This is a very very overdue blog post. The new year has long come and gone and I don’t have any good excuses for my absence here on the blog except that I’ve been uber busy. I won’t bore you with the details, though. Let’s get to business and start talking about this recent project that is one of my favorites so far.
I was contacted by a producer from a major advertising agency here in Lisbon; my name had been referred to them. I find that’s still the best way to get new work and clients — via referral. After the art director and creative director had seen my work and thought I could be a good fit for the project they had at hand, we set up a meeting to discuss the project and they asked me to bring in my print portfolio so they could look over it again. I find most Art directors and magazine editors are tired of seeing portfolios on iPads or Tablet, they still love my custom hand tailored Koylab print Album, I will post soon about creating the perfect print Portfolio. Ok, back to my scheduled post. The brief was to create a 30 plus image campaign for an international tool company. The concept was to create a DIY Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). She would do everything from mowing the lawn and cutting firewood to tuning an engine, washing her sports car and changing a flat tire. This was one serious kick ass LRRH.
The first thing they did was showing me the mood board and ilustrations (I have included them in this post because this is where it all began: at the advertising agency at the hand of the creatives) so we would have a starting point and move from there. I really love working with agencies and developing a concept.
In this case the illustrations gave me a great sense of the character, but since my team and I were to create over 30 images that would be used for a 2014 Calendar, for their catalogue, billboards, website and magazines adverts , we needed to develop a lot more scenarios. All of the images were created during a week-long shoot (4 days of pre-production and location scouting and 5 days of actual shooting), where some scenarios were created or adapted on location.
Here are some of the images with the final layout and copy:
Below is the full behind the scenes video of Little Red Riding Hood advertising campaign for Central Lobão (“Big Wolf Central”), a portuguese company specialized in hand tools, power tools, electric and lighting material.
Like I said before, all of the images were shot in just 5 days, which is not a lot of time if you think about it. Everything had to be rigorously planned beforehand so we could be in the right locations at the right time — the light changes throughout the day so we planned the shooting in a way that we could move from one location to the next while taking advantage of the light I wanted on each location. This meant we had to move fast if we wanted to be on schedule.
My lighting setups for the entire series were a little different from image to image although some of them used the same setup. For example for the LRRH chainsaw and axe shots, we used the same lighting setup: My main light source was a Profoto Pro B3 1200 generator with a Beauty dish (aka soft light reflector) on a ProHead and then five ProHeads with zoom refelectors were placed strategically in the forest to create depth and mystery to the images. We also used a smoke machine to create a layer of fog and moodiness in the chainsaw image.
Here’s my lighting setup for these two images:
And here are the final results:
There was just a lot of natural light everywhere on the back of my viewfinder, so to reduce that I shot with a black fabric covering my head and the camera most of the time. I also always shot with my camera on a 3LT Tripod. When shooting a campaign that has multiple layouts for each image, I prefer to play it safe and shoot with a Tripod. It not only gives me better stability, but I always shoot the location without the model in case I need a clean canvas for multiple layouts. Since I spend a lot of hours a day shooting bent over and in awkward positions, the tripod also helps relieve a little of that pain and get over all uncomfortableness. All my photographer friends suffer from some sort of back or neck problems and proper use of a tripod along with the correct camera bag and camera strap can help reduce all of those issues.
The next image I would like to tell you about is this one:
This is one of the images where our LRRH is mowing the lawn and apparently there’s not much to it in terms of lighting, but as you can see from the following behind the scenes images, it took quite a setup to achieve this look:
Above: a BTS view of the set. I used 4 different lights and a reflector.
I was shooting with a Hasselblad H3D with a 28mm lens and a ProRing 2 Plus attached to it.
For a better understanding of the image, here’s the full lighting setup:
We had another shot for the same location with a big lawnmower and, while the overall feeling of the image is very similar, I took a slightly different approach in terms of lighting.
Take a look at the final image:
…A quick look at what happened behind-the-scenes:
…And the full lighting setup I used for this one:
As you can see, there are a few differences in the setups of these two images. I took the ring flash off of my camera and moved it a little to the side (that’s something I do quite often, actually) to add more depth. It’s all about keeping your vision in mind and using the right tools to achieve it.
Moving on to other images, there’s this one I really like:
It was shot inside Little Red Riding Hood’s workshop/garage (I told you she was a bad-ass!), in which you can see her cute little red car as well as all the tools she uses for her projects. I wanted LRRH to stand out from the rest, so I used the Profoto ProRing 2 Plus (this time, attached to my 28mm lens) as my main light. Then I had a ProHead with an 5′ Pro Signature Octabank to my right working as a fill light. Finally I placed another ProHead, this one with an zoom reflector, next to the fill light and aimed at the background. There was also a window to my right, although the light coming from it didn’t contribute that much to the scene.
Here’s another image shot in the same place, with a slightly different setup:
And some behind the scenes images:
Later that day we even made it snow. In Portugal. In July. Yep!
Here’s how we did it:
That’s a snow machine on top of the ladder.
How I lit it:
And the final result:
Central Lobão had this amazing sculpture of a wolf at their facilities and they wanted to include it in some of the images. After seeing the sculpture, I realized it was too big and heavy for us to shoot it on location so I knew I had to shoot it there and add it to the location shots in post.
I did the location shots first, leaving enough space to add the sculpture later and keeping my lighting consistent between the different images. That way, I was able to shoot the sculpture later using a similar lighting and allowing for a seamless compositing afterwards.
This is also one of my favorites from the campaign.
And then there’s this one:
For this shot, we had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. in order to be at the location and setting things up around 5:30 so we could start shooting at 6:00 a.m..
Because there was a huge difference in lighting between the sky and the castle for instance, I knew I had to light everything separately and then combine the different images in post. I shot the model and the car first, then I had my 3 assistants hold some strobes and direct them at different parts of the castle as I shot several images of the it. And finally I did an exposure for the sky.
Having my camera on a tripod made this job a lot easier.
Here’s my lighting setup for the model and car:
Last but not least, we had to create some studio images on a white background. So we looked for a big enough room in the company’s facilities and set up a studio there:
All in all, it was a very fun project to work in. It took a lot of hard work and dedication but in the end it all paid off.
I hope you found this post informative and if you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comments.
Thank you very much for reading. I’ll leave you with some BTS images as well as some more final shots and all the information about the team that made this possible and the gear we used to make it happen.
Have a nice and creative day everyone!
More images from the campaign:
One of the billboards from this campaign. Shot with my iPhone.