(Editor’s note: Please welcome Michigan-based photographer Taylor Cready. Taylor specializes in alternative portraits. She uses the power of social media to network with others to build a creative team. In this guest article, Taylor shares how she starts with a vision then builds a team to collaborate around it.)

If you find yourself in a creative slump, consider working with a team. When you can bounce ideas around and build off of each other, photoshoots tend to be more creative and fun and less time is spent retouching makeup. Most people who don’t work with a team don’t because they don’t know how to build one. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Here’s how you can build a creative team and pull yourself out of that slump.

Matching the subject to the vision

Finding the right subject for the vision is important because you’re able to bring out who they are and capture their personality rather than have the subject conform to the concept. This will make the model more comfortable and allow them to bring something to the table you may have never even thought of yourself.

Personally, I use Instagram to find most of my models. I look through local hashtags like #detroitmodel, etc. and look at who other local photographers and makeup artists are working with. Along with Instagram, I also sometimes use other apps and websites like the H Hub, which allows you to search through creatives who are members of the app near you and reach out to collaborate on shoots. From there I compile a list of models who I would like to work with.

Then, when I’m planning a photoshoot, I look through my list and see who would fit the concept best and reach out, or sometimes I build a concept around a model I would like to work with. In this case, I met Manzin, the model in this image, through Instagram. I loved his look so I reached out to him via email.

Finding the right makeup artist

After matching the subject to the vision, finding the right makeup artist for the session is just as important. Every makeup artist has a different style so it’s important to find one that meshes well with your photographic style. I usually go about finding makeup artists the same way I find the models I work with. I actually met Miranda Collins, the makeup artist from this shoot, through Manzin.

What the photographer brings to the table

Rounding off the team is you, the photographer. The shoot relies on your photography skills in order to capture the scene. Sometimes you have to work in a less than ideal situation. For example, we did this session in a small loft on the second floor above a shop.

For this image, I used a single strobe with a 4-foot octabox slightly above and angled down to the right of the model. I used a 50mm lens because of the small space we were using. My camera settings were f/11, ISO 100 and my shutter speed was 1/125. I made sure to use a high f-stop to make sure that all of the jewelry and accessories were sharp.

Staying connected

After the session has ended, it is good to maintain a relationship with your new team. This includes sending everyone involved the final images in a timely manner and tagging and crediting them in the photos when posting on social media.

Keeping a good relationship with your team keeps the door open for the possibility to work with them again. This was the second time I have worked with Manzin and Miranda and we are currently planning our next photoshoot. I kept a good relationship with them and now I can rely on them.

Building a creative team doesn’t have to be difficult and, with the right team, it’s an easy way to elevate your future sessions and build relationships.