editorial

Lavender Lemonade // Studio Bridal Editorial // Canon vs Nikon Experiment

You ever just wake up in the middle of the night with a random idea? Or like... 10 random ideas? Yeah, that's been us like every night for the past month lol. Whether it be a new project for the house, a party idea, or just a fun shoot, we are oozing experimentation this summer. It was literally a week before this shoot that I had the idea of a lavender lemonade bridal editorial (and the thought of switching from Canon to Nikon). Since it's summer, one of our favorite drinks to make is lavender lemonade and lavender margaritas (SO GOOD). Plus I think the colors are so beautiful together. So with a few phone calls and some last minute scrambling, we were off on another creative outlet shoot.

The concept kind of fell into place as I was having a conversation with one of our brides about the sweet and sour moments of a wedding day - "lavender lemonade" as I referred to wedding day. It's sweet and beautiful, but there are also moments that just kind of make your lips pucker lol. Weddings, relationship, and marriage are not always sunshine and rainbows and every couple will pick a role. One will be the relaxing lavender and the other will be strong lemons that provide nutrition. When one is stronger than the other, the mix is off and overpowering. But when they come together, and mixed just right, they make something amazing. 

And in the midst of that explanation, I realized I wanted to make a shoot out of it. But I also wanted a challenge. Setting up shoots is fun for us, so we wanted to do something with this shoot that would test our creativity. Thus, the Canon vs Nikon experiment was in full effect. We typically shoot with a 5D Mark III and a Sigma 35 lens. We like it. We're comfortable with it. So we thought we'd try something different and picked up a Nikon D750 and a Sigma 35 lens. Oh man, PROBLEM. .... I freaking love it. It's lighter, the controls are simple, but where Nikon just kicked Canon's ass for us and is kind of the deal breaker is with their color profile. Whites are actually white and made editing so freaking amazing that now we're contemplating selling all our Canon gear...

We'll see. We've invested a lot in Canon, can't jump ship yet... need to do a couple more tests ;) but shoutout to an amazing team that made this shoot possible and put up with us in our experiment!


Venue | FD Studios

Dress  + Shoes | ASOS

Hair + Makeup | Danilee Aristil

Ring Box | Etsy

Ribbon | Tono + Co

Florals | Native Poppy

Suite + Styling | Epoch Designs

Gear | Nikon D750 + Sigma 35 art lens

 

 

How Lifestyle Branding Photography Can Change Your Business

How Lifestyle Branding Photography Can Change Your Business

SamErica Studios - Destination Commercial Branding Lifestyle Photography -Waffles and Honey jewelry

It's not known to everyone how we got started in photography but it's amazing how our backstory has fueled so much of the work we love. 

HOW WE GOT STARTED WITH BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Sam and I both have degrees in Marketing. After college, I took this marketing gig in LA as a Marketing Coordinator (basically a do everything that involves everything job lol). But in that job, one of my main functions was to create social media ads for Facebook. I hate to make the content, and choose images that would be captivating to the audience. One of my main clients was a grocery store. There is really nothing exciting about a grocery store - or so I thought. So when the company asked for me to get creative on how to boost engagement, I had a few ideas but told them it would require new pictures. So, part of my catch all marketing coordinator job now required me to take product and advertising photos. I freaking loved it. Being able to take a product / concept / or idea and make a creative shoot out of it to boost engagement was my favorite part of the job. Fast forward a few years when we started taking pictures for ourselves, that creative drive for brands still stands strong and is the forefront of our business. 

WHAT IS LIFESTYLE BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHY?

We get this question a lot, and you'll fine a few different answers for it. But for us, lifestyle branding photography is just relatable stock photography for your brand. Basic, all white stock photos are needed for seller websites, we get it. But stock photos aren't very engaging. So we've been working with a series of small businesses and brands to create custom lifestyle shoots to cater to their market and the products / services they want to be known for. One of our current clients - Waffles and Honey is a boho styled jeweler based in San Francisco who decided she wanted to launch a new aspect of her business. She just created a series of pieces dedicated to the wedding industry. Her goal was to create pieces that could be worn by both brides and bridesmaids for the wedding day. (but honestly, these pieces are so pretty, they could be worn every day) So in addition to the general stock photography for her website, we created a bridal styled shoot to showcase her latest inventory and how they could be worn and paired on any wedding day. 

WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT

This shoot was amazing. It was just a fun way to sell a product without selling a product. You know what I'm talking about, it's not that stuffy, sales-y product and commercial photography, it's lifestyle photography for the modern brand. And, major bonus, it boost sales. When I started this lifestyle version of marketing after college, it was so cool to see the numbers skyrocket. Knowing that this simple change in visuals boosted that grocery store's revenue 22% in a quarter was mind-blowing. (also, looking back, I definitely should have gotten a raise for that lol) whatever. But this is our obsession - taking a simple goal for companies and translating it in a visual masterpiece that can be used to boost both social media engagement and marketing content. 

the team

jeweler | Waffles and Honey

Hair + makeup | Beauty by Melina

Bridesmaid Dresses | Lulus

Sparkly Wedding Dress | Anthropologie 

Minimalist Wedding Dress | Lulus

Photography + Art Direction + Styling | SamErica Studios (duh)

 

Are you a small business ready for a visual upgrade? Check out our branding shoot options in our shop!

