Category: blog Page 1 of 11
October 19, 2017
Portrait Photographer Eric Frazier thinks outside the rectangle
Shooting 12 portraits in two days isn’t daunting to a seasoned photographer like Eric Frazier. Coming up with 12 unique ways to do it – that’s the real puzzle. “These shots were all going in the same brochure, so they each had to be special, to make you want to turn the page and see more,” explains Eric.
To add to the challenge, the ‘models’ were all real people, pulled from the student and teachers of the client, the Asheville School in North Carolina. “Real people can get pretty nervous with a guy they just met sticking a big camera in their face,” laughs Eric. “But I try to stay relaxed and show them that taking photos is really fun for me and they can have fun, too.”
For this shoot, though, the layouts were very specific and Eric had to stay focused to keep the talent in position for the shots he needed. “Luckily I was able to get great local assistants,” says Eric. “It’s not a big market for photography, so nabbing digital tech Adam Pinnell and Nick Iway was really key.”
In addition to the portraits, Eric was also tasked with shooting lifestyle and environment shots, along with candids of the student body. “My only regret for the whole thing was that it wasn’t two weeks later. The trees out there are so amazing in spring and could have been even fuller.”
Still, Eric is happy with how the project turned out. “We got even more great shots than they could use. That’s always a good feeling,” he says. You can see more of Eric’s highly regarded portrait, lifestyle and sports photography here.
October 12, 2017
Big ideas in small pictures,
from Icon Designer Filip Yip
“Icons are one of the toughest assignments for a graphic designer,” muses commercial artist and icon designer Filip Yip. “No BS is allowed in such a tiny medium that has to communicate so much so quickly.” Having created literally hundreds of icons himself, Filip is well aware of what it takes to make them work.
“People don’t read,” he explains. “They glance. They want emojis. They’ll give you only seconds to get your message across before they’re on to the next thing. That’s why icons are so important to get right, and why they can be so powerful.”
Filip has created icons that educate, icons that grab attention, icons that categorize and icons that impart emotional responses from trust to joy. “I always start with the strategic goal – what are we trying to do here? It’s a very succinct tool, so it’s important to keep focus.”
Brand logos fall into the same rulebook for Filip. “Icons, logos, characters, they’re all a chance to visually communicate the things a brand can’t really get away with saying directly with words. Ideas like ‘you can trust us’ or ‘we’re friendly’ – those things fall flat in words, but resonate visually.”
One of his greatest challenges to date was a recent request for fantasy icons. Yes, that kind of fantasy. Using nothing more than simple lines in black and white, he managed to get across a fetish vibe, keeping the look edgy but still high brow. “That was an interesting one,” he laughs. “The search for scrap inspiration was not for the feint of heart. But I think the final work walks the right line.”
From adult pursuits to kid’s drinks, bank services to tech start-ups, Filip has covered it all in his highly awarded career. You can see more of his icons, brand marks, packaging, characters and collateral here.
September 28, 2017
Photographer Nader Khouri
helps SFO Airport take off
San Francisco Airport wanted to encourage travelers to enjoy the many shopping and eating options available across the terminals, so food and lifestyle photographer – and seasoned traveler – Nader Khouri was the perfect choice. “It was cool to have free reign inside the terminals – most shoots never make it past security,” says Nader.
Given just one day to capture six set-ups adjusted to both vertical and horizontal formats, the shoot gave Nader the chance to practice his skill at running through airports. “It’s one of the busiest airports in the world and we had a lot to cover,” he says, “This was all during operating hours. We spent a lot of time waiting for people to walk by, then quickly making decisions, getting the shots and moving on.”
They also had to earn their way inside. Granted far more access than a normal shoot, the team still spent an hour and a half in security, putting a day’s worth of equipment through the rigors of painstaking gear checks. Nader and his crew performed two thorough location scouts prior to shoot day to make sure they’d be ultra-efficient when they finally made it into the terminals.
