Category: Uncategorized

22 Sep

Finding perfect photoshoot locations

Easy photoshoot locations

I recently moved back to the town where I went to high school and booked a couple of clients. As usual, this question popped up:

“What location do you suggest?”
“What’s the perfect photoshoot location?”
“Where do you suggest we shoot?”

I’m sure if you are a photographer you’re nodding.

This blog post is for both photographers and clients which will help you to brainstorm some ideas for photoshoot locations in your area. I like to keep a few on hand which I trust.

Okay but don’t get me wrong, it is NOT always about the location at all. However, being a female photographer I can’t just venture off with a model or a family into a dodgy forest. I need locations that are safe, that are functional and I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get into.

Book me featured media

I like to ask my clients what vibe they are going for. Do you want something cozy and homely? More of a natural setting? Perhaps their horse like above. Maybe they want to go to a city.

Here’s a list of locations that may be in your area that you may not have thought of:

  • Your local park.
  • Your local reserve. I have an eco-reserve 10 minutes from my office which is safe, large enough that it does not look like the same location everytime and it is beautiful.
  • A local coffee shop. Work out a deal with your local coffee shop such as taking photos for their social media in return that they let you shoot there when needed.
  • A large empty piece of land / field. This might be more of a dangerous one, especially in South Africa. However, you can achieve some beautiful results from it.
IMG 0452
  • An equestrian centre nearby. I recently shot an engagement session at one and it was stunning! It was nestled in hills, surrounded by large trees.
  • A parking lot. Now this may sound a bit odd but if you take a couple or model to one it can work! My local mall has a parking lot on top of the building which has a stunning sunset view. Be prepared for security to chase you away – but just be friendly, they might let you stick around.
  • Home! I think this one is so underrated! Shooting in your home really captures the essence of you in your everyday surroundings. This one is especially perfect for couples.
SANDTON ROOFTOP MD 150
  • If you’re in the city, the top of buildings can work really well. It is very difficult to find one to shoot in. However, if you have a friend who has access to one, do make use of it. 100% recommend it!
  • The street. Every town has pretty streets – maybe not many but they do have. This is free and no one will chase you.
  • A river / dam / lake / stream. Don’t underestimate the power of water in a photo! Sunset makes any body of water the most romantic location.
  • Textured walls. Have you ever driven passed a building and a certain part of the building was interesting? Use it!
  • A nursery. This one is great! Chat to your local nursery or botanical garden and see if they will let you shoot there.
IMG 0138 no logo
  • In front of plants. Yep, nothing fancy but your garden or interesting foliage will do here. As pictured above, this was in front of palm-type bushes.
  • Broken-down buildings. Be careful in these but you should get some really moody shots.
  • A hiking trail. It’s also a fun activity to do!

To sum it up, almost any location can be worked with.

As a client, think of where you see yourself in. If you hate being outisde and in the wilderness, why would you want to have your photos taken there? Maybe you and your lover are bookworms, it would be more genuine if you did your photoshoot at home snuggled up or maybe a cozy coffee shop or library.

As a photographer, photoshoot locations will become more apparent as you shoot. You will see which location suits which kind of session and so forth.

Keep shooting,

Siobhan

My socials:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sbrazierphotography/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sbrazierphotography/

22 Sep

7 Useful Tips For Your First Photoshoot

7 Useful Tips For Your First Photoshoot

From someone who has been in your position, I know how intimidating it can be. Your very first photoshoot can be nerve-wracking! In this blog post, I give you my tips for your first photoshoot and how you can be prepared and make the most of this experience..

Choose wisely who you want to work with

Ask yourself how YOU would want to be photographed. Perhaps you’re torn between a couple of photographers in your area, take into consideration if you see yourself in their photos. Do you like their editing? Their styling? I have a blog post on how to choose a photographer.

Prepare | Body Care

Now, depending on your session, you don’t need to prepare for weeks or months in advance.

