Accessories by La Coco Rouge. Make-up by Athena Hodges.

I met Stephanie, of La Coco Rouge, almost a year ago at The Clockwork Carnival, a steampunk event put on by The Artifice Club. She was a performer with The Hot Toddies, a flaming cabaret group who were just FANTASTIC.

She and I have collaborated a couple of times for her line of accessories, and I REALLY love working with her. Shooting products isn’t like shooting anything else. The models have the task of being models, showing their best sides, giving you what you’re asking for, while still highlighting the products first and foremost. And the photographer is charged with highlighting the product in a natural way, while directing the model to look her best, also naturally.

One of the reasons that I – and the whole of the family, really – shoot EVERYTHING, is because it’s so challenging. Every type of photography requires something different. Product photography without models is a different bird entirely from shooting with models. Shooting families is different than just shooting the kids. Shooting weddings is different than just shooting an event.

BUT EVERYTHING OVERLAPS. And everything you do at one shoot will help you TREMENDOUSLY with all of your other shoots. It’s like learning to skateboard when you’re a kid, and then picking up wakeboarding or skiing when you’re an adult. Though they’re completely different, there are enough similar pieces to make it somewhat familiar. You’re better prepared for having done different things.

And, perhaps most importantly, it allows you to think outside of the box. It’s so easy for people to pick just one thing that they do and keep doing it in that same way. Again, and again, and again. But you can’t. You can’t stop. You can’t stagnate.

It’s why companies and people who started their businesses – in photography or otherwise, heck, it happened in Mad Men – a while ago fall into the cookie-cutter of their way of doing things. They just stamp out a product with no thought. Not paying attention to what’s going on today in music. In films. In clothing. In fashion.

You have to be constantly evolving. Constantly challenging yourself.

Constantly. MOVING. You. Are. Awesome.