Shelter-in-place leads to creative new work for Fridababy

I’ve been pushing my creative boundaries during Dallas’s shelter-in-place order. One of my favorite clients to work with is Fridababy. They have a lovely new art director who I’ve worked with at other companies that I’ve been collaborating with. This video is one of our creations from last month. Despite not being able to leave and work on location, I’ve been able to build unique sets around my house and studio utilizing whatever I can that is on brand to help build an image library for Fridababy. I’ve also been shooting their new product’s e-commerce photography for their website, Target, Buy Buy Baby and other stores that carry their line of clever and useful products.

The right time to have a baby.

The timing of having my daughter overlapping when it’s incredibly hard to actually shoot models has played out really well for Fridababy. I’ve been able to use her as a model for them between my still life photography. The whole family has been working together to keep her happy and get her to look at the camera. I’ve even been able to jump into a couple of the shots to get the moments they were looking for.

I’ve got long, thin fingers and as awkward as the rest of me is, my hands aren’t. So for a little over a year, I’ve been hand modeling products for my clients. This was another creative way I was able to help build the image library for Fridababy. 

In addition to these specialty images (movement & models). I had quite a few still life in environment and in studio shots I took for them. The library needed more shots in places that felt real. So while homeschooling, chasing that baby, and working, I kept moving furniture around to different parts of the house to create sets. More than once that baby has made a mad dash for the wires and light stands that decorate the house these days.

Lifestyle Photographer | Carolina | Kate Benson

Lifestyle Photographer | Carolina | Kate Benson

Lifestyle photographer Kate Benson for Boca Terry

The Rebranding.

If you look at my website, you may not see much that shouts “TRADITIONAL LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER” on it. I don’t shoot lifestyle the way many photographers do. When I get the opportunity to work with clients in this genre, I like to play and create situations that the models can be characters/actors in and then approach my shooting from a documentary style. The camera should feel like a friend or be invisible in the context of the pictures. The luxury bathrobe company Boca Terry connected with me through a branding agency a while back and asked for me to help photograph a rebranding for them. I was invited to sit in for more than a couple meetings and really learn what BT loved and didn’t love about their photography in the past. Getting this time with the client meant that when we arrived at the beautiful 1 Hotel South Beach for the shoot, capturing Jason and Fernanda went really smoothly. I loved working with BT. The company has great leadership and team so it never felt like work and the days flew by. I was hired to be a model + lifestyle photographer and still life/product photographer so across the board their images could have a consistent feel. Being able to shoot both on model and still life really served me well as the photographer on this project as I really love both types of shooting and don’t treat one as a requirement for getting the job. In this case, the resort focused product photographer roll was just as important as the lifestyle photographer one. Here are some of my favorites from this shoot:

In addition to the needed image, I always try and give my clients some surprises. Jason practicing his martial arts was the team favorite of these from the shoot. 1 Hotel was just opened at the time we did the shoot and we found an outdoor space that was mostly being used for storage. My assistants helped me moved the planters against this blank wall and cleared out a space for Jason to do his magic. When we get a chance to be really creative and the team is good and relaxed, the most unexpected and engaging photography happens.

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Carolina Product Food Photographer | Kate Benson | Where you can spot me

Just a little fun note that today my image is the featured image on the landing page of Wonderfulmachine.com. This was a food shoot I did for fun after I moved to Charleston, SC. The food scene in Charleston is unbelievable. Before moving here, Sam and I asked anyone we met what were they the most proud of being from Charleston to which repeatedly the answer was “our food”.  For the most part, I’ve left food off my website. I always knew other great photographers who shot it and once we became buddies, I never wanted to compete with them. I’m the photographer who really values my friendships (but that might be a Boston thing too). There might be more of it starting to creep into my website since I’ve been shooting more and more food lately. I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, as I’ll only be on the landing page for a day, here’s the screen shot of my work:

 

Carolina food and beverage photographer

Charleston South Carolina Product Photographer | Kate Benson | Sight Supply Co Lifestyle Still Life

Recently, I was approached by contact lens subscription company Sight Supply. They were looking to build their online brand through e-commerce and lifestyle product photography, and to make sure they stood out from the competition. They needed both a photographer and art director to get this job done!

First, I tackled the art direction. I put together a mood board showcasing unique e-commerce shots. After talking with Sight Supply, we agreed that the lifestyle images needed to be diverse and unconventional. With this knowledge, I chose unusual locations that still showed the contact lenses being a part of your life. Here are a few samples from the mood board.

