Dream Smarter Podcast Ep13 - Secrets To A Great Photo & Video Shoot


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep13 – Secrets To A Great Photo & Video Shoot

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


Today is a very exciting day because today we’re going to talk about the secrets to a great photo video shoot. I think it can transform your business into ways that you couldn’t without and finding the right photographer, finding the right videographer, planning your shoot. It’s all, all very important. And I’m going to walk you all through it today.

I just got back a week ago I was doing a shoot with some incredibly talented individuals in Scottsdale, Arizona. And to me, which I will get into more in this episode, working with artists as a creative is healing. That time that we had the shoot was honestly healing for me because, as a creative, our work is so much a part of us, and it’s really hard to separate it, nor should we have to.  I don’t think that as creatives, we should have to separate our work from our life and our life from our work. I think that it’s a part of us. It’s a part of our hearts. It’s a part of our souls, and we should cherish that. And we should be with people in life in general and work with people creatively who support that, who want to be a part of that and who aid in your creativity and help you be just the best possible human that you possibly can. I mean, when things feel aligned, and they feel good, there’s nothing that can take that away from you.

And the few days that I had with these amazingly talented women, it changed me. I mean, it, honestly, it changed me as a creative. It boosted my confidence as a person. Its just magic. I just can’t even explain. So today I’m going to talk to you about how you could possibly do this yourself and how to set up a photo video shoot that is smart because we all know I’m all about doing things smartly. And one that will just make your business boom.


# 1: Understand the purpose behind the shoot in the first place.


You shouldn’t do these things for no reason. I mean, it’s a big deal, which step number two is all about making the proper investment and which I’ll get into in a minute here. But basically, these shoots are a high investment. I think I spent nearly $10,000 on everything from paying for the photographer and videographer to my outfits, to paying for the hotels and the food and drinks and all the good times that we had and all of that shit totally worth it. I’ve already made my money back. No joke. It’s been like less than a week since I got home, and I’ve made my money back. So it’s all worth it, but you need to understand why you’re doing it because the purpose behind it will help you actually create and build this shoe with the artists that you’re working with so that it’s actually working for you in your advantage.

I decided to do the shoot that I did because I really wanted to work with Jackie and Natalie. We’ve already shot one video together, but we’ve been planning out videos for a long time. So, I wanted to work with them artistically because my brand is all about creating art and creating not only just a beautiful business, but everything else that comes with it and photography and video and media is just a huge part of business in general. I’m always about innovation. So, I knew that we three together could create this beautiful art, and these brand photos that weren’t boring because I was sick of seeing boring brand photos.

I’m now stepping into this new power in this new like genius of just like here art. So, I was just called to work with these women. And I wanted to create something that was different than anything that I had ever seen before. And I knew that there was going to be power in that. I just knew that there was going to be something with the shoot. And it was just this deep fire in my soul that I felt like I needed to do.

So that’s part of the reason why I did the shoot. The other reason is I really needed new photography. I mean, my hair had completely changed. I just needed something new and fresh for my Instagram. And that’s where I get a lot of my clients. I also wanted some new, fresh stuff or my website. I recently changed my brand colors and introduced a new neon yellow/green color, and I wanted to introduce that in my photos. I’m looking to get some press on this shoot just specifically for creating art, and like boring brand photography is dead. And like video also is the future. So, once I get all these assets back, I’m going to put together a bunch of headlines and articles, send them to some press, and get some press on this shoot.

Because as a design educator, I want to change what it means to be an entrepreneur. I want to change what it means to go to school to be an entrepreneur. I mean, small businesses booming. They don’t teach you this shit in school. I know that’s like very high-level thinking, but I have this calling inside of me too. Just share how I want this industry to move in the future. And I want to help people who want to be creatives. And I want to help people who want to be business owners. And I want just to change a lot of things that are happening in the industry. I mean, there are so many things shifting with COVID. There are so many things shifting with just the world in general. And I am ready to stand as a leader and help people move into their power.

So that is part of the reason why I want to do the shoot as well. And of course, I have these new trainings. I really wanted just to bring some fresh new shit to my brand. So, understand the purpose behind your shoot.


#2: Make the proper investment.


So, you can do a shoot for really cheap. You can have your cousins shoot it, or you can pay $10,000. Like I did make all of your money back within a week. So, you have to make the proper investment for you. You have to sit down and say, what is this worth to me? And what can I expect? You will make your money back. You will. If the photos are good, if you choose something to honestly, don’t choose your cousin unless your cousin is amazing.

And if you’re brand new, starting out, haven’t made a dime, sure. That’s better than nothing. If they have a nice camera or they’re willing to do this for free, do that because you don’t have anything on the line. But when you have shit on the line, spend the money, get a nice outfit. I mean, some of the clothes that I bought for my shoot were like $300 for a pair of pants, $300 for a blazer, which I would never normally spend. But honestly, it made the shoot. So, it’s all about like, where do I put this energy? Where do I put this money? And being smart about it. You have to think deep inside of your soul and be like, how much is this worth?

