Creatively Capturing Branded Lifestyle Portraits For A Fellow Creative
I have been an artist ever since I could grip a crayon into my tiny hands.
From doodling and making holiday cards for my grandparents, to attending an art high school and, eventually, carving out an artistically-driven career path, I’ve always been attracted to and motivated by creation.
When an opportunity to create image content with a fellow creative arises, that’s when the creative juices really start flowin’! Although there are a wide variety of artistic disciplines, I've always felt a unique camaraderie and respect for my effort when my work intersects with theirs. It's a magical confluence, :)
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with stage director, choreographer, TedX organizer and podcast host, Tricia Brouk, who was in need of a high-volume, image library to promote the various arms attached to her brand.
During our strategy call, she talked to me about her various creative pursuits and what she’s looking to promote, and that’s when I put on the thinking cap, and we started to brainstorm a branded portrait session that would deliver the most value for her pursuits. First, we started with the high-level objective:
Tricia needed branded, lifestyle portraits that presented her as the confident, approachable and likable performance expert that she is; a creative who is well-versed in shepherding her clients through the process of prepping, visualizing, rehearsing, and revising their approach to being on-stage - whether it be on Broadway or on a TedX platform - to deliver the performances of their lives.
In order to achieve this goal, she needed image content that would compliment a variety of informative, entertaining and inspiring stories that illustrate her business and brand.
Next, we talked location, deciding that a handful of outdoor locales located near each other, as well as a conference room would be our spaces to play.
Then, we chatted about outfits and jewelry and how it was important to choose clothing that she felt comfortable, yet confident, wearing. Additionally, those outfit changes would be huge in contributing to the diverse look in the images, since she won’t be wearing the same thing in EVERY shot.
Once we were done talking about the basics, that’s when I brought up props.
In addition to bringing her laptop, journals, screenplays and a handful of resource books, Tricia also brought a really cool looking, director’s viewfinder and an equally, cool looking, podcasting setup, complete with mic, stand and windscreen! I nerded out once I heard about that, I’m not going to lie!
Nerding out aside, we were ready to make some magic!
Plan B right out of the gate!
The morning of the shoot, Tricia was able to secure time for us to shoot in a beautiful, sprawling rooftop location by her place. It had a ton of spots for her to stand, sit, work, everything.
Needless to say, I was excited about that kind of space since the goal is diverse imagery from shot-to-shot.
Unfortunately, mother nature didn't seem to give a s**t about my excitement.
One of the challenges of working outside is that you are at the mercy of weather, and, although it was a blue-skied morning, the wind was un-apologetically kicking our asses.
So, rather than going buckwild in this lavish space, I feverishly snapped as many portraits of her outside as I could in between the wind gusts, working in a mixture of portraits and working shots.
Once the wind started uncontrollably blowing her hair around as if she was headbanging at a 1980’s hair metal concert, I suggested that we head inside and explore the space to capture some other portraits that she could easily leverage for image content.
Fortunately, I scouted a couple blank walls and a couch with her name on it!
time for Round 2 outside...
After an hour or so working this indoor space, we decided to brave it outside and see what we could get.
Although the wind had died down, the next weather challenge presented itself - 90+ degree heat and a ton of direct, midday sunlight - both pretty huge FU's presented by our dear friend, mommy nature.
During an outfit change, I scouted a shady stoop a block down from our originally chosen location. Since Tricia wanted lifestyle portraits taken outside that illustrated the look and feel of New York City, nothing says the city like a stoop location.
No wind, no sun, no sweat! Phew, we lucked out!
workin' it out
Once got a basket full of those portraits, it was time to head back inside and get some more working shots, including capturing her on her computer, editing her scripts, and working with her podcast setup.
Although there’s only so much visual variety I could capture within a 4-walled room, with a long, unmovable conference table parked in the center of the space, I moved her around as much as I could and focused on capturing the meat of her brand through the details, because, as I always say to my clients, the devil is in the details.
got to give props where props are due!
And speaking of details, we then shifted gears to focus on capturing image content from the props she brought with her. Tricia earned herself an A+ with the prep work she put into these props, bringing several books and her aforementioned director’s viewfinder.
Props are a huge asset for my clients’ image libraries since they not only provide them with great informative, entertaining and inspiring content that will speak directly to their prospective clients, but they also provide a valuable alternative to posting pictures of their faces everyday.
Despite having to fight off weather that is not exactly photo friendly, we properly prepped and were able to work extemporaneously while always keeping the goals in mind for the session.
This is exactly why we plan ahead, people, :)
As a result, Tricia walked away with an awesome and diverse image set that provides her with several months’ worth of content ammunition that will easily endear herself to her prospective clients and followers.