Frequently, photographers will complete a shoot with a client, send them dozens of deliverables, and then find out that only a fraction of their images made it to the company’s website. It can be frustrating to put in hours and hours of work and not see most of the end results in public.
This isn’t always the case, however, and it certainly wasn’t for Jessica Ebelhar, who reconnected with Onyx + Rose to revamp the CBD brand’s online imagery. The Louisville-based photographer did her job so thoroughly that you can’t visit a single page of the company’s website without seeing something Jessica shot.
I had worked with Onyx + Rose on previous shoots, so once it was time for the rebrand, they approached me and requested an estimate.
I did about 95% of the photography you see on the current site.
The company was familiar with Jessica’s work and style, which she describes as “bright, cheerful, minimalist, and modern.” As such, Onyx + Rose trusted the Kentuckian with just about every aspect of their online facelift — including styling.
Earlier this year, they introduced all new branding, packaging, and visual assets. Onyx + Rose approached me to complete the entirety of the photography for the launch and other assets, as my style was the one they were seeking.
They needed multiple studio images of their products — including product shots — but also conceptual images, photos of models with products, location lifestyle imagery, and motion for social media.
The rebrand was shot in my Louisville studio and in two other locations over six days, and the new product/holiday shoots were done in studio over two additional days. In addition to photography, I also lent styling assistance to most of the product shots, as I often style my own work.
Jessica has spent years crystallizing her unique look, and arriving at this point has been a product of her ability to balance running a business with making personal time to experiment in the studio. It’s the kind of work ethic that allows to clients to fully trust her with each step of the photographic process.
I think the key to being good at any specific style is testing often and studying. When I’m not shooting client work or handling administrative tasks related to my business, I’m in the studio testing things out and furthering my technical education.
While I can — and often do — shoot in different styles for clients based upon their respective brand identities, this style is where my personal work tends to trend. That being said, I’m always experimenting with different styles. I think that’s important in order to stay relevant.
Not every photographer gets the chance to style their own work, but there arises a continuity to the final results when a client gives its collaborator the go-ahead to both shoot and style. Trusted to put her stamp on this project, Jessica was continually thinking two steps ahead, figuring out ways to position products and people so as to save time on the post-production end of things. Mix in the fact that she spent plenty of time working with Onyx + Rose’s merchandise before the shoot, and you have the recipe for a successful union.
One benefit of styling my own work is that I’m always working with the lighting concept in mind. I usually have an idea as to whether a certain configuration is optimum for the lighting, if another slightly different configuration would work better, or if a scene should be lit differently altogether. I can also usually anticipate any unintended consequences that might be caused by styling choices — like unwanted shadows — which helps solve problems before they become apparent.
I also tested with the product ahead of the shoot, so any potential technical issues were worked out ahead of time. We did allow for spontaneity with the models and some of the specific styling details, but we had clear objectives in mind. All of this made for efficient, productive days on set.
And judging by how much exposure these shots have gotten, Onyx + Rose was immensely pleased with Jessica’s work. In fact, the CBD company was always going to use the majority of the imagery produced because it had only one person in mind when it came to spearheading the rebrand.
Their chief creative officer told me there was no one else they’d consider using, which was a big compliment!
Creative/Art Direction: JoBeth Fink
Styling: Nida Ahmed, Jessica Ebelhar, JoBeth Fink
Props: JoBeth Fink, Nida Ahmed, Cathleen Samples
Florals: Boston’s Floral Couture, Nida Ahmed
Makeup Artists: Lambsey Reeves and Shelby Lawhorn
See more of Jessica’s work at jessicaebelhar.com.
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