It's head shot season. Mid November is before the holiday weight gain, before spending loads of cash and before the New Year when most people want to put their best foot forward.
Step one is choosing your photographer (hopefully me). But step TWO is finding the right spot to shoot. Three questions you want to ask yourself or your photographer will ask for you.
Clothing and location affect the message. We can chat about clothing when you book your appointment but lets focus on location.
A lot of my client not only love their photos in these unique manicured spots, but they turn them into events, team building, meeting or work spaces before or after. For example: Book a team event, hire a portrait photographer and make-up person, BOOM. Two birds, one event space.
Here are a few spaces I recommend
photos taken from PeerSpace website - not my own
Covering your basic head shot needs with the ability to add backgrounds and studio lighting. No time limit and super in-expensive.
For a darker, more editorial vibe this space is stunning, located in the Mission, also not a bank breaker and with outdoor natural light access.
If you're not cramped by location or cash take the team portraits here then team build (party) after. It's absolutely perfect for indoor and outdoor photo options with multiple backgrounds and lighting scenarios to choose from.
I could go on and so do the options on PeerSpace. Make time for a portrait or head shot this month, check out PeerSpace to secure location then give me a call to snap those much needed brand visuals.
Austrian Wines asked us to photograph a sommelier competition with top taste buds around the bay area. THE PRIZE? A free, wine curated trip to Austria.
Our goal: to show the intensity of the competition, the expensiveness of the wine, the enjoyment of competition and camaraderie and, of course, the winner!
Know Your Costs
Before you budget for visuals here's a gauge of professional costs. COURSE these numbers vary. However industry insiders have been sharing embarrassing project quotes or horrific asks (ie a company on LinkedIn sent a quote request for $35 an hour - catalog photography) and I felt it's time to educate newbies to the field. *This is my experience so far in my work and assisting others. Again numbers vary but consider this a low to medium cost for a professional, commercial team.
Day rates for a Creative Director can be $2000+
Day rates for a Photographer can be $1800 - $2500+
Digital tech $600-$800
Plus equipment $350+
Lunch and Breakfast plus snacks $300+
Models $1200-$2000+ for day rates plus 20% agency
Stylist $900 - $1200+
Plus the assistants (for any of the above professionals) are $350-$450
Don't waste that series A or B money by loosing marketing share. If you're spending loads of cash on an amazing product or service make sure you show it off properly. People need to know you're out there, that you are quality and can be trusted with their precious time and money. I've seen it time and again where companies cut corners, don't invest in visuals and the numbers show poor results.
Be prepared to share your hard work or progress as much as possible. From blogs to Instagram, SHOW PROGRESS. You're customer or client lives in the now and expects to see your companies ideas made real regularly. People buy lifestyles, not product anymore. Wow them.
Below are a few companies I feel understand the Instagram game. They truly understand how to inspire their customers and in return they are SO LOVED!
Leslie co-founder of Dress Anomalie was featured in Forbes using our photo of course (duh).
Check out her amazing business at:
Lets hear about you two really quick. What are your backgrounds and HOW THE HECK DID YOU MEET?
Ben: My background is in control systems and robotics, which I studied grad school before moving into startups. I co-founded a video analytics startup after graduating, and then worked in a variety of roles at healthcare tech and ad tech startups, usually on the data side of things, before co-founding Vrtigo.
I met Erik about eight years ago in Minneapolis, when he was organizing the Twin Cities R User Group, which is a meetup for people using the R programming language for statistics and data science. I helped host it by providing office space at the startup where I was working and a few years later we were both living in San Francisco and we reconnected.
Erik: I’m a statistician, and started my career working on research teams at universities and non-profits before joining a healthtech startup in Minneapolis. While living in MN, I helped run a meetup where I met Ben. He moved out to CA, and years later, I did too. I caught up with him at lunch soon after, and here we are!
Erik: We both work pretty standard hours, maybe starting our day a half an hour to an hour later than a normal work day, which isn’t always ideal if we’re connecting with people in the Central or Eastern time zones whose days end earlier.
For the future of the company you two have together what are the next roles you'll be filling?
Ben: We’re always looking for talented engineers, especially generalists who are comfortable working on both front end and back end.
