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Cannabis and Branded Content Production: Interview with TIA Photographer, Gabby Frank

Gabby Frank
Written By
Gabby Frank
Published On
May 25, 2022
TIA photographer, Gabby Frank

Since cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018, we have seen over 1,000 legal dispensaries open across Ontario alone. To put that number in perspective, there are 660 LCBOs in comparison. Those numbers are insane and illustrate how important it is for cannabis brands to develop strong brand personas to stand out.

The Influence Agency is at the forefront of providing digital advertising solutions for a variety of businesses in the cannabis space, including dispensaries and licensed producers. One of our areas of expertise is in producing custom branded content — including photography — in order to ensure brands stand out in the fiercely competitive cannabis landscape.

In this blog, Gabby Frank, our Lead Photographer, sheds some light on what exactly goes into shooting custom cannabis content for our clients. Let’s dive right in!

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at The Influence Agency?

I’m Gabby (she/her), the Lead Photographer at The Influence Agency. I’ve been taking photos professionally for about eight years and with TIA for over a year now. I’m very grateful to be doing what I love and to have learned so much along the way. My role works closely with multimedia creatives and content managers to create meaningful and engaging visuals. Some of my favourite aspects of the job involve mood boarding, meeting new people, and, of course, executing all these ideas to create a stunning finished product.

A screen shot of Gabby Frank's Instagram

What do you think is the biggest challenge when it comes to a cannabis shoot?

We are so lucky to work with a variety of clients in this field, but it can be challenging differentiating the brands to make sure they each have their own unique flair. Creating new and unique concepts to fit within proper guidelines involves lots of teamwork and brainpower. The legal aspects of cannabis photo and video shoots can also limit what we share online. With this said, it can be a really fun challenge to think outside the box. 

How do you prepare for a shoot with a new cannabis client?

First I’m usually briefed on the client’s brand guidelines including their philosophy, colour schemes, products, and everything else in between. We want to make sure we really know the client before any pre-production happens so I tend to ask a lot of questions. During this process, the creative directors and I create mood boards and call sheets based on seasonal themes and how we envision the social feed to look. Once the client approves, we start creating! 

Screen shot of Highly Dutch's Instagram

What do you enjoy most about shooting for a cannabis client?

I love the variety of content we can create whether it’s a simple product shot, fun lifestyle image, or interiors of a beautiful dispensary. No two photoshoots are the same and that’s what keeps it exciting! 

What’s your advice for fellow content creators looking to enter this space?

Don’t be afraid to connect with the brands you love. You’re more likely to enjoy working with a client who shares similar values and style so why not reach out to them? Create work for yourself first and then send it out into the world. Get excited, be confident, and go for it! 

Screen shot of Smokey's Cannabis' Instagram

Who are some of your biggest inspirations in this space?

There are SO many talented creatives I’m inspired by so this is a tough one. I really love the way Georgia Love (@georgialovve) captures cannabis (and everything else); it’s so dreamy. In terms of cannabis influencers and activists, I’d recommend checking out @thecannabiscutie, @mennlay, and @ariellcasie.

What would be your number one piece of advice to any cannabis clients who want to do a shoot?

Since we like to plan ahead as an agency, let us know any important dates outlined quarterly so all the visuals align with promotions and holidays. It’s also important for you to have a clear idea of what your brand identity is so we can create content that fits into your brand vision.

Screen shot of The Green Organic Dutchman's Instagram

Which cannabis shoot has been your favourite this year?

I really love the variety of work we’ve created this year, but there is one shoot that really stands out: photographing The Green Organic Dutchman’s facility was a dream come true. I captured a variety of strains, fields of plants, and different stages of growth. It was surreal to be immersed in the largest quantity of cannabis that I had only ever seen in movies before while still learning so much along the way!

Any predictions on trends within the cannabis content creation space?

The biggest trend that comes to mind is selling the lifestyle rather than just the product. I think lifestyle images are very successful — they are relatable, fun, and can showcase multiple types of users. There is still stigmatization around cannabis so continuing to make educational and authentic content in this way is important. Additionally, companies can further connect with their audiences by humanizing their brands more with features on the owners, budtenders, behind-the-scenes etc. 

Taking Cannabis Brands to New Highs

If you’re looking for expert help taking your cannabis brand to all new highs, let’s work together! Whether you’re looking for custom branded photography, videography, social media marketing, or SEO and blog content production — we have the industry know-how to reach your business goals.

Contact us today.

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