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Expert Perspective With Amy Boyle

Expert Perspective

How often does this happen:

Your boss visits for a dinner party and casually plants a seed that jumpstarts a new career.

For our latest Expert Perspective series, beyond delighted to speak with Amy Boyle.

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Amy Boyle is an internationally published photographer and entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience. Boyle graduated from Northwestern University where she received a dual degree in art history and marketing. Amy is also an entrepreneur, award-winning photographer, savvy networker, and all-around fabulous person. She is also an expert on all things commercial photography. When we connected about sharing some of her secrets, I had to ask if we could share the story of how her company started.

“My company began in 2004. I had my boss over for dinner (we both worked at a National Wedding Photography company) and while she was in our home she inquired about the art on the walls. Many of the photos taken on family trips. One frame caught her eye, a black-and-white pair of tulips.

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The Photo Which Started The Commercial Venture

“Did you take this?”  she inquired.

“Yes, I did.” Was my reply…

“Have you ever thought you should sell them?” And the seed was planted that evening – Amy Boyle photography was founded shortly thereafter.

And we had the chance to pick her brain for some photography best practices, for the newbie to veteran.

What are the best times of day for a shoot (is there such a thing?)
It all truly depends on what the subject you’re trying to capture. If it’s a family portrait perhaps golden hour, but if you’re doing an architectural shoot and you want to just feature the building and not the chaotic city streets during the day maybe you shoot at midnight.

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Meet Meaghan – A participant in Boyle’s 2 year project 52 Phenomenal Women 52 Phenomenal Women

The real question is what are the emotions and feeling/affect you want the image you are taking to have. That’s one of the things I love the most in my business is connecting with the client finding out what their needs are and showing them how we capture it together.

What are some ways to showcase your team through photos and why does this matter?
I think it’s especially important right now to humanize all businesses large or small. One of the easiest ways do that is having a dynamic photo gallery of your employees.

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Billy Dec, Chicago restauranteur and owner of Rocket Bar and Sunda

The typical headshot is still used but a lot more is going into personality shots of employees. Perhaps engaging in the favorite office activity whether it’s talking at the water cooler or playing foosball in the lounge, this type of a  more personality forward portrait really helps customers engage on web and social.

Fun Fact: earlier this year Amy refreshed headshots for the Cushing team and our graphics design division, Sepia Studio.

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How do you break the ice with folks Who Don’t Like Being Photographed?
My preferred way is always through conversation. If the camera seems to make someone nervous at first I put it down and we just start talking. We usually we find something to laugh about and that’s when the magic happens.

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For anyone reading who wants to keep being a “do-it-yourself” photographer, have any tips to improve their work?

“Obviously keep shooting. The more you practice the better you get, but also by narrowing down your niche. Pick one style, subject etc. and photograph it exclusively for a week or a month. Education is key.”

There are so many online courses from amazing photographers that ten years ago we would not have had access to. MasterClass and Creative Live are two of my favorites.

For anyone reading who has thought of hiring a professional commercial photographer, any tips to help them choose the right one for their business?
One of the biggest things is having the client and the photographer really understand the scope of the project. Planning and collaborating will truly help end results.

What are some overlooked photo opportunities businesses tend to not think about (i.e. are there many so focused on headshots they overlook candid photos around an office?).
I think adding personality through your social channels for your company and or even on your website are so important right now. It’s a relatively easy thing to add to a standard photo shoot of your people, products, or services.

“Another one of my favorite things to add to a companies commercial shoot is featuring their product or service out in the wild. Truly showcasing your product being used by others out in the world!”

What’s the most exotic place you have had the opportunity to photograph?
I did have the opportunity to photograph a retreat in Brazil in 2016. The first six days were on a floating reserve in the middle of the Amazon River. At night we would fall asleep to the sound of crocodiles on the deck and howler monkeys in the trees.

Hope you found valuable takeaways and ideas for your photography efforts! Learn more about Amy and visit her different destinations on the web:

* Project and Podcast 52 Phenomenal Women

* Connect on LinkedIn 

* Follow @amyboylephoto on Instagram and Twitter

Jon Davis

Jon Davis is Cushing’s Marketing Manager. From blogging to online communications, Jon writes about client developments, environmental branding, and much more. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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