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How to Collaborate with Clients to Create Inspiring Images


I am living my dream. It’s the truth. I wake up every day and create art. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Beyond the blessings I feel that I have being a photographer, even more important to me is that I am shooting work that inspires me and others. I ask myself all the time, “What am I shooting that not only inspires me, but others as well?”

If you are familiar with my work, you have seen an image of a bride facing a giraffe. It’s my favorite image right now and, admittedly, I’ve put it everywhere! The home page of my website, and on most of my marketing materials. I am asked often how I created this image. How was I able to get a bride and giraffe together for a shoot?

The real question is, what can YOU DO to create images you are proud of? Do you think they just happen on an average wedding day? Perhaps….but not always. My question is: how can YOU create an image that is truly from your heart? How can you create an image that will truly inspire?

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It starts with a client who trusts you – totally trusts you. When my client booked a post-wedding shoot, I knew that she would let me do anything I wanted to do. In an opportunity like this, the first thing you should do is delve deep and articulate what inspires you as an artist. How can you create an image that you’ll love, and also something that’s unique and sets you apart from everyone else? You must put your unique stamp on it.

I have always been inspired by Richard Avedon’s photograph of a woman with elephants (you probably know the image I’m talking about). I knew I wanted to do something with animals. Once that was in my head, I started scouring my brain for contacts who would give me access to awesome animals. Then, I remembered a bride from a few years back who worked for Safari Park in San Diego. Because of my relationship with her and the park, we were granted permission to shoot with majestic animals. In exchange, we let the park use the images for their marketing materials.

Next, it was time to assemble a team of trusted vendors. The bride and I collaborated to discuss dress options, accessories, and any detail I could think of. The shoot ended up being an incredible day of shooting all over the park and included experiences with cheetahs, birds, and of course the now infamous giraffe. The end result was an amazing shoot that I was very proud of.

In the end, my bride was equally as proud and inspired by the image. But there’s something else that I needed to create such an inspiring image: TIME. Time to be creative, time to research, time to collaborate with my client.

Time is precious. For me, inspiration is made possible through time. Time to build trust with clients and vendors, and time to be inspired personally. The way I carve out time to create inspiring images is by trusting a specialist with my post-production. As simple as it sounds, that partnership frees up TIME for me to be creative. Trusting a specialist with my post-production is the biggest decision I’ve made in my business to get back time. You can’t expect to be inspired, nor can you expect to grow your photography business, while sitting behind a desk. You know exactly what I’m talking about – the stress of being all things to your business stifles creativity.

So, protect your time. Take steps to share tasks with trusted partners, perhaps in post-production or other key areas of your business. You won’t regret it; you will have more time to collaborate with clients to create inspiring images.





About the Author and her trusted specialist:
Sara is the founder and owner of Sara France Photography, Inc, based in San Diego. In business since 2001, they focus on weddings and events in the greater Southern California region. Sara is a passionate Aperture user and a member of the Aperture Advisory Panel for Apple. Alongside her professional wedding photography career, she also developed Aperture training workflow materials for professional photographers and trains them to become more efficient and effective using this awesome tool produced by Apple, Inc.

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