 

After discussing which ideas they liked best, Sight Supply gave the okay for me to get props and start shooting! It turned out to be a day and a half of creative shots. They were able to receive e-commerce pictures with clipping paths, (so their graphic design team can use them over and over,) and a whole social media library. Here are some of my favorites from the shoot.

Because of the desire to stand out and play with the color in the packaging, I let my inspiration go and got some fun results! I think these product photographs for their social media library will certainly make them stand out.

Check out Sight Supply’s Instagram for more images from the shoot or my Instagram to see more of this Carolina product photographer‘s work. I’ll keep posting my favorite product lifestyle shoots for you to see!

Lifestyle Photographer South Carolina | Kate Benson for Beija Flor Jeans

A little under a year ago I joined A Wonderful Machine and have really enjoyed working with them. This summer I hired them to do some consulting work as well as a bit of a rebranding and have to say hiring that out has been a great decision. As photographers we get so emotionally close to our work that it’s hard to see just the image without the story of shooting it. This morning Wonderful Machine sent me a sweet note to let me know that they are using this shot from the current season of my shoot for Beija Flor Jeans as their homepage image for a bit. I’m pretty excited and flattered of course.

Beija Flor Jeans is one of my favorite clients, based in the Carolinas and I have had the blessing of getting to shoot a few seasons for them now. The shoots are always very diverse and fun. If you love amazing jeans, here is the link to their website: https://www.beijaflorjeans.com and if you haven’t checked it out, Wonderful Machine is pretty cool as well: https://wonderfulmachine.com

 

Charleston Food and Beverage Photographer | Feeling Testy

A few weeks back, food stylist, blogger, editor and author Ashley Strickland Freeman reached out to me to grab lunch. She is joining the flock of uber talented folks that have fled city life to seek out beautiful quite land…. (how do I really feel about moving to Charleston?) Her story was not unlike my own when I took off to Miami in 2006. I made that move with the goal of throwing myself at fate completely and trusting that brave moves with no logic to them could have great rewards. So instantly, I admired Ashley’s bravery, of course. Along with that, during our conversation I learned that she has quite the resume of accomplishments and is coming into this town with an arsenal of knowledge and talent. I’ve dabbled in food before and felt inspired by her visit to do some shooting of my own in the f&b world. Plus, it meant I could cook a feast for my friends later that weekend (sous vide pork tenderloin with a bourbon/caramelized onion/fig/pomegranate/blackberry compote, roasted Mediterranean artichokes and purple sweet potatoes if I remember it all right…. no recipes sorry, I was just winging it)! What’s the good of being a food and beverage photographer if you don’t get to reap the rewards? Come on! Especially in Charleston where the culinary scene puts everyone to shame… I had to try!

So I thought this would be easy, and it turns out, it was (mostly). My biggest challenge after sourcing my props was getting away from product photography. No kidding. I bought all these crazy beautiful ingredients and couldn’t stop photographing the glassware and barware…. So this is how things progressed:

The first setup: Barware. I had a very tasty cocktail that I made for this, a thyme, lemonade, pomegranate, champagne drink. Luckily since this wouldn’t last a few days for me to get time to cook, one of my girlfriends Sharon stopped by to help taste test my work.

The irony of my test shoot of food and beverage becoming a light study on the barware does not escape me. This is totally one of those, “of course I would do that” moments. So happy with the above I decided to explore how some crystal glasses would look. At which point, I spiraled down into the rabbit hole again of exploring the light and shadows and never actually filled the glasses with anything.

At this point, I was hearing myself for the last several years telling anyone who asked if I did personal work a lecture on topics being to broad for me to do that and that I needed limitations if I was ever going to get anywhere. I know myself pretty well when it comes to images.

So the clock was ticking down and it was time (past time) for me to shoot some food and beverage. So I stripped away all the distractions that I could (shadows, accessories, etc) and just started playing with ingredients and light.

 

Then I allowed myself to put back in small accessories.

And after photographing the almost inappropriately sumptuous pears, I called it a wrap. That and by this point I couldn’t let Sharon drink by herself anymore. What kind of friend does that?

So needless to say, I am looking forward to our newest Charlestonian arriving around Thanksgiving. To check out Ashley’s work, visit her website: http://ashleystricklandfreeman.com hopefully we will have the opportunity to work together soon!