So I’ve had this topic on my mind lately.
One of the things we hear the MOST from clients (especially Seniors), is: “I want my pictures to be different than everyone else’s.”
I get it, I totally do. I WANT my photos of you to be different than everyone else’s. In fact, you can look at ANY photographer’s advertising “motto” and you will see that every photographer is aspiring to offer you a “unique, tailored to your personality, one of a kind” photo session.
It’s truly hard for photographers these days- for one, there’s way too many of us…and unfortunately the majority of us are following the herd by photographing with sun flares, making “looks like film” grainy images, and applying trendy filters that will likely be out of style soon. We are trying desperately to show our creativity while falling prey to conformity. Everyone wants something “different” just like that photo you are showing me on pinterest. There, I said it. Sorry not sorry.
Ever since I started doing photography I aspired to create images that stood out as different. Every so often (but not enough) I get the time to do a shoot that is totally for my own benefit- a time where I can create whatever I want with no expectations. It is during these shoots that I feel the most validated as a photographer. It is during these shoots that I feel like I grow as an artist. Sometimes photography isn’t looked at as an art- but for me, that’s the whole reason I got into this field. Senior model Haley wanted to do a “weird” session outdoors in a forest but when we got rained out we went in the studio and it became one of those shoots where I let my mind wander. She was completely natural- and it was some of my favorite images to date.
So back to the point- I’m basically trying to say that everything has been done. Yes, there are the rare bursts of true out-in-left-field weird ideas that might be new, but for the most part anything you can think of has been done. Most any LOCATION you use has been photographed- want to do a record store? Been done. Want to do do a farm scene? Been done. Want to do the big city? Been done. Want to do a cotton or sunflower field? WAAAAAY DONE.
So what makes a photo unique?
Well, if you want my 2 cents, I would say that it is a result of a great client/photographer relationship as well as the photographer’s skill set. Having the right lighting equipment and knowledge to use it greatly opens up the creative possibilities for your session. We can take a sunny day and use our skills to make it night- and vice versa. It’s quite a handy skill to have.
It actually has very little to do with the location. You could send 10 different photographers to the same location and they would all use different angles and lighting techniques. I mean, EVERYONE takes photos in the alley off the square in Carrollton- but how many use the dumpster?
The key to being unique ( i think) is a 2 part deal. First of all, you have to embrace who you are and open up to your photographer about what you really like, what things you are into, etc. We have to know your personality and what makes you tick. Secondly, as a photographer, we have to look at things differently and try to think outside the box. A great saying that I have tried to implement this year is “Look which way everyone else is going, and then run full speed in the opposite direction.” Now, that might be a bad idea in a zombie apocolypse, but in this situation, I think it’s perfect.
All of this came to mind last week when I was trying to come up with a new business slogan-
“Be unique at SHP”……”Photos tailored to you”……”Show who you really are at SHP”…. it all just really sounded , well…..the same as everyone else. I’m a hard nut to crack and I feel like I can see through sales pitches and marketing schemes pretty easily- so I have a real hard time with these things. I don’t like “fronts” and I don’t like gimmicks.
And I don’t like to do the same session 100 times a year.
So here’s the real deal- yes, sometimes we replicate the same image in sessions, because they look fantastic and people love them. Yes, in the studio we will probably break out the fog machine and water spray for your sports images- because let’s face it, they make you look like a totally fierce badass.
But we also strive to create something different in every session. The possibilities are endless- as long as you are a willing creative participant!
Maybe we catch an epic sunset and you strike a powerful pose:
Or perhaps you’re really into Harry Potter:
Chess pro? :
Or check out this photo of Emily- she was ALL ABOUT her green Vans:
How about Nick? He was SO not into having his photos made but once we got this cool image of his two favorite things (his truck and his dog Bebo) he was pumped:
So you’re looking for something different? Well, you won’t find another photographer in the area who will work harder to give you something AMAZINGLY different. You won’t find another photographer who cares about your images as much as we do. Do we just give you a USB of your images and send you packing? NO. Why? Because we care. We care about the legacy of your images. We care about the quality of products you purchase- and we care about a relationship with you. No, we wont be expecting an invite to your Thanksgiving dinner, but during the time we are shooting your session we want you to feel comfortable, we want you to feel like you can be yourself, and of course we want you to have fun. We want to see the REAL you and we want to create an image that your entire family will look at and say, “That is SO you!” You are what makes an image unique.
So what do you value? What do you hold dear? What dreams and goals consume your every thought? Is it antlers and live chickens? Please say it’s antlers and chickens lol.
Does this mean that we will be throwing chickens in your lap at your session? hahaha no. (well, maybe not). I guess what I am trying to say is that the key to achieving something “different” lies in the collaboration between you and your photographer. Choose wisely.
“Where different is the norm.” (you see what I did there 😉 )