Editorial Mentor Sessions

Something that has quickly become our new favorite thing is our SamErica Style Mentor Sessions. Each of these sessions is dedicated to teaching our mentee something new or creative about the photography process. That could be posing, client interactions, shooting in harsh light (our fav), editing for brands, designing PDFs or whatever! But it's been so amazing creating these shoots. It's been a fantastic creative outlet for us to just get funky and have fun. This particular session was focused on solo portraits and editorial work being shot in the midday sun.  

We also got really weird and played with plates and mirrors and a seamless backdrop (which, in retrospect, wasn't the best idea to bring that outside, lol). But, roll with the punches. The ripped backdrop made for a fun shoot. Work with what you've got!

 

New York Fashion with Analogous Scheme

So, New York is amazing. I never considered myself a total city girl, and wasn't totally set that New York was my jam. But, thankfully, I had the amazing opportunity to attend WRKSHP and challenge myself in so many ways. One of those was personal challenges was to try my hand at fashion photography. Which, I'm a minimalist, so I don't want to own a lot, but I still really love fashion. The thought of shooting for clothing brands had never crossed my mind, but when presented the opportunity, it was almost second nature. 

Fashion photography is such a different brain than wedding and portrait photography, but I kind of love that. It gives one side of my brain a break, to let other creative juices flow. That probably made no sense, but whatever. Fashion photography is cool, and you'll definitely be seeing more of it from us in the future. 

Styling : Heidi Brown at WRKSHP

Model: Madison

Color Theory: Monochromatic / Analogous 

MODERN BLUSH STYLED SHOOT

Oh man, so I had the honor and privilege of getting the last spot to Thrive Modern in Oklahoma. It was amazing. My two favorite people Melissa Marshall and Abby Metcalf put this whole thing together and if you ever get the chance, go to their next Thrive workshop, they are amazing.

It was three days of just really good, encouraging girl time. Lord knows I needed some of that. Running a business via social media is tough guys. And I don't mean tough as in it's hard to be successful, I just mean it's discouraging. You sit there scrolling past people, comparing yourself, bringing your self down, becoming jealous of others instead of praising them, then going into this self deprecating cycle of your own self and worth. It's unhealthy.

But man was this workshop a recharge for me. Melissa and Abby are so honest, and so real, on top of being freaking adorable, they are the most down to earth "celebrities" I've ever met. Melissa is even co-teaching at our next two California Dreamin' workshops which just blows my mind. Girl boss to the fullest. 

Actually, ALL the girl bosses, the amazing women that collabs and put these shoots on are freaking PHENOMENAL. Go stalk and follow all their insta accounts because.... this is an artillery of girl bosses that need to be noticed.  

 

Workshop | Thrive Modern

Hosts | Melissa Marshall & Abby Roses

Venue | 21 C Hotel OKC

Videography | Ethnos Creative

Dress | A and Be

Florals | The Wild Mother

 

 

Fashionable Grooms and Pink Suits

Apparently I have a calling for the unique and unrepresented. See our previous post about #blackgirlmagic and urban brides here. We apparently have a creative vision for things that just haven't been represented. I'm okay with that. 

So, backstory behind this shoot. I was mentoring another photographer and she asked me, "How do you pose grooms? I feel like they are so awkward and uncooperative". That got me thinking a lot about how I have actually been posing my grooms. And unfortunately, they are really just a prop to the bride. And I hate that. It's their day too and they should have their 15 minutes of spotlight. 

So I went on Pinterest, did some Pinterest-ing and guess what I found for groom editorials? None. Nada. Zilch. Every photo of the groom was either a detailed shot of their cufflinks or they were an accessory the bride. That got me a little upset.

Fast forward a couple days, I'm at the mall shopping for comfy shoes (I'm getting old guys, shoes can't just be cute anymore) and I decided to shop at The Walking Company. By the way, ALL of their shoes are made for extreme comfort and they are really cute! They sell mens shoes there too! 

Anyway, so I'm there, shopping for shoes, and this tall, dark, and handsome sales associate walks up to me to see if I needed any help. Sure, I was a little starstruck for a moment, and I totally didn't want to be a creeper, but everything about him was perfect. His vitiligo was hand crafted, he's 6'5 with perfect shoulder symmetry, AND he had some great fashion sense! I had wondered if he knew how amazing he was. He's like a real life unicorn. 

So he helped me out in picking shoes but the entire time, I was not listening. The only thing on my mind was asking him to take his picture. I know, I'm a creep. So as I'm checking out, buying who knows what because I was not paying attention and just nodding my head in agreement, I mustered up the courage to ask, "Hey, do you model"?

He just smirked at me, and I thought, "Oh geez, he thinks I'm a creeper". But to my surprise he smiled and simply said "No, but I want to."

JACKPOT, HELL YES, PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

So then I got to shopping for this shoot! I wanted this shoot to all about him, all about the groom, all about alternative male fashion for bridal editorials to spicy up the wedding a bit. Because, I mean, how often do you see a groom in pink suit? They are always black, gray, or beige, and simply shadow behind the bride on wedding day. 

So here's to my funky fresh grooms out there ready for their wedding day photo shoot. <3

 

Suits | TopShop 

Shirts & Accessories | Zara

Styling | SamErica Studios