Tips for Editorials

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A photoshoot I was involved in earlier this year was published last week in UK blog, Rock My Wedding. Seeing the results of the photoshoot was so awesome that it inspired me to write about my experience working on this editorial with a great team of other creatives. I’ve been doing photoshoots for two years now and found it’s a bit of a risk as a florist, as you have to invest both your time as well as a significant amount of fresh flowers. I’m not an expert on editorials but I wanted to share my experiences so far. I hope that my insights will help others, whether you’re a florist or wish to collaborate on a photoshoot in another way.

Creative vs Business

I sometimes struggle to balance my desire to be creative with the necessities of running a business. For example, I would much rather work on an imaginative project than update my online shop. If a fellow creative has an idea, or asks if I want to collaborate on a project, I often jump at the opportunity without considering how it might benefit my business. If you’re looking at producing pretty pictures to add to a non-existent portfolio, it’s probably not a bad thing, as we all have to start somewhere. But as a business owner, these opportunities need to be balanced with considering what you’ll achieve from the project, how much it’s going to cost, and whether you’ll get a return on investment (both time and money).

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Clear communication is very important

I’m really lucky to live in Canberra where there are so many talented creatives who are really supportive of each other. We have a system here called time for photography (TFP), where everyone contributes in-kind to a photoshoot (for example flowers, fashion, styling, photography). When the shoot is complete, we share the images and promise to promote each other’s work/business whenever the images are used. It’s a simple concept, but can sometimes be hard to honour (often unintentionally) when expectations and agreements haven’t been communicated properly.

For example, if you and the others are aiming for the images to be published in a blog or magazine, everyone needs to be clear and agree that the photographs can’t be shared on social media until after publication. This may take months and will require everyone to be patient, but it’s worth the wait—publishing a photograph that hasn’t been seen before on a platform that has a much wider audience reach can have a far great impact than one that’s already been shared through your own social media channels.

Every photographer is different

When I first needed to organise photoshoots to develop a portfolio of my work, I just asked anyone that did photography without thinking much about what I was looking for. Now I understand that knowing the style and skill of a photographer you’re working with is crucial. Just because someone knows how to use a camera, it doesn’t mean that they can achieve the style of photography you have in mind. Photographers are like painters—they have their own individual skill set, tendencies, strength, and speciality. And it affects everything. The way they see colour, capture moments, and frame a picture are all different, so it’s important to know what you want from the photoshoot and to choose a photographer who can help you achieve this aim.

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Having the right team

When I first met Garry from GC Photography, he said to me, “When you have a team of passionate people you can't fail, you can only succeed.” He was actually quoting Benjamin Von Wong, but Garry really believes in that saying too so it could just as well have been his quote. I’ve learnt that it also helps when this team of passionate people shares a creative view and direction. The recent photoshoot in Rock my Wedding was a perfect example of this. As a florist, I couldn’t really help to ‘run the shoot’ as arranging and styling the flowers was a huge task that required a lot of preparation both before and during the shoot. I was also the main point of contact between the venue and the creative team, so I didn’t have a lot of time to spare. But my main partners on this shoot were Miss Gen Photography and Vicky from Rockstars and Royalty. I’d worked with them both before and knew I could rely on them to produce an end result of amazing quality. Vicky did a wonderful job recruiting the rest of the crew, all experts in their field (styling, stationery, models, hair, make-up), as well as being the firm voice to ensure that we stayed focused on the look that we wanted (it can often be easy to get swayed into trying new ideas).

With photographers, I sometimes need to ask them to take particular shots of flowers for me, but this wasn’t the case with Miss Gen. As she’s an extremely experienced photographer, I trusted her to showcase my work in the best way possible. I was therefore able to relax and continue working in the background on a last minute flower crown for the second look. The hair and make-up team did an amazing job matching everything. For example, in the picture below, Ashlea’s lipstick is the exact same colour as the deep red dahlia. Angelina’s hair was teased like crazy so it looked amazing with the massive flower crown I made. The gold sequinned dress matched the glittering props, cakes, and stationery on the table. Every choice was planned and deliberate, and to me that makes a world of difference in the quality of a shoot.

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The big day 

I don’t know how everyone else found the day of the photoshoot, for me it was stressful but fun. The day was tightly scheduled and we all made sure we knew what was coming next and what our end goal was. This turned out to be very important, as the weather wasn’t what we had hoped. But we knew what things couldn’t be changed and where we had room to improvise to achieve our aims.

Believe it or not, these photos are only half the shoot. We shot another set of photos in a different theme later on that afternoon, so it was a huge day to say the least. Vicky had three costume changes with five models and I was still arranging flowers and keeping a close eye on the weather while everything else was going on. I’m really proud of what we did as a team on this editorial. A good photoshoot really is never just a fluke, it’s a result of hard work and a great team with the same vision. I’d love to hear what others think about what I’ve shared, and to hear about your own experiences with photoshoots as well.

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Photography: Miss Gen Photography

Dresses / Creative Director: Rockstars & Royalty

Flowers: Peony N Pearl

Venue & Food: Pialligo Estate

Styling & Dessert table : Swish Vintage Canberra

Stationary: Invitations by Melita

Hair: Dilkara Essence of Australia

Make up: Jacqui Scott MUA

Suit: Braddon Tailors

Models: Ashlea Perry, Matthew Gambrill and Angelina Leljak from Devojka Models