Recently we were asked by one of our clients to fly around the country and photograph their retail stores. How hard could that be?
As always, it's never as easy as it looks. The client requested they all needed to have a consistent look and feel.
If you've ever shot on location, you know this isn't as easy to achieve as one might think. Here were just a few of the challenges we had to overcome.
1. Weather: All the locations had different weather conditions. Some locations were perfectly clear, one location we were dodging thunderstorms, and others were totally cloudy when we needed to shoot.
2. We had only one opportunity to get the photograph: Since we had a number of locations and a tight schedule to keep we didn't have the luxury to wait until the weather was perfect to get the shot.
3. Circumstances out of our control: A number of the locations had surprises. All of the store's exterior lights are controlled by the corporate office.
There was no switch or timer that we could control at the local retail store to turn the lights on or off. For some reason one of the stores exterior lights didn't come on until way after dark. Not ideal shooting conditions. Another location had brick pavers instead of asphalt as it's parking lot surface. Last but not least, one of the stores had a tree planted that obscured the view of the building at the angle we needed to shoot.
As you can see, with the talented retouching artistry of Tiffany Matson, we were able to make the stores look beautiful and consistent.
Every now and then you get asked to shoot a project most people don't normally think of you for.
The truth is we are mostly known for shooting beautiful food.
This project we were asked to photograph anything that looked interesting or innovative in our clients building
and they would use it on their new website.
Here are a few of the images we ended up with for http://novationiq.com
Our ad agency friends in Chicago have a BBQ client. The art director on the project asked around, "where can I find the best BBQ photographer?" David Morris Photography was their choice. It was a two-day project to get all the styled food shots and product packaging completed. For the styled food shots they wanted a warm dramatic editorial look. This seems to be the food photography trend currently. The end results were pleased clients, some great photos, and a fun shoot. What more can you ask for?
Well, if you're a fan of BBQ anywhere in the world, you've most likely heard of the" World Famous" Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que. They've gotten rave reviews from Presidents, sports stars, celebrities, foodies, and of course by yours truly.
We had the privilege of being asked to shoot their food for the new website. Joe's Kansas City is now selling their world famous Bar-B-Que all over the USA from the website. Now, if you're in Memphis or Seattle and need a great BBQ fix, all you need to do is order it.
This was an especially gratifying project since it's a locally owned company and we're big fans!
Joe's KC came to us and said we want some great photography,
but we don't want our photography to look like all the other companies selling BBQ on the web. We want the photos to capture the authentic and real look and feel of our product. The shots should look as if the pit master just took it out of the hot smoker. We don't want it to look perfect. We want it to look authentic with some meat drippings on the surface, the utensils to be a little messy. We were fortunate to find a hundred-year-old butcher block table for our background. It is 12"thick and three and a half foot in diameter and made out of one solid walnut log. It set the tone for the whole shoot with its authentic wear and cracked surface. To finish out the authentic and real look, we shot with all natural light and let the shadows go a little dark.
Here are a few fun images from behind the scenes, along with a few of our favorite final shots.
Food Stylist prepping the brisket for it's close-up.
David about to get slapped for moving the styled food.
Clients and crew taking a well-deserved lunch break.
My favorite burnt ends!
Most photographers have people that have influenced their careers. Randy and Jeri Masoner were a big influence in my photo career.
Many years ago I met Randy at McClue studios here in Kansas City. Randy was the studio manager and let me hang out and watch his photographers shoot while I was still going to school. Fast forward a few years and Randy opened his own studio where he hired me as a freelance photographer to come in from time to time to help photograph product when they didn't have enough staff photographers to finish a project on time. At that time, Jeri had her own interior design firm she ran out of the same building. A few years later, Randy and Jeri shut down their KC studio and moved to Dallas. Randy was hired by Omega studio's to be the studio manager and Jeri was the head set designer. Omega studios was a 250,000 square foot studio with a huge staff. They shot room sets, product, and apparel for some of the largest big name retailers in the business. Retailers like J.C. Penneys, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue were some of their clients. A few years later Randy and Jeri opened their own 23,000 square foot Dallas studio, R&J Creative Images.
From the beginning, I always felt like one of the family. Randy was always so patient teaching me how to photograph and light. He also taught me to be an efficient shooter and manage time. Jeri was like the studio mom. Always caring and kind and would often cook a huge pot of food for all the employees for lunch. My favorite was her gumbo! Jeri would always make you feel special and appreciated and that's so rare in a work environment.
Before Randy left for Dallas he asked if I wanted to buy some of his equipment. I explained I would love to but didn't have the money at the time. Randy said no problem, just send me $100.00 a month until it's paid off. He left me with the equipment and we shook hands on the deal. Randy's trust in me and that equipment deal was one of the biggest aids to get me going in business. Oh, by the way, I did pay it off and I'm still using that equipment today.
From time to time the Kansas City market would die and there would be no work for months. I'd call Randy up and see if he would need any freelance help in Dallas. Somehow every time I called he would find me work. I'd go to Dallas and work for 2 to 3 weeks or until it got busy back in KC. Being able to work in Dallas when the Kansas City market was slow was invaluable. This allowed me to keep my doors open and opened my eyes to different styles of lighting and big productions. Anytime I would have a question about photography or lighting, Randy was more than happy to stop what he was doing and help me solve the problem.
This week Randy and Jeri stopped by the studio on their way through town.
We were able to have lunch and catch up on old times. If you don't have a mentor or someone you can trust to tell you the truth reach out and find one. They are invaluable. Thank you, Randy and Jeri for all the help and encouragement over the years. It was so good to have your influence in my life and career.