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How a Full-Time Photographer Navigates Her Business and Life in This New Normal

How a Full-Time Photographer Navigates Her Business and Life in This New Normal

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For Lisa (@lisadieder), life before the pandemic consisted of creative directing, producing, and shooting commercial photography spanning a wide range of specialties. From interiors, lifestyle, food and beverage, to architecture and product — photography is a craft she's been honing for the last 10 years. When COVID-19 hits her hometown of Nashville, Lisa must find a way to navigate her business, a creative company she built from the ground up that started in Sydney, Australia, and moved all the way to the US. Alongside her husband who is also her business partner, and their two (incredibly adorable) pups, Frankie and Ozzy, Lisa creates a space and routine to carry the 'new normal.'

Here's how Lisa gets it done:

On her work routine:

Since I'm typically working from home these days, I automatically wake up early and grab some coffee. My husband, Sam makes the absolute best coffee in the mornings. We normally sit in the dining room and chat about our day ahead because we work together. As a photo and video duo, I focus on photo and composition to ensure we portray the brand's personality and capture the perfect angle, while my husband specializes in video and lighting to ensure that every detail is perfectly played.

We start the day with a quick morning meeting for 15-20 minutes, then I'll hop over to the office to deal with emails in my inbox. After working through those, I normally have a couple of calls with our clients to get a sense of their vision for the shoot. I love solving the variety of problems that come with capturing different subjects. Similar to the way your personal style changes over time, my taste and style are ever-evolving.

From there, we'll have a break for lunch and then head back to production planning emails, editing, and whatever the day calls for. By 5:30 (if we're lucky) we take our dogs out for a walk and try to do a little home workout before dinner.

One of the reasons why we love running our own business is for the flexibility in our day-to-day. Some days we are all over the place, on shoots, meetings with clients, scouting locations, or prepping props. Everyday is super different, but my office has definitely been home base for all my work.

On her daily carry:

Since we shoot live for our clients, we always carry a laptop that can't be jumbled around with the rest of our camera equipment. You've got laptop, cords, mouse, hard drives, along with shot lists and schedules printed and ready to go. It is so important for us to have a strong and functional work bag dedicated to our review tools. That's what's so awesome about the ISM bag. By nature, it's functional yet comfortable, and I don't feel like I'm going to a board meeting. It serves the purpose of keeping everything protected and organized. Overall, it really really helps when we're taking all of our equipment to photoshoots.

The bag has been useful for day-to-day activities too. We have a nice walkable neighborhood, so when things slowly open up again, you can find me going to meetings at some of our local coffee shops or even just outdoors on the patios carrying a couple of references, like our iPad or some notebooks to plan out shoots with our client.

On designing her workspace:

While I'm not an interior designer, I simply wanted my space to feel like the warm, morning sunshine. I love those moments in the morning when I can just take a seat, have a coffee at my desk, and start to feel really productive. I wanted that glow to extend throughout my surroundings so I added white and yellow tones to my office to hold on to the feeling of productivity all day.

My workspace is the zone I feel focused and ready to work. While photoshoots are glamorous and exciting, there is also a lot of work that goes into planning, preparing, and post-production editing to make sure we deliver the vision of the work promised. The balance is 50/50: for every minute we're shooting, we're also editing, so this space is definitely conducive to that, which is awesome.

On the biggest challenge in COVID:

COVID felt extremely drastic. I mean, from having a nationwide lockdown to shifting our entire lives, it had a huge impact on our lives collectively and individually.

The biggest challenged happened in our business when a lot of our clients weren't sure how to move forward with our projects. In that moment, we just needed to hit the pause button and try to make the best of the situation by focusing on ourselves and keeping in touch with our friends and family.

After restrictions were lifted a bit, we were able to safely do some interior work as a single household. We were able to do a couple of campaigns and new kind of brand work for some of our clients during the last five months. But besides that, we needed to pivot and figure out how to move forward in the safest way possible for ourselves, our clients, and our team.

On habits for productivity:

One habit that's important to me is having a solid morning routine.

It was challenging to comprehend what to do in the mornings since we didn't have a shoot or a full schedule to attend to. So having that morning routine really grounded me. Simply waking up, having a coffee, going to our computers to check on some things.

In the afternoons, I'd look at my husband like, "hey, do you go from that walk?"

Our afternoon walks became a must-have as well. It was so nice heading to the park around the corner for some fresh air, while playing fetch with the dogs. The carefree nature felt so great. This lockdown definitely makes you appreciate those little moments of simply walking your dogs or even going to the grocery store.

On what she's looking forward to:

My hope is that we come out of this year being more present, and really paying attention to what's going on in the world. Acknowledging what's important and expressing gratitude for even the little things. I think those principles will carry through if we don't let the pace and speed of the world swallow us back up again.

With that said, I am very excited to have a little bit of a social life again. Being back on set with all the people I love, mask-free and back into the swing of things. While slowing down every once in awhile is nice, I am definitely a go, go, go person and can't wait to get back to that mentality.