Commercial Photography: Connections

When you live in the San Francisco Bay Area — one of the most expensive areas in the country — it can take a few or even one unexpected life change to put you in dire straits.  I’ve always believed this shocking reality.  People who find themselves in these situations can be anyone:  our teacher, our friend, you, me.  So my Commercial Shoot at LifeMoves, a nonprofit that helps individuals and families in these transition stages get back on their feet, was one of the most touching shoots I’ve ever done.

I concentrated on the relationships/connections, whether they are of family members who are residents at LifeMoves, of staff who work there, or of case managers with their clients.

They are the connections between people that make life meaningful.

And connections to helpful services, like at LifeMoves, is what we need sometimes. ❤️

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Commercial Photography: A Clear Way

The idea of keeping only what “sparks joy” seems like a trend, but it is much more than that.

From what I learned from creative pro and organization queen, Amy Johnson, figuring out how to organize your home spans over to a clarity of mind that effects all areas of your life!

It was so much fun to hang out with Amy for a couple hours to capture images for her new KonMari home organization business, A Clear Way.  I won’t post too many photos, so her website — when it is completed — will be the big reveal.  I can’t wait to see it!

Fun fact:  I met Amy over a decade ago at a Mother’s Club that we were both in, and we hit it off while brunching.  She has such a positive attitude, professionalism and humbleness about her that you can’t help but trust her and feel at ease around her.  And she’s just downright cool.  (Can you tell I adore her?!!)

While you are reading this blog post, I’m going to organize a few drawers.

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Commercial Photography: Diversity and Authenticity

You probably know this, but I’ll say it anyway:  I love photographing schools.

Photographing schools means capturing constant movement, facial expressions, and complicated light in an uninterrupted way.  Photographing a masters program, like a business school, means there is an extra challenge of photographing adults.  (Adults are usually more serious about learning and don’t find my silly noises and faces endearing like little kids – haha.)

I was reminded of something during this trip to Houston.  When it’s a top-tier school, the caliber of students is high — which means photographing people who have led accomplished careers before even stepping foot onto campus!  From meeting a doctor to a music label executive to an army sergeant, there were times I had to remind myself to keep shooting.

This kind of diversity was thrilling to be around, and I was so thankful that my 3-day Commercial Shoot in Houston had a lot of pockets of time for me to roam freely and capture the authentic moments that I saw.

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[If you’re curious, here is my very first Commercial Shoot at Rice in 2016 and my 1-day shoot in 2017, Be Distinct.]

Commercial Photography: Heartwarming

Did you know food waste contributes to global warming?  If food waste were a country, it would come third after the U.S. and China in terms of its contribution to global warming!  (Read this Washington Post article if you want to learn more or go straight to StopWaste.org.)

Partnering with Underground Agency and StopWaste to shoot an ad campaign that will educate and hopefully decrease food waste felt so good.  We all need to step it up to help the environment!

The shoot involved photographing different families with produce.  We had 2 long tables full of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from — such as the most beautiful collard greens, carrots, sugar snap peas, basil, strawberries, and pears — so the entire studio smelled fantastic.

The challenge of creating emotive images in a studio environment was a big one (and may have allegedly caused tummy rollercoaster feelings the week before – ehem), but I had to remind myself to approach the shoot the way I would any other shoot:  relax, have fun, and be myself so that my subjects can do all those things too!

The result:  heartwarming images that take my breath away. ❤️ Now that’s a better kind of ‘warming’.

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Personal Brand Photography

Guess what?  I now offer Personal Brand Photography!  This is THE funnest niche of business photography ever, so I am very excited.

What is Personal Brand Photography?

Think Executive Headshots on vacation.  Or Commercial Photography meets Instagram and had a baby – haha.

In a nutshell, Personal Brand Photography (PBP) is photography that produces a series of storytelling images of an entrepreneur.  It covers a part of the entrepreneur’s life while embodying their personality and includes detail shots.  Unlike a headshot session, not every image will contain the entrepreneur’s face, and you’d get a greater variety and number of images to use for your online presence.

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Who is Personal Brand Photography for?

Personal Brand Photography is perfect for entrepreneurs who want a plethora of fresh images they can use for regular posting on Instagram or other social media sites or for using multiple images on a webpage.  Entrepreneurs such as, consultants, makeup artists, stylists, bloggers/writers, social media influencers, web designers.

