What is a lifestyle shoot when it comes to your small business?
Product photos on a plain white backdrop are great for selling an item online. Potential customers can see the item clearly and make an informed purchase.
But, is that enough?
What about that initial feeling when they first visit your website or open up your Instagram? That can't be under estimated! It's the excitement and enthusiasm that drives sales.
What about the way you caption your photos and the words that describe your company's values? You're building an emotional connection with people that creates lifelong customers.
Lifestyle images connect you. They show a sweater wrapping you up by a cozy fire. They show your glasses when you set them down to enjoy breakfast after reading the paper. They show you on date night, escaping the kids. They show you in your earth-friendly t-shirt on your favorite hike.
What story connects you and your clients?
How will they use your signature product in their daily life? Or do they invest in it for special occassions?
Dig deep. Put yourself in your customers shoes and then show them with photos.
You'd be surprised how little prep you need to do for an in-home session. Catherine and I picked 2 spaces to create images. First up is the office. We created 3 different looks inside one small space!
We wanted some fun and colorful photos with match her previously created office flat lays. These all go together to support her marketing company, Bright Planning.
Bright Planning has a vintage flair with a cool logo and uses strong primary colors like blue and red. We moved a desk in front of her favorite bookshelf and created a beautiful mess with other beloved books from around the house. As you may have guessed, Catherine is also a writer outside of her marketing career. She and her partner, Brandon, are literary souls with many many books floating around their home.
The vintage typewriter is a nice touch too!
For the next look, we cleared the desk, changed shirts to create simple workspace portraits. Less styled images for Catherine's portrait.
Next we simply changed direction for images (in the same room!) of Catherine on her chaise just enjoying the quiet space. The hat beside her holds family memories so its a nice touch to personalize the portraits.
That's 3 different looks in one small room!
We wrapped up with a relaxed, lifestyle portrait on her screened in porch. We shot in just one corner so we didn't have to move a thing for these photos in preparation.
In-home sessions are some of my favorites because they reflect you, your favorite things and often where you work!
Sure, we all take photos of sunflowers. Sure, we see them all over Instagram. Sure, some folks are sick of 'em! And if you're sick of them, you may want to skip to another blog post...
Every portrait holds a new opportunity with the lighting, the model, the environment... sure, some things become repetitive but some things are classically beautiful and I'd throw flowers into the latter category.
As the sun set, we went from afternoon light to the golden hour quickly. I love getting a good variety when shooting!
Kristalyn and I created these portraits in under an hour. We both had some free time that evening and I've really been wanting to see the sunflowers. Heads up, Biltmore rotates these so you may want to do a drive by or call before planning a shoot around the sunflowers. They're located near Antler Village.
I also highly recommend the bright yellow canola field in the springtime.
For any clients interested in roaming the Biltmore Estate grounds for their session, I have a seasonal pass which allows me to bring guests in with me for free after 5pm. Some parts of the estate (including the house and rose garden) are closed at that time but there are plenty other spots!
Only wear the dress once? Nah.
Megan and I explored Swannanoa together 3 months after her wedding to see what kind of fun we could have with her beautiful bridal gown.
We played in the creek, roamed through the woods and watched the sun set over the field.
We're pretty sure the creek cleaned off all the dirt from dancing at her reception... win-win.
Running in a dress this heavy (7 or so layers) is not so easy but sometimes you gotta give in to your photographer's random requests.
Don't make anything harder than it has to be. Running a small business is already hard, don't let stress and overwhelm add to that (unnecessarily).
How do photos of your service, product, team, store make a difference?
One less thing to do.
We all know social media is important these days... and why is that? Because it's FREE marketing. Images showing off your business on a consistent basis introduce you to your current and future clients.
Consistency is key because it keeps you at the forefront of customer's minds without nagging them via commercials or ads.
Boy do we know how to stress ourselves out about the "happiest day of our life". We dream and daydream and Pinterest and save and imagine and then stress starts seeping in from the corners. Stress is finding cracks and holes to get through but it's totally up to you to overcome it and still enjoy the process.
A few musings to help you patch those holes, covers those cracks and power through stressful moments so it's not the new theme of your wedding.
My first musing is that this likely won't be the happiest day of your life. Ouch. The expectations alone can through all the wrenches in that ideal.
The happiest moments you'll look back on will (more likely) be when you go dress shopping with your best friend, drink too many bubbles and giggle over how ugly most dresses are. Your happiest moments will be the first time you held your brand new niece in your arms, when you hiked up that mountain in Alaska, when you stood up for yourself at work and it made a difference, when you snuggle your pet on the couch, sharing beers with your spouse because your other plans were rained out.
The little joys of life rally together and represent your happy times. Your wedding will be one of them but don't put so much pressure on your poor wedding to solve the everyman quest for "happiness". If you're on board with me so far then we're on the right track.
Next thought: how do you want your wedding to look and WHY? Write out key elements you want then follow up with why.
Reread your list. Time for cuts and compromises.
Example list of wedding details you're planning and WHY they're a part of the big day:
Signature cocktail - represents our first date
Outdoor venue - can't imagine it indoors
Big wedding party - my mom insists I have a flower girl
Dance party - my fiancee wants to partay
Pink and gold colors - I don't really care but my sister said this is trendy and cute
Cute umbrellas - it could rain, duh
Cute boots for under dress in case it does rain - I really don't want to move it indoors
You can already see there is room for cuts and compromises. I think it's healthy to consider both. No one wants to make mom mad but you can't let her plan the whole thing either. Cuts and compromises, think wholeheartedly about yours and make the call.
Next thought: money. Woooweee weddings are pricey. Even the little ones, even the DIY ones. Spend your money where you won't regret it. Do you care if every person leaves with a favor? Will you remember that years from now? Will they? We all have to make calls based on finances and one great way is to revisit why you're spending money on that particular thing/service/vendor.
When I first envisioned our trip to Ireland, I dreamt of olive greens on rolling hills. I imagined deep blue shores along the drive. I had it right, the countryside is just as I hoped. Early morning drives and late afternoon lunches let us see so much beauty in many different lights.
First up, the warm tones of olive green and gold that we often saw in mountains, farm land and around the happy farm animals.
Next we have the cool tones that surrounded us after a long rain, near the ocean waves and where the horses roam.
The blues were almost black, so deep and opaque in the shallows.
Love Ireland and want more? Check out these IG feeds:
As someone who spends a lot of time editing photos, I could never choose between warm or cool tones. They both have a special place in our travel memories.
© Chelsea Lane Photography 2013-2017
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