Do not just choose somebody because they’re the cheapest and do not undercharge people because they are artists. Like I’m working with Jackie right now, and I’m like, Jackie, you are not allowed to do shoots for free anymore because it’s really ridiculous. These people are artists. They have many, many years of experience. They are brilliant at what they do. I mean, she honestly could be working for magazines and shit. Like Jackie would love to work for Playboy, and she could totally do it. It’s all about confidence and all of that stuff. And it’s amazing. And I’m proud of her. And you should do that too, as an artist and as a creative, by the way, you don’t have to be a photographer to be charged your worth, but just saying, make the proper investment for you.

And definitely, I would say make more of an investment if you can. And if you are able, ask your photographers, do you have payment plans? And I know things are a little weird right now with COVID. So even if you can’t just put the money down right now, plan for it. Like, I purchased this shoot with Jackie months before I even had a plan of when we were going to do it. I just knew that I wanted to work with her. So, jump on that shit. Get it planned. And then you have it paid for. So, whenever you’re ready, hopefully, the photographer and the videographer are ready.


#3: You have to choose the right creatives.


You have to choose people that you adore, and you love their work. Don’t just choose a photographer or videographer that has video and photo. And you’re like, Oh, okay. Like their stuff is okay, but I’m hoping that they can do this style of shoot. I’m going to stop right there. You have to find photo and video artists that you adore already because that is their style. That’s what they do. You can’t expect people to do things that are outside of what they do. And everybody’s at a different stage. Like some people started taking pictures a year ago. Some people started taking pictures 10 years ago. It’s all based on experience and just like raw, natural talent. So, you just have to find the right creative for you. If you’re looking for a light and airy style, find somebody who does like an airy, don’t find a photographer and be like, Hey, can you do light and airy for me?

No, no, don’t do that. Find somebody who you already does light and airy because that is their expertise. And they know how to edit that. You will be greatly disappointed if you choose somebody who’s like dark and moody and then force them to do light and airy just doesn’t work that way. So, choose your right creatives.


#4: Choose the right location.


You need to choose a location that fits your brand. So, I’m going to get into the hole, making sure that your clothes are on brand and fit your brand colors, but your location is the same. You have to choose the right location for your brand. And I love choosing locations that have a ton of different options because you don’t want to be like running around town every day doing these photoshoots, like shooting here, shooting there, and shooting there.

If you can find one location that has a bunch of different areas that look different from one another, you’re golden, and it’s easy. It’s like you’re in the area. You can quickly switch your outfits, and then it literally looks like you’re in a different place. So, choose the right location.

The location that I shot at was a hotel it’s called the Scott in Scottsdale. It was beautiful. It was perfect. And then we did shoot at Mountain Shadows in Scottsdale as well, which was also beautiful and also perfect. So, they were like 10 minutes away from each other. It really worked out. It was amazing.


#5: Micromanage the fuck out of everything.


And the reason why is because, during the shoot, you don’t want to micromanage anything. It’s like a wedding. You want to micromanage every single little thing before the shoot and get it all planned as much as you can every little detail. And then during the shoot, you relax. And then you just pose like the model that you are. So, you just need to plan before, like plan as much as you possibly can. Don’t overstep the artists like the videographer and photographers. Don’t overstep them, let them do their thing, collaborate with them, and plan as much as possible. Jackie made an entire fucking schedule, like a timeline. And it changed my life. I mean, it was like, okay, Alex, today you have to wake up at 5:00 AM, and you sit and get your hair and Amanda did makeup. It was honestly the best thing ever.

I just rolled out of bed. I took a quick shower, sat down in the chair. Amanda made me look beautiful. And then I was like, okay, I’m ready to shoot. It’s perfect. So just get your shit together.


#6:  Create a Pinterest board.


I Pinned a bunch of stories. Jackie helped me. She helped me kind of plan. There were six different stories, which are like scenes that we did for photoshoots. And she helped me plan. Obviously, during the shoot, things definitely go differently, which is good. You have to be flexible. They’re never going to be perfect. You can’t expect your pictures to look exactly like those, but throughout the shoot, we would reference Jackie to pull up the Pinterest board. She would say, okay, look at this shot. This is how this shot is laid out. Let’s layout your shot like this. So, it helped us move forward and create the shots that we wanted.

I like to make a shot list. For this one, I didn’t necessarily make a shot list, but when I did my old photoshoots, I would make a shot list. You want pictures with your laptop, or you want pictures in this outfit doing this. I had a custom newspaper made. So, I knew I wanted pictures right off the bat. I wanted pictures with my wine with my coffee. So, you kind of create some shot lists so that you have an idea of what you’re going to do during the shoot. Most photographers don’t do this stuff for you. Jackie has her shit together. She’s amazing. Most photographers don’t do this for you. So, you might have to do it yourself. And that’s cool. Make it fun.

