10/23/14

Still Life Photographer Miami | but before I give these back, let me just shoot one more thing…

One of my clients is the fan-freaking-tastic eyewear designer Christian Roth. I adove (adore + love = adove) the stylish sunglasses and eyewear they create and the team, Christian Roth and Eric Domége, as well. I’ve enjoyed photographing their product and even been able to capture Christian and Eric in front of my camera for Miami Modern Luxury Magazine.

Miami_Photographer_Kate_Benson_Portrait_Photographer_Roth

 

They have flattered me using the images I shot for them on their blog and Instagram:

Product_Photographer_Miami_Kate_Benson Product_Photographer_Miami_Kate_Benson_For_Christian_Roth_Instagram

Used my other portraits of them in other publications and blog:

Kate_Benson_Photographer_Miami_Product_Photographer_Designer_Portraits

And of course, their catalog and product shots on their website:

Miami_E-comerce_photographer_Kate_Benson

So I’ve had my hands on their product to photograph quite a few times now and I fall more and more in love with it each time. Yesterday, I found myself with a few free moments. October has been my busiest month to date. ever. So I was shocked I had a minute. Naturally, I used this moment to shoot! I am returning product to the boys tomorrow so if I didn’t get these beauties in front of my lens one more time I would cry.

Here are some of my shots where I just enjoyed my freedoms to shoot what I saw, how I styled and lit. Completely sans art direction. Enjoy…. (and please forgive that I haven’t retouched these at all, there wasn’t THAT much extra time!)

E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study004 E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study005 E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study002 E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study001 E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study003 E-commerce-Photographer-miami-katebenson-christian-roth-eyewear-study006 10_22 Christian Roth Groups-5005

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08/11/14

Miami Portrait Photographer | Optimize your headshot!

Many of you already know me on a personal basis, but for those who don’t, my husband Sam is an internet guru. I really don’t know how else to describe him. He works in hospitality helping hotels make the most of their online presence. This week he will be speaking at a conference in Tennessee and so he came to me because he needed a new headshot.

Okay, so why is this interesting? Photographer takes picture of her husband… big deal. Actually it was what he taught me that was so cool I wanted to share it with everyone. On one of the blogs he follows Cyrus Shepard created a post called “How Optimizing My Ugly Google+ Pic Increased Free Traffic”. To sum it up, by placing a color behind the subject people were statistically more likely to click on that person or their link/article. Google likes to put our bio pictures all over everything it can now, and the internet has become overrun with black and white head shots, or head shots against a black, white, or grey background. So when I photographed him we did it against, you guessed it, grey (and I included a black and white of the shot for him too, aren’t I nice!?). He shared the article with me after our photo shoot.

Sam_Trotter_E-commerce_Consultant Sam_Trotter_E-commerce-Blogger

He took it upon himself to add orange to the background (this is what we would call an artists rendering of what he did, I can’t find the actual file anywhere now)…

SunnySammy

Orange. Bright orange. Now, no offense to my beloved or anything here, but after some convincing he let me have a go at changing the grey background to a color for him. I went with a techie blue (he also has blue eyes so that was inspiring me).

Miami_Portrait_Photographer_Corporate_Kate_Benson

 

When I saw his new headshot with this color pop up in my text messages I the post hit home. My eyes immediately rush to his shot over all the other photos next to text messages in my phone (everyone has a little photo next to their message on my phone). The effectiveness of this in a larger setting (aka, the web) was not lost on me.

Since then, I’ve shot two more portraits one for a writer, one for a jewelry designer, both asked for blue as the color behind them.

Kate_Benson_Miami_Portrait_Photographer  Miami_Portrait_Photographer_Kate_Benson_Romi_Lola_James  Miami_Portrait_Photographer_Corporate_Headshots

At this point, I’m feeling rather out dated with my black background behind me in my bio pictures. Guess it’s time to update myself! What do you think??? Out with the old….

Kate_Benson_Photographer_Portrait

In with the Warhol?

Kate_Benson_Photographer_Portrait_Warhal

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08/6/14

How to run a business and start a family | Part 1

I have a confession. I have been very, very busy this year. On top of already this being one of my busiest business years to date, I went and became a mom back in March.

I have a second confession, many of my clients didn’t know I was pregnant or that I had a baby.

First, let me say, this is a subject that I’m sure will hit home to a lot of my readers. I’m a 30 something year old woman, who has been nurturing her own business for about 8 years or so now (plus 1+ year of interning and 4 years of college for photography at RISD). So it was not lightly that I decided to start a family. It seems like my path is crossing with a lot of women who either own their own businesses or have worked their tail off to start a business who are around my age and facing this question: do I want to have kids? That question is quickly followed by the next one, what are the sacrifices of starting a family? And of course, that gets more specific with wondering, is it even possible to keep my career on course and become a parent?

