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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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