The shots are currently in place in displays throughout the airport, as well as on SFO’s website. When asked how he pulled it off, Nader cites “preparation, patience, quick decision making and a little bit of serendipity.”
Up next for Nader is an update of food and beverage imagery for a major hotel chain, a cooking video project and sorting through the multitude of photos he shot on a recent personal trip through the fishing villages of coastal Spain. You can see more of Nader’s highly regarded photography work here.
September 20, 2017
A New Look for Illustrator Shane Johnson
When character illustrator Shane Johnson sat down to design an updated site, the inspiration was obvious. “I’ve spent my whole life either reading comics or drawing them, so I knew I wanted to reflect that,” he says.
After years of non-stop projects for clients on illustrations, character development, licensed character work and text books, he realized he needed to give his own brand some attention. “You get so caught up in just doing the work, I finally made the time to showcase what I’d been doing, and make it mobile-friendly.”
A lot of what he’s been doing is licensed work, an extremely disciplined endeavor to work in a style that isn’t necessarily your own. “It’s a different pursuit, where I break down the process of how an established character is illustrated and learn the rules that govern the style and backgrounds, and apply them consistently.”
Shane has worked on properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar the Last Airbender, Olivia and the Raving Rabbids for Nickelodeon, The Amazing World of Gumball and The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network. But the real thrill is developing his own “heroes.”
“Marketing clients are finding that superhero comics and graphic novel genres are really breaking through to audiences right now,” says Shane. “These styles are a great way to add visual interest and impact to a campaign. That’s where my experience with original character design and sequential art can really be an asset to a client’s creative team.
His most recent work in his own style has been for classroom magazines, providing illustrations to support the lessons and activities. He’s also been illustrating activity books for some new Cartoon Network properties, and, of course, putting the finishing touches on his own site.
As for spare time, “I don’t have any!” he laughs. But he does make time to get outdoors in the Kittitas Valley in Washington, where he lives with his family. And, in the spirit of making time for the important things, he’s an avid home-brewer as well. You can see Shane’s newly updated portfolio here.
September 13, 2017
Come one, come all to
Freda Scott’s Traveling Art Circus
It may be a digital world, but there’s still nothing like seeing people face to face. That’s the idea behind creative rep Freda Scott’s 18 months of travel across the country, lugging portfolios, promos and often the photographers and illustrators themselves.Showing portfolios to Producer Marni Beardsley at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
“We call it the Traveling Art Circus,” laughs Freda. “It’s not common to take meetings anymore, but Creatives still love holding and looking at books – the physical expression of a photographer’s thinking. These meetings are a chance to learn from each other, to swap tales of adventure in this crazy business.”Photographer Andrew Maguire, Illustrator Shane Johnson and Freda Scott with Producer Molly Costin at Publicis, Seattle
With 30 years experience, Freda is well aware how much the world of advertising has changed. “Art directors and designers don’t just call you up anymore. So much is controlled through giant holding companies now. With all these hierarchies it can feel a little like entering Mordor.”Producers Danny Jackson & Teresa Rad peruse the work at TBWA/Chiat New York
So with a growing curiosity about how agencies were navigating and evolving in new media, Freda decided to hit the road, hauling 40 pounds of portfolios behind her. “It’s a blast getting to know so many new creative teams. It only takes 20 minutes – we meet, we chat, we’re out – and it’s so energizing for everyone.Hanging with Chris Keenan and Luanne Broeker at Union AdWorks in Detroit
The hardest part is just getting that meeting set up. “I’ll call three times, five times, everyone is so busy. But once I’m there we have great conversations. We talk about how unions work, rates and usage, talent finding and handling clients. The knowledge exchange is really exciting.”Photographer Patrick Bennett preps for the next stop while waiting for the electric car to charge.
Freda and her Traveling Art Circus have been to Dallas, Minneapolis, Seattle, LA, Atlanta, Richmond VA, Portland OR, Denver, and the Bay Area. And while each agency has a different culture and client list, one thing remains the same. “It’s always fun,” says Freda. “People still like to connect with people.”
