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Who are you?

Lessons from advertising.

It's important to gain a deep understanding of who your client/brand/product is to tell their story authentically. It's also important to understand where their story is going to be broadcast and who will be seeing it.

When I shifted my focus from advertising to photography and began building my portfolio, I applied the same creative approach I had used in advertising to thinking about my subjects in portrait photography. Take a 360 view of them and invite them to participate.

The result was photographs clients felt truly represented their authentic selves and a bonus; they felt seen and heard in the process.

I consider a lot of questions to know my subject better, including, Who are you in your life? Are you a sister, mother, daughter, wife, triathlete, architect, avid art collector and a former car salesman?

Do you look a little like Billy Holiday, Audrey Hepburn or Frieda Kahlo?

Who do you admire? What art inspires you? How do you define success? What are 3-5 adjectives that describe you?

What is the story you tell people about who you are and where you've been in your life up to this point or what your hopes and dreams are for the future?

I consider questions about where these images will be used and who will be seeing them. What is the goal of these images? Are they just for you? Where are they going to be used? On LinkedIn, in an email signature, with a business article, or on a wall in your home? Who is going to be looking at these photographs? What do you want them to say about you? Why do you need these photographs?

These questions inspire stories and reveal what the photos really mean for them and thru what lens they will be judging them.

The more they open up, share, and are involved in the process of getting prepared for their shoot, the closer their portraits will feel to being an authentic reflection of them. They are the inspiration for ideas, concepts, lighting, mood, art direction.

James Bond in Goldfinger changing out of his scuba suit to reveal his party ready tuxedo.

Justin started work at an auto body shop, and now is the founder of a successful real estate development company.

I take all the answers, stories and shares and then pull images references inspired by this information. Then I put it all together into a big bingo cage, crank the handle and pull different balls until we get to B-I-N-G-O on your bingo card.

We may create a mood board of imagery that your stories inspired for your look, a location, a photographic approach. We may suggest to work with a hair and makeup artist, or a stylist or offer suggestions on what you might wear for your shoot. The creative process is happening throughout the time we work together.

Rachna felt a deep connection to Audrey Hepburn, particularly in Funny Face. So that film became the mood board for her shoot and the inspiration of her resulting images.

We prepare as much as possible so we have what and who we need on set, but even on the day we shoot, we are ready to switch direction if needed for something that feels more right, more you. It may be swapping out an item of clothing, color of lipstick, changing the lighting, or getting you more comfortable in front of the camera or playing with the choice of music, and helping with posing ideas.

Hello Gorgeous used to be previously called Mise-en-Scène* Photoshoots because we saw all the elements in the environment as a potential influence for what we would get out of a photograph.

*Mise-en-Scène is a cinematic term meaning that which makes up a scene; sets, props, costumes, actors, and even the lighting. These elements help to express a film's vision by generating a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood.

I was talking to a client I worked with many years ago and she shared the way her relationship to her photographs had changed over the years-- from a practical need for good photographs to promote her business all the way to seeing herself as a piece of art that really reflected who she was at that moment and continues to inspire her today.

Marina runs a coaching business that helps clients get focussed on their passions. She's wearing a handmade scarf from one of her clients and we're shooting on a beach, her happy place.

This is a direct result of our collaboration and her being open to our creative process. I always say you can be as involved as you want and the more involved you are, the closer the resulting images will feel to who you are and the more you will feel seen throughout the process.

It's a great gift when my clients are open and vulnerable to share who they are and when they do so, the resulting photographs are in line with their "brand" and the photographs become part of the story they share with the world about who they are and what they stand for. It also makes it really fun for me. It reminds me what I liked about advertising; getting to work on different brands, in different media and collaborating with others.

If you are ready to be seen, to unleash your gorgeousness, and have portraits that are authentically you, book a consultation here to get started.


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