What's It Like Being in A Photo-Duo? / by Donte Brown

Photo taken with Canon 5D Mark IV

Photo taken with Canon 5D Mark IV

I often get the question “What’s it like collaborating with another photographer?” especially because I’m sure photography is seen more as a solo sport. You have 1 camera, 1 person, and 1 or more models; so I can understand why the idea of a photography duo can be a bit confusing. I am not going to lie, a year or 2 ago I would not have been open to collaborating only for the reason that my work wasn’t really where it was supposed to be. I would want to pull my weight within the team.

How’d it start?

Ahmad and I always respected and loved each other’s work. Even though we had different photo styles, there was always this underlying connection between us and our photographs. It began with us assisting each other with shoots and learning one another’s process.

(Learning the process of your creative partner is ESSENTIAL, not only for what you can receive for yourself but you discover each other’s strengths.)

Discovering each other’s strengths allows you to create a solid foundation and trust when it comes to putting together sets, mood boards, and etc.


Pre-Production

Meeting and hanging out weekly to discuss new ideas is how we began our process of putting photo shoots together. We listen and both huge fans of compromising so that we both are we able to get what we want out of a project. Most of the times we are already thinking on the same wavelength which makes everything a lot easier.

Drawing everything out on a mood board is how we articulate our ideas to show to a client. It helps outline the shoot as well so we don’t waste any time on set.

This is also the phase where we determine lighting and make sure we have time either a day before or before the shoot to test lighting and if we need to change anything.

SHOOTING

This is the part that people are curious about the most. How do we shoot? Long story short! We take turns. We use only one camera, one trigger, and one laptop. We switch in and out when we either get an idea or get tired of shooting. All of that happens until we feel like we have that shot that we’re searching for!

Honestly, this duo is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me this year. It’s great to have a friend that matches you creatively and is able to genuinely help you grow as an artist. If you’re looking into being a part of duo, trio, or whichever just remember that you have to be a team player and a great communicator. That’s what I’ve been learning.

ALSO, keep an eye out for an ABDM blog where we’ll go into more details on post production and other great things!

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