I’m attracted to images that are a little off — the moments that happen in between the hero shots. It’s the mistakes, the outcasts, the funny crops, the weird faces, that to me, define a creative life. Here’s where we show who we truly are and what our creative heart really looks like. These are often the images that don’t quite make it into the final creative.
I’m attracted to this mess. It’s where I️ like to go on shoots. The hero shots are important — and I want you to know, I️ can make any photo happen. The ones I️ save though, the 5 stars in C1, are the ones where someone laughed too much or maybe the light was just a little too bright. (or, wait, maybe these are the heroes?)
2017: The outtakes. The edits. The almosts. The photos that never quite make it out there into the view. That’s what I’m sharing with you today. Here are beloved images from editorial and commercial projects from the year that never quite made it into the final work.
The challenge shooting editorial portraits on white seamless, for me, is creating some kind of context for the subject. Nigel Poor co-hosts the podcast “Ear Hustle” with inmate Earlonne Woods about life inside San Quentin State Prison. We photographed her at her studio in San Francisco for the New York Times Magazine.
In addition to the podcast, Poor also works on the prison’s photo archive. The lighting in that archive inspired the direction for the lighting of this portrait.
The initial lighting was a bit harsh and not super flattering. So we added a larger light bank and a reflector to fill and soften some of the shadows.
Shooting portraits is an opportunity for me to meet someone new. I love the conversations we have and the things we talk about. And I love the way, in this photograph, we caught Nigel Poor in mid thought. See the tear sheet here.
It was a windy and pretty cold morning for Fort Worth. As we walked around downtown I was looking for direct light coming through the buildings as well as reflected light which can cast a kind of magical light on subjects in a city. We had about 30 minutes with each alumna as we walked around the city stopping when the background felt right.
This shot was made in between. We were moving from location to location and the wind picked up. Our subject moved the hair out of her face and looked to the sun.
Often, education image library shoots are shot on campus. For this project we wanted to photograph the community, at work, at play, in service etc. It was my first time to Fort Worth. We had so much fun at various locations throughout the city. The images seeded an image library for use in all kinds of marketing materials including a gorgeous new view book. See the work here.
Messier. That’s what we kept telling Evan Madden and his team of prop stylists, during the shoot. Can we make that couch messier? Can we spill more boxes everywhere? The sofa isn’t messy enough... can we mess up the pillows more? We wanted to show just how messy and chaotic a move can be for a family with small kids
This project was a dream. We wanted real. We asked the talent to have a pillow fight and wrestle. We threw boxes everywhere. In the end the final ad used a different image than this one, but this one reminds me so much of what the day felt like.
My personal work, as of late, has really focused on the messy, real, beautiful and hard reality of parenting and living as a family. I loved bringing that energy to this shoot. See the final Ad here.
Sometimes the shoot itself is so silly we’re laughing and joking because the whole construction is so out of the normal course of things. We asked three players for the brand new SF Deltas to hang out in Kezar Stadium just past sunrise for San Francisco Magazine.
Shooting sports and fitness and anything related to that world is a niche. I’m often overlooked for those projects because “I’m not a sports shooter.” To me the best editorial projects push me to go beyond the commercial shoots I do so well. These projects ask me to shoot something new… maybe even something I haven’t shot before. I bring my own sensibilities to the project; spontaneous laughing, improvisational lighting and a documentary sense of timing. I love editorial projects. I’m so excited SF Magazine commissioned me for this one. See the tear sheet here.
Technology review commissioned us to photograph a young company making panels that are covered with a thin multilayer optical film, that draw heat away from water as it flows through pipes and then radiates out. The panels also reflect sunlight to keep cool. Everything was very bright. For our photography purposes, the technology was basically a big mirror.
The little black puppy’s name is Luna. The co-founder named the puppy “moon” in Spanish. It seemed so fitting to balance our shoot. Photography is about light and shadow. Sun and darkness. Where the two come together — that edge is often where the most interesting work happens. See the tear sheet here.
Our branding library for Castilleja School included a catalog of community portraits photographed on the new branding colors.. These kinds of portraits are pretty straight forward. We taped four backgrounds up on a shady wall with lots of natural light. We added a kiss of strobe to keep things bright.
On this day of our shoot, groups of students often wander over to our backgrounds together. They make each other laugh and do funny things. In this photo we were shooting one friend of a group who delighted in making each other laugh while being photographed. See an edit of portraits from the shoot here.
Sometimes french class is extremely funny.
We spent two days on location at the Marlborough School creating a library of images to use in different marketing efforts.
When we shoot in a classroom, sometimes we can be distracting. It’s common, especially in high school, for students to giggle and laugh when the camera points at them.
Often we are photographing classes that are already taking place. I love the moments that happen in between the hero moments, especially in high school.
We set up meetings for photo shoots in all kinds of rooms and all kinds of buildings at all kinds of companies. Photographs of people in meetings is a big part of branding library work. The challenge is always how to keep the meeting (and therefore the photography) genuinely interesting and fun.
One of my favorite prompts is to explain to people that they can be anyone they want in the meeting and ask them to create a character that might not actually be at the meeting. (We’ve had fascinating meetings between all kinds of people who you’d never imagine would be together!)
When we ask people to step out of the persona of the person they are at work and become someone else, it allows everyone to truly laugh, show emotion and tap into a creative version of themselves that comes through in the photo. See an edit of the image library here.
Annual reports are fun. They’re a mix of editorial work and campaign work. They’re not quite a magazine and not quite an ad. They were ubiquitous a while back and I really got my shooting legs shooting annual reports right after I was a photojournalist. I love telling the stories of companies. Annual reports went away for a while, like so many big gorgeous print projects. It’s nice to see them making a comeback.
For the front of this year’s Clorox annual report we wanted to spotlight some of the kids at the East Oakland Youth Development Center. One of our models, a kid who loves the EOYDC, liked to show off his mad dancing skills. This photo is one of my favorites. See selections from the annual report here.