  • If you want to get your hair coloured, ensure it’s at least one week before. This gives the colour time to settle, resulting in a more natural look.
  • The same with tanning, ensure it has time to settle. At least one to two weeks before the session.
  • Ensure your nails are neat or done. Trust me, you’ll thank me later on this!
  • Micro-blading also needs time to settle, so ensure you have a 2 week grace period.
  • Moisturize before your session. This will help you have a dewy look.

Prepare | Clothing

Clothing choices can make or break a session. My go-to tips for clothing choices:

As a family or couple, choose a colour palette. Neutrals, light colours or dark colours. Say you want to wear a red dress, get your partner to wear something that will compliment you, such as blues. If you can, sneak that same shade of red in a shirt or accessory.

tips for first photoshoot
https://justpostedblog.com/2019/08/01/what-to-wear-for-family-pictures/

Do not wear branded clothing! I know Nike shirts are cool, if that’s the kind of session you’re going for, fine. However, in couple sessions or family sessions, it is EXTREMELY distracting and breaks any sort of cohesion. The only time this works is if you are both “twinning”, you’re alone and it’s more of a fashion shoot or the logo is not on your chest. Just skip it for the session.

useful tips for your first photoshoot

Prepare your clothing the day before. Iron your clothes, put them on hangers, ensure your shoes are clean.

Ladies, underwear choices are vital. Black shirts need black bras, especially if they are see-through. White shirts need nude bras or white bras. Same with underwear. If you have a backless dress, stick on bras are a must. Do your pants show underwear lines? Check this before the session!

Makeup & Hair

If you are going to a makeup artist, arrive with a completely clean face. Bring your moisturizer and foundation with you. If you are doing your own makeup, you can apply makeup slightly heavier than usual, especially eye makeup. Ladies, please do not cake on foundation! Most photographers will edit out any large pimples. Caking it on is not always the answer.

If you are getting your hair done, be sure to ask if your hair stylist if you should wash your hair before or if they wash it there. If it’s just being styled, come with clean dry hair. If you are doing your own hair, the natural route is always the best route. If you have curly hair, embrace them! You can always change up the looks with ponytails, buns, half-up hairstyles etc.

Inspiration for your session

If you have ideas for your session, create a shared Pinterest board with your photographer. This will help them get an idea of what you want from the session. Communicate with your photographer your ideas and think of a photoshoot location. Read more on how to find a photoshoot location here.

  • An important note on Pinterest: take into consideration that your images will NOT be an EXACT duplicate of your inspiration images. Your photographer will take it into account but cannot guarentee an exact replica. Take into consideration their shooting style, editing and approach to sessions.

Posing Preparation

I like to send a basic posing guide to my clients – especially solo portraits. Don’t fret too much about it, but run through basic poses in the mirror to see what side you prefer, if you can nail certain poses, where you may be self-conscious and so forth. Your photographer will guide you through posing as well, but it’s nice to be a bit prepared. Also, communicate with your photographer any areas that you may be self-conscious about. We pose you in a way that we think is flattering, but you may be worried about a scar or your arms etc. Be sure to let them know so that they can take that into account.

Create a playlist

I like to ask my clients if they have any music requests as I like to play music throughout the session. This keeps you relaxed and you get to groove out during your session! I have some fun playlist on my Apple music such as this one for studio work.

I hope that these tips are helpful! I hope you have a great session and relaaaaaaaaaax. Do you have any other tips for fellow clients? Leave them below! If you would like to see more of me and what I’m up to, follow my Facebook and Instagram.

Until next time,
Siobhan

22 Sep

How to Choose a Photographer to Work With

How to choose a photographer to work with

Choosing a photographer to work with can be tricky – especially if it’s your first time hiring a professional photographer. These days everyone knows or knows of a photographer, however, there is a considerable amount of factors to take into account when trying to pick a photographer to capture your memories.

Let’s break down some factors that you can take into account:

  1. What genres they capture

This is my number 1 beyond anything else! If you are getting married choose a wedding photographer. If you want your family to be captured, find a family/lifestyle photographer. Photographers niche their work. Yes, we are capable of capturing photos in general but when it comes to spending you need to take into account the photographers speciality. With most services, businesses aim to only work within their niche. From what I’ve seen in the past, clients can be let down by not getting a photographer with skills in the “field” they want. For example, my strengths lie with portraiture and weddings. While I can capture families and new-borns, it’s not my niche.

