We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
It’s kind of funny how we can imagine a ‘perfect’ way of doing something and compare it to our own ways of doing things, isn’t it? For example – your family vacation filled with hard work, patience, and the occasional need to wipe a tear or runny nose to make your kid’s dream vacation a reality vs. the perfect beach vacation in Bora Bora that your favorite influencer posted on the Gram filled with relaxation, total pampering, and ZERO effort required to enjoy.
Suddenly, you can begin to think that you MUST be doing something wrong. Why can’t YOUR reality look like that? Well, let’s set aside the conversation of reality vs. social media and just focus on our own mindsets. Oftentimes, we assume everyone else has a better way of doing things, has everything figured out and most of all…doesn’t make mistakes.
That couldn’t be further from the truth!
We’re hearing from our students in The Planning + Styling Course that some of the most impactful content has been the video content we include in the course that allows students to watch us conduct multiple brand photoshoots.
We have a theory for why this is the most popular part of The Planning + Styling Course. Yes, students get to see styling principles from the course applied in a real life setting, but they also get to see that we aren’t perfect. They get to see past the highlight reel of Instagram and peek behind the curtain into what a real session with us looks like.
And today friend, we’re giving you a chance to do the same as we share Three BTS Secrets of a Brand Photoshoot!
I don’t know where or why we thought this, but early on in our careers as we engaged with clients, we had this mysterious belief that standing in front of a client meant losing the ability to communicate with each other. That somehow, if we uttered a word to each other during the session, we’d come off as unprofessional.
Once again, where we got that idea from….no idea! But we realized that in order to be our best and provide a great team experience, we HAD to communicate. No good team can execute without communication – it’s essential. We call out camera settings, brainstorm ideas out loud, and communicate feedback about how things are working constantly.
The thought of it being ‘unprofessional’ to check camera setting with each other really became silly when we realized that to most of our clients, calling out something like, “ISO 100, f/4.5, Shutter 1/160” sounded like magic, NOT unprofessionalism. So feel free to make some magic and talk through all the things!
Somewhere in the vacuum of feeling like we weren’t allowed to talk to each other in front of a client, we also believed that we had to be perfect on the first shot. Especially when we worked with off camera lighting, we thought the expectation was for us to walk into a room, set up some lights, and be ready to go!
Man, we sure were hard on ourselves! But once again we thought that a ‘real professional’ could walk into a room, set everything up and start shooting. And every time we couldn’t meet that personal expectation, we were hard on ourselves.
Notice we said, a ‘personal’ expectation.
In reality, our client’s didn’t expect this at all. Just like communication about camera settings, this was all Greek to them and sounded magical!
At the same time, any good photographer, and especially those who work with lighting, will tell you that you’ve got to take some test shots! Sure, you should be able to rough things in and have a good idea of where to start, but from there you have to take a shot or two, perfect the set up, and then, once you feel confident, get things started!
So if you feel like we once did about taking test shots…especially when you work with lighting, take it from our girl Rihanna…
And feel free to take those test shots!!
Let’s cut straight to the chase on this one: we LOVE client feedback and involvement in a shoot.
It used to scare us. A LOT!
The first time we worked on a large scale project that included a full creative team, we were terrified. In addition to ourselves, we had a Creative Director, Brand Representative, and Marketing Representative on the shoot with us.
Our fears led us to believe that our work would be insufficient, similarly nit-picked, and we’d fail to be able to serve our client well.
Want to know the truth?
Those words would have likely described our work had the creative team NOT been there!
The creative energy they poured into the session, the brand knowledge they shared that guided every move we made, and the positive reinforcement were something we quickly fell in love with! It left us able to do our job as the photographers and creatives and let them focus on making sure everything would be pleasing for their client’s overall marketing goals!
Encourage client feedback in your sessions! Show back of camera and read your client’s reaction! Are they jumping up and down over the images or do they seem underwhelmed. If they’re ecstatic, you know you are nailing it so keep going! If they have some reservations, use it as an opportunity to ask for clarity.
Ultimately, their feedback in either direction will allow you to serve them better!
Ok guys, that’s our Three BTS Secrets of a Brand Photoshoot! Which one surprised you the most? Which one do you need to work on the most? We’d LOVE to hear from you!