This session with the Oak Bay Flower Shop was one of my first small business documentary sessions. The owner’s goal was to humanize their business and show that they’re not just another mass-market online florist, but a real local shop that cares about their customers and sources most of their flowers locally.
I aimed to show this by documenting their process of putting together arrangements and baskets, and by photographing how the actual shop functions. This included taking some detail photos of the environment and showing off the cozy feel of the place.
I love that Wendy and Dave run this business together as a married couple. It was fun watching them both bustle about, putting together arrangements and gift baskets. I think, if they wanted to take a more personal branding type approach to their business, it could be interesting to document more of their day-to-day life outside of the shop. In a shop this busy, it’s hard to capture their relationship, since they were running around a lot.
The biggest challenges in taking photographs in a working retail shop were the lighting and the customers.
They had a few customers coming in off the street and I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable, so I avoided taking photos of them (except a few from the back). I think if the client specifically wants photos of customers in future shoots, I’ll approach them before they enter and get them to sign a model release. Since the majority of their business is online and phone orders, I stuck to photographing them taking and fulfilling those orders.
The lighting was typically terrible fluorescent lighting, which created some bad colour tones. My usual strategy for this is to take a lot of photos and choose the ones with the best colour. Using flash would likely have overridden the colour casts, but I didn’t want to turn their store into a photoshoot while customers were coming in and out. The colour did create some frustration when editing and the final result isn’t perfect, but I do think I captured the essence of their shop and I’m happy with the overall look of the images.
Writing and photography contributed by Lara Eichhorn.
About Lara Eichhorn: Lara Eichhorn is a documentary photographer, focusing on weddings, personal events, and the day to day lives of happy couples and families. She’s based in Victoria, BC, and Southern Ontario. Website // Instagram // Facebook