How to Scout a Location for a Corporate Photoshoot

The other title for this post would be, "How I drove 17 hours and ended up in Fresno for a corporate photoshoot" but that seemed a tad long. :) 

One of my clients, Invitae, needed fresh photos for their website relaunch and engaged me to do a series of photoshoots that depicted various emotions their clients experienced after working with them. Invitae provides genetic DNA testing to help people like you and me understand how our genes may affect our health. 

So what does all that have to do with 17 hours to Fresno? Well, the timing for the website launch (and therefore for the need of photos) was December, January and February...i.e. WINTER. We wanted to create a series of images that included a backyard barbecue, a family at the park, and a beach playdate among others. But - winter. The trees were dormant and it was rainy and c-o-l-d throughout California (yes, even Los Angeles and San Diego couldn't come through for us!)

So my trusted colleague (Erin Brennan of Women on a Mission) & I took a road trip to Fresno and beyond to find some usable locations for the shoot. Eventually, we were able to locate a beautiful park in Fresno for the family picnic and rented an Airbnb in Palm Springs for the backyard barbecue, then popped to Ocean Beach in San Francisco for our very quick beach scene. 

My point in sharing all of this is to learn from this experience is to share my Top 3 Tips for Location Scouting.

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1) Finding the Location of your Dreams: Depending on your photoshoot theme, look outside of your local means for something that will inspire you and provide the "OOMPH" for your photos. Think of the location as your extra model...it contributes to the story but isn't the star. We scoured dozens of Airbnb spaces until we found one that suited our purposes. For this shoot, I needed warm, sunny weather with green trees, a grill and a pool that was shaded in the morning during our shooting time. Here is one of the photos we created at the Airbnb house with the backyard cookout theme. 

 
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2) When the Season is Winter, Get Creative! When we pulled up to the park searching for greenery, all we saw was brown, brown, brown. The foliage (or lack thereof) was tired and borderline depressing...not the look we envisioned for the shoot! We searched and searched and eventually found this beautiful bike trail that depicted the exact emotions of freedom and connection we wanted to convey in our photo. Even when you can't SEE the location of your dreams in your head...keep looking and let your creativity get to work!

 
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3) Allow Yourself Flexibility: We only had 6 hours with the models at the park in Fresno. We had a long, long list of shots / scenes to photograph including a picnic, a birthday celebration, bike riding and more. My production team knows that, creatively, I need an hour of "free time" to shoot without bounds in order to get my clients the extra shots that will round out their gallery. It is so, so important to honor that creative spirit as it is what made your clients choose you in the first place!!! One of the "bonus" shots was this one of the mother/daughter set feeding the ducks at the pond. I love what the wardrobe stylist chose for this section of the shoot as the yellow really pops off the page without overwhelming the viewer. My final tip: take time to breathe and be creative! 

How to Pose a Group of People

Top 3 Tips for Posing a Group without looking awkward! Professional lifestyle corporate photographer Brooke Bryand shares her tried and true tips for posing a family or any group of people. 

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Behind the Scenes: Champagne Flute Photoshoot

I have been trying to photograph champagne flutes for Bride 2 Be Designs on Etsy for the last week. I have tried three times and fiiiiinally was happy with results from yesterday's shoot so I wanted to share in hopes this behind the scenes photo shoot tutorial will help someone else.

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I knew based on my previous two attempts that I needed contrast between the background and the glass itself for it to pop. I started with our wooden fence and lightly nailed extra heavy crepe paper from Papermart to it for the contrast colors. 

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So this was a good start as I loved how the colors really helped bring excitement to the set. Buuuuut it was still missing something. I then added a Bubble Beaded Curtain from ShopWildThings which would ultimately add the "life" to the shot with light playing off it and add depth to the shot. 

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Nowwww we are getting somewhere. Here were the props I'd use to create the scene for the actual product: 

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FINALLY, we are ready to shoot. I started with just the glass on a wooden table: 

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This was a good start, but - flat. So I found some greenery in our yard, added some cranberries and large glitter from Amazon (note: I tested three types of glitter and found this to be the most visually appealing AND easiest to clean up), and voila - we were ready. 

After about 50 takes, we got the shot I wanted! I would definitely recommend a remote trigger if you are doing this on your own. My first thought was to time my self-timer and I was saved by a friend who offered to be my Official Cranberry Dropper. 

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I hope this is helpful and informative to help understand how I put together a product photoshoot! If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out. You can find me on Instagram @brookebryandphotography

My 365 Photography Project - 2018

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Many photographers need inspiration for growth from time to time (and by "time to time" I mean we are in a constant search for becoming better because we inevitably find every imperfection in the work we shot even a day ago!)