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Why do you need PBP?

Because doing business means connecting with your customers, and that means having photos that convey who you are, so others can relate to you and want to work with you.

Your brand needs to be clear as well as eye-catching.  Customers are more photo-savvy than ever before, and they can spot stock photos or staged photos from miles away.  Be real!

For businesses that do better with social media platforms, you have to post regularly to get traction, visibility and solid brand identification.

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How does PBP work?

Each shoot is different, and always fun.  It can be of you working or walking around town or your morning coffee routine — whatever story you want to convey.  Nothing is stagnant, so your images aren’t stuffy.

Each session includes a consultation so your shoot will be specific to what you need, unlimited images taken, edited high resolution photos of storytelling images, images of you, and detail images.  You’d also have Usage Rights of those photos, all delivered via a cloud site, so you can retrieve your images lickety-split.

The INTRO price is $750 for your first session, which is 1 hour long and will garner about 50 images.  This would provide you with approximately one image to post on social media each week for a year, or if you post everyday M-F, it is about 2.5 months worth of imagery.

Think of the Marketing boost you’d get!

Now what?

Start by booking your first shoot (do it now while it is at the Intro price!) and you can always book more later when your business needs another boost.

Or, book a few shoots throughout the year right now, so you can secure the price and dates, and we can shoot in different locations or different seasons!

Coders are Creators

These quotes explain why this Commercial Shoot of The Coder School gets me excited every time:

“Coding is today’s language of creativity.  All our children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science.”
~ Maria Klawe

“I want to encourage more young women to get involved in coding, because it’s important for them to be able to help shape the future, and coding is the future.”
~ Karlie Kloss

“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
~ Steve Jobs

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[Click here to see my first Commercial Shoot at The Coder School in Berkeley!  This shoot was of their Fremont location.]

From National Parks to Airlines

This two-day Commercial Photography project was ACTION-PACKED!  I toured all around the San Francisco Bay Area to meet managers and senior executives who hired City College of San Francisco (CCSF) students and graduates.  It was a diverse set of businesses in terms of industry, company size and job type.

Some businesses I photographed were:  Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, BMW of San Francisco, McCalls Catering and Events, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Michael Raifsnider Law Office, and United Airlines.

Photographing real people in their actual workplace during work hours in a lifestyle way is exciting.  There was constant movement all around us, limited time, and distracting elements at each location.  Yet, very quickly, I had to decide how and where to shoot that will tell the visual story I wanted.

See what I mean?  Exciting, right?!!  :)

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Commercial Photography: Enjoying Life

When I was in my 20s, I realized there were three things that make me stop and let out an “AWWWWWW”.

Babies was the obvious group.  The largest group was puppies and pretty much any furry animal, which is what led to a slew of travel to destinations where I could see animals in their natural habitat.  And the group that surprised me was seniors!  Even if I were driving, I would always notice the elderly couple holding hands or the senior who was doing something they loved.

Enjoy life at any age is a great mantra to live by.

Last week, I had the privilege of photographing residents of TODCO, a community-based housing development company in the South of Market neighborhood of downtown San Francisco.  I met many vibrant seniors and residents in SRO housing.  Some opened up about their life’s struggles and achievements… one super woman was 98 years old… many couples were married for many many decades… and one even gave me a gift.  Awwwwww.  (See what I mean?)

My time at TODCO reminded me of all that I am grateful for with my business, which is the opportunity to make real connections with people, so that I can capture them in an authentic way.  ❤️

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Commercial Photography: Be Distinct

It’s funny that when we are young, we find it important to blend in.  Myself included.  By the time we reach adulthood, we realize that it is — and has always been — best to stand out.

Choosing the right graduate school is the same way.  You want a school that is positively distinctive, so you can continue to be unquestionably distinct too.

That’s why it was such an honor to return to Rice Business School for a one-day Commercial Shoot.  There were so many new bright faces with even brighter minds.  They were proud and thoughtful and….

Distinctive.

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Commercial Photography: City Build

It was time for shoot #3 of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) adult education ad campaign.  This time, I photographed students from their City Build program.  [Here is my post about the first two CCSF shoots.]

They only need one of these images.  Good luck with that ‘cuz I love them ALL!

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