On the 23 March 2020, the UK announced it would be going into lockdown. 6 days after we cut short our trip to South Africa. At that point in time, we were told that lockdown would be reviewed after 3 weeks, little did we know we would be in lockdown for almost 4 months.
The words ‘lockdown photoshoot’ had never before been uttered, why would they? Not since the plague had the world experienced anything quite like this. And certainly not on this scale.
I’d lived my 38 years in a blissful state of freedom, the idea that I might not be permitted to leave my house would have sounded like the plot of some dystopian novel, not something that could actually happen.
Be More You, my brand design and marketing consultancy business was less than a year old, I’d been building momentum and all of a sudden the world was pulling down the shutters.
Staying Visible Online
I knew that to survive lockdown businesses needed to stay visible, I needed to stay visible, so I set out doing a weekly training series on my Facebook page to help small businesses affected by the pandemic and posted daily on my Instagram.
I offered practical advice to stay connected to your clients, audience and community through regular updates on your social media.
I talked about taking this downtime as an opportunity to ‘glow up’ your online presence. I watched businesses who’d never operated online conduct their business over zoom, create online communities and flourish.
Even through adversity, the human will to succeed and survive never ceases to amaze me. Creativity and ingenuity were at an all-time high.
Brand Photography in Lockdown
I’m not even sure how I stumbled across Lauren Hawkin’s instagram post. I have to admit I was scrolling social media more than normal in lockdown but when I saw her facetime photshoot series I stopped in my tracks.
Lauren, a photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island (randomly the same place as my previous employer’s headquarters) was suddenly accessible to me across the pond by the power of FaceTime!
I’d never seen or heard anything like it. The details were sketchy, you do it over FaceTime (I’m a Samsung girl, I knew I’d find a way around). I didn’t know Lauren but she was offering a 30-minute session for $35 – I was in!
The timing couldn’t have been better, I was just about to start a 5-day livestream for Scroll Stopping Content Queens with my dear Friend Ria of Ria Mishaal Photography and I needed something truly Scroll Stopping for my feed.
The goal of our series was to encourage female entrepreneurs to be more visible on social media. Normally, I’d be the first to encourage people to book a prfoessional brand shoot but since traditional brand shoots were banned in lockdown that left us with one option, take the photos yourself.
Luckily Ria also teaches photography and is the Selfie Queen so together we created a course to teach entrepreneurs how to create better content and take better photos.
However, whilst I was upping my selfie game I definitely wasn’t going to miss the chance to work with such a talented photographer.
The deal was the call would be conducted over FaceTime. I don’t own an iPhone so I borrowed my husband’s iPad (since we were both working through lockdown and he was firmly glued to his phone).
I’d had a zoom makeup lesson the week before with Kinder Beauty, so after doing my own makeup and hoping that my lockdown roots wouldn’t show too badly I was ready for my shoot.
Lauren called through and our transatlantic adventure began.
Don’t get me wrong, since upping my selfie game for Instagram, I’ve got much better at posing myself but there’s no substitute for a professional photographer telling you where to put your arm, where to focus, when to smile, when to relax. Lauren was a true master at work.
She even managed to get Red to sit still long enough to capture some goregous shots of us together.
The Problem with Facetime Photoshoots
The biggest problem with our Facetime photoshoot was the connection. Our Wifi has never been great and during lockdown it was even worse! It kept freezing and dropping out.
We had to reconnect at least 6 times but Lauren was a pro and each time she was able to work fast enough to grab a couple of shots before it dropped out again.
Luckily the WiFi gods smiled upon us long enough for her to finish the shoot.
The Benefits of Lockdown Photoshoots
Planning an ‘on brand’ location can be tricky and often there’s a lot of back and forth between you and the venue owner trying to find a suitable time. With a lockdown photoshoot, you got to get a bit creative in your own space. But mostly because of the cropping you could do the shoot anywhere you could get good light.
Mine were mostly shot opposite my bedroom window.
Outfit changes were easy because I just had to get out of shot and switch from one dress to the next, I didn’t have to go and find a changing room.
Even in the 30 minutes we had, I managed 3 outfit changes and some shots of me and the dog. I changed in lightning-fast speed and Lauren worked quickly!
Whenever I do a brand shoot I tend to wear my brand colours. I already have a lot of shots of me in my brand orange and I wanted some more of the neutral champagne and greens to balance them out.
I kept with my light aqua Grecian dress that I’d worn in my first brand photoshoot for continuity and added in my favourite lace dress and one of my new Johanna Ortiz number I managed to snag from her H&M collaboration.
We shot most of the photos against the backdrop of my beautiful Peacock chair. Which remains one of my best business investments.
My Lockdown Photoshoot
I didn’t know how well the images would turn out. Lockdown photoshoots aren’t like normal photoshoots where your photographer has normally given you some kind of sneak peek.
I hadn’t been able to get a sense for how it looked Lauren’s end. It was a waiting game.
When the photos did come through I was completely blown away by them.
I thought it would be fun to share them on Instagram but I’ve ended up using them on my website, client welcome packs, my service guide. I just love them!
Check them out below:
Photography: Lauren Hawkins Photograpy
Brand Styling: Be More You
Location: My Home