WHAT IS CREATIVE FREEDOM?
Commercial photography is often times a very process driven field. Commercial photographers come up with processes to handle the many ask that our clients create. Through being process driven we can find creative freedom. Occasionally a client will reach out and say I have started a really cool brand and I want some awesome photography to tell our brand story we are giving you creative freedom.
The Look Of Creative Freedom
When a client gives me the green light to have creative freedom it means my creative process kicks in to high gear. The first order of business is to ask a lot of questions about the brand. The second order of business is to create a mood board for inspiration with the client. The third order of business is to hire any creative talent that will help that vision come to life. The fourth order of business is to execute on the vision with the client. Fifth and finally we get to deliver the client the files.
Being given creative freedom means that the brand trust you to know their brand story and create something that fits into their unique narrative and does so in a way that is fun. To do this means that you have to ask a lot of questions that are relevant to the brand. I generally start by asking why the company exist. I then ask how they serve their clients. I find that why companies do things is a great starting point to work when creating a creative strategy to help move the brand forward with imagery. I also want to get to specifics how are the photos that we are creating going to be used by the brand? Will they be website banners, banner ads, facebook ads, print ads? Knowing the target demographics of the company is key in executing a solid creative vision that will help build the brand. Even if a client is giving me creative freedom I also want to see if they have a mood board of image that they love. Also if they have any key words that can help give me a creative direction then that really helps. I want to lean as much about the company as possible so that I can hire a crew that will help me execute on that vision.
Hiring A Crew
After we know everything that we need to know about the brand it is time to bring in some creative talent to execute on the vision that I have started to form. Hiring the crew will help me start brining that vision to life. So now is when you decide if you need a prop stylist, a still life stylist, a product stylist, a wardrobe stylist, a make up artist, a set designer, an assistant, a producer the list can go on and on. I’m being honest here when I say that no one person can do everything and if they do it is going to take forever to execute on the creative vision. One of the most fun parts of my job as the photographer is getting to hire people that help to bring my clients vision to reality. It is always fun working with other creatives. At this point I discuss the creative ideas that I have come up with and expand on them and flesh them out with the creative team. At this point we will often send some concepts over to the client for approval. I want to make sure that the team and I are heading in the right direction with the creative concepts.
Time To Execute The Vision
So after we get client approval for all of the creative concepts and the stylist have gone out and bought props we have a studio rented etc it is time to bring everyone and everything together for the shoot. This is the most fun part of the process. Getting the entire crew together for shoot day is where the magic happens. Having a full creative team and giving them creative freedom really allows us to collaborate in a really meaningful way. The first thing that happens the morning of the shoot is the entire creative team and the client will meet. We then talk about each concept briefly and have it laid out. We then come up with a game plan on how to and when to do each setup. Then we spend the next 8-12 hour creating our vision. After the shoot wraps the files need to be retouched.
The final step is imagery delivery. After we have created a vision that the the client approves, hired the right talent to get the job done, and executed on that vision we then get to deliver the files. File delivery is usually though DropBox these days. The beauty of DropBox is that everyone can get a link to the files and also has the ability to comment on them. After initial delivery the client can go though a change process on the delivered files if anything needs to have retouching changes made. DropBox allows the client to comment on individual files and it helps the process.
Wrapping It Up
So I think that was all around about way of saying that creative freedom is never truly freedom. At the end of the day we are still executing on a clients vision. We just have to insert ourselves into that vision and dig deeper with the client. Which I think is honestly one of the most fun parts of this journey. When someone puts all their trust in you to come up with a creative vision that fits their brand it feels really empowering. It is really fun. These are the shoots that I live for. My tips for working with clients when they give you creative freedom are to ask lots of questions, define a vision, hire a crew to help execute that vision, get approval along the way, and finally deliver the files.
The photos above were created for a client that gave us a great deal of creative freedom. We were allowed to have a lot of fun creating photos for a kids brand where they gave us some key words and some designs for their product.
Tell me about your time working with creative freedom below!