How to Stand Out in a Sea of Photographers
After deciding to take our photography business full time, the first thing we decided was the same as any business: How to stand out and be seen. That can be very difficult to do. Here is one of the things that we have done.
We browse the photography groups just as much as anyone and try to stay current with trends. One of the recent trends has been using flour in sports and dancer portraits. And I have to say, they are very impressive when executed correctly. So I look at my wife, Kathleen, and decided “Let’s have a flour photo shoot in the studio.” At first she thought “okay, you have lost it”! Let me justify her response with a little back story:
Our studio is located in our house. Kathleen has been a full time photographer for over five years and as of February 2015 I have joined her as a full time photographer. Of the two of us, I am the one that is obsessed with cleaning the house, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming on a daily basis. Due to my compulsive cleaning and the studio being attached to the house, Kathleen could not believe that I would even suggest a flour shoot in the studio. But, knowing outdoors wasn’t a great option because of where we live, we decided to go for it.
I started making plans for the studio, how we would light it and how we could minimize the contamination of flour everywhere. Kathleen reached out to some of our past clients and found us a couple of willing volunteers (I do not think they knew the extent of what they were about to get themselves into). I removed everything not needed from the studio and covered the large items in plastic. Twenty Five pounds of flour on hand, dancers with willing and eager attitudes, two photographers that I am sure are out of their minds, and the studio prepared; we were ready for the melee to begin!
This was the diagram of the set up:
And the Details of the Setup and Settings for Flour Dancing Photography:
We were using Alien Bee strobes, one in a strip box with grid set at f9.0, one on a beauty dish set at f5.6 and the final one in a six foot umbrella set at f8.0. Camera settings were f8.0, 1/250th and ISO 125.
We had seen the different powder brushes and they work well for filling in spots, but we wanted to see the flour on the skin for texture and the brushes just cannot do that. We would have the dancer show us the move they wanted to do and we would decide where the flour should be on the dancer for the best effect. In the diagram above, two assistants stood to each side and would throw extra flour in if it was needed.
These girls were simply amazing. They were willing to do and try whatever we asked. And if it did not turn out just right the first time, they were ready to go again. The dancers were covered from head to toe.
Safety Note – Use caution and clean up the floor between shots as the floor does become slick and could cause anyone in the area to fall including the dancer.
Dancer in Flour:
Flour Rains From Dancers Hair:
Disclaimer: just so that you are completely aware of the fallout, I was cleaning up flour for the next two weeks. Camera, lights, backdrop, even my office which is upstairs! So just be warned. This should be done outside if possible. And if in studio, be prepared to clean for a while. Maybe a good opportunity for back to back sessions before the “flour” settles.
How to Create a Better Photography Business
What we were really trying to accomplish here is photography that is new and different than other photographers in our area. We want to stand out in the crowd and be seen. That is a part of what it takes to make it as a photographer in today’s environment. Good photographers fail in the business every day. Good business minded photographers, even if their photography is not as good, succeed. I am by no means saying it is okay to produce mediocre photographs for clients, we all should strive for excellence in our portraits. But without running it as a business first, photography studio second, failure is eminent. If you are offering the same product as twenty other photographers in your location, the only comparison becomes price. That is not where you want to be. Shake it up and march to a different beat!
Kathleen & Kyle B Photography is located in Claremore, OK. We have over 20 years of photography experience and love working together as a husband and wife team. For more information about us, visit us at www.kathleenandkyleb.com or see what we are up to next at our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/claremorephotography