Nearly all of my professional photography is done as the in-house photographer for Cull Group, Inc, the marketing, and design agency my husband and I own in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are a few matters that might be helpful to understand for someone who wants to start working with an agency but isn’t sure what to expect.

Be Prepared to Be Mobile

When working with an agency, you probably won’t always be able to shoot out of your home or actual studio. I’ve had headshot sessions that were at the client’s location and large-scale sessions photographed in their plant.

The Right Gear

  • Speedlights and/or mono-lights
  • Light modifiers–softboxes, umbrellas, etc.
  • Background stand
  • Portable light stands
  • Two camera bodies with professional quality lenses
  • Spyder holster
  • Tethering gear: long USB 2/3 cables, laptop table
  • Equipment cases
  • Seamless background paper

The Creative May Not Be All Yours

I really like working with designers and creative directors to make photos that are used for ads, billboards, websites, and semi-trucks. Sometimes, left to my own devices, I get stuck in my creativity and having someone else directing the shoot is really helpful. I have done some of my best work when I’ve got the input of other creatives to make something good really great.

How Well Do You Handle Criticism?

I ask because not everyone is great at delivering it. Working with a creative director, art director or designer is awesome because of the creativity that can come out of collaborating. But when you’ve got your lighting all set up and are told “That doesn’t look natural” in no uncertain terms, it’s easy to get a little defensive.

My advice in a situation like this is to take a deep breath (but not too deep), make the change that’s being requested and move on. I’ve been very fortunate to work with awesome creatives. There has been the occasion when I’ve felt a bit of a bristle when I love what I’ve produced and the person I’m working with has other things in mind.

Are You Suited for this Particular Job?

Even though I’m the Cull Group photographer, I’m not always the photographer used for every job. I can’t take this personally. There will be times when your studio isn’t appropriate for a large piece of equipment that needs to be photographed or the job to be done is not your forte. It’s good to know when to refer work to another photographer. When they do a good job for the agency, it reflects positively on you.


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