The answers won’t be the same for everyone. But for me, I had no intention of letting my business get off track because I was going to start a family. Upon the suggestion of one of these woman whose path has crossed mine, I am going to write a little bit about how I made this transition work and how I was able to meet all my clients needs during this time.

So this first post is about making that choice to become a parent. Not everyone has the luxury of getting to make that choice and so already you are lucky.

Like many of my peers, I was very scared to start a family, for lots of reasons. What was going to happen to my body/career/marriage/etc?

The fear of what starting a family would do to my marriage caused my husband and I had some very intense conversations. These were no holds bar honest conversations. In these talks, we confessed what we both wanted our marriage to be like and where it currently fell short of that and what we needed to make sure we didn’t let go of when a baby arrived. We talked about “what if” situations. We discussed our peers who had children and the strains we saw them going through and mapped out strategies if we found ourselves in the same boat. Naturally, so much of what we talked about didn’t come true for us or did but in a way we never predicted. But being able to have already talked about stresses in a “what if” scenario took some of the taboo out of discussions when the situations were taking place.

Please don’t judge me because I know it is a vanity, but I didn’t want to loose my body to a child. This was a huge source of anxiety for me. Throughout my whole pregnancy it was a stress. I’ve always been in good shape and in the last 5-10 years put a lot of effort into eating right and being an athlete in my free time (My husband and I paddle, Dragon boats/OC/Sup, anything you can think of). I was terrified that I would have a baby and never get back into my shape and it would cause stresses on me and my marriage. So, just like above, my husband and I talked about it. A lot! I worked out until I really couldn’t, whatever I could do (my Dr said no to continuing to do crossfit, which now I think I might have been able to do actually). I ate as right as I could (first trimester all bets were off, my nausea decided I was going to eat a lot of Mac-N-Cheese with chicken nuggets -seriously, like in 3rd grade again). What really helped was acknowledging that my husband loved me, he liked me being in shape but loved me and that wasn’t going to change with the transitions my body went through. I picked a good man to marry, one who I knew wasn’t in it for looks. So that helped. And as a side note, if your with a guy who you feel like would leave you if you weren’t smoking hot anymore, maybe you should rethink that relationship because we are all going to get old one day and no matter what you do, gravity is going to get you.

Now the golden ticket: career. I decided to keep quiet about expecting to all of my clients. I let them ask me about it when I was showing enough that they were curious. I decided that there was a line between personal and professional life and to be honest, I was intimidated that my clients might run to someone else. So I knew that meant I had to make sure their photo needs were met EXACTLY as they were when I wasn’t pregnant.

That included a plan for going into labor during a shoot. I trained and trained and trained an amazing assistant of mine to do anything and everything I could so if I ended up in the hospital or on bed rest my business could still run. Picking the right person is key in this. For me, she had to be as attentive to detail as I am, friendly, professional, and okay with me staring over her shoulder commenting on her every move. I also had to trust her immensely. Essentially I knew I wasn’t going to get any downtime pre baby/labor/post baby so I had someone else to be there just in case I was too weak or physically unable to do my shooting so my clients wouldn’t have their images or timelines compromised. Luckily, I didn’t need my assistant to do too much when the time did come. But I had to be incredibly prepared. The total unexpected upside of this was that after I hired my childcare and found myself back in the swing of things I had the most amazing assistant ever! She was trained to be my hands and so I could trust her to do every light setup perfectly, know how to style everything I work with, understand the timelines needed (there were nights that she pulled all nighters to get my stack focus images ready so I had a file to work on) and always have a positive attitude.

Interview the crap out of this person. And pay them well. This was a cost of my business continuing to run so even if I broke even for a while because I had her helping me it was worth not loosing accounts/clients over. Be ready for complications because other people will notice your amazing assistant and offer them work as well. I was lucky that the clients that did that were super sweet people and we were able to work something out where my assistant could help them and me.

This fear, of how a baby would affect my business was a huge roadblock for me when I thought about starting a family. Even when I had been training and teaching my assistant it wasn’t until my clients could see her work and were comforted that as a team we were producing images as consistent and dead on as always, that my mind was at ease. Hopefully some of these confessions and tips help you put your mind at ease too. It really can be done and things will be okay. I’ll keep posting (as much as I can because having a baby does cut way back on my blogging time) more about how I am working through this transition and how it actually, positively has continued to affect my business.