2. The photographer’s editing style

Not to be confused with their genres. If you like bright and airy photos, you don’t want to choose a photographer with a moody editing style. Similar to their niche, their editing strengths usually lie within:

  • Creative edits
  • Moody edits
  • Bright and airy edits

There are hundreds of editing styles! However, if you choose to hire a photographer with moody editing, don’t expect your images to come out bright and airy. This is a common occurrence with clients & photographers.

3. THEIR PORTFOLIO

Depending on what your session entails, you would want some sort of a portfolio from the photographer. If a photographer is still in their early days, they may have a limited portfolio – we all start somewhere. However, be sure that they have a portfolio of some sort. This will help you get a feel for their work and if it’s something you see yourself being a part of. You should be able to see some previous work through their social media or website.

4. REVIEWS

I love using reviews to ensure my potential clients feel safe and want to ensure that they can trust me with capturing them. This isn’t a must – but if the photographer does have them available on their social media or website it’s always good to read! If they have Facebook reviews, that’s also a good way to find out if clients enjoyed their session. Reviews aren’t always the be all and end all!

5. PRICING

The “controversial” topic. Basic psychology plays a role in this – usually the higher the price, we perceive it as more valuable and of higher quality. Lower prices usually mean cheaper, not of higher quality. Keep in mind this is not always the case. The pricing ultimately comes down to the photographer and how they price themselves. Some photographers base their pricing on their personal cost of business, while others base their prices on their competitor. While some people don’t care about pricing, others do and that is why it’s a factor.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My final advice to you, is if you ADORE a photographers work and you see yourself in their photographs, then that’s the one to go for. If their portfolio resonates with you and makes you smile and excited, go with them.

What other factors do you take into account?

Siobhan

22 Sep

How to book more clients as a photographer

How To Book More Clients As A Photographer

We know the struggle – business is slow and you sit at your desk twiddling your thumbs wondering “how can I book more clients as a photographer?”. Well, today we’re going to look at ways to fix that.

I remember my first booking. It was for a friend’s matric farewell (prom). I was over the moon! I then got my second booking for another friend’s matric farewell and then bookings came to halt. I was finishing up high school but also, my targeting and advertising was non-existent. So here is my first tip!

1. Step up your marketing game

We are so fortunate to live in a world where we can publish a post and it can be seen by hundreds – even thousands. USE IT! I know, it seems scary. You’re worried about other ‘togs judging you for your marketing or pricing or even just worried that you work doesn’t seem as good as there’s. IT IS OKAY. We all have to start somewhere and chances are, they were once in your shoes, my friends!

So, how do I step up my marketing game?

Make use of social media

I really make use of social media. I mean REALLY. As a photographer, you really want to be utilizing Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to the max! They are such beneficial marketing platforms. Should I do an in-depth social media post?

Facebook:

Make sure you have a Facebook page. Use all the tips that Facebook provides when making your page. Don’t leave it to die either. Post frequently. Facebook and Instagram work hand in hand so when you post on the ‘Gram, you can share it to Facebook and boom! Post done for the day!

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sbrazierphotography

Book more clients as a photographer

Instagram:

We all love it but we also all hate the algorithm. I myself still struggle with it. So what I have learnt: post frequently. Make sure you link your page to Facebook and then you can see your insights. Who sees what, when they see it, where they are and so forth.

Instagram is all about engaging with others, so make sure you do so.

Pinterest:

If you have a website and a blog, then Pinterest will be a great platform to push traffic to your site.

Also, make a cute “advertisement” for the blog post. For example, this one is probably going to “HOW TO BOOK MORE CLIENTS AS A PHOTOGRAPHER”.

Make your posts visually pleasing

You want to make your posts visually pleasing because no one wants to be reading a book-long post about your business.

So, go check out this app, Canva. You can make posters, flyers, announcements, business cards, basically anything on this app.

