World Photography Day, 19 August 2020 – Part I

World Photography Day, 19 August 2020 – Part I

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Today we celebrate World Photography Day, to pay tribute to the art form of photography and to inspire photographers both amateur and professional across the planet to continue to share their world with the world.

In a two-part series, Senior Associate Louise Brunero today introduces you to one of Solubility’s photographer clients who shares her passion for photography and some of her learnings from working in photography.  In Part II tomorrow, Louise touches on some basic copyright issues relevant to photographers.

Part I – Meet Holly McErvale of Verve Portraits

Great photography takes more than just a good eye and technical skill. It requires you to be adaptive, responsive, intuitive and inquisitive.Holly McErvale, Managing Director, Verve Portraits
Photo Verve Portraits

Verve Portraits is Australia’s leading portrait company, specialising in authentic family photography. Led by a team of passionate storytellers, Verve love to capture the special connections within a family and leave them with visual legacies to cherish forever.

What attracted you to a career in photography? 

My intrigue in human connection and different cultures led me to my love of photography. I loved travelling and my camera gave me the ability to record my journey and more importantly document different cultures and the special people I met. My real fascination was in capturing the connection and interaction between people. I felt it was such a special gift to be able to capture this and give to people, especially in less fortunate countries where most didn’t even own a camera of any kind. I decided to make a career out of my passion with the view of expanding my reach and giving the gift of capturing special connections to as many families as possible within Australia. 

What does World Photography Day mean to you? 

It’s a day to honour the inventors and pioneers of the craft and more importantly to recognise and celebrate the incredible community of visual storytellers out there. Great photography takes more than just a good eye and technical skill. It requires you to be adaptive, responsive, intuitive and inquisitive. You need to see beyond the surface and draw out the truth. I salute all the photographers that have shaped the industry and also those that have put their lives at risk to document humanity and events over the past two centuries.

How do you distinguish yourself/your brand from your competitors?

We launched Verve Portraits almost 14 years ago and at the time the portrait industry was quite conservative in its style and approach. I was young, energetic and determined to reshape the industry, introducing a fresh and more candid approach to family photography.

My vision was to create an environment that was more conducive to capturing families in a very natural and authentic way. The studios we set up were warm and inviting with a homely feel, a place families could come and enjoy their time together and let moments of connection naturally unfold. Everyone who works at Verve possess the same passion for capturing authentic moments and they have a unique ability to bring a whole range of emotions into every session. This is what makes our imagery recognisably Verve. 

Studio Shot, Verve Portraits, Rushcutters Bay studio

In your role as Managing Director, what’s the best business decision you’ve made? 

Being a creative I have always been close to the creative side of the business. I have learnt to be quick to respond to changing markets and customer trends to ensure our product remains relevant and desirable. Our specialty and big point of difference is that we create custom artwork for homes but there was still a demand for digital files. The industry was fighting not to give into this demand but I decided to give our customers what they wanted and release the files. I’m glad I did. Our customers still invest in artwork and now they can share their images with friends and family online.

Current COVID challenges aside, what are some of the business challenges you face in photography? 

Pre-conceived ideas of a family photography shoot can prevent some people from documenting their family. Many people only have their own past experience of a rigid and posed shoot with everyone posing for the camera. Once we tell them we do the opposite – to interact and engage with their loved ones instead – this objection is pretty easily overcome. It’s getting the first timers to see and feel the difference.  Once clients have come to Verve to celebrate their family, most then return every few years.

Studio Shots, Verve Portraits, Rushcutters Bay studio

What’s the one thing you’d do differently?

Not scale up too fast. We kept expanding in line with the demand but we did not have the infrastructure to support the growth. In addition to this the larger we got and more locations, the more removed I became with each area of the business and our people. You simply can’t have the same communication with individuals when you have 150+ staff across 4 states. We made the decision to close down our Perth site early this year so we could focus on our east coast studios. It has allowed us to regain greater control and reconnect with our people.

Solubility has assisted Verve with legal issues over the past few years and is delighted to assist Verve to bring its vision to the photography world.

Click here to learn more about Verve Portraits or here to get in touch with our team at Solubility. Also you can follow Solubility and me on LinkedIn and Solubility on twitter. We look forward to seeing you again for some more Everyday IP.

In Part II tomorrow Louise considers copyright right issues relevant to photographers, including discussing the high-profile (and fact is stranger than fiction)Monkey Selfie’ case from the US which considered whether a monkey could own and enforce copyright in a ‘selfie’ photograph.  Louise also provides some tips for photographers wishing to use models in their photoshoots, sharing photographs on social media and on moral rights. 

We hope all you shutterbugs and photophiles join us then!

‘Monkey Selfie’ which was at the heart of a legal stoush between UK wildlife photographer David Slater and Wikimedia Commons over its copyright status. 

Photo source: David Slater / Wildlife Personalities Ltd.