While there is nothing wrong with having a dream, reality is often far different.When considering a career in photography, many of us envision shooting beautiful models, on a beach in an exotic location, with several assistants. As the photographer we’re there to capture the magazine cover, right? Our job is not to keep curious onlookers off the set or rake the sand to perfection or hold the light.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living with photography alone with the proliferation of digital cameras. Countless times I’ve heard a prospective client say, “My niece has a camera – I’ll just get her to shoot my headshot for the company brochure”. My personal favourite: “I’ll use the selfie I took with my phone for my LinkedIn profile photo”. It is becoming our job more and more to educate clients on the value of professional photos. Sure their niece may have a digital SLR, but unless she is in the photography business, it is doubtful she has invested in backdrops or studio strobes, nor done the research and practiced lighting techniques. All are required to portray the image of you and your company in a professional way which will encourage others to work with you. Without proper tools, training and experience, it’s less probable your product will be captured in a way that moves people to make a purchase.
Only a select few will ever shoot portraits of Prime Ministers, sports stars or yes, those swimsuit models. As the design projects at Hip Mama can be anything from a business card to a product brochure, full colour catalogue or a novel, we have to be able to provide the photography services required by the project.
My favorite projects have to be headshots. In the studio, you have control over lighting and generally adequate time to produce a quality image which then requires minimal retouching. I do love retouching – finding the balance between making someone look their best without looking plastic or 20 years younger than their true age.
Since we began offering photography services in-house we have taken on many different projects. For example, one client manufactures toilet seats both for household and commercial settings. As they were rolling out new products, images were needed for product labels, a website, and sales literature. Seats and hinges were photographed in the studio for the standard product shots and after a little Photoshop work to knock out the background, high-res files were delivered.
A few days later we received a call from the sales rep. They were very happy with the studio shots but felt the need to show the commercial products in their true environment. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be photographing commercial and institutional toilet seats out in the real world! It turned out to be a lot of fun – imagine the surprise of someone walking into a public washroom and seeing an array of lights and camera equipment. Once we explained what was happening, the look of concern turned to a smile and laugh.
We naturally heard all the jokes like “That must have been a “s h _ _ _” job from our colleagues, but as Dawn says “Not all the jobs are glamorous at Hip Mama”.