What they are, why you should do them, and how to get started.
What are Collaborations?
Collaborating is when a group of artists get together to work on a project. For photographers that means working with other photographers, but it also means working with models, florists, venues, hair and make up artists, clothing designers, companies, and more!
When you are in the wedding photography business you end up working with other types of artists naturally, you have models, those models have makeup artists, and florists, and decorators, etc. So collaborating is a natural part of being a wedding photographer. But rather than simply take the weddings just as they come, I challenge all my wedding photography friends to go a step further and start planning "styled shoots." Styled shoots allow for you to hand pick the style, as well as allow you to collaborate with the models, hair and makeup artists, florists, and other photographers that YOU want to work with!
Whether you are a brand new to the photography scene or you have been taking pictures for years, you need to make collaborations part of your photography routine. Collaborations are the breeding grounds for creativity and are guaranteed to help you grow as a photographer and as an artist. For new photographers it is always helps to gain advice and inspiration from seasoned veterans. While you can learn technical information in the classroom all day long, there are some things that can only be learned from watching another photographer work. For me, one of the biggest things I have gained from watching other more experienced photographers is learning how to have a more seamless flow of poses, and how to adapt to meet the needs of each individual couple.
For seasoned photographers, collaborations will help you keep your content fresh and exciting and will help you break habits that limit creativity. Even though you may think "I already know what I'm doing" there is still so much benefit that comes from turning to younger and less experienced photographers and examining if there is anything you could benefit to learn from them. Those who are fresh to the photography scene are often less likely to be stuck in habits and are more able to tap into new and unique creative shots.
In addition to simply learning from other photographers, it is also good to work with other types of artists. One of my favorite ways to collaborate with lots of different people is by creating "styled shoots." Styled shoots allow for many different kinds of artists to contribute and are a way for everyone to benefit. Photographers are able to learn from other photographers, models get beautiful pictures of themselves, and artists like florists, make up artists, or clothing designers are able to get quality photography of their work.
Aside from the content benefits, one of the other benefits to collaborating is simply the connections you can make with other people. Artists generally love to support other artists, so the more you support them, the more they will want to support you. For example, imagine you make an effort to reach out to a local make up artist and feature their work on your website. In the future when they run into a situation where they need a photographer it is very likely that they will remember how nice you were and decide to reach out to you!
How to get Started
The best way to get started is to talk to people you know! Start with your friends and family members that run their own artistic businesses and see if they would be interested in collaborating with you. Schedule fun casual shoots with your photographer friends, and take content images for people you know really well. Next you should reach out to your favorite local businesses. Chances are you follow a local business that could use some more professional looking images. Reach out to them! It is quite likely that they would be thrilled to work with you! And the worst thing that could happen is they say no. If they say yes, they may just post your image that you took for them, giving them better images of their content and giving you more exposure!
My most recent styled shoot
This last weekend I did a styled shoot with one of my best friends up in Idaho. Jordan just started up a new photography business up there called Jordan Lindsay Photography. Together we decided to do a styled shoot. She found a couple of models through a post on a local facebook garage sell page.
After sifting through almost two hundred responses we picked two different couples to do shoots with. The first couple we just did an engagement style shoot. They were the most elegant and classy couple and were just a delight to work with!
The next day we decided to do a full wedding styled shoot that included an engagement session, and a full formal wedding session. The bride found a magnificently wonderful vintage wedding dress at a local thrift store for only $10! The bride also had connections with a wonderful hair and makeup artist named Diana who did a fantastic job! And lastly, I was able to reach out to a local florist in Utah that I love that was able to contribute a beautiful bouquet that was just the icing on the cake!
Below are some of the images I captured between these two styled shoots as well as the other contributors who participated!
Models: Amelia and Kevin Argüelles (Insta: @amelia.arguelles)
Photographers: Me, Jordan (Insta: @jordanlindsayphoto), Kathy (Insta: @kathy_hinckley), and Danielle (Insta: @daniellereid98)
Models: Tiana and Josh Barker (Insta: @tee_yawn_uh)
Hair and Makeup: Diana Richards (Insta: @dbr.beauty)
Florist: Burglund Floral (Insta: @berglundfloral Website: berglundfloral.com)
Photographers: Me, Jordan (Insta: @jordanlindsayphoto), and Danielle (Insta: @daniellereid98)