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Behind the scenes of a fashion brand collaboration

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

woman looking at camera

I'm a London-based family and personal branding photographer. My passion lies in capturing authentic and soulful images of creatives and people who work for themselves. While I enjoy working with all types of brands, I have always been drawn to creative brands and wanted to do more work in that area. To attract more of this type of client, I decided to update my portfolio by offering a free branding shoot. I wanted to share the valuable lessons I learned from my first ever clothing brand shoot and how I went about making it happen!

When choosing a brand to work with, I had a rough idea of the type of business I wanted to collaborate with. To narrow down my search, I looked through some small local businesses that I follow on Instagram. Once I had a shortlist of potential brands, the next step was to make contact. I reached out to a handful of brands via Instagram messages, ensuring that my approach was warm, friendly, and genuine. It’s really important to make your message personal and avoid using generic template messages, so I made sure each message was detailed and tailored specifically to each person. Some of these initial messages led to phone calls, which provided a better understanding of the brand's essence and potential collaboration opportunities. As my photography focuses on natural and people-centered images, I wanted a brand whose products could be modeled by people. I also wanted to support a brand whose values aligned with mine, particularly those run by parents. This led me to collaborate with "Nomadic Mother".

(Image by Sam Friend)

Nomadic Mother was created by Amelia, a mother of two, who has worked as a fashion designer for nearly a decade. She designs and develops the collections aboard her floating canal boat studio and is inspired by the huge mixture of cultures and references she collects through journeying around the city.

What I love about Amelia and her brand is that her clothing supports women throughout their journey of motherhood. The designs reflect the versatile needs

(Image by Sam Friend)

of modern mothers, combining fashion and functionality. Her commitment to sustainable fashion and ethical production practices was something I really wanted to help support.

(Image by Sam Friend)

The pre-production stage

I really enjoyed the planning and coordination process! Amelia and I had lots of conversations in order to work out the logistics of the shoot. We carefully considered our own work and family schedules, the type of models we were looking for, and the desired look and style of the location and shoot. Both Amelia and I shared a preference for natural and authentic photography that would showcase mothers wearing these clothes in everyday situations.

Based on our discussions, I set out to find a location that would complement the outfits, allow for a full day of shooting, and provide a variety of backdrops. Simultaneously, I put out a model call using Amelia's pictures from a previous campaign. It was important to be upfront about our requirements and what the models would receive in return. We shared the model call across our respective social media platforms, asking that interested individuals could respond to one designated inbox to avoid any confusion.

The response was overwhelming, with numerous applications from women from all over London. This allowed Amelia and me to carefully select people who truly met our criteria. We were looking for women who could represent motherhood at various stages of the journey. Once we had a shortlist, we contacted them to confirm their availability and check they were happy to agree to the terms of the shoot. As we had little to no budget for this project, we were asking models to allow us to use their images in exchange for portraits of them and their children.

After finalising the models, the next step was to plan the shoot date and ensure everyone's availability. I started by finding a date that worked for both Amelia and me, then reached out to the participants to inquire about their preferred time of day. This information allowed me to create a schedule that accommodated everyone's needs.

In addition to the logistical arrangements, I created a call sheet and a prep guide. The call sheet provided details about what would happen on the day of the shoot, while the prep guide helped the models with information about what to wear and bring. To ensure transparency, I also attached a release form so that they could read it thoroughly before the day.

Production stage

On the day of the shoot, Amelia and I met at our lovely outdoor location, Hollow Ponds. The spot had lots of variety including open plains with long grasses, woodland and a small body of water. We positioned ourselves in a spot where we could create a makeshift "dressing room" behind some trees!

Each mum and child turned up one by one as per the schedule. I wanted to allow an hour for each session so that both mum and child could relax into it and warm up. I work with families a lot so unpredictable children and babies is something I have lots of experience with. One thing I know is that they need lots of space and time to be themselves. Amelia took care of dressing the models while I worked with them directing them to interact with their child and use the space in a natural and authentic way, doing things they would do ordinarily such as playing, breastfeeding walking and cuddling. Each mother brought with them their own unique personality and style and it was amazing to see it all come together. I like to think that we created an atmosphere of creativity and support, with real teamwork and a shared vision.

Overall, the experience of shooting for Nomadic Mother was incredible. It was a privilege to showcase Amelia's work with my photography and to have someone trust my vision for showcasing their clothes. Collaborating with small companies like Nomadic Mother brought a sense of community and flexibility to the project. We worked in a family-friendly and cooperative way, allowing each other time to balance our busy family lives.

The shoot not only captured the essence of the brand but also celebrated the unique styles and personalities of every mum and child involved.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Please get in touch if you want to know more about family photography or about any of the other photography services I offer, including:

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