Travel Lifestyle Photography for Small Brands
Next Up: Caribbean Styled Shoot in MEXICO (Spring / Summer 2019)
Fellow Artisan Entrepreneurs,
When I launched my artisan clothing label WildMantle.com nearly five years ago, I was lucky to already have a career going as a professional photographer. This skill set, camera gear gave me quick and easy access to professional photographs that proved indispensable in launching and maintaining my brand's website and social media marketing.
I soon discovered that my fiancé Jason and I could produce styled Wild Mantle photo shoots throughout our yearly travels to Michigan in the summer and Mexico in the winter. Jason has his Masters in Sculpture and found his way around a camera awfully quickly, and I was able to model the designs. Because we live in an economy that revolves around the aspirational lifestyle, the travel images we produced were indispensible to me in my marketing activities. An example is this collection we produced in Mexico, which helped me launch and successfully raise nearly $50k via my 2016 Summer Kickstarter Campaign.
Today more than ever, it's important for artisan entrepreneurs to stick together, especially when it comes to having a VOICE amongst the noise of a crowded social media landscape. As I've made more and more friends from the maker community, it's become apparent to me that unless you are a photographer yourself, obtaining high-quality travel/lifestyle imagery of one's work without breaking the bank is a big challenge.
So it recently occured to me: why not use the resources I already have ... and trips I've already planned ... and invite other brands to join in my travel lifestyle photography shoots as well? DING!
I recently tested this out with Christie Sommers of zero-waste brand West Oak Design on a trip to the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. I incorporated her a-line skirt and clutch bag my styled shoot for Early Winter 2019. You can see the photos Jason and I produced for West Oak Design on my blog and below, as well as Christie’s reaction:
So, now I’m dreaming bigger.
In late February 2019, Jason and I are going to the Maya Rivera of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to produce my Spring/Summer styled shoot. This time, I'm excited to extend this opportunity to other brands as well. Aside from photographing for Wild Mantle and West Oak, my goal is to curate an aesthetically cohesive collection of other clothing, accessories and jewelry from small artisan brands to include and produce imagery for.
All of our products will be featured in their own images, and styled together with the other brands, resulting in a collection of high-resolution photographs to freshen each participants website and social media presence. I am organizing this co-op style where everyone chips in their product and a small production fee (starting at $100, see FAQ or application below for details) and receives not only the imagery with copyright permissions, but also the opportunity to be cross-promoted with the other brands participating. If we all give shout outs to each other in the photos we post on social media, we create more interesting content for our followers and amplify our voices, right? It’s what I like to call a win win.
Interested in participating with your brand? Read on…
Who can participate and what types of products are you looking for?
Because I want the imagery to be aesthetically cohesive (and because the products have to fit in my carry-on suitcase), I will be selective about brands and products that are invited to participate. I currently have openings for the following items: Women’s sunglasses, women’s summer hat, women’s sandals, jewelry, unisex travel bag, women’s clothing. If you have another item you are interested in participating with, feel free to contact me first before you apply, or simply fill out the application and just choose “other.”
When is this all happening?
The application is open through Sunday, January 20, 2019. We will be notifying brands that are selected to participate by Friday, January 25, 2019. Product must be delivered no later than February 12, 2019. The trip will take place in late February / early March and photographs will be delivered by the end of March. We will coordinate an early April release date for the images so that we all have time to add to our websites / social media.
Where are you going?
Check out this blog post for an idea of the colors / textures / feels available in Mexico’s Maya Riviera.
How do I apply?
To apply for consideration in participating, click this button and fill out a short google form:
P.S. Because this is the first time I’m doing this and there are bound to be questions, I’ve created a FAQ below to answer initial questions. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via my contact form.
QUESTION: If I apply, will I definitely be accepted?
ANSWER: We hope to accept as many people as possible, however we also need to make sure that the items fit in our suitcases and that they fit into the aesthetically cohesive styled shoot we are planning. If you have any questions before you apply, we encourage you to use the contact form on this website to inquire before you apply.
QUESTION: What is the cost to participate?
ANSWER: We want to make it affordable for artisan brands to participate in this first round, so we have a variety of options to join in the styled shoot:
ONE PRODUCT: $100 + we keep the product / you get 10 images
TWO PRODUCTS: $200 + we return product / you get 20 images
THREE PRODUCTS: $250 + we return the product / you get 30 images
FULL OUTFIT (4 - 7 products): $450 + we return the product / you get 50 images of a complete outfit, consisting of a mix of product shots and model shots.
So, basically we keep the product if you just send one product, but are happy to return the product for the $200 and up options. The funds collected from the above packages will go straight towards travel costs. We will both be contributing the photography and editing this first time as a part of the collaboration. You would be responsible for shipping the product to/from my studio before and after the photo shoot.
QUESTION: How many images will I receive?
ANSWER: My goal is to produce a minimum of 10 high quality images per product, which will include a few different scenarios/perspectives of the product. For example, I would approach a pair of sunglasses by making sure there was a closer headshot that focused on the product, in addition to the product on a full-body shot styled with products from the other participants. I would also look for places to display the product independently, perhaps sticking out of the beach bag, on the lifeguard stand ladder with the carribean all gorgeous and teal in the background, and other spots like that.
QUESTION: Do I get to pick what product I send on the trip, or do you?
ANSWER: Both! I’ll want to be involved in picking the product to make sure that it is aesthetically cohesive with the other products I am curating, and that it fits one of us so we can model it in the photos. You will also obviously want to make sure it is a product from your collection that you need photographed.
QUESTION: Do you keep the product or send it back?
ANSWER: For brands that pick the 1 product / $100 package, we will also keep the product. For brands that send 2 or more products ($200 and up) we are happy to return products to the brands after they are photographed.
Keep in mind that the product that we photograph on this trip will also be genuinely used on the trip, so that we may fit everything in our suitcases and capture the product in an authentic array of candid lifestyle scenarios. With Wild Mantle, I always sell the samples I photograph on trips like this in a sample sale 2x a year, which enables me to re-coop COGS + partial profit, even though they are gently used.
Please note that you are responsible for shipping the item(s) to our studio before the trip and also for a prepaid return label to send them back afterwards.
QUESTION: How long after your trip will I receive the images? When are we allowed to start posting them?
ANSWER: Images will be individually processed and color corrected upon our return home from the trip and delivered in a private online gallery with a link and password. While my anticipated timeline for this is 3 weeks from the time I arrive home, I also will try and do it as quickly as possible. Upon my return, I will notify everyone of the “Release Date” so that we can coordinate the sharing of the images on social media and our websites.
Onwards & Upwards!