Then you want to plan your outfits. You plan them with like your Pinterest board and your shot list and all that. All of this stuff goes together. So, when it comes to outfits, you need to keep all of your shit on brand. I mean, of course, you knew I was going to say that, but you also, my tip for outfits is picking out tops, bottoms, dresses, whatever it may be that have movement. So, there are pictures of me in the bathroom with that dress. And I walked into the pool in my outfit and some shots, and they turned out amazing.

But the sleeves are like these huge bell sleeves, and they create this amazing, beautiful movement. And just anything that creates movement at all. I had like bell bottoms on, and I had my blazer without a top on underneath. And it just created a lot of movement is gorgeous. So, choosing outfits, there’s a lot of clothes that look really amazing and shoes, but they don’t look that great in person. Like I probably wouldn’t wear a lot of the stuff that I wore at the shoot out to like get dinner, but they look great in the shoot. So, find things that create movement and that are on-brand. Then you have to think about your props. So, there’s all this stuff that goes into it.

So, when you’re doing your props, you want them to be on-brand with whatever your brand may be. So, for me, I’m very into editorial. So, magazines, coffee table books, some candles, some perfume, and lipsticks with stars. Like shit like that is what I chose. So whatever matches your brand, bring some props. I even brought my neon sign. Pair your prompts with the stories. Use your stories that you’ve created in your Pinterest board to help you choose your props.


#7: Make sure you have a timeline going.


I loved having a daily timeline. Jackie fucking killed it with that timeline. It helps me stay on track. It helped us get all the shots, and it was great.

Cause we were in Arizona. It was hotter than hell. We would wake up at 5:00 AM. I would be done with hair and makeup by seven. We would shoot until like, 11, noon-ish we’d go eat. We’d go hang out at the pool. And then at like five-ish, we would start hearing and makeup again for this next shot of the day, double hair and makeup every day. And then we’d shoot that stuff. So, it worked out perfectly. We knew exactly what we needed to do every day. I never felt rushed. I never felt overwhelmed at all. It was just amazing. So, the timeline is key. And then, before the shoot, you want to make sure you get to know your appointments and by appointments. I mean, make sure your nails are done. Get a tan; make sure your skin is on point. Get your hair done—all those things. You have to think about every single little thing so that you feel beautiful and amazing because Hey, guess what? We’re not models.

So, I’m like I need to do every little thing that makes me feel my best version of myself. Got a spray tan by Alexandra. She’s amazing if you guys need to spray tan artists and live in LA, hit me up, and give you her info. Your nails are such an important thing because they actually show a lot in pictures. I’m drinking a lot of water, making sure that I’ve done my skincare regimen every single night beforehand and maybe even getting a facial. I like doing dermaplaning. Dermaplaning, if you guys don’t know, it’s where they scratch off like your dead skin and all the peach fuzz that’s on your face.

I mean, you’d be amazed at how much hair comes off of your face. At least there’s a lot of hair that comes off of my face. And obviously, it’s COVID, so I wasn’t able to get that done, but I did buy the Derma flash from Sephora, which is basically the same. Amazing. You can do it right at home. Your makeup goes on better. Your skin looks great—all the things. I got my eyelash extensions put in Ash came over, shout out to Ash Blonde. She did my color and cut my hair beforehand.

Anyway, get all of your appointments in so that you feel like your freshest self. You want to walk into the shoot, feeling yourself. You want to be like, wow, I’m sexy. I’m ho.t Because it’s really awkward because we’re not models, but you just have to fucking own it once you get there. So just make yourself look good beforehand.


#8: Relax and have fun.


Like just have fun. If you are sitting there and you’re stressed, you will see it in the pictures. If you’re annoyed, you’ll see it in the pictures. Just have fun. Don’t be self-conscious about yourself. Just fucking rock it. Work your magic. Be confident. Pretend you’re a model. That was the biggest thing for me. Pretend you’re a model. Let the artists lead you, the photographer videographer. They will help you and then be open and be flexible to everything that’s happening throughout the shoot. Don’t get stressed. It’s like your wedding day. I’ve never been married, but I can assume it’s like a wedding day. Like if something goes wrong, which things will. Jackie’s car literally broke down on the way to our shoot. I was like, damn girl. Her phone broke halfway through as well.

But we had an amazing shoot. We all got there. Everything was perfect. Everything was just like better than perfect. Honestly, everything was amazing, better than perfect. So be flexible. Feel yourself. Honestly, we all have hang-ups on our bodies, and I have gained some weight from COVID, like 10 pounds. And I was trying to lose it so much before the shoot. And I know there are pictures and their videos from the shoot that I’m probably going to be like, wow, I look fat. Even though I’m not fat. I’m fucking annoyed by feeling like I need to be perfect all the time and feeling like my body needs to be tighter here and leaner here. And Oh, my stomach is sticking out a little bit.

