My biggest piece of advice as a photographer is to always shoot for yourself. No matter how busy I get, I still try to make time to plan a shoot for my own portfolio. The more you do it the more you find your voice and style. Even if you make a mistake, you will still learn from it. I always bring a camera with me everywhere I go. I find inspiration all over the place. When I’m not shooting I feel like I start to lose my creative energy, so it’s important to me to always capture what I see.
Since I shoot fashion it usually takes some planning to set up a shoot. I always have a model, wardrobe stylist, hair stylist, and makeup artist. If you want to be a fashion photographer, it’s important to set up test shoots with a styling team. You test out creatives you like to work with, new techniques, models etc. My team has grown a lot. When I first started setting up test shoots, I only had a makeup artist. I would buy clothes and return them, or use pieces from my own wardrobe. You have to start somewhere. Eventually I met more people wanting to build their books too and my team grew. I have a great group of people now who I trust and love to work. It always just feels like we are hanging out.
When I come up with an idea I want to shoot, I create a moodboard full of inspirational images for location, hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, and mood. After I’ve finalized my ideas I send it to my styling team. From there we all collaborate on ideas and talk about how we can bring our individual creativity into it.
Last week I did a shoot for my portfolio in downtown LA with a team of 7 people. We all got together before sunrise to prep. We wanted to start early so we could catch the nice morning light. Plus we were shooting mostly winter clothes and it still feels like summer in LA right now. It took about 2 hours to get ready. Once the models had their hair and makeup done and the outfits prepped, we carpooled to downtown. I had scouted out locations before hand, but we were still going to be walking a lot. I had my camera gear in my Manfrotto Windsor camera messenger bag and brought my Manfrotto Befree Aluminum tripod. The tripod is perfect for me since I’m always on location. It’s really nice to have a super light-weight and small tripod to carry with me. I love how the tripod comes in different colors. I have the blue one! I also love the red and black bag it comes in. It makes it easy for me to carry. As always, I used my tripod to take a group photo of my team as we wrapped.
It’s really fun being able to come up with an idea and make it come to life. It’s so important to always shoot what you want to shoot. You’ll always get something good out of it.
LA Based photographer.