Insight and Approach to Commercial Work
The biggest thing that, you know helped to determine if the project is viable or not is discovering what the budget is and knowing if their scope fits what's possible, what they want to achieve. And, you know, that's gonna, you know that's just gonna vary based on, you know, where you're at with your career, if you're super hungry and just starting out or if you're further along and, you know, you're only gonna take on bigger projects and that's like true through any career, in any field that you're working in. You know, even if you're a home builder, you know when you first start out, you're gonna work for much less and then as you gain talent and skills and reputation and become better in your craft you're gonna take on larger and better projects. And that's just a natural curve of any career in any field. And then once you've established the budget and essentially you just need to really honor yourself in that, like, what are you willing to work for? And you k...
now, how hungry are you? And does that give you enough room to cover your expenses to pay taxes on that income and then still create something and, and earn a profit for your own life to keep going forward and to make more work. So the big piece of having a successful self produced photo shoot where you're creating a library of images for a brand is one to have them be obviously very involved and also invested in it. So like how that translates out is you really want to get a mood board from them. You want to have them assemble a document or at least a collection of images of the style that they're looking for and images that they love. And then part of that creative brief you want to have a really detailed shot list of them of big hero, high item, things that they need to get done. And that could be specific, you know, products or, you know item skews, or it could just be like, we, you know need filler landscape shots. So really just get them involved in honing out and ironing out that, that shot list. And those are things that just get them more involved and have them more ownership of it instead of just like, oh like, oh shoot images. That's not enough directive. You want to get them activated and feeling like they're a part of the process because they're not gonna be there on set with you to creative direct. So you really want to cover your bases before you even start shooting. So expectations are in sync and you can meet those expectations that they have. You want to have that really focused shot list from the client before you begin. So that gives you a place to launch from like shoot those images, make sure you check those off. But the flow in the creative process of shooting is that as you start warming up, you get the creative mojo going. And when you're out there on location inspiration's gonna come to you. And that's how, that's how inspiration comes to me. The place I start is an idea in my mind but then I let the process take over a shooting, bring in other, you know inspirations from the physical environment, be the rocks or the sand or the water or the wind. And, but you have to begin somewhere. So that's, that's the way that I create for clients is like we have a shot list. I'm gonna make sure we get all those. And then I'm still gonna leave room and time for my own creative influence and inspiration to fill in all the gaps and make a bunch of extra images in between. And I think that's really when the photo magic happens. I mean, the, the, the truth of like the advertising world and photography is it's very fast moving and the pace is really quick. And a lot of times like you do pour your heart and soul and love into creating these images and you deliver them to the client and you like really never hear back again. And like a lot of times you do want to get, you know, praise and like, oh, we love this. And that just doesn't always happen. And it's nothing personal. It's not that they don't love them. It's just like you're often just like one piece to like a very big puzzle that they're assembling for the campaign. But what I always tried to do is even if I don't get the feedback from the client that I was hoping, like I always try to send a note of gratitude and thanks for getting hired for the project. And then just like, Hey, like if you guys end up using the images, like let me know where they land cause I would love to see them. So I think it's just wise to remember to, you know give the type of love that you wanna receive and, you know send in a note to a client after the shoot. Like that is just a great, it's a great idea. So the one thing I always wanna establish with the client is you have to come up with a hard list, deliverables of skews and products and hero shots that they're expecting. Like you have to get aligned on the big picture location. Are you shooting indoors? Are you shooting outdoors? You know, is it gonna be a clean white studio? Is it gonna be a natural space? Like, are you shooting in a, you know, a welding shop, or a barn or, you know, are you gonna be on the beach? Like you have to hone in and get the big picture parameters set. So there's like an expectations and really that's all about communication. And that's part of the pre-production conversations with the brands before you even start scouting locations and taking images. The big workflow of these self-produced shoots is like you've gotten a brief from the client that has the shot list that has their location preferences they've listed model requirements, like how many models and what type of models, what's the feeling of that. And then it's my job to go find the locations that I can shoot in. And often I'm trying to pick locations that are, you know free to photograph in that don't require permits that are kind of low overhead. And then I'm going to book my talent, their time and secure what the rate is gonna be with them. And I always try to be generous as I can with the talent and, and also very upfront and honest about what the usage is like, you don't want to have a job where you you're shooting talent and it's a national cross country billboard campaign. And they are unaware that that is what their face is gonna be on. You have to be really transparent about where the photographs are going. And then after I've picked the location and the talent I'll communicate back with the, the brand or the agency of like where I think that the shoot would be great to have it at and then I'll get approval for that. And then that's when I'll book officially book the talents time, and we'll go out into the world and start shooting. Some of the self-produced shoots that I do often I'll do pre-production location scout for the client so, and this is after having a phone call or two with them to figure out if we're shooting indoors or outdoors. And a great example of this is I have a shoot coming up with Blundstone boots and I'm delivering them 40 unique images and it's gonna be a product focused shoot. So it's not so much lifestyle. It's not so much, you know, people, you know, smiling, having a good time. It's really like honed in 50, 80 millimeter shots of the boots being worn in real environments, and just to make sure that we're on the same page with expectations I'll take the effort to go out with, you know just my iPhone and secure a couple locations for this. Some of my neighbors around me are in the trade. One of them is a welder and he has a really old, beautiful shop that's, you know worn and dusty in the best way. So I just went in there, snapped a couple photographs of the space that I wanted to create in. And then you just email those off to the client to get approval of that's fitting their expectations. So then when you go shoot no one's disappointed when they see the files. So if you start to go into the space of doing self-produced shoots for clients, the, the big takeaways to remember are to have lots of conversations before you start shooting, to have your location approved, to have your talent approved and have that shot list really honed in. So expectations are met and no one's disappointed when you're delivering files. And then whenever possible, just try to over deliver.