Recently I received some really great advice from a fellow photographer I respect. He told me that he does something that most other photographers turn their noses up to - he allows his clients to share the cost of a photoshoot. Honestly, I was surprised. Every single established photographer I have ever spoken to said not to allow this, so naturally I was intrigued. The more he told me about his process, the more I realized the genius behind it. I realized that the old standard was based around a print world mentality and not the current digital age we reside in. And although you would think “sharing a shoot” does not need to be explained, I thought I’d share some creative insights with you. Most of my clients are interior designers, so I am going to write this post based around that assumption. The same applies though to any scenario.
If someone has emailed me and decided that they want to professionally capture their work, they have already decided that its worth the investment. Like any business owner though, I think about my expense dollars and how they’re working for me. My portfolio is not just a catalogue of my work, it’s my main marketing resource. We live in a time where photography is the way we consume info and its certainly becoming the way we shop - whether it be a product or a service. Until recently I would say that Instagram accounted for 90% of my business. If you really break it down, IG is essentially a form of referral - whether it be from a brand you respect or an individual you know. And the quality of the photography is what sells because it determines if people will repost you or not.
The more people who share your professional photos, the higher SEO is coming to your account. Sharing a photoshoot is not only beneficial financially, it ends up giving you a wider group of sharing individuals from the moment you choose to release a project. That means more traction to your IG account and ultimately your website - essentially a community for your product/service. Not only that though - sharing a shoot can make the final photos more polished too.
I’m going to go through a made up scenario to illuminate how many opportunities there are to bring other people into a shared shoot. Mainly just to get your creative juices flowing.
Your project is basically ready, but like most of my clients there are some loose ends. Time to start brain storming. You have some great art pieces that were sources from a gallery or individual artist. They have an active social presence so you decide to hit them up. Maybe they’d like to throw in $200 to secure some shots from the shoot. The artist or gallery gets to benefit from featuring the art in situ which helps showcase the work.
The couches in the main living area are still bare and you’d like the perfect pillows to include. You know a great shop that carries the right fit so you reach out to the owner. Maybe they’d like to throw you $100 for the shoot as well, and lend you the pillows for the day. They’ll also benefit from having images of their work styled and creatively placed in a designer home. Plus your client may end up purchasing the pillows once they see them on their couch, so it could be a win/win. If not the pillows get returned good as new.
Now there are flowers to think about. You don’t want to overcomplicate things, but you notice in the shots of brands you admire that flowers are often placed in table scapes, master bedrooms and bathroom. Plus the coffee table and kitchen definitely need a pop of texture. You have a florist you love who also is active on IG. Maybe the florist gives you flowers for free but doesn’t want to contribute cash. Still a win/win because it means you didn’t need to front cash on florals or spend the time arranging. Maybe the florist can repurpose their designs for another project.
Speaking of kitchens, you had a great relationship with the company that installed the counters. They have been working to get their name out so they’re excited to throw in $200 for some editorial worthy photos of their work.
Then there are the custom millworker and the painter you use. You’ve noticed that both of them tend to take snaps of their work when the home is unfinished - often in not the best light on their phone. Both would benefit from you’re styling savvy to show off their beautiful craftsmanship. Maybe each of them will throw you $100 for some photos.
Of course there are the major players like the contractor and architect as well. Without them the project would not be what it is. Even if none of the other people mentioned above are interested, an architect or contractor would likely be interested in splitting the fee with you. After all, both would benefit from your (and my) talent with styling a home for a photo shoot. And my work is often published which would garner them more attention as well.
For some projects this makes sense, and for others it may not. Hopefully this post helps get your creative juices flowing. I’d like to make a couple disclaimers though. Not all photographers are open to this option - I wasn’t even up until recently. So always be sure to ask your photographer. Their photography is their intellectual property and that should be respected. For myself I require that ever business has their own individual contract prior to the photo shoot. If they are interested after the shoot they need to purchase images directly from me.
I hope this was able to spark some creative ideas! Feel free to ping me with questions.