 

 

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07/25/14

New E-commerce client

I’m so excited to add Cosabella to my client list! We’ve been shooting tests and perfecting the look for the website. Today I noticed the first pieces from our shoot went live! I have to say, I love being an e-commerce photographer. I know it’s not for everyone, but until you trouble shoot the styling and lighting of items like fine jewelry, sunglasses and bras (yes, I’m adding bra’s to the list of most complex items to shoot) you can’t know the rush of getting it right!

Here are a few screen shots of my work on the site. Most of the corresponding pieces are also my shots! Enjoy and thanks Cosabella! I had a blast working with you and hope to do so again soon!

Appearl_e-commerce_Photographer_Lay_downs Bra_e-commerce_Photographer Kate_Benson_Apparel_E-commerce_Photographer lingerie_E-commerce_photographer_Kate_Benson Kate_Benson_E-commerce_Photographer

 

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07/21/14

Testing E-commerce photos for new clients

One of the most valuable strategies for getting ready to shoot e-commerce with a new client is a test shoot. I almost always will recommend (or even sometimes insist) that a brand do a few hours of test shooting with me before we dive into their inventory and shoot all of it. The test shoot is my way to make sure I am giving the client the shots they need with the right consistency for their website. It is also how I double-check my per shot estimate to make sure that it is on track with the quote I gave.

My e-commerce photography clients range in size from  less than 100 to 10,000+ shots a year (yes, I shoot a lot of inventory). The test shoot might be the most important shoot I do for those clients in our whole relationship. It is where I will lock in the lighting, styling, pre production preparation, retouching, and file delivery for everything we do moving forward. I usually ask to see some examples of what the client wants the final images to look like. After seeing those, we discuss the files they like and why. Then I get my hands on items to test shoot and we schedule the time. One of the nice things about my workflow is that the client doesn’t have to be present while I do the test shoot. I can run a screen share via Skype for example and I shoot tethered. So the client can be discussing with me each shot as they appear. This has been a  huge help because now art directors around the country can be hands on in the test without actually having to get on a plane.

It’s after the test shoot that I start in on the actual e-commerce photography for the website. Sometimes as fast as the next day or later that afternoon we can get the ball rolling for clients. In the e-commerce world, inventory that hasn’t been photographed is money lost so moving fast is critical. That test shoot lets me build realistic time estimates for clients so they know how fast the files can get back to them.

To the photographers reading this, whether you shoot portraits/weddings/anything it’s always a good idea to run a test shoot. Any big advertising gig’s I’ve ever had I dedicate a day in my studio with whatever team I need to work out the kinks of what we will be shooting. My husband has had to jump in front of my camera many, many times while I confirm lighting for a portrait to make sure the settings are where they need to be. A very good goal to have in photography is to make sure the time with the client/on the clock is used as efficiently as possible so test what you will be doing!

 

Example of testing lighting/angles for e-commerce on handbags:

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Then the same shot but without reflection so client could choose:

e-commerce_Photographer_handbags2

 

And finally, an example of how the client decided to use it:e-commerce_Photographer_Handbags3

 

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03/4/14

New work all over the place!

I’ve been working my tail off, as is the trend when the blog goes silent. But I promise I have been thinking about blogging. Some of the big updates, I’ve hired a fabulous part-time assistant and we have been training and shooting like mad. At first, it’s a little tough because so much training has to happen but then quickly you realize that your time has become way more efficient and you are able to take more clients and jobs than before. The side effect of course is with so much new work the blogging gets pushed to the back of the to do list.

I did find time though to give a quick interview with the folks over at Glamniac which published today! I’m pretty sure this is one of the more narcissistic things you can do, give interviews about yourself and then promote them on your blog, but at the same time I have my mother in town and her comments of never knowing anything that goes on in my life inspired me to publish this anyway.

If you’ve ever interviewed me or talked to me about my work the info is probably very familiar. But it’s still fun none the less to mention! The post also helps me recognize it’s time for a new bio picture…. the bangs were cute but my hair grew WAY too fast to keep up with them (I mean, come on, you see how often I find time to blog, hair is not high on my to do list).

A special thank you to Kat for the flattering introduction and making sure I didn’t sound terrible in my answers!

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12/30/13

2013 Miami Photographer “That’s a Wrap!”

Congratulations on making it through another year! 2013 was a great year of working with long-standing clients and some awesome new ones too! Thank you to everyone who used Kate Benson Photography in 2013 and I hope that 2014 proves to be one of your best years yet.

