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Social Media
Copper’s Social Marketing Gets a Photographic Boost

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In an interview earlier this year, I asked ski photographer Dan Carr if iPhone photos were high enough quality to be used for social media purposes. His response made a very good point,

” I think [iPhone photos] can work because you aren’t trying to attract people’s attention from within a mass of other amazing ski photos…They obviously shouldn’t be terrible photos , but for daily reminders of how awesome the powder is at some place I think it’s not such a bad way to go.”

With that in mind as a common route resorts were taking, I was interested to see what would happen if a resort did try to step it up a notch. Many resorts have, bringing in local talent as Dan pointed out, but recently, I noticed one resort who was taking larger strides than most: Copper Mountain.

I actually stumbled across their photos as I was tracking a new metric and noticed their engagement was higher than most. Interested, I dug deeper and found a pretty sharp looking line-up of photos, especially when compared to the albums of similar events last year. While some of them appear to employ software-enhanced HDR techniques (HDR is frowned upon in many photography circles), their fans seem to love them which really is what matters in the end.

ALBUM: Snow! October 17, 2011 – View Album
135 Album Likes – 434 Individual Picture Likes

ALBUM: White Noise at Copper : Snowmaking 2011/2012 Season – View Album
244 Album Likes – 335 Individual Picture Likes

Compared to last year when Copper had just over a third the fan count that they have now (6,374 Oct 2010 v 18,662 Oct 2011), individual photo likes have gone way, way up, but album likes in general don’t seem to have increased with the number of fans. Rather than enjoying the photos themselves, it appears fans last year were more excited about the news in general. This year, with both news and awesome photos, overall engagement has gone up.

ALBUM: The White Stuff (2010) – View Album
72 Album Likes – 18 Individual Picture Likes

  • Using HDR doesn't make a photograph better. Its just different. People get excited when they see something different.
    As a photographer, I know what HDR is, and to me it is digital art (at best), not 'better photography' or as you stated, "a photographic boost." To me it looks fake; like video game graphics. When I want to see mountain snapshots, I want to see what it actually looks like, not some computerized manipulation that 'looks cool' [to the novice]. Winter and skiing have always brought me back to a childlike state of innocence, recalling the freedom I found as a child when I put on my first pair of skis. It was a simple time. Simple things remind me of those great times, and over-manipulated imagery, such as the new HDR photography on Copper's social media, distract from those great memories. They make everything look fake; like a computer-generated reality.
    The mountains are real. Probably one of the most real things out there; they're not going anywhere. Why can't realistic photos of the mountains suffice anymore? Are we that gullible to ever-changing technology that we must throw away everything from our past and use the latest and so-called greatest just to please the masses?

    • GreggBlanchard

      Brett, thanks for the feedback. I too recoil at the sight of an HDR photo (Sun Valley is famous for them) and I completely understand where you are coming from. However, overall, I think you'd have to agree that, compared to last year, it is indeed a boost in the quality of photography. Yes, HDR isn't the true image, but, technically, neither are images that have had action scripts applied, contrast boosted, or color correction work. I often have to remind myself that marketing isn't an art show and I'm in the minority when it comes to my thoughts on HDR. Like you said, they "look cool" the novice. What I usually overlook when I get annoyed by the use of HDR, is that 99% of folks online are novices (hence the reason Instagram is so popular). If Copper finds success in doing so with HDR, I'd say more power to them.

      • Yeah, no problem. I don't mean to slam anything. There was a place to voice my opinion, so I thought I would.

        Technology is so awesome, yet creates so many more challenges (read: opportunities) when trying to appeal to a mass audience. 1970s/1980s skiing advertisements always strike me as simple, elegant, and given the generational shift, often quite funny. Too bad that simplicity doesn't fly as easily now as it used to.

        • GreggBlanchard

          Not a problem, Brett. I love different points of view and feedback, especially when people disagree in an intelligent way. Good stuff. I love those old ads too, I've got a thing for ski history and the simplicity of it all. Like you said, that just doesn't fly these days. Opens up lots of opportunities, but kinda sad to see it go.

    • Bob

      When used properly HDR is the most accurate representation of a scene that a camera can reproduce. The human eye is constantly changing "exposure" as it surveys a landscape, a camera is limited to one exposure to portray an entire scene. HDR exposes each zone in an image as your eye would see it. So, just because it is not what you are "used to" does not mean it is fake. And Brett – the HDR images actually do show you closer to "what it really looks like" than any single exposure snap shot. Do some research on how the human eye works and how we actually comprehend a scene before you knock technology that gets us closer to that representation in an image.

      Any way you try to argue it the new images get more interaction, and to the general public, (which is who we market to) are more interesting to look at.

      • Thanks for the feedback, Tripp! Just to clarify your response to Brett, not just any HDR, but HDR used PROPERLY is closer to “what it really looks like”…correct?

  • Wish I could have done that back in 1995 when I was running their website…

    • GreggBlanchard

      I didn't realize they had a site in 1995! That's awesome.

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