Recently we had the opportunity to work with the Spring Theatre, located right here in downtown Winston-Salem, on their promotional imagery for their production of The Secret Garden. The marketing director, who also happens to be an incredible designer at www.carrieleighdickey.com, approached me about photographing their lead (Mary Lennox) in a manner for which she could be then superimposed on a digital background they had purchased.
After examining the lighting in the original photograph of the desired backdrop, I decided I could replicate the light.
We had our session and I sent the final 6 choices to Carrie, who then presented the photographs to the producers. Carrie then edited the photograph of little Mary Lennox onto the digital background.
Watch the video below to see how we mimicked the look and what the final poster looks like.
Sooooo, I have one other predominant guilty pleasure - aside from camembert cheeses - click bait tests. Yup, I’ve taken anything from “What Condiment Are You” and “Which Avengers Character Are You” to “What Is Your Dominant Quality” and, most recently, the Adobe Creative Type test. The test is flying around all of my creative circles and I love it! I’m learning about other people and I’m learning about me. I love, love, love to learn about others and analyze myself. (This is also why my favorite board game is Loaded Questions.)
I took the test and received the Dreamer assessment. My favorite part about the dreamer is that these people typically see the world as “a place of beauty and magic.” This is totally on point! I get drawn in by stories, by personalities and by the little pieces that, in the moment, don’t make sense but then are put together perfectly - just as they were meant to be. I get goosebumps and teared up at these moments. They are, indeed, beautiful!
It was also great to see the types of people I would work best with. So, now that I have seen what some of my peers are assessed to be, you can bet your taco I will be seeking out these local Winston Salem based creatives for collaborations and projects!!
Even if you don’t consider yourself creative, you should consider taking the test. I believe that all people are creative, whether it be with mediums of paint and chalk or mediums of strategy and numbers. Click Here to Take The Adobe Creative Type Test. I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE YOUR RESULTS WITH ME!!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Read more about the Dreamer below. Also, for kicks and giggles, I took the test and answered opposite of what I would answer and received the Producer assessment! The details for that type are shared below as well.
Creative StrengthsConnection to emotions and imagination, empathy and sensitivity
Untapped PotentialUsing dreams to fuel real-world action
Ideal CollaboratorThe Innovator
The world is a place of beauty and magic in the eyes of a DREAMER. Where others see facts and figures, you see symbols, metaphors, and hidden meanings.
You’re deeply emotional and intuitive, with a vivid imagination—the quintessential idealist and romantic. The inner world is always where you’ve felt most at home. You’re happy to roam your mental landscape of thoughts, emotions, and fantasies for hours on end.
You’re naturally drawn to express your inner world through literary pursuits, music, and the visual arts. Think of yourself as the “magical realist” of the creative types: like the literary masters of that genre, you naturally infuse your everyday life with the beauty and wonder of the imagination.
Your greatest gift is your depth of sensitivity and empathy, which allows you to give voice to universal human emotions in a way that touches people on a profound level. Your greatest challenge is learning to balance dreaming with disciplined action—which starts with coming back to the present moment. Let your mind roam free, DREAMER, but don’t forget to return to the here and now. Practicing mindfulness will go a long way in helping you turn your dreams into reality.
Seek out opportunities to collaborate with INNOVATOR types, who combine your lofty idealism with a focus on pragmatic solutions. The grounding energy of the INNOVATOR can inspire you to apply your imagination to real-world change.
The Producer (aka, my complete opposite)
Creative StrengthsStrong leadership skills, ability to make things happen
Untapped PotentialBalancing productivity with purpose
Ideal CollaboratorThe Dreamer
The PRODUCER is the quintessential “doer” of all the creative types. People-oriented, analytical, pragmatic, and dynamic, you have a highly creative nature that’s balanced by a grounded realism and “get it done” attitude. In your eyes, an idea has real value only when it’s turned into something that others can enjoy and benefit from.
Highly goal-oriented and results-driven, you pursue your desired outcomes with a laser-like focus. You derive great pride and satisfaction from your ability to implement ideas, and you find joy in the process of creation with all its ups and downs. A natural organizer with an ability to motivate and inspire others, you gravitate to collaborative and leadership roles. You know how to make everything, and everyone, work together to see a project through to the end.
Along with your intellectual prowess and strong work ethic, your greatest strength is your ability to keep a cool head and single-pointed focus as you work through any and all challenges that arise during the creative process. But while you’re keeping your eyes on the prize, don’t get too fixated on results. Your greatest challenge is anchoring your productivity in a deeper sense of purpose. You’ll tap into your true creative depths when you can tune into the voice of your intuition and use it as a source of guidance.
Seek out the company of idealistic and imaginative DREAMER types, who remind you that there is limitless inspiration to be found within. Let the DREAMER spark your imagination and inspire you to think even bigger.
