What it's like working with me
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
For many people, investing in brand photography is a big step. My prices are definitely not the cheapest, and that's for a good reason; I want to provide an amazing level of service to all my clients. I want the experience to feel collaborative, organised, meaningful, relaxed and fun.
I've written a comprehensive guide all about brand photography.
But, what is it like when you work with me in particular?
In this article I set out all the steps in the process of working with me so you know what to expect, along with quotes from recent clients about how each stage was for them.
Here are the diferent stages so you can jump straight to them:
I speak to all my clients on the phone or Zoom first, so that I can get to know all about them, their business, and what they want to get out of their brand photos. I send a questionnaire in advance so that we can maximise our time on the call and get into more depth, which you can see here.
I really try to get to know you as a person. I do not take it for granted that you are putting your trust in me to represent you, and that gives me a lot of responsibility towards you. As someone who has struggled with serious mental health issues over the years, I want to make people feel safe and that their feelings matter.
Many people have opened up to me over the course of working together about their own mental health conditions, their body confidence struggles and their experiences with discrimination, and I hugely appreciate people opening up to me in that way if that is right for them.
This first call is a chance for people to ask me absolutely anything. Common questions are about whether I help with posing (I certainly do!), how we choose a good location and how to decide what to wear. I go into these questions (and many more) in depth in my article, The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding Photography.
I then explain what my different packages are, what they include, and what the cost is. Usually my client's will choose one of the packages, and we then move into setting a date and I take a booking fee over the phone to secure that date. I then send a contract which, once signed, means we can start planning the shoot.
Other times clients need some time to think, so we book another call in a few days' time so they can ask me further questions and come to a decision.
I had a really good feeling going into the call. It was very clear that she knew what she was doing. I understood what I was paying for, the outline was clear and sound. Sarah listened carefully to my concerns and took seriously my needs and hopes making sure I felt comfortable.
Jonna Adams, visual designer
Understanding what you need for your business
For clients that book a longer half day branding shoot we go into depth planning all the aspects of the shoot.
Once the contract is signed, I send over two activities for you to do ahead of a second call - our pre-shoot planning meeting.
I ask you to fill in a Brand Workbook. This asks you all about your business, your story, who your ideal client is, what your brand values and identity are. It asks you to choose specific themes for your shoot (e.g. behind the scenes, the tools I use, hobbies, who I work with) and then to come up with the specific locations, outfits and props you want to use.
I then ask you to create a Pinterest board with images that we can use as inspiration for your shoot.
Pre-shoot planning call
Before the call I review the Brand Workbook and look at the Pinterest board. Then, on the call we go through them both and we use your ideas to pin down exactly what we plan to capture on the shoot. I will throw in plenty of my own ideas and suggestions if you are stuck for inspiration.
We confirm the details of themes, locations, outfits, props and any other people you want to involve in the shoot. I then go away and turn it into a shoot list so that we both know what's happening when and can refer back to it to prepare ahead of the shoot day itself.
After this call everything is crystal clear, and all you need to do is turn up for the shoot ready, and the rest is in my hands!
Before the video call, I was feeling nervous about the shoot - particularly about things like what to wear, how to stand and whether I’d be embarrassed to have my photo taken in public! The call was great - Sarah put me completely at ease. She spent lots of time finding out what I wanted, listening to my concerns, and giving advice on the practicalities of the session, so I was confident that I was preparing well.
Sarah Holloway, sustainability consultant
On the morning of the shoot I normally leave a little voicenote to tell you I'm on my way and how excited I am to take your photos (because I LOVE taking photos, as you might have guessed). I turn up 30 minutes ahead of time so we have a chance to get set up, have a chat and maybe a cuppa before we get underway.
Then, it's shoot time!
I will be aiming to get natural, flattering and stylish photos of you. I will take photos from all different angles and distances, direct you into different poses, all so you are getting the maximum amount of variety from your photos.
I am super encouraging - I'll give loads of positive feedback the whole way through, give you specific guidance (if needed) on how to hold your body, facial expressions - all so it looks great and natural in the camera. I'll be asking you the whole way through whether you're enjoying yourself, and consult you on any decisions (such as trying an additional location) so you are in the driving seat.
At the end of the shoot it's time for a high five (and maybe a cheeky drink). I'll reconfirm to you exactly when to expect your images and how you will receive them, and then we're done.
Working with Sarah exceeded my expectations on all counts. She over-communicated like a thoughtful friend, kept it upbeat and fun. She made me feel excited and collaborative so that the process felt genuinely fun and creative.
Sarah gave me really useful direction so that the shots would come out better. She showed me a few shots as we got going so I knew how they were looking. She made it SOOO fun and easy on the day. The time flew, I felt encouraged, relaxed and supported and excited about finally doing something I'd been meaning to do.
Charlotte Sewell, facilitator and coach
I will upload all your images and then get to work editing them. I will choose all the strongest ones, and then make sure that the light and colours look amazing. I do not retouch photos (e.g. changing skin, body shape) unless there is a particular blemish that needs to be removed. I've heard horror stories about people's skin being lightened which is reall unacceptable. I am an advocate for people showing up as they are, and so I don't change how people look.
Receiving the image gallery
Once editing is complete I upload all the images to an online gallery so you can see them beautifully presented as a set. The platform I use allows you to favourite specific images, and to download them as a set or one by one. You can also share a link to the gallery to friends and family who will enjoy seeing you looking so professional and badass.
Already the photos are causing lots of attention on social media for me and I've integrated them into my press releases and website. I have gained also a lot of confidence through working with Sarah, to be in front of the camera more often, which is priceless.
Kathryn Larsen, designer
Promoting you and your business
I love to shout about my amazing clients, so after every shoot I write a blog with backlinks to your site and projects, and some of my favourite images from the shoot, to help you with visibility and SEO. I then promote it on my social media, and tag you in the photos I share.
I am always so grateful when clients credit me in captions and tag me in their stories, so I can reshare them to my audience and see the images being used in the wild.
Often clients become friends and we often refer each other (the Rotterdam small business community is small!) for work and opportunties. I offer returning clients a substantial discount if they book again with me, as a thank you for choosing me as their photographer for the long run.
Hopefully this gives you a thorough picture of what it's like to work with me, but I would love to answer any other questions you have. Just drop me a message here.