I love using Canva for my story highlight icons on Instagram and even making a poster for my story announcing a new promotion. The possibilities are endless. If you already know how to use Photoshop or InDesign, make use of those!

You want the image to summarise whatever you are marketing.

Make use of your current connections

Your friends and family are great. Even your work colleagues, school mates, whoever you hang around with.

A lot of my connections share my posts or advertisements and you can easily get bookings from them.

Book more clients as a photographer

Have a portfolio

If you’re new to the massive world of photography and want clients, you will need a portfolio of some sort. It could be your Instagram page, Facebook page or website, but people need to know that you actually take photos.

Depending on what genre you shoot, use your friends and family as models. Offer them a free session and then use these photos as your starting tool. If you are into wildlife, go outside and capture birds or animals in your area. If you want shoot with models, talk to a friend who wants to build their portfolio. Chances are, they will be willing to and very patient with you.

2.  Collaborate

Collaborate with local businesses. Offer them free photographs in return that you can leave flyers at their business or they share your work on Facebook.

3. Second Shoot or find a Mentor

If you want to get into weddings but have no clue where to get clients from, look at second shooting for a ‘tog that does get a lot of bookings for weddings. You’ll get paid and learn all the tricks of the wedding trade.

If weddings aren’t your thing, look for a photographer in your area that shoots what you want to shoot. Ask if you can shadow them. You can learn a lot from an experienced photographer. I will be jumping on the mentor train for 2019!

4. Be patient

Sadly, bookings don’t just happen overnight when you first start out. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Be prepared for a lot of “no’s”. But, don’t be discouraged by it. It took me nearly 3 years to get consistent bookings. People will learn about you in the area, which leads me to my final tip.

5. Make yourself known.

Brand your business. Make sure that your town/suburb/city knows that you are a photographer. Post everywhere, make it your workplace on Facebook, share it on your personal profile. When people ask what you do, you say that you are a photographer starting out in the industry.


I hope you enjoyed these 5 ways to book more clients a photographer. I promise, you will get a booking. It will take time and sadly, the photographic industry is so saturated these days that there’s an abundant amount of “photographers”. However, if you are 100% dedicated and serious about what you do and you have the fire in your belly, you will make it.

Take criticism, don’t be discouraged by the word “no”, learn, learn, learn and practice all the time. Use the tools you have and you will get the results you want.

If you have any questions, head over to my contact page.

Keep shooting,

Siobhan

22 Sep

Photography 101 – my tips and tricks

Photography 101 – the lowdown on what you need to know

Today I will be discussing all my tips and tricks when it comes to photography – photography 101. From shooting, to editing, to working with clients and delivering images, I’ve got my top tips for you!

Your camera

  • Learn manual ASAP. It becomes like second nature and you won’t even have to check your settings in the future. I now just look at the weather and know what my ISO needs to be. But still double check the settings! By working on manual, you have full control over lighting, depth of field and being able to capture that perfect moment.
  • My favourite mode of focusing is the spot metering. I love this one and I never change it.
  • Another nifty function is your Kelvin temperature. I only learnt this last year from a friend! So, this can be found in your white balance settings. I used to just leave my camera on auto white balance (it does a great job). Basically Kelvin changes the balance to warm or cool. Higher being warmer and lower being cooler.
  • Forget manual focus. I’ve had a few younger photographers ask me how do I shoot so fast on manual focus. I don’t. I think one should perfect manual focus for tricky shots but if you are busy with a session, the client won’t be patient while you sit there trying to get the perfect focus. If it’s a wedding or event, there is no time to manual focus. Your camera knows how to focus, let it do its job.

Editing

Using Lightroom

Lightroom is great for batch editing! If you get the Adobe photography plan you can use Lightroom and Photoshop. When it comes to my portraits and I want to do a bit more editing such as retouching, I first start off by importing the whole gallery to Lightroom.

I’ll then cull the photos down and go through and do my usual editing – brightness, tone curve, temperature, clarity etc. I then right click on the image and “edit in” Photoshop. So you could just do your basic editing in Photoshop’s Camera RAW but let me tell you why I do it like this.

