Hunter Douglas Case Study

Summary

Since 2013, I’ve been hired by Hunter Douglas to help them create photography, time-lapse, and video for their dealer books, trade show materials, website, social media, in store display… basically everything. The first time I worked with them, they actually flew out to Portland just to meet me to see if we’d be a good fit. This was such a great idea considering the scope of the project and need to help me understand how they like to work. They work with a very select group of photographers and I needed to be vetted by them. I gave them a tour of the city and showed off some possible locations for the first shoot we did in Oregon. We definitely hit it off in that initial meeting and have had several successful shoots since then. I really enjoy shooting for Hunter Douglas because they are super dedicated to creating quality work. Quality is something I truly value as a person and a photographer/image maker.

For this blog post, I’d like to share a little of what it takes to do this level of production. I’ve spent my whole career getting to a point where I can offer this level of service. I have the experience, the resources, and the fortitude to handle anything that comes my way. This case study will help you get an idea of how working with me can achieve amazing results.

Pre-Production

One of the unique things about shooting for Hunter Douglas is that the shades we shoot are custom made for each location. Their high end product is designed to custom fit to any kind of window, so they have to manufacture them just for the shoot. My producer and I work with a location scout to find homes that fit the art direction for each product on the shot list. Once we’ve narrowed it down to 10-12 locations, the HD team and I come out for 2 day location scout trip. During the site visits, I’m looking for angles at each location and giving my ideas for how we can accomplish the goals for each shot. While we’re there, the installers work on measuring the windows to build the product for the shoot. After the scout, I organize the scouting photos and the HD team selects the final 4-5 locations and then starts manufacturing the product.

Now is when it really kicks in gear for me. Six weeks prior to shoot, we start having weekly pre-pro calls with my producer Heather Smith (www.smithandunion.com), the stylist, and the team at HD. We work with them on finalizing the shot list and help the stylist find resources for props and furniture. We run through all the scenarios and come up with a schedule for the shoot. Since we have to install the product, sometimes getting just one large room set can take half a day. Our last shoot had 15 hero shots and it took 14 days (we shot a lot of details and video, too). Finally, my producer and I hire the best crew, book all the equipment rental, and then find the most delicious food trucks available for catering. That’s right, work with me and you get treated!

The Shoot

I usually start with something easy, like a shot without a lot of prop changes and an easy product to install. I coordinate the HD installers so that they’re always ahead of us and I’m not waiting on them to setup the next shot. After we finish a shot, they then have to take down the product they put up. It’s quite a dance. Especially if we’re doing things like making a living room look like a bedroom.

On these shoots, I’m using a Phase One 100MP Medium Format Digital Back on an Alpa view camera. I love shooting with view cameras because every lens has the movements you need to shoot architecture properly in camera. Plus the lenses a extremely sharp and the level of detail is unparalleled to any DSLR. My photo crew includes a digital tech, a 1st assistant, and a 2nd assistant. Plus the production team has 3 or 4 PAs running around helping all of us move thing around. It’s a lot of fun and I have a great team. All of them working hard to help me create the vision for Hunter Douglas.

Retouching

After the shoot, I send off layered PSDs to HDs preferred retoucher with detailed notes on what needs to be retouched. It’s usually not much other than basic cleanup as I am a firm believer in getting it in camera as much as you can. Sometimes, we’ll make creative decisions that only retouching can solve, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

Results

Once the finals come back, they get put into Hunter Douglas’s image library and then go out to be used for multiple applications including dealer books, social media, sales presentations, and their website. It’s a big job, but my team and I make it come off easy, fun, and deliver the incredible images below.

HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_06 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_08 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_09HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_07 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_10 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_11 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_13 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_17 HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_19HunterDouglas17_Lincoln-Barbour_18 HunterDouglasWebsite_Lincoln-Barbour HunterDouglasWebsite_Lincoln-Barbour2 HunterDouglasWebsite_Lincoln-Barbour4

 

Do you need help with your photography project? I would love the opportunity to help you create beautiful images in a timely and stress free way. I’ve made a super easy booking form to get the information I need to get start. Just click the button below:

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Country Living Cover Feature January 2016

Country_LivingJan2015_Cover

2016 is off to a great start with this cover feature for Country Living. I didn’t know it was going to be the cover when I shot last year and found out shortly before it went to press. After 14 years of shooting and getting published, it’s still very rewarding to see your work in print on a newsstand.

I had a great time at this shoot. I was in Franklin, TN for two full days of shooting. The charming rustic look of the house was really fun to photograph. Jami Supsic, Style Director for Country Livingbrilliantly staged the shots and was super helpful in art direction, too. The homeowners, Mandy and Randy Reeves, were so friendly and hospitable. They didn’t even mind when we rearranged their living room for the cover try. Southern Charm at it’s best.

These kinds of shoots are team efforts and when you have a great team, the end results are fantastic. Here are the spreads from the feature story. Click to enlarge and enjoy!

 

Fall Update: Odin Gets Bigger, New Website & Portfolios, And…

Odin at 7 Months

What a year it’s been! As you know, my wife and I had our first baby last December. Becoming Odin’s Dad has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  It’s been a slight period of adjustment finding a balance between work and my new family life. So, that’s why I am seriously behind on my blogging. But we’re in a good grove right now and I’ve got lots of cool things to share with you other than photos of my son (he’s pretty cute, huh?).

