CHAMPAGNE + PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY, SELF-PORTRAITS, CONFIDENCE + ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
Champagne is a fashion photographer based out of Los Angeles, and co-founder of Bookha Studios, an event space and lifestyle studio in downtown LA. She has traveled the world over shooting campaigns for brands like Nasty Gal and Charlotte Russe. You may recognize her pink hair and phenomenal creative eye from our Girl Gang Craft Instagram feed, where we feature her product photography AND her modeling regularly! Champagne built her photo business from the ground up, and is here today to share her insights and advice on photo campaigns for YOUR business.
BUILD, BUILD, BUILD
Champagne’s photography businesses started as a hobby, recording her family playing around at home in both still photos and camcorder footage, before heading into college to study film. During her college years, while focusing her academics on video shoots and editing, she self-taught photography through creative and playful fashion shoots with her friends.
“The more I shot, the more I saw people interested in it and enjoying my work, and recommend me to other people.”
Starting with portraiture at first, Champagne soon became a boutique photographer, shooting social media campaigns for e-commerce. She continued to grow her business through personal projects while broadening her client base by offering send-and-shoot services, allowing businesses to ship her products to photograph remotely.
THE BIRTH OF BOOKAH
As business grew, Champagne realized having a dedicated studio space would be an asset. Creating Bookah Studios was a challenge, and it didn’t quite work out perfectly the first time! But along with her partners at Meraki Narrative, she was able to find a great space in downtown LA in which to craft the perfect boutique photography studio.
“We wanted a place where it’s all there, everything’s right there,”
she said. “You don’t have to drive down the street to the next location.”
Featuring a variety of cohesive backdrops, cute stylings, and “a lot of different little nooks and crannies,” Bookah is a one-stop-shop for shooting consistent branded campaigns. Not only is it the perfect space for Champagne’s work, but it’s also available to rent out for clients to create their own shoots or host events!
“If I see that the models or non-models are insecure or having a moment, I try to build them up, you’re doing great, I encourage them throughout the whole shoot, and if you’re doing the opposite to yourself while you’re shooting self portraits, do you think you’re going to get a beautiful, confident looking woman in front of the camera. No! You have to make it exciting for yourself, you have to build yourself up.”
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
A lot of us think that companies just reach out to big influencers or photographers and shower them with money and projects. But that’s not how it works! You’ve got to reach out to THEM.
Champagne is constantly reaching out to brands with her portfolio. And even if she gets a “no” it’s a win, because NOW THE BRAND KNOWS WHO SHE IS. Which is much better than if she didn’t reach out at all!
IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND THE CAMERA
While she may be a genius behind the camera, Champagne has also become a model for her own shoots, especially in the time of COVID-19. Though self-portraiture was originally not a high comfort level for her, even in her own projects, shelter at home orders have necessitated a bit of a paradigm shift that created greater opportunity for Champagne to develop her on-film personality. Thanks to her newfound duality, she has truly become an all-around photography guru - and she has some excellent advice for our listeners on how to up THEIR photo campaigns on both sides of the lens.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Champagne recommends her favorite equipment and technology for photography success:
Adjustable tripod for fine tuning
Camera-computer connection to monitor feed in real time
Remote control for camera, especially for selfies
Capture One software for live feeds and faster image loads
For Product Photography, she suggests:
Shooting in the shade
Your phone’s camera is a great tool!
Find fun backgrounds, like leafs + flowers from your yard, or fun fabric
She is a big fan of wrapping paper!
She also shared some excellent tips for when your campaign puts you in front of the camera:
Build self-confidence through repetition
Pay attention to which angles, lightings, and poses make you feel best about yourself
Embrace vulnerability to preserve authenticity
Have a “game plan” predetermined to keep you focused and in the moment
Treat yourself positively throughout the shoot to banish negative thoughts