Not every image I edit goes to Photoshop. When you edit a Lightroom edit in Photoshop and finish it, it keeps your original Lightroom edit and the Photoshop edit. I then can see, maybe I over edited in Photoshop. Or I can make changes or just prefer the Lightroom image.

Should I do a full editing tutorial?

Using Photoshop

My biggest tip as portrait photographer is to learn Photoshop. I started to learn in January 2018 and 1 year later, I’d say I know my way around enough to make insane edits. It’s also very helpful when you need to take out something in an image such as a piece of litter or a sign.

Learn how to Dodge and Burn! This makes an insane difference to your edits. Watch a few videos, get a few photos of contouring and learn where natural shadows fall on the face. It definitely makes an image pop.

Presets

Forget buying presets. I might get backlash on this! I think presets are unnecessary and yes, they do contribute to a cohesive theme. However, it takes out the uniqueness of your craft. Rather learn your style. Get a list of your favourite photographers. Rather try add little bits of their editing style to your work than buying a generic preset that 200 other people use.

Working with Clients

Your clients are probably nervous about their shoot – especially if it’s a couple. They will most likely tell you, “hey we suck at posing etc.”. THAT IS OKAY. It is YOUR job to make them comfortable. You need to be laid back but still professional.

My biggest tip here is to buy a speaker. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a small Bluetooth speaker. I used my JBL Go. I would create a few playlists depending on your client base. For my models, I use some more sexier, empowering music (more for females) such as Ariana Grande. Throw in some house and some trending music. For couples, go for that lovey dovey romantic music – you know, Ed Sheeran.

Prompt your couple to dance to the music and let them get lost in each other while they get all loved up. Get your model to think she’s the main girl in the music video. It works wonders – TRUST me.

A few questions for when you’re first meeting your clients could be, how did you meet? Where are you from? What do you study? What is your love story? Share your side of your story too. Relax and have fun!

Delivering Images

So I have used a bunch of ways to deliver my images to my clients. I did CD’s, Google Drive, DropBox etc. But I have officially found the site I will always use and that is www.pixieset.com.

Their galleries are presented beautifully, user-friendly, has a gallery assist option, easily accessible and a massive amount of storage! This is not sponsored.

Photography 101 - pixieset
Screenshot 72
Screenshot 73

Why CD’s didn’t work:

I was spending a lot of money on packaging and CD’s are quickly become obsolete. They wouldn’t work or the client didn’t have a CD-drive.

Why DropBox and Google Drive didn’t work:

If you aren’t tech-savvy, you won’t know how to download the images correctly. These resulted in clients screenshotting images which lead to bad quality images.

Why flash drives didn’t work:

These work for weddings and I will always use them for weddings. However, for a quick portrait session, it is not cost-effective.

Your collections / packages

As a South African photographer – times are tough. A lot of people do not have the money to spend on a luxury service. I live in a student town and the university constantly has events going on which need photography services.

Most Students cannot afford my hourly rate so I have halved my hourly rate and introduced 30 minute packages for half the price. This way I cater for more target markets. I find 30 minutes sufficient enough for a session and I can easily get enough images.

There are quite a few tactics on creating packages. A well-known one is to have 3 packages. Your first package should be the absolute basics. Your second package should have the most value for it’s price. Your third package should be priced a lot higher than the middle, a bit more out of the clients reach. This tactic gets bookings for your second package – the one you will find most rewarding.

Social Media

Be careful with which photography groups you join. There are a lot of bullies out there who give terrible comments. I agree that constructive criticism is very important but a lot of the bigger guys downgrade the younger photographers. So scope the group first before you join and post your work.

Go and watch YouTube videos! There is so much free content out there waiting to be absorbed. You can learn all the necessary editing skills. My favourite YouTubers are Julia Trotti, Sorelle Amore, Jessica Kobeissi, Peter McKinnon, and Mango Street.

I have more social media marketing tips on this post.

That’s it for this week! Let me know down below what you would like to read about!

Keep shooting,
Siobhan

Photography 101
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