For me, I go for such long ranges of shooting my heart out and then - zip - that when I'm home in Raleigh I rarely pick up my camera. Years ago I realized I rarely shoot my own kids, both because it is stressful (if I'm doing it as a spec shoot to demonstrate a concept I have in my head) and because I don't want them to be "those kids" who hate cameras and give a huge UGGGGGHHHHH every time a lens is out. 

Having said that, I still have kids who say UGGGGHHHH at the sight of a camera, but I blame that equally on Apple / smart phones for leading culture into documenting every. darn. second. My 5-year-old Lily even instituted a rule that you have to do 5 push-ups if you take her photo without asking her permission. 

Go on girl. 

But I digress. 

I have realized that I need a challenge...a change...a way to switch my norm and breathe new life into this craft that is my career. Insert: my 2018 365 project. The gist is that I post a photo every...single...day for the year. By December 31, 2018, I hope to see growth and - most importantly - feel passion and change. 

Feel free to follow along on Instagram - I would appreciate encouragement or tips on what you have done to set your heart on fire! 

What is Lifestyle Commercial Photography?

I know, I know...it sounds like a bunch of SEO buzz words glommed together to sound fancy. But in a nutshell, 

My job is to take a client's MESSAGE and bring it to life through pictures.

For example, a client may tell me they want to make the images on their website more welcoming and warming. From there, I'll work with my team to pinpoint who their key customer is, and brainstorm on how to "speak" to that individual through images. It may be creating a scene where a mom and dad are relaxing on the sofa by a roaring fireplace. It may be having a grandma and a mom leaning on each other in support and comfort. Whatever the situation, we create a series of shots to convey that emotion. 

Who Uses Lifestyle Photography?

Pretty much everyone. Almost every website you view has imagery on it, and companies have the option of either purchasing stock photography (i.e. photos you can see over and over again on a variety of company websites) or creating their own campaign that is customized for their specific needs. My goal is to fill the needs of the custom photography set.

I am looking for companies that want to create authentic, colorful, inspiring imagery to correspond with their brand goals.

If you or your company are ready to blend your brand, your product or service and your message together through imagery, let's work together.

Corporate Headshots in the Presidio

The Presidio is one of my favorite locations in San Francisco for outdoor headshots because it provides SO many backdrops in a small area. This session was no different and Tina was sure to BRING IT for her headshot shoot. 

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Nova, Superhero Extraordinaire: Custom Photoshoot

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a firm, firm believer in utilizing therapy as a tool to better ourselves. The first time I met Nova Goldberg was in 2013 when I was crumbling under the weight of motherhood + owning my own business. When I say "crumbling" I mean I was sitting on her couch crying allllll the ugly tears that could escape my soul. 

Fast forward months of weekly sessions and I could see the light. Nova helped me change my perspective and also help me manage my unrealistic expectations so that I could finally breathe. After we passed that hurdle, we moved onto other challenges as they arose.  In essence, I tasked Nova with the hefty job to make me my best self

Now that I have moved out of San Francisco, I am no longer a regular client of Nova's which opened up the window to collaborate in a work capacity to help show the world how awesome she is. While her podcast interview for Women on a Mission recently launched, she is also refreshing her entire website (future blog post to come with before / afters from Brennan Brand).

It was an honor to document Nova for the world to see her as I see her: a superhero. She helped me find myself in a time when I didn't recognize the overwhelmed, discouraged soul I had become. She listened to me week after week, without judgement, guiding me along a path to discover my best self. The words "thank you" can't begin to express my gratitude for all you have provided for me, Nova, but I hope this small gesture will help you understand the incredible impact you have on people every single day. 

If you would like to listen to Nova's podcast for Women on a Mission (it really is like an hour of free therapy to listen), you can find it on iTunes. 

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Therapist Rocks Custom Website Imagery Shoot

As many know, I often work hand-in-hand with my counterpart, Erin Brennan of Brennan Brand. Typically, one of us has a client that ends up needing both of our services. In this case, Bart Hatler is a therapist who hired Erin to renovate his website and they needed images that conveyed what it is like to work with him. 

Therapy is so deeply personal and we wanted to make sure his images were authentic while putting anyone visiting his website at ease that they can trust Bart's expertise to help them along their journey.

As with most photoshoots, we needed to set the scene first. For website imagery, I like to have clean, clean, clean spaces where I can shoot with negative space so the final images will have as much flexibility as possible for my clients. We rented a Breather in San Francisco and Bart recruited five people to model for us. The thing I love about Breather spaces is they often don't need much stylizing to personalize the space. They maintain a super clean design that allows us to use it as a canvas for whatever the photoshoot needs. Bart brought a stack of books that are relevant to his field, a chair, a table and voila - we had a beautiful space that we could transform into at least two "sets" for our shoot. 

