July 16, 2015 - Comments Off on What we want out of a photographer. Read on.

What we want out of a photographer. Read on.

What do you want out of a photographer?

Client and agency, one would guess, want the same thing: value, expertise, own-able look, efficient team, fantastic shots, and the intangibles like insanely awesome post work, and finally, the take away that “Let’s shoot with that person again.” So here’s how we go about developing new work for clients and the evaluation of a photographer and the portfolio.

This is how we do it.

First the folio and maybe a reference, a referral, somebody said these folks are good. Let’s take a look at what we’re shooting: people, lifestyle, landscape, architecture, food, travel, product, technology, personal projects (show us something that gets everyone excited with your post work, color, lighting, and the texture.

Then what?

What’s the lighting set up? Let’s look at the backdrop, cropping, post work, color work, black and white. The photographers book, the videographers reel, is all about subject and feel.

Finding the right shooter. 

We want the extra can of nitro strapped onto the camera. We want the talent to bring something that challenges the stereotypical look and feel. The extra boost that takes the shoot into another level. Hit us up for a double espresso and a glazed donut and we’re good to go.

Hit the ground running.

Finding the photographer or videographer who can hit the ground running and understand what the agency wants, and then amps it up to 11, (Spinal Tap reference, thank you for reading this far)  is part of the package. Ideas and shot list, shot blocking, the pre pro and planning takes time, and often there just doesn’t seem to be enough of that.


Did someone mention budget?

Anyone can take a snapshot, but a picture, well, that actually just may be worth a thousand words. And let’s not under-estimate the importance of talent that charges fair market value for their skill set. (In our age of digital-ism, everybody’s a photographer, just point your iPhone and click, see that was easy; “Honestly I don’t know why these guys charge so much.”)

Ok, then let’s work against the dollars and find the value.

Fast, cheap, or good, pick any two. We know what the market costs. We know what rates include. And yes, we have to walk the line between budget and brand. Look and feel. Value and Vibe (I ran out of ‘v”words, if you have one send it to me).

We don’t hire, we team.

This isn’t showing up with a camera. We want a partner, a team mate who brings something particularly unique to the look and feel, sure, but there’s more; like managing a photoshoot with schedules, crew, equipment, and communication.

The well-managed shoot.

It’s a thing of beauty, the other part of that, not so much. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for; ok, sometimes you run into a really good deal, but we file that under ‘luck’ and we move on.




The lens focused on WCBR. Southern hospitality.

Five day shoot with stills and video, simultaneously shooting both; orchestrated with the unerring patience and assistance of our client, WCBR, and the courteous and talented Jackson Smith, photography, http://www.jacksonsmith.com and video with Josh Gooden,http://www.joshgooden.com/blog/.

Jackson knew our client, Jackson knew Josh, both had never worked together but once we had a full day of pre pro blocking shots and slating our efforts, we knew we had terrific talent at work. Jackson loves to capture emotion. He dialed into the residents and the sense of place, connection, and the relationships. He shot all of the images with a Canon and a slightly wide 80mm portrait lens. Lighting? A combination of strobes, natural light – scrims and reflectors with an eye towards not making the lighting too beautiful – but more natural. Jackson also introduced us to his parlance of getting the “guudgeyness” in a photo, which we believe means gooey with a goodness and a creamy filing. He may spell it differently, but he gets it and it happens.

We shot residents, community, ambient, staff, we filmed, staged, and managed, for the most part, to hit our marks, meet our timeline, and make sure this truly remarkable community showed off its best side; and with their new signature pool, fitness center, and gorgeously designed apartments, it made us all look good. Jackson Smith was supremely patient with our residents and always pushed for more out of a shot. His crew moved smoothly from one set to the next, and we “found” the shot (not easy to do when faced with new lighting or furniture or ambient issues). See aforementioned “value.”



Josh pulled out the drone.

Josh Gooden is a drone shooter, and MOVI shooter, and and wide dolly shot, who pushed it all to getting the complete library of shots while Jackson shot stills, Josh shot video. Then Josh shot ambient, then he shot virtual tour stuff, then he shot drone stuff and then we looked a the footy and saw that Josh crushed it. Evening 7:00pm-8:30pm summer light in Virginia when the air is still, humid, and carries a Southern soft that settles into the lowering sky, you can feel the warming breeze that blows across the Blue Ridge Mountains. That’s how it was. We’ll get three :30 tv spots out of this footage and the client will get a look that underscores their brand promise of “extraordinary living” and we got to know the goodness of Gooden. Ask him about the first wedding he ever shot and it involves bikers, motorcycles, and cigars and, well you can ask about the rest. He might even tell you about it.

So what do we look for in a photographer? More like what does a photographer look for in an assignment. In this case, the agency found a team that looked through the lens and saw the beauty of film. It’s what they love. And why we’d hire them again. For brands who want to look fabulous.

Resin is the Bay Area advertising and branding experts in marketing to seniors. We’ve repositioned, rebranded and relaunched senior living communities in California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Wichita, and Virginia. Resin has increased occupancy, awareness, and brand expectations on what a senior living community can be. Smarter digital and analog strategies, creative, and brand management help our clients always elevate with thinking that’s simple, fresh, and relevant.


When you want to talk to seniors, talk to us.




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