These days, brands are reaching out to consumers more and more through social media and their need for fresh imagery is endless. You would think that lifestyle shooters would all be booked non-stop to keep up with the demand. Unfortunately this is not the case. Lifestyle productions are expensive and some of the smaller brands don’t necessarily understand usage and the amount of time and organization that goes into creating mass amounts of content. On top of that, there are so many photographers that are starting out willing to do work for hire just for the opportunity to shoot commercially. Here are a few lifestyle photography tips to help you navigate the uncharted waters of the new school of lifestyle photography.
We have to ban together as professional photographers and come up with an industry wide solution to the Social Media image demands of our clients. I believe the new breed of stock agencies are equipped to handle the demand for content and also maintain an industry standard, treating both the photographer and the brand in a fair and just way. SheStock, ImageBrief and Cavan are three agencies that have different approaches but are all unique to the mass marketed giants that have gobbled up the image stock market and divided us into nothing more then manual laborers.
SheStock is the most similar to the typical stock agency with content already available but also have producers and reps on staff to organize shoots in order to fulfill requests and needs. They speak directly with clients and collaborate with the photographer to created fresh new imagery based on the niche market of woman. Another agency that I think is creating a new approach to solving the constant demand for fresh new imagery is ImageBrief. Agency creative’s submit their needs in the form of a brief with visual references and a written description of what they are looking for and ImageBrief invites vetted photographers to fulfill the submission from their archives or they can chose to shoot original content based on the exact brief. They have already negotiated the usage and the amount before releasing the brief so you are aware of the compensation (less 30%) before submitting and they even have an app that constantly alarms you of new briefs (even on Sundays!).
Or an even newer approach is shooting your own imagery and feed the entire shoot to Cavan. They pay you per image a one-time fee but encourage you to shoot multiple images with different angles and lens from each shoot. As long as you submit high quality images it can be financially rewarding. It’s worthwhile to the shooter even though it’s still work for hire but the brands are dealing direct with the stock agency. Cavan gives the brand an option of exclusivity in small amounts of time making it possible for smaller agencies and products to have fresh new content. The best part is Cavan handles or guides you on the production depending on your needs and deals directly with client but let’s them know who’s shooting their content.
All of these agencies are creating a win-win solution for both photographers and brands trying to fulfill the never ending demand for fresh social media images and also maintain an industry standard that’s so important if we want to continue keeping photography as a viable profession. It’s like having an artist rep and producer on call who know your style and constantly reach out with endless requests and ideas. I keep releases in my camera bag and use real people and locations that seem to be already propped and perfect for lifestyle shoots. It’s kinda like guerilla shooting, grab the shot with what’s available and edit tightly when you get in front of your computer. I also make sure I reward my subjects with imagery for their personal use as it seems even the consumer is in constant need of fresh new pix for their own social media needs.
NOTE: The images attached were from a recent social media content shoot for Zebra Pens . All real people (friends and acquaintances) and real locations who I called a few days before to ask if they wanted images in return for letting me hang out with them for an hour or so. Even the waitress was shot while we broke for lunch! Of course we left her a generous tip!