“Corporate,” in terms of headshots, doesn't have to equal boring or blase. I hear “corporate” classified this way quite often with photography. There are a few reasons I’ve gathered that this type of headshot has a more negative connotation from someone aspiring to look good in their new company headshot. In my experience though, corporate can actually be glamorous, sleek and beautiful.
Unfortunately, I think that most of the time when larger companies hire out for headshots, they’re looking for a machine-like approach. Efficiency is wonderful and necessary, however, I feel like the individual gets lost in the mass - especially if the person is introverted, quiet or uncomfortable in front of the camera. Corporate and team headshots do, indeed, need to be efficient but they also need to showcase each team member in a positive light.
Along with the static experience, a lot of people think of corporate headshots being like school portraits - a flat light with a modeled grey backdrop or a plain stark white backdrop. These backgrounds can work and, keeping consistency across departments is important, but there is a way to this type of set up in a flattery way.
When we work to do corporate and team headshots on location, we make the time to create a private space, free of distractions and people. It’s important that the person being photographed can focus on themselves and us, the photographer and style team.
We also value lighting each person in the most flattering light. While we typically stick to one lighting setup, we make adjustments for each person who comes in.
Best of all, adding these personal touches and minor adjustments doesn’t add more than a minute or two to each individual headshot. In the grand scheme of things, that’s such a small amount of time to sacrifice helping people feel comfortable and achieving a headshot they’ll love that is sleek and beautiful.
A few years ago I decided to do something that would help me grow as a photographer. I wanted to thoroughly understand what someone might be going through in front of my camera. That way, I could balance helping them feel comfortable and confident while also being “in my zone.” The best way to do that, I determined, was to be in front of the as many different photographers as I could be. It was there in my vulnerability I learned not only how to be a better photographer but about the importance of healthy boundaries.
When I first began my project, I started out with photographers I knew - keeping in my comfort zone. Then, as I grew in my confidence, I started venturing out and working with photographers I didn’t know. It was here in the realm of the unknown photographers that I met a man we’ll call Blake.
Blake was a quiet man with a gentle demeanor who happened to have a love for the horror genre. When we first talked about working together (because I ALWAYS recommend meeting with someone and talking ideas over before you officially decide to work together) I was specific about the fact that I had a few dresses I wanted to wear and was open to some more creative ideas as well but did not want to do any or much horror-esque photographs. We came to a set plan and scheduled the session.
The day of the session, I met him on location, rotated through a few outfits and then we looked through the RAW images. Once we’d selected our favorites, he asked if I wanted to do some more “horror-esque” photographs with fake blood and wearing some torn up clothing he had. I commented that it wasn’t really my cup of tea, like we discussed, but would be okay if we could brainstorm an idea we could both get behind. Ultimately, we found an idea that he was still excited about and I was feeling okay about doing. (Do you see my wavering boundaries?? Eeek - I should have acknowledged those flags going off in my brain)
As we photographed the last segment of our session - the horror-esque portion - Blake began to try and push my boundaries with the horror aspect. While I’d previously stated I didn’t want blood or anything too dark, he started to ask again if I was sure and then make slight passive aggressive remarks like “this would look MUCH better if we could do blood” and “too bad you don’t want to have more fun.” (Throw up more of those flags!!!) I began to grow uneasy and uncomfortable. I kept politely declining his asks and, finally, after he made the comment about not wanting to have more fun, I finally put my foot all the way down.
”Um, no thank you. I'm done and I’m going to go home now. Thank you for your time” I said. I remember hearing the shake and irritation in my voice. I’m not a confrontational person but I felt disregarded and like I was being manipulated. I was done being pushed to do something I was uncomfortable with and I needed to course correct and honor my original boundaries.
This experience sticks out in my mind because it happened at the stage of my life where I started to be more assertive on my own behalf. I remember how uncomfortable it was to be asked to do things I didn’t want, how small I started to feel when he disregarded my simple boundaries and how icky I felt after the whole situation. I walked away with stress bearing on my chest and guilt riding on my brain.
This experience helped me learn that I need to be assertive with my boundaries up front. I need to be kind but firm in what I say and I need to walk away more swiftly from situations where I’m not being respected - even if it’s as simple of a situation as my time with Blake. If I would have set my boundary more firmly upfront, it would have been more difficult for him to try and push me and manipulate me. I also wouldn’t have walked away feeling gross that I had been disrespected because I would have had confidence in knowing I did my part.
To this day, I still see those images on occasion and I wish I’d set my foot down earlier. Hind-sight is always 20/20 and, while the images aren’t trashy, they still pick at my brain a little. They just remind me of a time I was uncomfortable because I valued keeping someone else happy over truly sticking to who I was. In the grand scheme of it all, I’m thankful for the reminders that pop up and show me how much I’ve grown, encourage me to keep growing and reinforce how important it is to care for myself and respect myself always.