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Flow 2022: Barcelona Edition

What a whirlwind of a week! As my first foray into the world of Flow, Pixelz, and honestly, how photo studios work as a whole, I was blown away at how incredible this event was. The fact that it was located in Barcelona was the icing on the cake.

All Photos in this article supplied by Pixelz

I'll give a quick run-through below of the eight events we participated in, but I think on top of all the knowledge they shared on stage, it was the time we spent off stage, talking to each other, that really made the event special. The camaraderie we all created just by being together for the day made it all worthwhile. Not to mention the spread! Every “coffee break” was filled with bite-sized snacks, delivered to us by extremely helpful staff. 

After an excellent introduction by our MC for the day, Customer Success Director, Ryan Roberts, Thomas Ladefoged, CEO at Pixelz kicked off everything. With all the music and excitement bouncing around the high ceilings of the old building, it felt like an Apple event. And, while I may have liked padded seats, it was really fun that we were sitting on old Bollywood movie theater chairs. 

The first chat was between Charlotte Cole, Senior Director of Content Development at Farfetch, and Katrine Rasmussen, CMO at Pixelz; How to Foster Collaboration in the Creative Universe. The biggest takeaway from this is communication is key! Making sure that everyone is constantly on the same page is just as important as building a team that embraces the need to keep that communication flow open. Another incredibly important part of fostering collaboration is making sure that it’s a diverse team, and if at all possible, a local team. No one knows the area that you’re shooting in better than someone who lives there. 

Next up! An inspiring chat about Empowering Your Team to Challenge the Status Quo with Javier Ordax. Challenging the status quo isn’t about challenging authority, it’s about challenging the same old way of thinking. Javier asked us all to ask questions, and then ask a few more questions. What topics keep coming up in conversations? How can we make them, the ideas, the employees, and the way of doing things better? It’s all about supporting your team to create greatness. 

Is that Daniel Jester moderating the next one? Yes! 

With Making the Shot Happen, Daniel spoke with Fashion Editor and Art Director, Cristina Planelles, Production General Manager, Marysol Garcia Gruben, Group Head of Retouch & Image Management, Faye Garland, and Senior Director of Photography Production, David Hice, about robbing a bank… wait, no, that was an analogy. On this one, they spoke about building an incredibly tight plan for getting the shot, including an air-tight brief, a great team, and importantly, including the entire team in building the plan. For example, we often don’t bring in post-production to the planning stage, because they come after, but what if they could help tighten the entire process? A lot of times they can. On top of the perfect plan, never expect everything to go without a hitch, there’s always time for improvisation and quick thinking to save a shoot from disaster. 

Thomas Ladefoged joined us back on stage to discuss Creativity at Scale with Flow. If you haven’t read up on flow yet, it’s time. Think about the word itself, flow, that’s what you’re trying to do with your output. Instead of batching everything together, you identify the areas where extra time is being wasted, where space isn’t being used properly, and deliver as things are completed, instead of delivering everything all at once. Find the issues, fix the issues, and don’t be afraid to use the technology that’s available to you to automate as much of the process as you can to gain efficiency.

Scenes from FLOW Barcelona 2022

Photos supplied by Pixelz

In the day’s next program, Jonathan Adler, Global Associate Product Manager at Boardriders, gave us some hands-on learning about, Going Agile: Do’s and Don’ts of Technology, Product & Photos. For this one, Jonathan asked us to think about an issue, a problem, and to think about the end goal of that issue. We then answered a few questions, brainstormed a few solutions, picked a solution from the team, mocked up the must-haves, should-haves, and nice-to-haves, and tested how we thought things would work. In your studio or in your home, it’s a great way to map out the journey and break it down into bite-sized pieces to win.

The panel discussion in, Mastering Video in E-commerce: Challenges and Opportunities was another great panel discussion that simplified the journey to using video. Maybe not simple, but obtainable. Jakob Østerby, COO at Pixelz, Matthew Miller, Studio Operations Manager at Saks 5th Avenue, Kat Santus, Head of Studio & Photography at Boohoo, and Adrian Sandu, Digitech and Video Editing Lead at Zalando SE, all agreed, video is booming and you should consider using it. That doesn’t mean immediate, huge productions, start small and use the team that you already have available. With every test, you find out what your viewers like and move forward with the best. Tailor your videos to what they want and make sure that you’re not doing video just to do video, do it because you’re seeing results. 

The way that technology is moving, it feels a lot like magic, rather than science. Watching Sébastien Eskenazi, the R&D Leader at Pixelz, present AI, Humans, and Magic: The New Formula for Image Editing was one of the highlights of the day for me. First, as with most of the things we learned at Flow, start small. Not everything needs automation or AI, find something that does. Find something that you can automate entirely. At Pixelz, automating image editing brought them two big gains; minimized lead times and consistent image quality (with higher approval rates). This conversation brought up a lot of questions about where things are moving in the future. 

And wrapping up the day, we discussed The Ever-Evolving Role of the Photographer in Fashion E-commerce with Fashion Photographer, Elisa Carnicer, and Brian Guidry, Chief Growth Officer, at Pixelz. The two biggest things that I took away from this chat were that there are so many ways to share things these days that we all need to consider what we’re shooting, why we’re shooting, and where it will end up in the future. There are so many options for content distribution these days, have that vision in the back of your mind. And, for every shoot, have a brief, ask questions about it, refine it into a better brief, ask more questions, and have the best brief possible. The brief should have all of the information the team needs to do a perfect shoot, making the process and timeline as easy as possible. 

After the presentations and chats were finished, the drinks came out and we all joined together to talk about what we saw on stage, talk about our own flows, and talk about what a gorgeous city we were in. I left the event feeling extremely grateful for meeting all of these superstars, learning from them, and now, connecting with them to continue sharing information and hopefully creating some of our own flows in the future. 

Big thanks to Flow 2022, Pixels, the speakers,

and Profoto for the new headshots!