Collaborating with other artists has become one of my favorite things to do as a photographer - whether it's working with the members of The Photograph Collective to come up with a new project or working with fashion bloggers, I love the teamwork, new ideas, reflective questions, and joint visions that go into collaborations. So when Sarah Jane Shanks reached out to me ever so sweetly with a request to collaborate for one of her upcoming projects, I jumped at the opportunity.
We met up for breakfast early one morning to get to know each other better and how we could match what she wanted with how I preferred to shoot. We used a Pinterest board to brainstorm the looks we were interested in capturing, and it became clear we wanted light to play a large role in all of our photos. She came up with the brilliant idea of getting a space for us at an artist's loft in Bushwick that had unique furniture, plenty of light and an incredible rooftop. Armed with a few flowing outfits, 4 ft flower sticks, and an adventurous spirit, Sarah Jane came ready to turn our vision into a reality.
I can't even begin to describe how much fun I had during this shoot! I snapped a couple of hundred photos, moved furniture around, taped a blanket to a wall, chased the light, watched the sun set in the background, and just had the time of our lives. We tried some things that didn't work, but found other things that worked surprisingly well. I am so happy with how these photos turned out!
Another aspect of this collaboration that was quite interesting was our discussion of payment. I've been thinking about what photography means to me and how to balance the "value" of my photography. On one hand, I feel that the minute I start accepting payments for my photography, I will lose a love for it. I find so much creative refuge in shooting and blogging and don't want to have the stress of having clients & expectations on time frames for delivery. On the other hand, I don't want to devalue my time & effort for photography. For this collaboration alone, I probably spent 12-15 hours total in between meetings, brainstorming, traveling, shooting, editing, formatting, delivering, etc. Fortunately, for this time around, Sarah Jane and I found a beautiful solution that she would donate to my roommate Krista's missions trip in lieu of paying me for my services. I think that this solution addresses both of my concerns so appropriately - I'm not doing it completely for "free," but I am placing a value on my work as well!
Keep your eyes out for Part 2 of my collaboration with Sarah Jane soon!