Ben: It shows some of the ways we think about measuring experiences in VR apps. One of the challenges of analyzing user interactions in VR is that the data represents motion in a three-dimensional world, but analytics tools are usually consumed on two-dimensional displays. So you need to use techniques like geometric projections and statistical summaries to convey insights. The problems aren’t so different from when I was working on robotic manipulation in graduate school.
What do you have on your at all times?
Ben: A notebook and a pen.
Erik: I always carry headphones. Living in SF means walking a lot, so it’s a great time to listen to audiobooks while getting some exercise. I’ve been listening to some of the lectures from The Great Courses series lately and really enjoying them.
Best song of the 80s? 90s?
Erik: 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins is my favorite from that time period.
Ben: Dare To Be Stupid by Weird Al Yankovic. It should be a startup anthem.
Where do you look for work inspiration? websites? Pinterest? articles?
Ben: Ed Tufte’s books are always a good place to find ideas for data visualizations.
Erik: I just attended an R conference and was completely inspired by all the amazing things that community is doing with data. Listening to talks on topics ranging from customer churn modeling to machine learning in Minecraft helps me imagine novel ways to use our data.
Liquor or Wine?
Ben: Since moving to California, definitely wine.
Best dinner in San Francisco?
Erik: State Bird Provisions is my go-to when visitors are in town. The quality of the food and unique serving style are always a hit.
What’s the last thing you ordered online?
Ben: Probably some sort of supplies for my newborn.
Erik: I’ve been feeling nostalgic for 90’s-era video games recently, and just ordered a Super NES Classic. I’m looking forward to trying to beat some of my lap times from 1993 in Super Mario Kart.
What start-ups in the Bay would you list as inspiring or you're a big fan of?
Ben: Some exciting VR-related startups are Vivid Vision, which uses VR to correct strabismus, or lazy eye, and Supermedium, and new WebVR browser by the guys behind Mozilla’s A-Frame project.
Erik: I’m a fan of what teams like Domino Data Lab are doing to help surface the important work done by statisticians and data scientists within organizations.
Thank you gentlemen! Really excited to see what is around the corner for you two.
There were several motivating factors. At the crux of it, we wanted to be more selective about the types of projects we take on. We’re now able to pour our energy and drive into an outcome we have more control over and brands we care deeply for. We like the fact that we can be nimble with our work and problem solving. The decision making is in our hands, so we don't have to wait on change to happen, we can make it.
In your own words tell us how Rumble is changing company's lives. What are your roles?
Design evokes an immediate emotional reaction. That's what's amazing about what we do. We provide the medium from which people form feelings, opinions and memories.
We push companies to figure out who they want to be and create the means for them to express it. We find that through the process of working with a client it's a bit like a therapy session where they come out with a more solid sense of self (or sense of brand in this case).
We have seen over and over how design can directly impact product sales, distribution, customer acquisition, engagement, etc – all of which translates to a successful company. This excites us.
Ashley is the Co-Founder and Creative Director
Lyndsey is the Co-Founder and Managing Director
Together we’ve worked as counterparts for years and our complimentary strengths/weaknesses has made us a successful team.
What kind of clients are your working or have worked for? Any particular genre or across the board?
We work with a huge range of clients and industries, and we like it that way. We love diving into a subject we know little about and becoming mini subject experts. We've discovered passions we didn't know we had, and it creates for good cocktail party banter.
We work with a lot consumer products in the natural space - both emerging and established brands. We also work on tech (being in the bay area) and cannabis (because the timing and opportunity here is radical).
We just returned from EXPO west where we had 5 clients showcasing - which was very exciting.
Compared to companies like yours ten years ago what has changed in the industry that affects, now, how you do business?
I love this question. There is so much that has changed over the years which is why we’re very thoughtful and intentional in our approach.
Historically it was common for agencies to be wedded to clients with longstanding retainers and largely staffed teams. That model doesn’t work well in today’s start-up and gig economy. Emerging brands don’t have huge budgets and don’t want to be in big commitments. Companies are more comfortable working on a fee-based per project model. We love this approach as it gives us the space to keep a fresh rotation of interesting projects without having burnt-out staff on any one account. We keep our team lean and engaged so we can pass on the costs to our clients and get rid of the typical agency bloat.
