This shoot was to advertise a local charter high school in the Back To School edition of a local magazine. Working with an eclectic group of kids and personalities is challenging as is working with a large number of people. Combine that with a busy environment and composition turns into a bit of a nightmare. We started out shooting in front of the school (per request of the administration), then made our way indoors where I searched for the perfect background.
- I immediately knew that I wanted to shoot in the school cafeteria. There were some glorious windows to utilize natural light and a shiny newly polished floor to offer some lovely reflections. The background was clean, simple, and consistent.
- Giving the students something to do helped them feel less awkward and contributed to my vision of the shoot: to represent learning, friendships, and progress.
As you continue to develop a style and vision in line with your brand it becomes increasingly important to filter what you put out in the world.
Great photographers are also great editors…meaning: THEY DON’T SHOW THE WORK THEY’RE NOT PROUD OF OR DOESN’T REPRESENT THEIR VISION.
This shoot also taught me that (gasp!) not everyone shares passion for my vision to represent their business.
Though I was hired by the magazine to shoot their covers, in the end, the vision still belonged to the business being featured, and they make the final call.
The following image was chosen for the cover of the magazine, but did not represent my style and was shot by request:
I faced a certain dilemma at publication, since traditionally the photographer receives credit on the cover. (A remarkable bit of advertising for a photographer to their local community).
I chose to remain anonymous.
Are you intentional about what you share? Do all your images reflect a consistent style or message? Could people pick your work out from a panel of examples because you’re so intentional about how and what you shoot?
There really is a remarkable difference you can see between images I shoot that are my own vision and images that represent someone else’s vision.
This isn’t to say I never shoot something different. I’ve shot some community events, formal family pictures, newborns, and some product photography as small favors for friends. But you aren’t going to see them here, and I avoid drawing attention to anything that is not consistent with my message and what I enjoy doing.
What you put out you get back.
If you’re tired of shooting family reunions don’t show them on your site. If you’re tired of shooting traditional pictures, stop sharing them on your site. If you don’t want to do product photography forever, stop sharing it.
I know what its like to shoot anything and everything in order to feed your family, and there’s no shame in that whatsoever. But always keep the ultimate goal of where you want to be in sight:
Own your work. Own your vision. And seek for a match with those you work with.
Read other Tiny Tips for a Dramatic Difference HERE.
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Her proudest accomplishment this week was running two miles. She despises running. She got tricked into it. But upon finding out the distance she beamed with pride that she did something hard and horrible! Now she thinks she can do practically anything.
Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.
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