In 2013, I photographed all kinds of things. Excitedly at the start of the year there were ad campaigns, lots of portraits, and products, while at the end of the year a big e-commerce photography push came in which really kept me busy. So during 2014, my resolution is to use my time as wisely as possible. Update my website (a frighteningly overdue project that keeps getting pushed to the back of my to do list), blog with at least a little more regularity, and shoot some personal work are all on my list. Seriously, I think some of those were on my 2013 resolution list as well. Does anyone ever do their resolutions? I’ll have to find out in 2014 I guess!

Stay tuned for a great 2014~

 

 

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11/21/13
TheSnuggExecutiveCase

Miami Product Photographer | Reviewing the Snugg Case

About a week or so ago a company called The Snugg reached out to me to see if I would review their cases for iPads/iPhones/Kindels/Tablets/Smartphones/etc. So because I have so much free time (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing? Or did the no blog post since July give it away that I’ve been slammed) I agreed. It’s long overdue for a blog post anyway and so I was hoping that this push to review the case would also get the ball rolling again, only time will tell.

I have an older model iPad, the case on it before was a slim one that I grabbed from the Apple store when I bought it. At the time I figured it would protect the iPad if I dropped it and that was pretty much all I needed. This is where it needs to be mentioned that the anticipated use of the iPad was slim. Credit card processing, maybe playing Pandora while I worked, that was about all I figured I would use it for. Oh no. I was so very wrong there. Not a day goes by that myself or my husband doesn’t use it for something and the Apple case I bought at the time has since shown me that while it functions and does stop the iPad from breaking, that is about all it will do. The stand is wobbly at best, but pretty useless and I still have to carry a bag full of business cards and other items to meetings.

Enter, The Snugg Case.

TheSnuggBack TheSnuggOpen TheSnuggExecutiveCase

I opted to try their Snugg Executive Case iPad2. It has a super sturdy stand, an attachment for a pen and room for my business cards and promos. I didn’t think it would make life as much easier as it has, but wow, what a difference. An actual functioning stand is underrated. Even if you don’t use your iPad for work, say you just want to be able to follow a recipe, the screen on that iPad shuts off constantly and you are always having to wake it back up. Being able to do this with one hand so you don’t cover your iPad in flour or whatever other mess you have on one of your hands is really awesome. In a meeting, my clients don’t accidentally knock over my iPad anymore when they lightly touch the screen to point out something. Having the ability to not carry a bag full of other items (pen/paper/business cards/promo’s/etc) is really awesome too. Showing up to the meeting organized tells the client I’ll be organized on the shoot too.

So with the holidays right around the corner, whether it’s a gift for your household iPad or you need to write off a little more this year (although this case is super affordable compared to what a similar case would cost at Apple) I do highly recommend The Snugg.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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07/15/13

Miami Product Photographer | Kate Benson | InStyle Magazine

A fun little update! I was just sent an email from one of my clients Donald J. Pliner, letting me know that one of my shots was used in the “Very Important Piece” section of InStyle Magazine for the July 2013 issue. Thanks to the team at DJP for the share!

KateBensonPhotographyMimai_InStyleMAgazine

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07/12/13

Workshops in Florida | Photography Workshops – Kate Benson Photography

I enlisted the help of my intern Nadia to put together a list of different Workshops in South to Mid Florida which may be of interest to the photographers and enthusiasts in the audience. We broke them down to levels and included the details of each Workshop. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can go wrong signing up for workshops. It is a place where we can network with other photographers as well as find deep learning. I’m sure we just scratched the surface with this list so if anyone has recommendations of other Workshops in  Florida or has comments on any of these workshops, leave a comment. I would love to hear from you and I’m sure the rest of the audience could find it useful too!

In no particular order other than experience levels:

1.
What: Break Out of Auto Mode Workshop | www.photoworkshops.biz
Experience: Beginners
Where: 210 Almeria Ave. Coral Gables, FL (Photo Workshops)
When: Contact 305-740-5401 | 305-305-5823
Instructor: TBD
Requirements: DSLR camera, camera manual, lens.

Here beginners will learn how to break free and use other settings besides auto mode with their cameras. This is class where you will be able to learn how to be more comfortable and confidant using your DSLR. There are only twenty spaces per class, so it would be a good idea to call for scheduling and make sure you have a space. ISO, aperture, shutter speed and all the basics will be covered in this three hour course. You should be prepared to have your camera, your cameras manual and your lens when arriving to this class. Workshop materials, drinks and snacks are included. $150.00 per person.

