HALES PHOTO
Atlanta Commercial Photographer

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The Importance of Self Producing Photoshoots

Guess what art directors, we didn't go to art school!


We both went to school for business, started out in the corporate world and years later fell in love with photography and decided to start a business. It was a crazy idea, and we love it.

We didn't get the opportunity to take creative images in school, and we never had teachers to push us or help us with creative concepts. So we have to be our own teachers and give ourselves assignments to:

  1. Push ourselves creatively

  2. Continue to build and improve our portfolio

  3. Collaborate with other creatives

Our latest self produced project was circus themed, and it all came out of Natalie’s head. So we are going to be sharing behind the scenes images from that shoot throughout this blog post. All the images were taken by Lindsey Miller. We get into the HOW TO produce a photoshoot on another blog post you can find here, but we want to explain why we think these shoots are valuable for our business and for art directors and art buyers who find our site.


1: Creative Challenge

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When we are coming up with a concept for a self produced shoot, this is our time to EXPERIMENT! We think BIG. The circus shoot was probably our biggest yet. Not in terms of crew members, but there were a lot of moving pieces. Every shoot contained its own challenges, and that’s the point. For example, our model, Navia, who played aerialist (modeling in the lyra - the round hoop hanging from the ceiling about 8 feet from the ground) character had no lyra experience. Not only did she have to get comfortable hanging out, but she was also posing suspended in a ring up in the air. It was extremely uncomfortable for her, and we had to take a lot of precautions to make sure she was safe. So getting the shot was time consuming, but Navia made it look beautiful.

This is the perfect time for us to try something we've always wanted to do, whether that's getting creative with lights, playing with new equipment, pushing other creatives, or thinking conceptually! We get out of our comfort zone and try something new so that our audience can see that we are willing to take risks.

Our main goal is that an art director looks at our images and thinks “Wow, if they can do this, then they must be able to photograph my project.”

2: Portfolio Build

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The images that result from our self produced photo shoots are some of our favorite work and some of our clients' favorite work that we have created! We can’t stress enough how many clients have referenced our self produced work when we ask why they decided to hire us for an advertising shoot. When Coca-Cola came to us and asked us to photograph a commercial advertising campaign, they used images from our self produced shoots to show us what they wanted out of their own campaign. Showing that we can take commercial images is important, but showing that we are versatile is, in our opinion, more important.
We hope by investing in ourselves financially through these self produced shoots that we will get paid projects that are equally creative and fun.


Another benefit to strengthening our portfolio with self produced shoots is that we get to guide our business in the direction we want it to grow.

3: Connections

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Lastly, and one of our favorite parts of self producing photoshoots, is that we get to work with creatives we have never worked with before! Team dynamics on set are very important to accomplishing client goals on large productions. We want to make sure we are working with a team composed of the top professionals in their skill or trade, but we also want to work with people that are fun and easy going. We want clients to feel comfortable and confident in our team, and when they have fun that is bonus points.


Working with new people with diverse talents and experience also leads us to get unique results. Our crew and talent hugely affect the final result of a shoot. So we want our clients to see that we are constantly working with new people in order to push ourselves creatively and get the best possible results on every shoot.

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Thanks for checking out our blog post. Let us know what you think, and check out the final images from this shoot here.

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All BTS images were taken by Lindsey Miller.

If you liked this blog post, check out this one on How to Self Produce a photoshoot.