Back in October I had an awesome project brought to me by a client, DYI, for an upcoming campaign. We were going to shoot their product in a different manner than we had leading up to that shoot. I had done a lot of shoots and they were all indoors and on very clean, white and grey backgrounds to allow for an easy e-commerce solution on their website. This shoot, however, was going to be about meditation and connection as they headed into the New Year. Lot’s of glass and the ability to allow nature to bleed into the scene and connect with the yoga poses and colors that were found in the new season of clothing.
First was finding a location in Houston that would bring the aesthetic we were hoping to create. It wasn’t an easy task, but Natalie with DYI found The Dunlavy down on Allen Parkway in Houston, TX. The place is a restaurant most of the time, but they do allow for rent-outs of the space for events, and we got it for a couple of hours a night over the course of two nights. The Dunlavy is a ton of beautiful floor to ceiling windows surrounded by trees and a lookout over the water off of Allen Parkway. The setting was great for the look and feel we were going for, but there was definitely going to be some tricky issues to get around – namely, reflections. Every single surface seemed to be a reflection, so I was going to need to use grids and off angles to try and reduce the amount of reflections I would have to edit out later.
My main kit for the shoot consisted of both of my cameras – the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Phase One – although I tended to favor my 5D on this set. I have more lens diversity with the Canon platform, and the frenetic pace with which the shoot was going to have to move in order to get all of the different clothing changes and poses we hoped to accomplish lended itself better to the Canon. Lenses were mostly my 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200 zooms, and lighting was a mixture of my Profoto B1 and B2s. I utilized gridded soft boxes and my beauty dish with a grid for the most part to try and keep the flashes out of the window, but I still had my Elinchrom octaboxes on set just in case they were needed for a particular setup.
The crew for the shoot consisted of Natalie and Giselle from DYI, Bianca Linette on Hair and Make-Up, and Amy Scott assisting me on the shoot. The talent for the entire shoot was Britt McGee from Page Parkes, and it was such a pleasure to finally get to work with Britt for the first time. I had seen her work previously and hear about her plenty of times, so to finally get to work together on a shoot was awesome! So, With the space and crew nailed down, it was really just time to shoot.
We had 2 hours a day for two days of shooting around the sunset timeframe. The first day was dedicated more to the indoor space, and the second day was going to be dedicated to the porch area and the small pond next to the Dunlavy. I had created mood boards and had them ready to go for everybody so we could quickly come up with ideas, and my goal for the shoot was to be as mobile and diverse with the angles and images as I possibly could be. A lot of the stuff I had created for DYI before was from a straight-on perspective to show off the clothing as much as possible, but I wanted some character to be involved in this shoot. There is a lifestyle associated with athleisure brands and I wanted to really try to communicate that by getting tight, wide, low-high, and top-down shots of Britt doing her thing.
First though, you always have to get the safe shot in the can. After that, it’s go time! We started with a straight on shot indoors and from there, it just continued to develop until I felt like I was really starting to capture some great shots that were compelling but still showed the brand in a heroic manner.
As we wrapped day one, we started to look outdoors and think about what was going to happen on the next evening’s shoot. There was a beautiful porch area that I thought might have some nice natural light coming in during the evening hours, and the pond area that screamed to be photographed. All in all, it was a solid first day that allowed us to get through more than we had even hoped and prepare for day 2 in a way that set us up for success.
Day 2 started much the same as Day 1: get the safe, straight on shot, then move for something with more narrative in the image. The balcony had some great light as I thought it would, but since we were under a roof, I decided to fill just a bit with the large octa and the Profoto B2. I was still shooting mainly with my Canon, but I did bring the Phase into play a little more often in order to provide some shots that might have a little more to them when we were shooting a slower movement or pose.
The pond area was an absolute blast to shoot at, and even though we were in more direct sun, I was able to fill with a large Sunbounce 4×6 reflector and augment with the Profoto B2 in the large Octa again. Those little lights can definitely bring the power if you’re in the right setting!
At the end of the shoot I really felt like we captured some diverse images that told the story of a Meditative and Connected New Year. But, it wouldn’t have been possible without the entire team to bring it together. I wish I had been able to grab some more behind the scenes images for the blog post, but it was a fast paced shoot and I tend to focus on the customer first and the BTS/how it was done second. Hope to grab more in the near future to share!
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