Do you remember the feeling you would get as a kid when your parents surprised you with something you had been wishing for, for months? Or even when they would take you to a movie you’d been excited to see? Well… that’s the exact excitement we feel planning for and executing brand photoshoots.
2020 was filled with nothing but challenges; obstacles and moments that truly challenged our innovation and creativity to the core. At the beginning of lockdown, photoshoots were a far away dream to return to. All we could do was put our heads together to construct a full-proof process and COVID-19 safety protocol that would set us up for success once it was safe to book with our clients again.
With our eyes constantly on the status of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States, we considered every factor imaginable when we made the decision to begin booking in-person photoshoots again.
And just like that, we were back to planning photoshoots, and booking ourselves a flight to the east coast.
The biggest factor in planning and executing photoshoots in a time of COVID-19, is safety. We require our crew to quarantine a minimum of 10 days before any photoshoot, as well as provide a negative test result before the day of the photoshoot. This is also asked of each of our clients and whomever team members of theirs that are on set. Masks are required to be worn per CDC guidelines for all crew members, and for the client when they are not in front of the camera. Nothing is more important to us than keeping our team and clients safe. No photoshoot can be successful without proper safety precautions, and all on set complying to them.
With safety and protocols covered, it’s time to discuss creative.
When planning a photoshoot, specifically to emulate someone’s brand, you have to consider your usual factors of location, schedule of the day, styling, and where the photos are going to be used after delivery, in addition to considering: do these images best represent the client’s brand?; do they contain colors and backgrounds that fit within their established brand color palette?; is the client portraying a mood that fits their brand voice, and overall how they want to sell themselves to clients?
In this particular case of planning our client, Rachel Rodgers’ brand photoshoot at her ranch in North Carolina, we had the opportunity to co-collaborate with her marketing team and stylist, Elsa Isaac. During what we like to call, pre-production, it is important to us that everyone at the table gets to share their creative input. Not only does this make everyone feel heard and respected, but it has shown to make the end product that much more personalized to the client’s brand.
This method of co-collaboration carries through to the shoot itself as well. We always prepare our clients with a shot list and inventory of pose ideas, but when a client is comfortable enough, we let them take the reins. Chelsea doubles as the photographer and creative director for all brand photoshoots, so while she’s shooting, she’s physically demonstrating the pose she’d like the client to go into next. With Rachel, her body awareness and experience with photoshoots allowed Chelsea to give the initial idea for the scene and then trust in Rachel to move through what felt right to her.
No scene is complete without an accompanying outfit, and that’s where Joey comes in. During pre-production, a moodboard is created to compile images, textures, poses, and of course, outfits to make the photoshoot come to life. Not only does this help shape the theme of the photoshoot, but it also assists the client to explore outfit options in their own closets, or go out and purchase outfits specifically for the photoshoot. This time around, we collaborated with Elsa Isaac, a professional fashion stylist based in New York. Elsa provided a line-up of incredible outfits that combined looks inspired by Burberry, Ralph Lauren, and “down home on the farm.” It was brilliant! Come photoshoot time, Joey and Elsa planned each outfit to the scenes of the day, ensuring that not only the schedule of the day ran smoothly, but each item on the shot list was accomplished by day’s end.
In a year that has been so unpredictable, photoshoots like these have proved to be our light at the end of the tunnel. Giving us hope that we will get through this, all we have to do is just keep creating magic.