"I encourage my subjects to get involved in what I do. I let them look at the back of the camera to see the images on the screen. I let them take a picture of me. I'm selling them the experience."
Where some photographers might shy away from too much hands-on customer service, Duchaine sees it as the essence of his portraiture work. "Let's face it, we're a service industry. Service is what allows us to be who we are," he says.
Even when things go wrong, Duchaine knows you have to be amenable to your subject's needs. When we caught up with him, Duchaine had just returned from Colorado, where he was photographing the chief financial officer of a company that runs a wind farm.
"We went out the day before and scouted out the wind farm. It was freezing, like minus nine degrees. We found the composition we wanted, set it all up, worked out the logistics, and were ready to do the shoot. When the CFO showed up he was wearing street clothes, which was not what we had planned. But, as usual, we only had a short time with him, so we worked around it."
To be able to maintain such a diverse client base, Duchaine exhaustively markets his business with flyers and promo cards, which are mailed out to prospective clients six times a year.
The style of his marketing efforts is the same—consistent, concise, cost-effective. Though the promo cards are lovely creations, with each one centered on a theme—Play, Work, or Food, for instance—the ultimate goal of each promo is to drive visitors to his website.
In addition to his corporate work, Duchaine loves photographing regular New Yorkers and has been compiling an extensive series of portraits of local heroes in Brooklyn, including everyone from tattoo artists to candymakers to the "sandhogs" who dig the subway tunnels.
As an offshoot of that work, a new book featuring Duchaine's portraits of people who work along New York's waterfronts will be published in May. Titled New York Waters: Profiles from the Edge, the book features text by Ben Gibberd.
"I'm passionately crazy about what I do. I'm gaining entry to places most people never get a chance to go. Photography is basically a license to steal experience."
For more Duchaine images, visit www.randyduchaine.com