Collaboration through COVID with Handover Agency
Handover Agency is a small but mighty design studio based in Birmingham, England, with a focus on creating enduring visuals through close collaboration with clients of all shapes and sizes. While the impact of COVID-19 has forced Dan and Curtis of Handover to move all of their work online, they’ve managed to keep their collaborations flowing -- a testament to how well the agency builds relationships and trust with those they help in bringing story visions to life.
Who are the members of your team, and what do you each bring to the projects you work on to help clients communicate their stories?
Handover is a team of two, myself (Dan) and Curtis. Every phase of every project we undertake is handled by ourselves. From concept to execution, we collaborate between ourselves and directly with our clients and friends to help bring their brand or story to life. Whether we are executing a client-led brief or art directing the project ourselves, the whole process is handled in house from our first point of contact, all the way through to the final handover.
How would you describe the Handover Agency aesthetic?
This is a tough one, something our clients could probably describe better than we can. Our goal has always been to create timeless photography that avoids cliché or trend. I guess the fact that 95 percent of our work comes from repeat business, and word of mouth referral means that whatever our aesthetic is, there is a demand for it.
You’ve worked on projects with companies that range from centuries old bicycle manufacturers, to architecture companies, and everything in between. Can you describe your process when working with a new client, and how it may change (or not change) depending on the type of client?
Our process mostly remains the same. The key differential is the subject, but our approach is pretty much the same each time. We listen to and collaborate with our clients to establish their needs, then we help them execute the visuals to best express their vision and story. The real key is communication and honesty. We have found that helps build trust in what we do, then delivering timeless quality visuals consistently and efficiently helps bring the whole process to a close, and often leads to more work with our clients in the future. Our goal has always been to have fewer clients that we work with on a regular basis. The idea of quality over quantity is key for us.
What are some of your favorites “tools of the trade” to use in your photography and video work?
Unlike a lot of photographers, we aren't really focused on tools and equipment. We are firm believers that it doesn't matter how you get there as long as the final image or video does what it is intended to do, and tells the story it needs to tell.
Covid has had an astronomical impact on all aspects of life and work. In your own creative work, how has social distancing, lockdowns, and day to day changes in life and routines affected how you work together with clients?
It has definitely posed some challenges over the past 12 months. In the interest of our own and our client's safety we have essentially shifted to a remote shooting model. After the first couple of projects, and ironing out a few teething problems, this has now become second nature and a super easy and safe way to help keep projects on track. The process basically entails a pre agreed brief/shot list over a call or email, shipping the products or subject to our studio, shooting the project and communicating via email or whatsapp throughout the day, then editing and handing over as usual. All of which can be done with our clients at home or in their studio while working here in ours.
Would you mind sharing your current coffee routine with us?
Of course, we start everyday with a fresh brew and some downtime before the work begins. Coffee first, then we get on with the day's tasks. We use our Ratio Six to brew a large batch that we drink throughout the day. We can't wait to get back to hosting our clients and friends in the studio and having them enjoy a brew with us soon! It helps that the machine is so beautiful and fits the studio aesthetic perfectly. The thermos keeping the coffee warm throughout the day is super helpful too!
What projects and adventures is Handover looking forward to, or dreaming of, in 2021?
We already have a pretty packed schedule for the year ahead. While we are grateful for all of the studio work we have been doing in recent months, we can't wait to get back out on location and travel with work again. As soon as it is safe to do so, we are eager to get back to London and further afield in Europe with some of our clients that we have missed due to the pandemic.