I’m so fucking sick of it. And the shoot made me realize how much I actually love myself and I shouldn’t give a fuck about that. And it’s hard. I mean, you look at these like Instagram models every single day. And in reality, I’ve heard from people who’ve worked with like these gorgeous skinny fucking Instagram models, and they still photoshop themselves. They Photoshop boobs to look bigger. They Photoshop their stomach to look smaller. They Photoshop their ass to look bigger. It’s ridiculous. And you look at these people, and you’re like, Holy fuck. They’re perfect. How could she ever do that? And you have to remember that people are looking at you the same way. And it’s like, we all have these hang-ups, but that’s how I fucking looked.

No matter what happens when these photos and videos come out, that is how I look, and I should never be ashamed of how I look. I should never feel ashamed of that. So, when you’re going into a shoot, don’t be afraid of the way that you look like. That’s how you fucking look, okay? Sorry to break it to you, but you’re beautiful. You are beautiful just as you are and fuck anybody who tells you otherwise.

We put ourselves so fucking much as business owners that we need to worry about whether we have a perfect body or perfect face or perfect everything is sad, honestly. And I am ready to just like stop this because my body just as it is 10 pounds heavier than what I was a few months ago is perfectly beautiful and sexy. So be confident in all aspects of your life. I know it’s hard, but for me, I just had to fucking do it. Whenever I thought poorly of myself, I immediately was like, Nope, Nope, Alex, you are not allowed to think like that. Not at all. So just do that to yourself. Check yourself, check yourself. You’re beautiful.


#9: Tag people


It’s really, really important that you tag people. Fucking tag people for their work, regardless of who it is. Tag your hair and makeup artist, tag your photographer, tag your videographer. Don’t do it because they fucking ask you to do it because you want to. Obviously, you don’t have to do it on every single picture, but after the shoot, when you start sharing like your first few photos, definitely tag everybody because it’s an artist collaboration.

You shouldn’t have to do it on every single post and like be worried that they’re going to like to reach out and like scare you and be like, ah, why didn’t you tag me? You shouldn’t be worried about that because you paid for it. But regardless of the first posts, you should definitely tag everybody. And tag your clothes. Do things smart. Tag people that you think would possibly repost it because people do repost it, all businesses need content. And if you do an amazing shoot, I don’t see why they wouldn’t repost. So, it doesn’t hurt to tag it. You don’t have to like to tag them in the caption of the comments, at least like tag the photo or whatever.


#10: Use the shots to your advantage.


So, you want to make sure that you’re not sharing all of them at once. It’s really, really hard for me not to share like a million photos. Cause I’m loving them so much, and I’m obsessed, but you want to use them to your advantage and kind of sprinkle them throughout your page.  You don’t want to like whoosh, here’s every single photo that we already took because that’s not to your advantage. And everybody sees it. You got to leave a little mystery. You got to leave some photos that they haven’t seen. And with that, what else can you do with the shoot? So, like put it on your social, your website, change your graphics, and make your shit look new and fresh with these new photos. And for me, I’m going to try and get some press for these photos as well. How can you use the shots to your advantage and like to build your business up in ways that you had never thought of before? Innovation guys. Innovation is key.

Update across all of your platforms to make sure everything looks consistent. You have these beautiful new photos, why not share them and put them in your new and your newsletters? Put them in your blog, put them in everything. Make everything look consistent, update your shit; make it look nice. Overall, you just want to make this a collaboration and artistic collaboration when things are art, you can feel it in your fucking soul. I couldn’t imagine not being a creative because creating art and sharing myself with others in this way is incredible. Being able to share my soul and the things that make me happiest in the world, in my life with other people who find the same things as exciting as me, sets my fucking soul on fire and makes me feel alive.

Collaborating with other artists sets my fucking soul on fire and makes me feel alive. Like there’s no other way of saying that it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful mix of hearts and minds and souls. And this sounds super cheesy and deep, but it is. It is super cheesy and deep. And if you haven’t been a part of something like this or have, if you haven’t felt what I’m feeling or what I felt last week, then find other humans who find joy in the same things that you do, especially artists when it comes to creative. I’m assuming a lot of you guys are creative entrepreneurs. And even if it’s not art, maybe it’s science, maybe it’s math, maybe it’s whatever the fuck makes you so happy and feel yourself and feel alive. Find who wants to do that with you and make something of it. Create something bigger than yourselves together and see how you’ll impact the roles.

I truly think art impacts the world. And I think collaboration impacts the world when it’s the right collaboration. When its happy souls are coming together. There’s really nothing better.

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