The last month has been as busy as ever – as well as wedding season starting again, photographing families and running training courses I have also been working on my website. Once Google announced that they would be penalising non-mobile optimised sites it became clear that it was time for an overhaul of my content. I massively underestimated the scale of the task but it is a job well done – it’s great to have a portfolio spring clean because my work and style evolves over time.
Within my PP column I only have the space to mention a handful of my shoots but it’s probably important to mention that not all of them are enjoyable – at the end of the day I am shooting to commission and there are many reasons why I might find a job particularly tricky. It could be that I don’t like the location or the quality of light and sometimes the problem is me – I might not be feeling on top form for some reason.
I often hear photographers talk about this being a lonely job and I can understand that they are referring to the long hours behind a computer screen. I actually think it’s a real team sport and any results are not solely dependent on you. Obviously the size of the team can vary tremendously and as a lifestyle photographer that might be just you and one client. But to get results you both need to put the right level of energy and effort in.
My favourite shooting scenario involves a small team where everyone has a vital role to play in the outcome. This month I was commissioned to shoot the new collection for a bridal accessories brand and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The team was made up of the accessories designer, a wedding dress designer, hair and make up artist, myself and an assistant. And of course the ‘model’ – Jess is a fellow photographer who only rarely ventures the other side of the lens.
Choosing the location was a team decision and we finally found a lovely pub in North London that offered the perfect colour palette with vintage inspired styling. It doesn’t, however, offer the best natural light so I was glad to have taken quite a range of lighting equipment with me and ended up supplementing with continuous daylight sources throughout the day.
When you are shooting a ‘look book’ there is often a lot to get through and everyone needs to be super organised and prepared to work at speed – a very good reason why I have found fantastic hair and make up artists that I trust and always want to work with. I find being surrounded by other creatives very inspiring and I am always keen to have their input on the vision that we are all trying to create. Styled shoots like this are also a great opportunity to have a play and discover new ideas which can translate to real wedding scenarios.
We took some behind the scenes footage on the day and you can have a look at it here:
These kind of shoots remain the single most important thing that I did during the first year of my business and they led to huge networking opportunities that had a direct bearing on real wedding bookings. More creative imagery in your portfolio will attract brides who put a lot of effort into the styling of their day. The weekend after the accessories shoot I shot a wedding that was full of beautiful details and the bride would have looked right at home amongst the pages of an editorial shoot for a wedding magazine. At the end of the day it is all down to the law of attraction so put the effort in to creating a portfolio that represents the kind of work you would like to be commissioned for. You’ll end up also making new industry friends and having your own adventures!