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.
Whenever we leave for a branding session, or any photo session, we bring… well pretty much everything we have with us! To us there’s no worse feeling we can imagine then running into a situation where we need a piece of equipment, know that it’s sitting in our gear closet, but not having it with us to serve our clients. So we live by our own golden rule of always being over-prepared! That normally falls under Jon‘s responsibilities, and he affectionately refers to himself as the E + J pack mule! He does a great job at it too, never forgetting to prep and have the gear ready to go. But, if we had to pretend like we forgot everything besides our camera, and had to choose our top three most important must have items for a branding shoot, these are what we couldn’t live without!
We were introduced to the ExpoDisc at a photography workshop we attended together when we first started shooting. This little disc seems so simple, and truthfully using it really is! One thing we always struggled with was white balance. We’d shoot on auto white balance which would never be consistent. The temperature of the images would change shot to shot during a shoot. We tried learning to use Kelvin, but that also seemed like too much to remember while so many other things were going on! Enter the ExpoDisc. The ExpoDisc is a little tool that feeds the camera a grey image based on the light coming into the lens. It fits on the lens like a lens cap, is lightweight and sturdy, and is an ace in our pocket for every shoot. Since discovering it and implementing it into our process, our white balance has been consistently perfect every. single. time. It saves us untold amounts of time in post processing and allows us to show our clients their images back of camera without being timid or explaining how we’ll correct color temperature later on! We don’t want to imagine shooting without it!
White foam boards…we know…it sounds SO exciting! It’s as exciting as a blank piece of paper, right? But really, they end up being used on almost every shoot. Often times, we end up need to take product photos or other styled images on a white surface, and foam boards have been the perfect solution for us. They’re smooth, light, and white which gives us a nice clean surface to shoot on! And since their foam boards, they are sturdy and hold up for a few shoots! They’re also cheap, which makes them perfect for us since we often end up destroying them! When we travelled to Chicago to shoot for the White Sox, we couldn’t find them anywhere! But having a flat white tool in our arsenal was so important to us that we settled for white poster board and protected them like babies as we squeezed onto the morning commute on the L train!
It’s more than just flat lays though. We also use foam boards to create light boxes when we need to bounce light in a small space. We’ve held them up to use them as reflectors, placed them in a line to create a fake ‘wall’ behind an image, taped them in an L shape to create a light box. The uses are literally limitless, so we always have a few handy.
If we had our cameras, ExpoDisc, and white foam boards, we’d still be missing one piece that we never leave home without. It’s a little something we’ve had people call the E+J Effect. It’s our drive. Our energy. Our can-do, will-do attitude we bring to every session. Every branding shoot is different and requires new solutions – and sometimes those ‘solutions’ don’t work out so well. We also live in Arizona where it’s crazy hot in the summer, so outdoor shoots in the heat can elevate to a whole new level of stress if things aren’t working out well. But we are intentional to bring the E+J Effect to every photoshoot, because we firmly believe that despite any challenging circumstance, it’s what every one of our clients deserve! Our goal, the why plastered across everything we do, is to positively impact everyone we work with. So while our attitude, energy and servant hearts aren’t something we can physically pack in our gear bags, it’s definitely something we’re intentional about never leaving home without!