usually did – and are incredibly proud and happy that we did not have to dismiss one single employee! Now, looking back, we really feel this was a huge achievement as we were really challenged as a team and company as a whole. Again, thanks to all our team members who fought hard with us side by side to get through such a tough time.”
John Ray:”2010 was a lot less eventful as 2009 – no worldwide financial crisis, no unique challenges for us as a photo studio. We found ourselves working a lot for creative agencies which apparently appreciated our end-to-end service. Although we did not push this, we won several new agency accounts and produced some very nice above the line work.”
Lorenz:”2011 – WHAT A YEAR! It was my grandfather who told me that to establish a business, it takes seven years. Back then, I enlightened him that it’s not the case anymore, and it’s all happening a lot faster. “Things like these don’t change!” he replied. And boy, was he right. It was not till 2011, that we really had the feeling that all the hard work and sweat paid off. Suddenly we are working on new and interesting projects every single month, making the year 2011 financially better then all the previous four years combined. We produced some really great work, as for example a really large on-location photo shoot for SIEMENS. We also started shooting for 3M.”
In mid-2011, a company approached us which we have been following for several years: YFYJupiter. Just after just a few chats and meetings with Mitch, their CEO, we knew we wanted to become part of their group, one of Asia’s most integrated packaging design and production companies. In May 2012 it was made official – Rimagine is acquired in full by YFYJupiter. Since then, we were really able to bring Rimagine to a whole new level, with photo studios in Shenzhen (Southern China), and Dallas/TX (USA). Through the combined services of our companies, we are excited to provide our customers with a full turn-key solution.
Hello Dallas! We are so excited to announce the opening of our first photography studio in the U.S. The studio will be managed by Nancy Schachtner, one of the original co-founders of our parent company YFYJupiter. Our aim is to work for a couple of retail companies based in the area.
Hello Shenzhen! We are super excited to open our 2nd photo studio in China. The studio is based in downtown Shenzhen, located in the Pearl River Delta, probably the number one production hub in the world. We are thrilled to be able to now provide our services in Southern China. Our studio, with 300sqm (=3,300 sq ft) is not super large, but conveniently located on the ground-floor, making product drop-offs and pick-ups super easy. The studio is located in the Shenzhen downtown area, on Nanhai Avenue in the Nanshan District. Please come and say hi anytime!
Rimagine welcomes its first full-time 3D designer and starts offering to build stunning computer-generated 3D scenes to being used as shooting backdrops when creating emotional lifestyle and ambiance visuals. Although China has lots of locations to offer, often they are not ‘the one’ we were looking for. With CGI-rendered 3D room scenes, we can create any sort of location our customer has in mind, be it classic European living rooms or a modern American cabin in the woods. The scenes look stunning and are produced without any limitations in regards to physical feasibility.
Rimagine’s parent company YFYJupiter acquires the majority of the UK-based packaging graphics specialist Prestige, creating the new company Jupiter Prestige Group (JPG). JPG is now our new parent company, which is very exciting news for us, as Prestige counts some wonderful companies to their list of customers. With offices in London, Leeds, Hong Kong and Australia, our international reach extends to Asia and Europe to down-under.
This year marks the third season in a row that we got awarded with Walmart’s entire patio furniture line. Our 8x pre-built and permanently available types of flooring were used intensively, and the team cranked out 200+ zero horizon shots this year.
We merge our Shenzhen and Shanghai operations into one – and Shanghai has been chosen as the flagship location.
The Rimagine’s story is constantly evolving and growing. Like to be part of our story? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch!