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  • Savannah Steiger

Let's Talk About Facetime Shoots

You’re probably thinking to yourself… “Facetime shoot? How would that even work? Why would I want that? Won’t the quality be crappy? I don’t understand why anyone would push that!

Believe me, I was in the same boat.

I first saw a virtual session right around when all this crazy COVID-19 stuff started. Small businesses were having to shut down, and those who rely on photography as a primary source of income were… desperate maybe? I remember seeing it posted in a Facebook community of photographers from all over the world, and I actually laughed out loud. I remember showing whoever was next to me going: “Look at this, they took pictures of a skype session on their computer! How dumb is that? It’s all pixel-y and low quality, why would you ever do that?”

But then, I started to see more of them. These amazing photographers jumped on the idea and started getting creative with them, adding the flat lay element to the shoot (pictured below), and getting creative with grain, light leaks, and vintage editing styles. It opened my mind more and more to the idea.

Using that group, I was able to connect with 3 different photographers ( ; ; ) from all over the world! I started out posing for their shoots (I belong behind the camera FOR SURE, modeling is not for me!!), but then I had the opportunity to shoot my own. I photographed Noemi, the owner of Thyme Lane Photography in Cambridge UK, and what a fun and unique experience!

So for starters, from the perspective of the subject, these shoots are so relaxed! I was able just to Facetime in the comfort of my own home, prop the camera up, and exist! There was definitely some messing around with angles and getting the phone in just the right spot, but other than that it was very low key and easy. I wore comfortable clothes, and was able to incorporate some of the things I love most in my home.

I even dragged Andrew into one of them (who mind you, is not one for having his photo taken!), and he actually had a lot of fun! We were able to just hang out in our house-to-be, which would probably be too small for a regular photoshoot, and just laugh and spend time together! All the photoshoots were fun and creative, and they are a memory of this crazy time I will now always have!

From a photographer’s perspective, though you may not super care, this was a breath of creative fresh air! I was able to do a full photoshoot, while drinking coffee on my bedroom floor! Plus the photoshoot was in England, and I had no expectations to do a shoot in England this year! I was able to capture photos of her, right in her home. It was so fun getting creative with different furniture and poses, as well as her cats! I was able to photograph in tons of different rooms, and all around her amazing garden.

I feel like I’m normally a very laid back photographer. I’m not one to specifically pose each part of your body, or direct every single second of the shoot. I prefer to have a more laid back approach to a photoshoot which allows me to better capture you as you are, not as I might want you to be. This shoot though felt even more laid back than my normal shoots do. You aren’t able to capture as much movement, but this allows you to relax in simple poses and do slight movements from there.

After chatting with Noemi about her amazing brand and work, I signed off and immediately grabbed my camera. I’m definitely a collector (not a hoarder dad!) of lots of antiques and old books, and this was the time for all my knick knacks to shine! I started creating flat lays around the images directly on my phone, and it was just a shot of adrenaline and creativity.

I had so much fun using everything from my houseplants, to records, to my teapot, and even an eyeshadow palette! I got to experiment with different flat lays I hadn’t seen before and really let my inner artist run wild. I did all different flat lays over the course of 3 days! I finally had to tell myself to stop, I literally could’ve kept going all week.

Editing them was so fun. I felt like I was able to once again, be totally creative and use editing techniques I typically avoid with my normal shoots. The result was something I am truly so proud of. For my first facetime shoot, I think it’s pretty damn good.

You might still be thinking:

Great, but like why would I ever want to do this?”

Fair question. I’m not going to sit here and convince you, if it’s not your thing it’s not your thing. I will list some reasons to at least look into it:

  1. It’s Fun.

Yep, reason number 1, it’s fricken fun. You get to hang out in your house, and show off your favorite home décor or outdoor spots. You can literally wear your pj’s, or sweats, I don’t mind! You can kind of do whatever you want!

I got to read, drink coffee, hang with my plants, kiss and laugh with my fiancé, and pull out and look through my favorite records. For me, that’s like a perfect day wrapped into one photoshoot. The goal of my business is to capture individuals as they are, and these shoots provide a whole new angle to that philosophy!

2. It’s COVID-19 free!

Whether you haven’t left your house in 2 months, or you firmly believe it’s time to reopen, this is still a totally safe way to have photos done with no outside contact of any kind. You can stay inside or in your own yard, and know you’re taking no risks by doing a photoshoot. Though photographers are legally allowed to operate within certain guidelines in WI, I still want to be sensitive to those who may not feel comfortable meeting with me in person, even at a 6 foot distance.

No matter what boat you’re in, it’s still a super fun and unique way to remember this time by. Even though things are hard, we will get through this, and this is a unique thing that 10 years down the road, you can look back on and remember!

3. We can work Together from anywhere!

Doesn’t matter if you live in La Crosse or if you live in Australia, these photoshoots allow us to work together! Though we may have to work with time differences and such, this does allow for me to come to you, no matter the distance! So cool. I love traveling, but in a time where travel isn’t necessarily allowed, this is a great alternative!

4. There are uses for these Photos!

Though the quality of phone pictures rarely allow for prints much bigger than a 4x6, there are still uses for these photos! You probably won’t be able to print them on large canvases and hang them all over your house, but they do make for awesome smaller prints (desk or wallet), as well as profile pictures, wallpapers, and social media posts.

Though they may not be as high quality of images, we can still achieve a really unique vintage feel. If you are into that grainy film look, with very moody colorful overlays, this might just be the shoot for you. It’s a great way to reflect upon this time.

5. You get to Support a Local Business!

Please hear me, this is not a desperate plea for money, I am okay! But I, like many other businesses, have definitely lost revenue during these last few months. There’s been a lot of rescheduled shoots and weddings, and none of it has been easy. I’m not charging a lot for these shoots, not because I’m desperate for income, but because creatively, I’m desperate for photography and opportunities to work my creative muscles a bit!

Your support allows me to stay sane and keep doing what I love. My love for photography and working with people is ultimately why I do what I do, always. Plus it will allow me to support local businesses as well with purchasing flowers and new antiques to use in flat lays and stills!

All Things Aside:

This is a weird time, and weird times call for weird solutions. No matter what situation you’re in, this is a fun opportunity to try something different and new without leaving your home. All you really need is some decent window lighting and a good phone camera, and we can make some super cool art. No matter where you are or where you’re at, feel free to reach out for more information on these shoots. I would really love to connect with you and collaborate creatively during this time!

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