Steven Brokaw Photography

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Pattern Meetup - Common Challenges

I had the opportunity to be speak on a panel discussion during this month's Pattern Meetup in downtown Indianapolis.  As in introduction, Pattern is:

"A non-profit that facilitates a network of fashion/apparel industry professionals and enthusiasts. Our purpose is to advance the Central Indiana fashion community, as well as the broader design & maker community by creating connections among disparate individuals and businesses, and providing educational, inspirational & business opportunities through special events, our store and magazine".

The panel consisted of myself & photographers Wil Foster with Rock Candy Photo,  Esther Boston with Esther Boston Photography, and Willyum Baulkey with Willyum Photography concept.create.capture .  The topic focused on Editorial Fashion Photography hosted by Polina Osherov, the driving force behind Pattern and with Polina Osherov Photography.  

Wil, yours truly, Willyum, & Esther

Wil, yours truly, Willyum, & Esther

All 4 of us discussed the business side & what works/what are the challenges with this genre of photography in a city like Indianapolis.  I totally enjoyed the discussion and hopefully the audience took some information away.  What I also appreciated (but kind of knew) is that all 4 of the panel speakers had many of the same issues, challenges, experiences, etc.  I think that highlights the nature of this genre.  

A few takeaways & thoughts on the subject.  

  • Indianapolis, or similar sized cities, should not compare ourselves to NY, Miami, LA or Chicago.  There is no comparison when it comes to fashion & fashion photography.  We should develop our own style, brand / industry & vibe.  This is one of the things that Pattern is trying to do
  • As a result creatives (photographers, designers, stylist, boutiques, MUA & hair stylist) need to actively collaborate & network.  Strength in numbers & there are less of us - especially fashion designers & stylist
  • Develop a core creative team and whenever possible use them.  This is a way to minimize uncertainty in quality & scheduling.  
  • No shows, flakes & difficulty scheduling was highlighted as a challenge with all 4 of us with some of the members of a creative team.  This creates significant inefficiency & increases cost.  Also, it is a huge missed opportunity for the individual that doesn't show.
  • Flexibility when shooting is key.  There are times when things don't go right or environmental conditions change.  Although it's easy to have the changes impact the shoot, try to be as flexible as possible and still create something amazing.
  • Indianapolis needs more fashion stylist & fashion designers.  No question, this is one of the biggest challenges to fashion photography.  Again, this is one of the things that Pattern is trying to encourage.
  • TEST, TEST, TEST.  All members of the creative team should be willing to test often.  These are generally unpaid, but it helps develop your style and your quality.  More people need to  be willing to test.
  • It's hard to make a living doing fashion photography in a city the size of Indianapolis, although there is a market.  You simply have to hustle & network.

I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to everyone and share some of my thoughts.  It's cool that Pattern has sponsors that are willing to step up and help host these events, and it's nice that so many people came out.  Let's make this happen.

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