Below are some of my favorites from the shoot and I'll be sure to update the blog once I have before/afters of the website!

 

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Fresh Headshots at the Legion of Honor

This client emailed me three years ago to the date to when we finally had the opportunity to sync our schedules and do her headshot session! She is a fantastic model and I think what we captured really shows her spirit that she'll convey to her clients before they have the chance to meet her. 

 

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Daymond John is the Man.

For real. My job puts me in the presence of a decent amount of celebs, and it's not often I get Goo-Goo-Gah-Gah over any particular individual. 

Enter Daymond John. Yes, of FUBU genius and SharkTank fame. He spoke at the SiriusDecisions Summit last week at The Venetian in Las Vegas and I. Was. Mesmerized. 

Mr. John fit a 3hr keynote into 1hr. He speak so lightning fast that even as I hung on his every word, I missed a decent amount because my brain could hardly keep up. He brought the audience through his personal history including his accomplishments and his failures. He was humble and human and I imagine everyone in the audience felt his magnetism. 

This is one of my favorite Daymond-John-isms that I added to one of the shots from the event. I know my business could not be where it is today without mentors and my tribe of people who support me with every new challenge. Thank you, Mr. Daymond John, for sharing a part of yourself with SiriusDecisions. 

Breathometer {Product Photography}

I had the opportunity to create images for a company called Breathometer (you may remember them from Shark Tank). They wanted to update their in-app images to move from renderings to actual photos of someone using their device, Mint. You can see the before/after for each screen here:

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That Time I had 36hrs in London {with no kids}

Yeah, you know...that time? You don't remember? Oh - that's because my mind was still blown that I was shooting in London!. Earlier this week, I had a two day shoot for SiriusDecisions, which has previously invited me to shoot in San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville and soon-to-be Austin. At the end of the shoot, I tacked on an extra day to enjoy London with my hubby. A dear friend recommended Dukes Bar for their insane classic martini and it did not disappoint.

A little back story is that Dave and I love a good martini. We have attempted more vodka and gin tastings than we can count with the goal of perfecting the martini. And then there was Dukes.

They start with frozen martini glasses. And frozen vodka. Then there is the absolutely beautiful cart they present in front of you. And the rest is, well...the picture tells the story. Prepare for your mouth to water:

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The other treat we experienced was at Sketch London. This was a recommendation from a dear friend who is an uber creative (Jenn Topliff, 13Creative) and it was one of the best recommendations I have EVER received!!! Go. Right now. GO! 

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Taking Time...

brooke bryand photography | stock photography | motivational quote inspiration stop time inspire | raleigh corporate lifestyle photographer As I have settled into Raleigh over the last four months, I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to slow down life. My fear in moving cross-country in search of a more simple existence was that we create our own hamster wheels on which to run. We are 100% responsible for our own speed, so why would I change as a person just by changing geography?

It turns out, in my one-woman-perfectly-scientific-experiment, geography does indeed play a significant factor. My conclusion? There are simply more hours in the day in North Carolina. Okay, that may not be the scientific answer, but the pace of life would have you question it. Yes, we still work, groceries still have to be purchased and school supplies procured, but I'm not rushed. I have time to take the kids to the pool, or come home after school and just play. The culture isn't one of laziness, but it is one that appreciates the simplicity of enjoying where you are in the moment. I (typically!) don't feel like I'm doing one activity just to rush to the next and that is unbelievably refreshing.

Could this mindset be transferred to San Francisco? Absolutely. But I don't think San Francisco envies this behavior, the same way Raleigh doesn't seem to envy the busy city life. They are exclusively wonderful in their own environments with neither being better or worse.

As I edited the photo at the top of this page, I was reminded how much my artistic expression has expanded since moving here simply by giving myself the space to explore, to notice, and to experiment without feeling rushed or guilty that I should be doing something else. I'm not writing this to talk anyone into moving to Raleigh nor to suggest everyone else is going about life all wrong if your pace is faster than my own. I'm simply reflecting on how my life has become richer by slowing down and noticing what I desire for this chapter of life. I hope it inspires you to explore something you've been putting off, whether it be taking a class, playing a sport, building a fort with your kids or surprising your spouse with a spontaneous act of adoration.

And now...my zen must come to a pause as I battle the school pick-up line. Some things, as it turns out, are the same from coast-to-coast. :)