September 6, 2017
Photographer Jack Hutch
Jumps into Action
It’s not unusual for clients to ask photographer Jack Hutch to do a little motion work. But on his latest project, motion stole the spotlight as the project grew to include a crew of 20, a green screen, four bilingual senior citizens and over five Terabytes of images.
“I’ve been an optimist my whole life,” says Jack. “But this one was a true test. We basically shot a small feature film in five days.”
With client demands evolving rapidly, Jack has spent the last few years adapting his services to meet content needs. “This is just the norm now – you’ve got to be able to produce anything they want to see,” says Jack. “I actually love it, because with directing you get to be part of the process, add ideas and help make things better.”
Jack and his crew spent five days in Sonoma shooting everything from stills to testimonials to lifestyle and B-roll. Through multiple script changes, a last-minute request for senior talent with assorted authentic accents and an unexpected green screen set up, Jack remained unruffled. “As long as you just bust ass and try everything you can possibly think of, you’re going to get great stuff,” he says.
Throughout the shoot, Jack ran both the stills and motion camera, managed a dolly system, a white seamless set and a green screen and wrangled 20 crew plus 10 talent, all while consulting non-stop with his clients.
How’d he pull it all off? “You’re only as good as your crew,” he says. “And I had an amazing crew.” Together, Jack and his team created enough content for upwards of 6 commercials and 10 print ads.
August 23, 2017
What photographer Jordan Reeder
did on summer vacation
A thousand feet off the ground, no helicopter doors, paralyzing wind – just another vacation day for Photographer Jordan Reeder. “Part of my job is experimenting and testing,” says Jordan. “I love shooting landscapes, and I just wanted to try something different, so I chartered a chopper.”
Jordan had shot aerials once before, grabbing shots of high performance bi-planes from the open cockpit of a WWII military plane. But this time his goal was to test a new Sony A9 camera system while capturing Chicago’s visual abundance.
“With helicopters, you only get about 30 minutes, so you really have to think about the right time of day and gear planning. Changing lenses or messing with accessories can be dangerous because it’s so windy – everything has to be strapped down,” says Jordan.
“To get good shots you have to get lucky with the weather. And always remember not to lean out too far – or you get smacked with the wind and your eyeballs start shaking around in your skull.”
An award-winning product, lifestyle and location photographer, Jordan spends most of the year on commercial shoots for clients like Discover Card, Nvidia and Cisco. But his vacations, like this family trip to Chicago, tend to get taken over by photography as well.
“It’s always a little hectic jamming in shoot time on family trips,” says Jordan. “But it’s painful to be somewhere awesome and not take some time to shoot.”
Check out more of Jordan’s award-winning work here.
August 15, 2017
Photographer Michal Venera
Joins the FSC Roster
With his evocative photos full of rich light and color, it’s easy to see why we’re excited to welcome photographer Michal Venera to the Freda Scott Creative roster.
His first camera, a gift from his father when he was 12, was used to capture the winding old-town streets and moody light of his native Czechoslovakia. At 19 he defected, making his way from refugee camp to New York City and finally to San Francisco.
Michal worked his way through art school, building on the education he’d given himself wandering Prague’s museums as a boy. Since then, he’s built a successful 30-year career in lifestyle, product and scenic photography as a commercial and fine art photographer.
Big-name clients from Pottery Barn to Wells Fargo to Crystal Cruises come for Michal’s talent. But they stay to enjoy his studio – a 5000 square foot cedar wood barn he built in the hills of Marin. Drenched in light and surrounded by expansive views, it lends serenity to any shoot day.
When not on the job, Michal runs his own little farm on the property, raising sheep and tending to his 300 olive trees. That is, of course, if he’s not traveling or pursuing new pieces for his art collection.
In true artist style, he also lives part time on a reclaimed tugboat in Sausalito, just across from San Francisco. There you might find him indulging his daily water skiing habit, dodging the heavy marine craft on Richardson Bay.
