Do you ever feel like your business needs something more?
I have been feeling a little bit lost recently, knowing that I'd hit a wall and wasn't progressing as fast as I wanted to. Therefore I booked on to a brand photography retreat with the amazing Vicki Knight and Eddie Judd, two photographers that I have been following for about four years via a podcast called 'Shoot, edit, chat, repeat'. They used to focus on lifestyle family photography which used to be my area of expertise, they have a natural approach to photography, which I love! They then changed their focus to Branding photography and I love watching their progression into it. They are amazing photographers.
Now, I have spent 6-7 years learning everything about photography, but I really struggled posing people! Being a lifestyle photographer I used to just say "Be yourself! Don't worry about the camera and act natural!" Easier said than done for the client! I used to talk to them and then photograph their reactions, their genuine smiles. Perfect reactions and they were a joy to send, but I was frustrated with the amount of photos that went in the bin. Photos of my clients with their mouths open whilst talking or with their eyes closed.
So... I was very excited to learn from Vicki and Eddie on how to advise people on their pose, little adjustments of where to put hands and how to sit to compliment their look. Also to best use natural lighting to highlight the persons features.
The retreat was 2.5 days full on learning!
I got to Barcelona the day before and had a lovely time looking round Sitges where we were staying. There are some beautiful buildings and churches there so lots of photos were taken!!!
There were 12 photographers including myself and we all got on so well! We had such an amazing time that I didn't want to leave! I made friends for life.
We had the luxury of photographing 4 different models, two in the town of Sitges, which has beautiful buildings and colourful doorways. The day was a little cloudy so perfect for photos! Both models were totally different from each other which taught us how to pose differently and work with the model in question.
As you can see, These are very natural poses, it's not about telling the model to do everything that you envision, it's about letting them be themselves and then adjusting the pose so that it compliments the model in the most flattering way.
What I learned - Part One of the Brand photography retreat...
During the above photoshoots I learned that doorways are a FANTASTIC thing to photograph in front of!!! My goodness I LOVE the doorways in Sitges! Am planning on looking round Liverpool and the Wirral for similar doorways to photograph in front of for future sessions!
I learned that keeping the model moving creates many different looks, it's not about asking them questions and waiting for the reaction, but about creating the situation and the model/client reacting by having a natural look, a natural smile because they are enjoying themselves.
The walk towards the photographer should be exaggerated so that their figure is more feminine.
Hands always need a purpose, so either holding something, in pockets or folded a certain way.
Every photo must tell a story and the right story for you and your business.
Part two of the retreat was covering mini sessions. Mini sessions are an amazing way to refresh your brand photos. We get bored easily with using the same photos over and over again, so a quick 25 minute photography shoot is an quick and cheaper way of standing out from the crowd and giving a boost to your website and social media.
We had the pleasure of photographing two more models, both very nervous about having their photos taken!
The sessions were in and around the hotel that we were staying in, so we experienced a more natural brand photography environment that was similar to hotels in the UK!
It was amazing to see how a plain window or staircase can be used to create beautiful shots.
What I learned...
Bold colours are my new favourite!!! They just attract someones eye straight away, which is what we want in our marketing - we want to stand out from the crowd.
Think outside the box with areas of the venue, look for foliage to create a cosy atmosphere.
Don't be afraid to move a chair to create the right look.
Look for natural light as it's the most complimentary for photos. Look for windows and doors and how you can take photos with the light.
Being the model.
The next step was actually being the model!! Now this is scary! However, if I expect my clients to pose for me, then I must get used to posing myself and seeing other photographers directing me in how to pose.
I really enjoyed it! I'd just lost 3 stone in weight since my last brand photoshoot so I was in dire need of updated photos.
We did photos with my camera and in the gardens and on the beach (I am a massive beach girl!!!)
We were in groups of three, so we took it in turns to take each others photos and pose and take photos of behind the scenes (always vitally important!)
I enjoyed being in front of the camera although I hate 'fake laughing' so never say those words to someone! However, laughing is always important in photos as it shows your clients that you are friendly and inviting, something we all wish to be in our customer service.
Actually photographing other photographers was useful too. It helped in putting what we had just learned into practise. I am very much a visual learner so I learn by seeing and then immediately doing it myself.
Here are some of the photos I took of the other two photographers, Kirsty and Nicole.
Overall we had a blast! We ate and drank lots and had time away from the kids!!! Met some amazing people and soaked up the sunshine!
Retreats are becoming increasingly popular for both businesses and wellbeing. We all need time out to reset and to be a better person, a better business owner etc.
As humans we constantly need to learn and stretch ourselves. Progress equals happiness.
Retreats are an amazing way to learn new things and acquire new skills.
Have you ever thought of going on a retreat to progress your business or life?
Let me know what sort of retreat you would like to go on in the future. Maybe it's one of your aims for 2024?
If you'd like to know about future retreats by Vicky Knights and Eddie Judd please let me know and I'll send you the details.