Moreover young companies don’t have the budgets to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on building a brand and yet they’re the ones who need a compelling brand the most. All too often we’ve seen these start-ups (CPG and Tech alike) that have resorted to 99 designs or some low budget option because their choices are limited. We intentionally sought out to solve for this delima with accessible fee structures. There is an underserved market who deserves good creative without paying standard agency fees.
Lastly, big established brands have to work extra hard to stay current with ever changing cultural context. They need fresh ideas that can come from anywhere. Being tied to one agency for years has the trappings for your brand to grow stagnant. So we love working some of the giants who are long over due to reinvigorate the brand with some new outside thinking.
I've seen your GORGEOUS pitch decks to clients. How long does it take to build an initial idea?
Awe, thanks! Time is so elusive when it comes to design. An idea can happen in an instant and then it take time to design around it. Some things come really fast and others can take days/weeks.
We help our clients build brands, but we are also building our own. So, we practice what we preach. We work hard to build a library of case studies and assets that we can repurpose quickly and easily when we see an opportunity to pitch. But, when it comes to the creative work we deliver for clients, that process is building something from scratch so it's way more time intensive.
Are you guys hiring or are you keeping it small and quality for meow?
We are hiring! We’re always looking for talented designers to join the team. :)
Tough question. We have our friends/personal lives outside of work which are sacred gems. However I’d say there is a large blend of our work and personal lives. To start, we’re business partners who are also good friends, we have clients who become our friends, we have friends who become our clients, we have old colleagues who become clients, friends who are in the same industry who become our colleagues, and so on… it’s all one little tribe. I love this about life. I think we all prefer working with people we enjoy and it’s great to build a community that way.
Do either of you work on personal art outside of work?
Ashley: I spend time off-the-clock daydreaming about architecture and playing with interior design.
Lyndsey: My ultimate love for design comes through in interior spaces. I execute this mostly by helping friends and family and constantly evolving my home. I can't wait to build a custom space from the ground up some day.
Images, graphics and copy are such an important part of your jobs. And we've talked about how clients sometimes are aware of the work that goes into an image, a message, a color scheme. What is some advice you have for companies, perhaps, on the verge of changing their brand or starting one?
Get really clear about who you’re trying to reach and what the goals are. Once we know the target we can design specifically to them and the business objectives. If those things are not established and agreed upon by the decision-makers, a branding project can too easily turn into a battle of subjectivity. Design will always be subjective on some level, but because you might have an aversion to a color, detail or word, it doesn't mean it's wrong for the brand (unless you are building a personal brand of course). Be open to new ideas and the process. It's good to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes. That's where amazing things are born.
What's the last item you purchased?
Lyndsey: Luca’s PaPaw ointment (can’t live without it) and a Herman Miller office chair designed by yves behar
Ashley: Toys for my dogs, Kombucha (like a lot of Kombucha), and Beyonce/JayZ tix for me and Lyndz.
Work from home or office more efficient?
Home office and WeWork. Both have their time a place. There’s something wonderful about rolling from the bed to the desk in under 5 min.
Most listened to song this past month?
Lyndsey: I’ve been on a 90’s hip hop kick.
Ashley: Podcasts have been my jam lately.
Fav design or graphic? (screen shot)
This is like picking a favorite child.
Where should we be looking for examples of great design work? Magazines? websites?
How many hours on Pinterest do you spend a week?
Lyndsey: I find Pinterest to be annoying. Not that into it.
Ashley: For me it’s project-based. If I’m on the search for specific photography content, I can be lost in a black hole for hours or days. But I agree, there’s a ton of garbage that you need to sort through to find the good stuff. I prefer to look on photographer or photo rep sites as you’re guaranteed a level of quality.
Most coveted breakfast place in the city?
Lyndsey: Best Chilaquiles: Primavera @ the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturday
Universal Cafe in the mission.
Ashley: My kitchen table. I haven’t been out to breakfast in a very long time. We cook a lot at home and it’s nice to start the morning off with something homemade versus tackling “brunch village”.
Summer Wilson - Creative Director and Photographer of Battle Cry