Image credit: Elizabeth Henson
At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish no matter the season. In our Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we highlight the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do. Today is no different as we delve into a subject we can all try as we continue to socially distance and appreciate the stillness of time and beauty surrounding us.
We are talking with brand photography expert, Angie McPherson, to discuss her secrets on establishing and capturing her clients' brands!
First things first, how do you take your coffee? (And if you are not a coffee drinker, what is your go-to beverage for fuel?)
Angie: I LOVE coffee!! But it has to be full of flavor, almost to where I can’t taste the coffee anymore haha! You can find me at Starbucks getting whichever coffee matches the current season! But at home, I stick with Starbucks Caramel K-Cups :)
Image credit: Leigh-Anne Stump
Tell us a bit about yourself and your photography business.
Angie: I started my photography business in 2013. I bought a camera, watched every YouTube video I could find, invested in mentoring, joined a local photography community on Facebook, and started my wedding photography business. I LOVED shooting couples and beautiful weddings around the country! But years into running my business, I realized I wanted to work with entrepreneurs and also spend more weekends with my family so I pivoted into branding photography!
What got you into branding photography and what do you enjoy the most about it?
Angie: I have a background working in marketing and PR so, at some point, I found myself educating other wedding vendors on growing their business. This grew into offering branding photography so I could help all types of entrepreneurs not only with marketing and strategy, but equip them with the photos they need for their website, social media, and more!
I love helping entrepreneurs take their brand vision from an idea to a gallery of images that empower them to show up consistently and authentically, ultimately growing their business.
Let's talk about shooting product specifically. Is it challenging to have a subject that doesn't smile?!
Angie: Not challenging at all! Props and products take direction easily (aka, I can move them anywhere and everywhere)! I love styling props and bringing in fun elements complementary to the product.
Before a product shoot, what kind of research and prep do you do with your client?
Angie: I send over a questionnaire that asks about their overall brand, the products they’d like me to shoot, and what their intentions are for the photos (i.e. where will the photos be used, what will the message be, etc.). I also have the client create a small inspirational board on Pinterest so I can see the vision they have in mind.
What is the most interesting product you've photographed? What did that shoot look like?
Angie: I recently photographed a new coffee subscription called UniQorn Coffee by Olympic gold medalist, Shawn Johnson, and her husband Andrew! They sell bags of coffee beans so I had to grind the beans and use a French press. I usually put a K-Cup in the Keurig when I make coffee so it was super fun to try something new for a photoshoot!
How do you like to have fun with flat lay photography? Any tricks you often use?
Angie: I bring in a ton of complementary accessories and literally pull items in and out of the shots! Layering and/or filling in the image with plants or flowers is a trick I often use if the shot needs a little more ‘oomph’! Whiteboards, window light, and a reflector also go a LONG way.
How has COVID-19 impacted the branding photography you are doing right now?
Angie: The pandemic definitely moved all of my spring shoots to late summer and fall. It actually encouraged me to start photographing products! I wanted to continue working while being quarantined at home and a client reached out to ask if they could send me their products to shoot. I bought some backdrops and props and created an entirely new niche in my business!
What tips would you give an entrepreneur on defining their brand?
Angie: Oh, I love this question because defining the brand is the first thing I have my clients do before we plan the shoot! My best tip for entrepreneurs would be to create your brand story. The brand story can include:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you do it
- Who you serve (your ideal client)
- Your unique value proposition (what sets you apart from the competition?)
Image credit: Elizabeth Henson
Lastly, what Fotostrap do you wear? Favorite thing about it?
Angie: I have the Rose Designer Fotostrap and I love the pop of color it brings to my ensemble while I’m shooting! I also have a custom shoulder pad with my logo on it that gives my camera bag a swanky look :)