Working with Agencies, Shooting Lawyers

Sorry, I had to do it in the title, it was just too tempting! We’re not actually talking about shooting lawyers today, but I’m going to dive a little more into working with ad agencies and their clients. This one in particular was a local lawyer in the Houston area that needed some updated portraits for their website and new marketing materials.

In the Fall I received an inquiry from a local ad agency asking about rates and availability. Interested in learning more, I returned their inquiry with a quick phone call to learn more about what they were looking for and trying to accomplish. We met in person for a portfolio review and to better understand their client’s needs and the look and marketing message they were looking to achieve. This a pretty standard request and, having never worked with them prior to this particular assignment, I knew they would want to see some more of my work and meet me in person before putting me on an assignment. Unfortunately, was in the process of printing my updated portfolio for the year and had to (QUICKLY!) get something together that I could present in person. Enter Foliobook and the help of my amazing wife, Samantha, and her portfolio prowess. Seriously, I’m terrible at curating my own work, and I’m also of the thought that no photographer should put together their own book. We just get too attached to certain images, even if they may not be the strongest ones we’ve taken or the most applicable to the job we’re wanting to win. Sam is my sounding board when it comes to this and I’m blessed to have such an awesome eye and opinion backing me up and helping me out! *enter mad props here*

Scrambling the portfolio together, I met with WAA and had a great conversation surrounding their voice for the customer and how they wanted to style and get across who he was as a lawyer and a professional. We came to the consensus that – with the client’s personality and history as a race car driver, big game hunter, and world traveler we landed on the most interesting man in the world. The typical business portraits were necessary, but we wanted to create some interest and intrigue with the images as well. We talked about some lighting and posing possibilities, but we weren’t able to see the office space before the day of the shoot which presented some images as well. As a photographer, I can have some grandiose and romanticized ideas of what the space is going to consist of, and a good reality check is healthy once in a while. That’s what helps us create real images of real people right?

The day of the shoot I had this idea of an old world mahogany desk with matching shelves and beautiful mounts of the exotic animals he had pursued over the years across the globe. What I walked into was a pretty typical office in downtown Conroe with typical animal mounts. Not as beautiful and lush as I had pictured, but we are hired to do a job and create an awesome portrait of the client and – dammit – that’s what we’re going to do! I tapped into my inner-Dave Hobby and found a space and spot where we could still create the look we had discussed and capture the customer in a regal and intriguing light and pose. What we captured fulfilled both of those requirements and complimented the clients prowess as a lawyer with everybody coming away with awesome images and a new and improved branding that fit his personality.

Moral of the story? Be prepared for anything, be willing to put in the overtime effort on the front end and the back end of an assignment, and collaborate with your team to overcome hurdles and create success for everybody. Not every shoot is going to be on a sweeping vista, but every project can bring an element of surprise and awe that you never saw coming. Keep shooting, keep collaborating, and – most of all – keep creating work you love.

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