2.
What: Composition in the Field | http://www.digitalphotoacademy.com/workshops/workshopInfo/8691#WorkshopWorkshopInfoForm
Where: Miami, FL | Greynolds Park
Level: Beginner
When: Sunday Sept 15, 2013 10 am – 1pm
Instructor: Bernardo
Requirements: $99

Test and push your cameras capabilities with the direction and assistance of your instructor. This course will be a three hour session of shooting strategically and using all of your cameras capabilities to the fullest. You will be able to improve the quality of your photographs and it will give you a stronger foundation for shooting more advance photographs in the future. Each workshop will begin with a lecture and a questions and answers segment.

3.
What: Inside the Frame Photography Workshop | www.selby.org
Level: Beginner
Where: Selby Gardens Sarasota, FL [941] 366 – 5731
When: Call for details Instructor: TBD
Requirements: Bring whichever camera you wish to experiment with (Polaroid, camera phone, DSLR, point and shoot etc…)

In this class you will learn the importance of taking a good photograph regardless of your gear. Having high quality equipment is always a plus, however, great images can be made using all different calibers of equipment. Composition and having a creative open mind will determine how one can take a compelling image. You may bring your DSLR or a point and shoot to this workshop; whichever gear you want to experiment with. The subject focus of this course; people, places and things.

4.
What: Lightroom and Digital Photography | www.workshop.org
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Where: 415 Clematis St. WPB, FL Sponsored by the Palm Beach Photographic Center (561) 253-2600
When: Nov 14 -16, 2013 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Instructor: John Reuter
Requirements: $775

In this course photographers will become better acquainted with lightroom features and using it as a resource for retouching and organizing photographs. Creating catalogs, applying copyrights, and metadata are some of the topics the instructor will go over. They will also go over the vast improvement of lightroom and how it can improve an array of different images you may be working with.

5.
What: Lighting Essentials | www.calumetphoto.com
 When: Saturday July 20, 2013 and also 8/10/13, 8/31/13, 9/21/13, 10/12/13
Where: 1001 N. Federal Hwy, Ft. Laud, FL 954-522-6500 | Calumet Photo Studio
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Instructor: TBD
Requirements: $65.00 Camera, paper and pencil

In this workshop students will be able to learn and understand the effects of studio lighting and how to effectively use them. The instructor will also go over a wide array of tools and equipment that photographers use in studio lighting. Students will receive a workbook in this course so they can follow along through demonstrations. Modifiers, fill light, portrait lighting, and location flash fundamentals will all be discussed.

6.
What: Miksang Photography Workshop | www.miksang.com
Experience: All levels
Where: Hyatt Place 104 N.E. 2nd Ave. Delray Beach, FL
When: Aug 30, 2013 – Sept 2, 2013
Instuctor: Dennis Connor Email: miksang@dennisconnorphotography.com
Requirements: Must have your own camera and laptop to bring to this workshop

Different perspectives can create much different images of the same subject. It is always fascinating as an artist to see other photographers perspectives of the same thing; thus this is also true throughout different cultures – perspectives change. Miksang Photography is an Asian perspective of Photography; the Tibetan word that literally translates as ‘Good Eye”. Perception based photography with a simplified eye; sometimes so obvious we as a western society don’t necessarily hone in on it. All levels are invited to join.

7.
What: Lightroom 5 Workflow | sethresnick.com
When: July 23rd -July 26 9am – 5:30pm
Where: 1143 Vinter Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens FL 33410
Level: Intermediate or above
Instructor: Seth Resnick + Jamie Spritzer
Requirements: $1099.00 You must bring a digital camera that shoots raw, lap top (PC or MAC), flash card, card reader, external hard drive (2), Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 is suggested.

This course is recommended for intermediate to pro level students who will get a broad understanding of Lightroom 5. Course fee does not include meals or any transportation.

8.
What: Canon EOS Emmersion Workshop | Seminar http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/events_calendar/event_details/cll_events/20131019_tampa_seminar_cll.shtml
When: Oct 19, 2013 10 am – 6pm
Where: University of South Florida | Tampa | College of the Arts – Theatre 1 3839 SF Holly West Tampa, FL 336
 Level: Advanced
Instructor: Jeff Green + Shannon Levy
Requirements: $89

This workshop will be full of lectures and demonstrations. You will be able to take full advantage of your cameras features while shooting an array of subjects and learning what setting to use for each one. Lighting will also be discussed at length and how utilizing it correctly can enhance the creativity of your images. Most of the content in this course is related to Canon. There will be time set aside for questions an answers as well. Emmy award winning journalist Shannon Levy will go over the capabilities of video. She will discuss frame actions, structor, angles, composition and video technique.

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