Write your own fairytale

Collaboration between photographer & client is where all the magic happens

I'm always very excited to work with a client who has a concept but is also willing to relinquish creative control. This means we are both aligned in what we are aiming to portray, but that as a photographer I also get the opportunity to my absolute favourite thing - play! It's so important as a creative to remember to take time to play (as my 2.5-year-old daughter reminds me every day). It inspires us to try new things, push new boundaries, reinvent and explore. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of playing it safe by taking the standard photos or poses that you know will guarantee a good result. This is absolutely fine sometimes, and also what makes you a professional. But not if you start to stagnate or feel like you are losing your creative spark or energy. The administrative side of owning a business might sometimes be a chore but photo taking should never feel like that. Here are some ideas on how to work with a client so that they get the professional images they are looking for and you get to challenge yourself creatively:

Get on the Same Page

This step is very important. It allows you to really understand each other beforehand and capture the right essence and tone of the images you want to create. This might be in a phone call or a face-to-face conversation, a mood board or colour palette, or through discussing meaningful objects or props. I like to ask for 3 adjectives that might describe the style that a client is looking for or the message they want to convey. Sometimes we might even create a rough storyline. What we want to avoid is a kind of "copy this" mentality, where a client might have an exact Pinterest image of what they would like replicated. If that's what they're looking for then it's important to move onto:

Building trust with your clients

Share some before & after examples of basic concepts vs. final images in your portfolio. What kind of key words did you discuss beforehand? What sort of colour palettes did you work with? Some clients might trust in your ability right away, but some others need to build up their trust after a more detailed explanation of the entire process. Trust is also an essential part of any photo session (or interaction for that matter!). It's what allows the person in front of the camera to open up and show their authentic selves, and it gives them confidence in what the results will look like. Once you feel like you've accomplished this make sure to:

Share the stories behind your photos

Which is what I would like to do here. I worked with Dr. Katie T. Larson in the process of rebranding her coaching business, GrowthQuests, in its newest phase to better reflect her own personal journey. We discussed her values behind her business, the process of her own growth, and her aims for moving on to the next level. With these concepts clear in our minds we were able to create some of the honest, adventurous and semi-spiritual images that we were hoping for. As a photographer it can sometimes be scary to let go of the fail-safe shots, push yourself out of your comfort zone and also trust in your own ability when trying something unusual. It is also how we ourselves learn to grow!