Hey guys! It’s the Pink Sheep here again to bring you some insight and back story on something I’m pretty darn excited about! I just hosted my THIRD group product photo session for my crochet product line and it was such a fantastic experience, I knew I needed to share the details with you here on my blog- especially in case there are other creatives out there looking for a new approach to capturing fun product photos! I started using models for my product photography a few years ago but it wasn’t until last year that I got the wild & crazy (at least it felt that way) idea to do a public call for models in my area to come together and have some fun modeling my scarves and other cozy, colorful goodies. I had a great response to my model call and was able to hold two separate group photo sessions in 2019 – the first with 3 people, none of whom I’d previously met, and the second with 7 people, 2 of whom I’d never met!! After the second session I realized something… I’d not just given myself a great way to market my products or my models an addition to their portfolios, I’d created an opportunity for creative people to come together, make new connections and honestly, just have some fun goofing off together in front of the camera for a few hours!
The more I’ve explored my “brand” the more I’ve realized that I want to represent creativity, happiness and fun while focusing on a “style” of laid back, colorful fashion where people can really express that funky side of their personality – sorry, no “smizing” here Tyra Banks, I’m looking for full out belly laughs!! I also want to represent all different kinds of people from all different walks of life beucase everyone deserves the chance to find a place where they can be themselves, have fun, express creativity and feel supported! I remember going home to my husband the night after my second shoot and being unable to shut up about how much fun I, and everyone involved, had during the shoot. It warmed my heart to see the models exchanging information, following each other on Instagram and waving goodbye to each other while shouting “hey, let’s grab a coffee soon!”. I thrive on that sense of community and realizing that I had the power to CREATE it was kind of mind blowing… I mean, all I do is crochet some pretty scarves, right? This is when I remembered all the things I’ve read or listened to about people starting & running small businesses- we’re so quick to fill our own heads with self-doubt, uncertainty, fear, anxiety and all of those other negative emotions that tell us we CAN’T.
“There’s no way I could do (fill in the blank), I’m just a (fill in the blank)”
“There’s no way I could teach people about (fill in the blank), I’m not smart enough, talented enough, good enough…”
It goes on and on. IF YOU LET IT. Instead of stewing on those negative emotions start taking action! What are your ideas? Write them down! Start making lists along with the steps it would take to make those things happen. When you start to make plans & set specific goals, things begin to (quickly!) feel so much more achievable and your goals will continue to grow naturally, often effortlessly, the more you work towards achieving them! Running a business isn’t just about the products & the marketing, it’s about the BRAND and that brand is YOU! If you thrive on educating others, find a way to bring education into your brand. If you thrive on that sense of community, work to create communities among your clients and followers. If you thrive on being surrounded by creative people, find a way to incorporate time with other creatives it into your business and marketing plan- join local creative groups or host a creative local meet up yourself where you can network and get to know each other. The more authentic and true to ourselves we are when it comes to running our business, the less it feels like business and the more it feels like we’re getting the opportunity to live a life surrounded by the things that bring us joy, feed our creativity and keep us motivated to continue growing both personally and professionally!
I hope that this is motivating to you to know that your company, your business, your brand can always be MORE and achieve MORE than just the products you make or the services you offer. It can be an extension of the best parts of YOU. I hope that you take some time to think about the things you would really like to accomplish with your business and your brand and DREAM BIG!
I do want to share the details of how I run my group photo sessions if you sell a product and would like to do something similar in your area, check out the step by step breakdown below:
NOTE: you DO NOT have to be a professional photographer or have a professional camera to do this, people can take some AMAZING photos with their phones these days. Just be sure to be upfront with your participants- it might be better to stick with friends, family and even some of your clients or fellow small business owners to join in as “models” rather than sending the ad out to modeling groups if you’ll be using your phone.
- Plan out the location & date that works best for you and be sure it is a location that allows you to take photographs. This would also be the step to craft a model release form to use for your participants so that they understand that you will be using the photos for marketing purposes but that they will also have rights to the images to use in their portfolios.
NOTE: not everyone who participates in your shoot needs to consider themselves a model! You can let anyone join in but I would cap it at 4-5 people for your first session so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Create a graphic (I use Canva) with a call for models that includes the date & time. Share this graphic to your social media feeds with explicit directions as to what you are looking for when it comes to style, demeanor, etc. that you are looking for and instructions on how interested people should reach out to you! I like to require them to have an active IG feed and reach out to me via IG DM’s (even if they see my ad on Facebook). You can also share your graphic on local modeling groups on Facebook in your area. If sharing on a modeling page, be sure to include that it is not a paid opportunity (although you CAN offer free product to participants) but that they will get full access to download and share the images of themselves to help build their portfolio. I have included my model call graphic and text as an example for you below!
“Anyone interested in fun, laid-back modeling session this saturday in McDonough GA on the square? I make colorful fun crochet accessories & like to work with people who can convey a happy, bright, fun, unique vibe!! All models will have full access to use & share their images 😄 thanks for considering!! If interested please DM me on IG at instagram.com/pinksheepdesign
You can see my current brand “vibe” on my IG feed to see if you would be a good fit and if the images would be a good addition to your portfolio!”
- Spend some time creating a shot list. You don’t want to feel like a chicken with your head cut off during the shoot and you don’t want to forget the things that you really need photographed for your marketing, website, etc. so PLAN AHEAD! Be sure to look over your website, social media feed, marketing materials and anything else featuring images of your work and take notes. Check your current inventory and then make a detailed plan for the items you would like to photograph and whether those images need to be close up shots or more lifestyle shots focused on the model using/wearing/holding the product.
- Think about starting a pinterest board with ideas for product photos you can take and ideas for styling your products with your participants. The bookmarking feature on Instagram is also GREAT for this, if you have never used it CHECK IT OUT! I use it for so many things!!
- When participants reach out to you, be sure to be responsive! Once you have enough people, send out a group message reiterating the day/time and include any instructions you might have for them as it pertains to what you would like them to wear/style themselves. For me, this means sending them a few photos from past sessions of outfits I’ve loved as well as instructions to wear fun, bright layers with multiple options for the layers including fun vintage tees or funky patterns that can be changed in and out of without needing a bathroom (I usually suggest they wear a base layer tank top); jeans or casual bottoms, I prefer the high-waisted look; natural makeup and a “disclaimer” that colored hair & tattoos are welcome to be shown off!
- Plan everything out and have everything packed up the night before so you don’t have to be rushed the day of the shoot! Send out your cell phone number to everyone through the group message in case they need to reach out to you last minute or hit traffic/get lost getting to the location!
- HAVE FUN!!! Get to know everyone and give them time throughout the shoot to get to know each other.
- Be sure to find the easiest way to upload your images so that everyone involved will have access to them. Some great sites for this that are free (up to a certain amount of storage, but more than enough for one shoot) include Passgallery, Pixieset and Google Drive shared folders!
- TAG your people!!! When you do share your images on social media, share the love and tag your models, this will continue the sense of community created when you gathered them all together!
I would LOVE to know if you have ever done group photo sessions like this before! If so, what was your experience like? If not, would you ever see yourself trying it?? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!!