My relationship with Amy Phipps from On The Phippside Photography began with a photographer call on my Facebook page. I had a Baby Gown I needed photographed and she responded to help. I was excited to work with Amy because not only is she from the area I grew up in but she has an accessory line in addition to being a photographer which means she knows how to shoot product and she knows it is different than other types of photography. Here is a bit more about Amy in her own words and then we will move on to some eye candy and some great tips from Amy!
I am a mother of 4 children, ages 15, 12, 11 and 9 and for the next 9 months, a 5th child, who is a 17 year old exchange student from Colombia. This December, my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. I live in Central California and love it here! I have always wanted to be a photographer. I worked at my kid’s school as an aide and when the state budget cuts got so bad that all aides had to be cut from the classroom, I decided it was time to pursue my dream. I started my business, On the Phippside Photography, 2 and a half years ago. I also own a hair accessory business that launched just a few short months ago, called Fancy Me. This is a project I work on with my daughter, who seems to be taking after her mother creatively! I love to wear flip flops all year round, drink Dr. Pepper, listen to Colbie Caillat on Pandora and sing in the car, even though I am completely tone deaf, and I’m pretty sure I own 34 black shirts that pretty much look alike. Follow me on pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/phippsamy/
1. What is your primary focus in photography (types of photography/subjects?events?etc.)
My primary focus in photography is people and capturing emotion. That may sound silly, but at the end of a session, I go home, download the images and look for a couple photos that stood out during our session. Those are the ones I do an edit on right away and post on facebook for a sneak peek. I have often thought of narrowing down what I photograph, but the truth is, I love it all. If I was forced to choose one type of photography to specialize in, it would be seniors. I love their confidence and that chance to have all the focus be on them for the 2 hours we are together.
2. How often do you do fashion clothing/accessory shoots?
I do freelance photography for 2 local magazines, so I generally shoot fashion/accessories/products for them 3-4 times a month. I have my own line of headbands and bows, called Fancy Me, which is a company I started with my 11 year old daughter, so I do my own shoots for my products, and then I have vendors that contact me to do trade shoots for them (they will send me products wanting quality photos in exchange for letting me keep their product).
3. How do you prepare or photograph differently for fashion shoots?
It’s a different mindset doing a fashion shoot. Rather than capturing emotion, which is what I primarily do when working for my own clients, I am focusing on the details. Bringing out the colors, shooting at different angles and not having distractions in the background are all things I keep in mind. I also find that I am not as emotionally invested when shooting fashion shoots because I generally am not trying to capture the love between a child and their mother, but more focused on how the purse looks or how the pants fit!
4. How do you feel about the designer giving you direction on a shoot?
LOVE when the designer gives input!!! I have had negative experiences where there wasn’t any input given and in turn the vendor didn’t get what they wanted, but got my vision of their product. Creative people tend to have an idea of the finished photo in their mind, or at least the direction they would like it to go, so the more direction a designer gives, the better. After all, you are capturing their product and it should be represented in a way that they feel proud of.
5. How many pieces do you photograph in one session?
This all depends on what has been discussed ahead of time and what there is time for. I have done fashion shoots with 4 models and each had 4 outfit changes, which took a little over 2 hours. I’ve done other shoots that involve jewelry, food or hair accessories and those take less time. When I’m photographing for my own line, I use the same background each time (burlap with old vintage books) so that all I have to do is pull it out of the basket, set my products up and shoot. I can shoot 30 headbands in 20 minutes because of being organized.
6. How many photos of each item do you take? How many get edited and returned to designer?
This really depends on what the product is and how creative I feel I can be with it. I recently did a shoot for Kangacoo Desings with 3 girls modeling socks. The designer and I discussed wanting a sports theme involved. So, we went to the local high school football field, the lockers, roamed the campus and then headed over the school the girls attend and took photos on the playground. The girls were fun, we had several different looks/poses and I was able to send the designer appx. 20 photos. I’m sure it was more than what she needed, but it gave her options. If I’m doing photos of a still product, like a necklace, I will provide 4-5 photos at different angles.
7. How many hours do you invest in a typical session?
From beginning to end, it can range from 4-6 hours. What most people don’t realize is it isn’t just the shoot time for a photographer that is invested. We communicate what is wanted with the designer, choose locations, brainstorm for the shoot, if needed, gather models, do the actual shoot, download and edit photos and then send back to designer.
8. What are the biggest challenges in photographing product on a subject?
For me, it’s choosing how to have the product staged. I like to get creative, do something different and not just have something sitting on a white backdrop. I want a product to stand out. Because I have my own line that I photograph, I know how important it is to have photos that truly represent your vision and have the focus on the product. I am mainly a family/high school senior photographer, so I’m used to encouraging people to interact and capturing their time together. Photographing products is very different. You want the subject still, posed in a way that flatters the product.
9. Please share any advice you have for designers or photographers regarding photographing fashion products.
Designers should be very clear with what they want-number of photos, deadline, ideas they have in mind, what they expect. Never assume your photographer knows exactly what you want. Both are artists and art can be interpreted different ways. For photographers, shoot at different angles. Get low and shoot wide open to create that nice focus on the product, leaving a soft background.
10. Do you offer sessions on trade for product? If not how can a designer get pricing?
I do sessions for trade. But, I only do session for trade for those designers that I truly believe in and would purchase from. I have an established business and do not need to do any portfolio building. So when I trade a product for photos and don’t receive any financial gain, I want the product to be something I can truly recommend to my friends, family and clients. If the job is for something that I may not have a need or interest in and a trade wouldn’t be mutually beneficial, then I suggest a designer contact me with specifics on what they want and how much the job entails. That would allow me to give them a fair quote on my time. firstname.lastname@example.org