“I love it all,” he says of his long and varied career. “It’s kind of a problem. I love lifestyle, I love shooting product and creating scenes. But I’ve been lucky to work in many different genres, sometimes all on one job.” You can see more of Michal’s wide-ranging portfolio here.
July 26, 2017
Why Patrick Bennett Is Perfect for Essentia’s “Overachievers”
It comes as no surprise that Essentia tapped Photographer Patrick Bennett for their “Overachieving H20” campaign. After all, Patrick has been pushing the limits in his field for decades. “I hang off cliffs, lay on railroad tracks, dodge punches…whatever it takes,” he says.
In just the last year, Patrick has bagged over 200 shots for Essentia Water, which he estimates totals around 10,000 frames shot in seven cities throughout the country. That alone earns him a place in the Relentlessly Dedicated Photographers hall of fame. But Patrick is never content to just ‘get the shot’ – he prefers to reinvent it.
“I’ve always picked the hard way to go,” he says. “In track I ran the 400 and 800. I played hockey. I chose an incredibly competitive career. So for each shot, I build it from scratch, never relying on formulas, to make it as unique as possible. That’s why I love location work – every location is a new studio to work within.”
To that end, Patrick recently found himself shooting on a city street with live traffic, trying to get a shot of a runner sprinting past. “I’m laying in the gutter, so I can’t see. My producer is just yelling if I need to dodge an oncoming car. All while the model is flying by at top speed,” he laughs. Of course, they nailed it.
Another time he was shooting on an Alaskan tugboat. After 3 days of pouring rain he finally got the shot during a stormy midnight refuel, using the work lights of the two ships in addition to his flash. “But,” he laughs, “that was nothing compared to the time my assistant had to hold me precariously by the pants as I leaned fully out over the water to shoot the Bayliner speeding away at sunset.
His most unforgettable moment came on yet another boat. “I’m in the bow of a small ship waiting for the Dragon capsule to come down from space. I’m shooting still and motion – two cameras side by side – so once we heard the sonic boom I could line up my cameras to the puff of smoke from the exploding parachutes and follow it to splashdown. All while we’re rocking on heaving waves. Ten minutes later we uploaded the shot via satellite phone and Elon Musk tweeted my photo of the successful return of the SpaceX Dragon to earth.”
Patrick will continue to shoot for Essentia Water throughout 2017, as well as his other industrial, transportation and farm clients. And no matter what shot he brings back, we know there’ll be a good story to go with it. You can see more of Patrick’s commercial and personal work here.
July 19, 2017
On the Run in San Francisco: Lifestyle Photography from Nader Khouri
Faced with hair-raising complexity and tight timing, photographer Nader Khouri knows there’s only one way to nail the shoot: plan, plan and plan some more. The payoff is clear in his latest lifestyle photography for Lennar’s new San Francisco Shipyard development.
“This shoot had a lot of moving parts, so, first step, I wanted a great producer on the team,” says Nader. “To me, that’s Amy Silberman.” Nader relied on Amy to keep things running smoothly, managing permits, talent, time and budgets on the 3-day, 10 location shoot. “Amy knows so many people and she is a logistics magician,” he says.
Together, the team planned for every possibility. They chartered a boat for a commuting shot, rented restaurants, shops and an office location, procured permits for SF city streets, Muni platforms, the Port Authority and RV parking, wrangled 8 models and their schedules, secured catering, created Plan B scenarios and managed budgets, call sheets and crew book.
Then it was time to take the actual photos. The client wanted to showcase the way residents would live, work, shop and relax in the new community. Nader worked closely with the talent to get natural performances on a run-and-gun timeline.
“I love how it came out,” says Nader. “And we had an epic celebration with the crew when it was all over.” You can see more of Nader’s lifestyle photography, as well as his impressive food and beverage work, here.
Lennar San Francisco Shipyard: Nader Khouri, photographer; Amy Silberman, Producer; Lisa Moir, Wardrobe and Props; Deborah Dapolito and Veronica Sjoen, Makeup & Hair, Models, Blackwell Fileshere.