How I approach brand shoots

This park is tucked away in my hometown (where I live now) and it's my favorite to drive through "real quick." That tends to look like taking 8 laps around the park while Daniel tells me wild stories about the ducks that live there.

Light and airy photo tips

Where I'm headed with my photography and content

Since coming back from maternity leave, I've been thinking about how I can best serve and give and teach through my business. I'd love to see my business support a non-profit/non-profits with 10% of its earnings. I'd love to support this small town I've grown up in. To be totally honest, I'd love to find a way for my business to buy groceries for people or financially support something — classes, a non-profit — that would help people buy groceries for their kids and equip them to manage what they do have.

At the very top of my priority list in business is serving you. Okay, well actually it's working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23 is my jam), but the awesome thing about that is doing all of this for Him helps me to keep my focus on serving you right where you're at and keeps me from serving my ego. Because let's just get real — in the day where Instagram selfies are a must if you're a small biz, it can be easy for your business to turn into something all about you. Been there and it's not cute. 

I want to serve with this space! If you know me, you know that's my heart. I'd love for you to walk away with practical tips on taking photos and editing them and I'd love to encourage you while you're here! I'd also love to encourage moms and mompreneurs because that work matters.

So what exactly am I doing with photography? I'll still shoot, but my content perspective will just be focused on teaching instead of simply sharing my images.

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How i approach brand and head shot images for creatives

How we set up this shoot

One day I was just sitting there sipping on an iced chai tea latte like I do and dreamt up a few shoots that would help me illustrate the photo and editing tips that I've been wanting to talk about. Pulled out my phone, punched in Charity's name and shot her a text to ask if she was up for a brand shoot for her biz. Anyone else love working with other creatives?!

I told her I wanted to shoot in this park and she made the hour long trip! Turns out peacocks just walking around a park is not a daily occurrence  everywhere you go, but if you spend time in this park even for a little bit, you'll hear them and see one walk by. Just like that. You'll be sitting there just eating your lunch on a bench and a peacock will walk by. I thought that was an everywhere thing, but apparently not? Ha!

Long after the sun had gone down, Charity and I were sitting there chatting in her car and a peacock crossed the street. She had only seen them at the zoo or in Guatemala, so it was the best surprise and we couldn't stop laughing.

About this sweet friend of mine... she's the incredible business owner behind He Loves Me Flowers and we've been featured all over the place: Style Me Pretty, Brides Magazine, Belong Magazine, Martha Stewart to name a few. We just get each other and there's so much creative freedom to try new things, to talk about whatever, and to think in a new way when we're working together. When I stepped away from wedding photography, I wasn't sure what the photography side of my business would look like anymore, but I feel like I'm starting to see it all a bit more clearly!

Light and Airy Photo Recipe

Edited with the Light & Airy Preset Suite

Apply the following mix and match presets...

1. Light & Airy Basic
2. Fuji Film
3. Restore Whites
4. Brightest
5. Low Contrast
6. Warm Skin Tones
7. Green Saturation

How I worked with the last of the light

The above shot was taken right after the sun had disappeared behind the trees. There wasn't a ton of light left (you can even see car headlights in the bottom right photo), so I had Charity turn to face the last of the light. I wanted to be careful not to overexpose and lose the detail in her white shirt, so I underexposed this image a ton. I wouldn't have underexposed by this much, but there was such a difference between her white shirt and the background, so I needed to make sure to protect the detail in her shirt. 

With digital, you can bring the exposure up a ton in post, but if you overexpose and lose the detail in the whites, there's no getting them back! This entire shoot was edited with the Light & Airy Preset Suite and I used a mix of the 10 second editing system, Fuji Classic & Portra Clasic.


How I photographed her personality

Charity has such a joyful and vibrant presence and I really wanted to bring that out in the posing. Okay, it's not really posing... it's directing. I like to think like I'm on set filming a movie. Instead of positioning my subject "right here" and just so, I like to give them something to do (if I want movement) or something to think about (if I need something still).

I wanted to make sure to get a mix of vertical and horizontal close ups of her arrangements — she brought a bouquet and a centerpiece — as well as headshots for her and a few candid images that she can use on her website, social media, etc.

You know we had to pull out her phone and snap some images of her taking photos for the 'gram. Would we really be creative entrepreneurs if we didn't do that? Haha!

brighter light and airy photos

How I approached the flowers

When I'm working with a florist and photographing her work, I like to look over the bouquet and get the "feel" for the bouquet. You can look at a bouquet and tell if it was made for a tight or loose look, but I'm talking about the depth with the flowers and the "rhythm." I feel like every florist has a different way they think about flowers and you can easily see that in how they approach the depth in their bouquet.

I like to think about bouquets like songs. There tends to be a verse or two (flows to the bouquet where you can see movement) and a chorus (a specific flower or focus on the bouquet that draws your focus). Then I just photograph the bouquet with those details in mind. My focal point, depth of field, and even my exposure reflect the feel of the bouquet.

This may seem so simple, but I can't tell you how many weddings I booked because florists were obsessed with the way I photographed their work. It's worth the extra effort and it's fun to try to photograph what you experience through smell and sight and touch in an image.

how i approached headshots

I love the creative shots — photos of Charity doing her thing, Instagramming, sitting in a chair, and the ones of her walking away with her hands in the air — but I know when I'm taking photos for a creative entrepreneur that I need to get in some close headshots, too.

After all, we've got to have those for our social bios and our website, right? I wanted to include a tiny piece of her work in the frame. In the above image, I had her hold her bouquet, but in an image below, I just left the centerpiece in the background so it just filled the bottom left half of the frame behind her.

In the above image, I had her hold the bouquet, tilt it toward me just a smidge so the big pink flowers would create a leading line toward her hair and then obviously the hair created a leading line toward her face. 

creative entrepreneur working

how i approached creative brand shots

The images where Charity is sitting next to a table in a chair? Totally planned. The images where Charity is taking photos with her iPhone? Not planned.

When I'm shooting, I tend to get a mix of both. I always end up previsualizing my shoot to come up with ways I can direct my subject, how I can shoot to tell a story, and what I want the experience to be like for them. But I love when things just happen and you can incorporate those moments into the shoot. 

I walked to the car to grab something and when I walked back over to our setup, Charity was taking photos with her iPhone. She wasn't standing on the chair or anything (I had that idea later). I think she was taking a video for Instagram or taking a photo to send to her hubby. I love when creative shots are planned, but I love it even more when my subject is relaxed and just doing what they'd normally do and I can photograph that.

I think the biggest tip I can give for creative brand shots is to pay attention to your subject. Take note of how they stand when they are relaxed or what they do when the camera isn't on them. Then have them do those things when you're shooting.

I hope you enjoy the rest of these images! I'll be back with photo and editing tips from this shoot soon! If you have any questions about this shoot or would like to hear something specific, leave a comment below and I'll try to answer it in an upcoming post!