Tips for getting out and shooting more.
I'm going to share a few experiences with you about getting out there and shooting more! This is a concept that sometimes isn't obvious to us artists when we're trying to get paid. The truth is that after a lot of years of shooting for clients, I had a really bad case of burn out with photography. I realized that photography really is my passion and the thing that I was missing was work that inspired me personally. I believe that personal work is JUST as important as paid work and in some cases...it's more important, like if you're burnt out!
We did a complete re-haul of our 'brand' a few years ago (that ended up changing our whole lifestyle) and started on this big identity project: we wanted to shoot adventure & travel style work and couples who were into the same things that we were. We figured out pretty quickly that in order to find those people we had to get out there, they wouldn't just find us. So, here's what we did. And the reason I'm telling you this is because shooting for free, planning photo-walks with friends, traveling to places and meeting people has changed the way we feel about our business, our photography + our life.
Shoot for free.
I know, everyone cringes and face-palms when the word FREE is in a sentence with photography but just hear me out. Grab your cool friends, your siblings, the barista, that stranger who was dressed really cool at Whole Foods and plan a shoot with them. Grab a coffee and wander around taking photos in random places. It'll the best 'free' education you could give yourself. We've learned so much about our style, about choosing locations, about looking for and finding 'our' light and even more about interacting with people in front of the camera. It's a priceless self-guided workshop and you might even make some friends. Bonus: you get awesome portfolio work that matches your brand! Shooting this way for free is usually a trade off, you're getting a model who's style you can plan and direct in front of the camera so they get a few images for free. It's NOT ok to shoot for free when people ask you...that's what you get paid to do so don't let anyone take advantage of you.
This is an awesome way to meet other photographers/artists and hang out doing what you love. Schedule a dinner/coffee date with a group of about 5-6 people and plan to wander around a neighborhood/park/cool location while everyone has a camera in hand. Trade off taking photos of each other! These are fun to tweak editing styles, poses and general randomness!
Find Models on Your Travels.
We get asked about this all the time. How do you find people to shoot when you're traveling?
There are a few things we always try to do when making travel plans, the first of which is make plans in advance and post about them. We've found that our past clients often get excited to see us again or tell there friends/family if we're coming to their city. We post a 'Model Call' on Insta + Facebook about a month or so before our travel dates asking for our specific needs (style, couple, location, etc). Most of the time we find someone.
In the instances that we don't know a friend of a friend where we are going, we try model searches on Instagram. If you're a shy or overly-cautious person this might seem awkward but I'm pretty confident it's normal. We search hashtags for things like: "Portland Model" "Oregon Model" and when you search a hashtag on Instagram it also gives you a list of suggested hashtags so we also use those. Once we find someone who fits what we're looking for we send them a friendly DM telling them who we are, what we're up to in their city and ask if they'd like to shoot for a bit. We try to have as many of the details to share so that it doesn't seem like a weird open-ended proposition. This process has worked on nearly every occasion.
The last method we use is a Facebook algorithm that allows you to search for 'friends of friends'. Say you have a friend who's style you like or who works someplace really cool...or they're a model or photographer themselves you can branch out from their friends list by searching in the Facebook search for "Friends of _said friend_ in _whatever city_". I used this method once and it worked like a charm. We planned a shoot with a couple that ended up to be one of our best shoots of all time. And yes, it was free. We shared the images with them and they shared them on social media, tagging us! We got great portfolio work and two new friends!
Plan a Styled Shoot
Planning a styled shoot with vendors is THE best way to make friends in the industry. Wedding vendors dig awesome photos of their work and if you plan it, you get all the style control. We've planned styled shoots when traveling too, it's a great way to get national exposure! It's literally as easy as researching the area, finding a few vendors who are willing to participate and organizing a style board of ideas!
We also use all of these methods right in our own city! Now, go plan a shoot + do something that inspires you!