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.

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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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Portland Monthly July 2011 – Season’s Eatings

Man, do I love shooting food. I love it almost as much as eating it. And I feel really lucky because there’s no shortage of truly great food in Portland. In fact, the most difficult thing about food here is deciding what to eat. That’s why this story by Allison Jones was so great to photograph. It’s only a small sampling of the food choices here, but these 10 dishes were all so good that I would shoot this story over again in a heartbeat.

The tricky part of this shoot was getting everything to go together in layout. Jason Blackheart’s art direction was key in dealing with the various angles, shapes, and sizes of food. His goal was to keep it simple and about the food. We decided early on that we couldn’t shoot this in studio, but wanted to make it look like it was. It was going to be too challenging to set up a traditional table top setup inside all these restaurants, so Jason’s solution was to go light and shoot everything on white foam core. To keep the lighting consistent, we always shot with natural window light coming always from the right. My processing did the rest and the spread looks fantastic. One of my favorites this year. Continue reading “Portland Monthly July 2011 – Season’s Eatings” »

Portland Monthly May 2011 – Rich Living

The May 2011 Portland Monthly is out and there is a great feature story I shot of Andy Ricker’s place in SE Portland. Ricker, the restaurateur responsible for Pok Pok, Ping, Whiskey Soda Lounge, and, Pok Pok Noi; has one of the coolest bachelor pads I’ve ever seen. Designed by Andee Hess of Osmose, the space has a ton of character and truly reflects Ricker’s personality and esthetic.

Check out Amara Holstein’s article on Portland Monthly’s website to hear what I mean. Better yet, get off your butt and go pick up a copy of the magazine right now. Jason Blackheart art directed the shoot and did an amazing job with the layout. Here are the rest of the spreads PLUS the shots by themselves. Continue reading “Portland Monthly May 2011 – Rich Living” »

Here Comes the Sun – Portland Monthly Feb 2011

First tearsheet of 2011 and it’s goody! I actually shot this house in December of 2010 on a really crappy weather day. It was looked like night when we showed up and was raining really hard. Fortunately, by the time we were set up and ready to shoot, the rain lifted and clouds got brighter. Using long exposures and fill flash from my monolights, I was able to create the bright and sunny look on what was a pretty typical Portland winter day.

I’ll share a little secret with you: I actually prefer shooting interiors on cloudy days. Sunny days are a pain in the butt because the windows get too hot and I usually have to photoshop them in later. All these shots were single exposures.

For you interior design lovers, it was another fabulous project by the talented Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. They’ve just launched a new website and it features a lot of my work I shot for them over the past few years. Check it out!

Here’s the rest of the feature that ran in the February 2011 issue of Portland Monthly. Continue reading “Here Comes the Sun – Portland Monthly Feb 2011” »

Branch Science – Portland Monthly January 2010

I really liked how this feature shoot came out in the January 2010 issue of Portland Monthly. Art directed by Michael Novak, the two of us first drove down to Corvallis, OR to photograph OSU scientist Steve Strauss in his grove of genetically modified trees. The trees in the above shot have been engineered so that can be made into paper easier which creates less waste and uses less chemicals in the processing. The trees, though, have been attacked be eco-terriorists and Strauss has certainly had to face a mountain of criticism from peers and pundits alike. It’s a great story and you can read it here on Portland Monthly’s website.

We then shot a series of everyday things that are genetically modified but you would never know it. Mike suggested the products be shot in a clinical sterile way to emphasize the scientific angle of the story. I like how they contrast to the outdoorsy shot of Strauss.

Continue reading “Branch Science – Portland Monthly January 2010” »

March/April Desirables in Portland Spaces

These are always fun to do and it’s so nice to be a regular contributer to a magazine. I have now shot three of these product features for Portland Spaces in my studio with Jen Davison and Rachel DeSchepper.

Desirables Opener

This tearsheet is from the most recent issue where we focused on handmade objects by local Portland artisans. The challenge with the opening shot was getting it to look like a studio product shot, but a little bit more natural. We also had a tight layout, so the positioning of the branches and the bird feeder was super critical. I’m really happy how it came out.

3 Full Page Spreads in April Portland Monthly

April was a great month for me in Portland Monthly. I shot three full page spreads, two for the April issue and one for the Northwest Golf annual special edition that came with the issue. Here are the tearsheets.

Continue reading “3 Full Page Spreads in April Portland Monthly” »