As most of you probably know, I love a photo shoot. I think it can be a fab way to showcase talent, put out ideas that have been bubbling away in creative brains and just generally help form bonds with like-minded souls.
Maybe because of this, I've had quite a few fellow industry peeps get in touch and ask for advice on either a) how to put together a shoot and b) what to do with it when it's done.
Before I was a florist, I worked in the crazy world of advertising and marketing - initially as a 'suit', and later as a 'creative'. As such I attended/art directed quite a number of shoots with my clients, so I've had a bit of a head start in putting shoots together in my Campbell's guise. There are a few key factors you need to bear in mind, initially:-
- Don't rush into putting together a shoot. Think about why you are doing it. What do you want at the end of it?
- If it's pretty pictures for your website, do you need a range of shots? If so, you'll need to plan like mad!
- If it's publicity or PR for everyone involved, where would you ideally like to see it featured?
- Does your shoot have an idea/theme/concept? If so, is it a good 'fit' with your preferred blog or magazine? Do some research - read your magazine from cover to cover or look at similar 'inspiration' posts on the blogs you love.
- Have you worked out lead times or copy deadlines? If your shoot is seasonal, have you timed it right? Magazines usually have very set deadlines which can sometimes work in your favour. Blogs are a little more flexible with their lead times but, depending on who you're dealing with, can be a bit arbitrary!
In my experience, some bloggers will happily pop your lovely shoot straight onto their blog within a matter of days and be jolly nice about it; some are fantastic, uber professional and fab and give you the date your post will go up well in advance and stick to it. Then there are others .... they'll be very friendly, insist on exclusivity and then might keep you waiting, keep promising, ignore you for a while and then keep you waiting some more! Ultimately, they usually do post your shoot, but the wait can be agonising, and I have heard of cases where bloggers have kept people hanging on and then changed their mind and didn't take the feature.
Putting together a shoot can be a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. Styled shoot are very, very time consuming. You put all your best creative ideas together, work incredibly hard organising everything, possibly spend hard earned pennies, agonise for hours over which initial shots to send, write all the copy, only, in some cases, to be totally ignored. Let's be clear, not everyone works in this way and as I said, many bloggers are fantastic, but forewarned is forearmed!
But, and as Bart Simpson says ... it's a big butt (!) ....
You can come out of a shoot with something you and your industry friends are incredibly proud of, a fabulous source of inspiration for your brides, gorgeous pics to use on your website, form new alliances in the shape of the lovely people you worked with and get to know a really friendly editor or blogger! As a natural born optimist, I prefer to think this is always going to be the scenario following a shoot, which is why I've not given up on them!
Here are a just a few of our shoots which happily have featured on lots of blogs and magazines ...
BEST OF BRITISH
WOMEN OF STEEL
MY SECRET WEDDING
WONDERFUL WINTER WHITES
Remember also, that most magazines and blogs ask for exclusivity so while you're waiting for your shoot to be published, you won't be able to blog your pics (a sneak peek is OK)! This can take several months, so be patient.
And finally, the cardinal rule for shoots is MAKE SURE YOU CREDIT CONTRIBUTORS. If someone gives freely of their creativity, time, energy and effort it's only right that they should be credited with a link back to their website. So, when you send your story to the magazines or blogs, it's imperative you supply all the links too and make sure you credit the photographer every time you use their images on facebook or other social media. The copyright for the shots always remains the property of the photographer and it's not accepted practice to crop or faff about with photoshop. Don't do it - you might just make them very cross!
That all said, I guess you won't be surprised to find there's more to come from Campbell's in the near future ....
I hope that was helpful. Good luck and I do hope our shoots have helped provide you with inspiration, I'm also delighted to see our ideas being featured in magazines and on blogs - it shows we're on the right track!
Jess Petrie Photography
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