First Off: A Brand New Website

About a year ago, I embarked on creating a scalable version of my website, optimized for high resolution monitors. It’s taken a while because, well, it’s busy with a baby and running your own business. I also really wanted something unique to me and not just another template. I’d really like to thank WerkPress for helping me with this redesign. I asked for a lot and they delivered. I liked the previous look & feel and this new site is not too far removed from what I had before. What’s improved most are the Portfolio and Work galleries. My photography is all about the details and these super sized images really help show off the quality of the photographs I create.  Plus it makes my food work look life-sized and you just might want to eat your screen.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Secondly: New Portfolios

All of my portfolios have been refreshed: Homes /  Décor, Life (formally lifestyle), Food / Beverage, Architectural. I’ve also added two new portfolios highlighting Travel / Landscape and Workspaces. In the WORK section, I’ve broken out my tearsheets into two separate galleries: One highlighting magazine articles I’ve been published in and the other showcasing advertising assignments for print and web. I’m also highlighting work published in Dwell and Martha Stewart Living. Some  new client work includes a great shoot I did for Northwest Pipe Company creating an image library for their marketing and advertising material. It was such a blast to fly all over the country and shoot lots of sparks, steel, and massively big machines making pipes of shapes and sizes.

Pleasant Grove - Northwest Pipe Company

Finally: Shoots Galore!

It’s been a super busy summer and I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to shoot some really fantastic assignments. Here’s a quick run down and some pics.

Ad shoot for Food in Bloom. Mmmm…. pork. Styled by Kevin Ward.
Food in Bloom

Cover and Feature Story in Portland Bride & Groom (blog post coming soon)
Portland Bride & Groom

Very cool office with a killer view by Risa Boyer Architecture
Goldstar Office

Huge image library shoot of food and restaurant lifestyle for Andina. My assistant and I tried to eat at least a little bit of everything we shot. I was full for days…
Andina Food

Super fun lifestyle shoot for Columbia Credit Union used in their home loan promotions in store, direct mail, and online.
Home Loan Campaign - Columbia Credit Union

Highest of High End – Library House designed by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design and built by The Works.
Library House

Does it get any better than this? Alhambra Kitchen, also by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.
Alhambra Kitchen

Kick back a few beers and take in a Hillsboro Hops game, courtesy of SRG Partnership
Hillsboro Hops Ballpark - SRG Partnership

This might be the most amazing loft I’ve photographed to date. Designed by Emerick Architects. Blog post coming soon!
Division Loft - Emerick Architects

More work on the way! Just waiting for some things to get published. Subscribe now and stay in the loop!

Interviewed on PhotoShelter

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a PhotoShelter customer for several years now. I love their service. It is, by far, the BEST way to show proofs to clients and deliver high rez finals. It also easily fits in to my digital workflow with Lightroom via a plugin, so using it saves me tremendous amounts of time and energy. Time and energy that I now spend focusing on my business, rather than mundane tasks that waste countless hours like creating Adobe web galleries, FTPing files, or (cringe) burning DVDs.

Every job I’ve delivered since 2010 is online high rez. Not only can my current clients redownload their images at any time, but I can quickly share and relicense available images to new customers. As a bonus, it also serves as an offsite backup in case something every goes terribly wrong at my office (knock on wood).

Anyway, when Lauren Margolis of PhotoShelter asked me to do in an interview about my architectural and interior photography, I jumped at the opportunity. I was totally flattered and I think the interview came out really great. Click the link below to read it on PhotoShelter’s blog:

Architectural Photography: Just Like Playing Tetris…Right?.

Oregon Home – Houseboat Cover & Feature

If you’ve never been to Portland, you might not know of the copious amounts of houseboat communities. For this cover story for Oregon Home magazine, I got to visit three communites in the area. Each one was very different with it’s own set of character and charm. One common thread between them all, really nice people who love being on the water. Continue reading “Oregon Home – Houseboat Cover & Feature” »

Behind the Scenes – Kids in Architecture

I’ve always had the philosophy that architectural photography is more interesting when you have a people in the shot. A person will give a sense of scale to the building or interior. It also helps you relate to what you’re seeing. And sometimes, it’s great just to have something to fill out the composition. In all cases, it makes the architecture feel more like a real place. It’s not always necessary to have people in the shot, but for many of my architectural clients, showing their design in use really helps them explain their aesthetic to their potential clients.

But, getting people to hold still in a natural pose for 3 to 4 seconds can be a challenge (interior exposures are always long). Often, I just let them go blurry. But there’s good blur and there’s bad blur. Getting good blur takes forethought, practice, and patience.

Here’s how I got some kids to hold still just enough for a shot at Otto Peteresen Elementary designed by DLR Group. It get’s pretty funny once they start “playing.” Who loves their clients? I do.


(video shot by the very talented Jake Stangel)

And here’s how the final shot came out.

Architecture – Design & Spirit

Earlier this year, I was invited by Newspace Center for Photography to teach an architectural photography workshop. I was very honored and humbled that they thought of me. I’ve done a few other classes/workshops, but this was a full day class and much more involved than what I’ve done before. The class consisted of a presentation on the basics of architecture photography, followed by an afternoon photo walk where I helped each student set up their shots and demonstrated how to use tilt-shift lenses. I then gave them all various assignments to shoot on their own and we met the following week for a review.

It was a really great experience and I hope everyone who took the workshop got something out of it. It was certainly great for me to go back to all the basics and refresh my memory. As they say, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.”

Here is a PDF of the presentation I gave at the start of the class. I thought it would be worth sharing