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Shooting DH3 Clothing for Mark's Canada

This is a story of how I landed a big client that I've been waiting a long time to shoot for, and how almost everything that could go wrong at the beginning of the shoot did, but we still made it happen... Let us begin.

A few weeks before the shoot, the ad agency for this job reached out to see if I was interested in shooting the upcoming DH3 campaign (DH3 is a Mark's clothing brand). Saying yes was a no-brainer, so we arranged some time for me to sit down with the Art Director & Producer for the shoot to go over the specifics. The 'specifics' generally means "we've never met before, so let's have some face-to-face time to see how our personalities mix and make sure we would like working with each other". Fortunately, you have to be a pretty big asshole for me not to get along with you, and they were far from it, so all was good. Hurdle one passed.

From there we moved into the bidding process, which usually requires some back and forth, especially when working with a new client who has specific needs and is used to handing them a certain way, but we managed to land in a place that worked for both of us. Hurdle two passed.

This is where things get a little rocky. The shoot was to take place in a rather cool, but also rather small brick loft. Knowing that the light would be travelling rather quickly across the sky (the shoot happened mid-December, so the days here are short that time of year) and that we wanted to use some of the natural light coming through the windows, we made plans to scout the location the day before the shoot to see where the sun would be at certain times of the day. I showed up at the location to scout it, but the people who we were renting the loft from never showed up to let me in... I guess we're winging it!

That night I slept like shit, waking up roughly every hour to make sure I didn't miss my 5:30am alarm. Early call times can be less than awesome, especially when you are all jacked up about a shoot. Sleep deprived I got up the next morning and headed to the location.

The crew arrived (we had talent and hair/makeup flying in from LA, Vancouver, and Toronto) and we all made our introductions. Everything is going a-ok. We set up for the first shot, and about 4 frames in the tether to my laptop loses connection. 
....
Unplug camera - reset laptop - everything seems to be working...
....
Couple of frames later the camera loses connection again.
....
Try a different tether cord - reset laptop - looks like were working...
....
A couple of frames in we lose connection again.
....
Grab a different camera body - reset everything - hoping it works...
....
A few frames in and it loses connection again.
....
At this point it's been about 20 minutes of screwing around and we haven't shot a single outfit. Inside my brain I am freaking out, and on the outside I'm doing everything I can to remain calm but I am pretty sure I am noticeably sweating. We have about 20 people on set, including the client, all watching me, and nothing is working.

So, at this point I give up on the tethering and just start shooting to card. It's a pain in the ass because the Art Director now has to try and see the LCD screen on the back of my camera while were shooting to make sure we are getting what we need, but he's awesome about it and we make it work. 

We also have to rename the files on the fly (as an example: 5CPBDHSP7-C2402_DH_SIGNAGE) so that they can be easily cataloged, which is another reason I was shooting tethered. I sent one of my assistants out to the nearest camera store to buy a card reader, and my digital tech dumped cards after each outfit and renamed the files as we moved on to the next shot. Fortunately I had about 12 memory cards with me (because you never know when you'll need them) so the process worked seamlessly.

From that point on, everything went smoothly. We spent the day chasing the light around the loft, which kept us guessing and would last for anywhere between 5 minutes to 15 minutes before changing again, and had a blast creating work that the client was super pumped with. I'll take that as a win any day.

Here are a few Behind the Scenes photos from the day. I feel like the wide angle makes the space feel larger than it was, but you get the idea:

And here are a few of the images we created:


GEAR LIST:

  • Nikon D800
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART
  • Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART
  • Paul C. Buff Einstein heads
  • 10 & 20 degree grids for mimicing sun beams
  • Profoto large deep umbrella
  • Profoto medium deep umbrella

All images edited using my CUSTOM LIGHTROOM PRESETS which can be seen by CLICKING HERE.


And there you have it, so next time you're on set and everything seems to be going south, just remember it happens to all of us. Take a breath, think it out, and make it happen. Thanks for reading.

Cheers
-Nate

BLK LBL VLOG 006 - PHOTOS & BTS

Alberta is home to some of the most amazing natural landscapes, and Pincher Creek County is no exception. 

A 5:30am call time, amazing weather (although crazy chilly), untouched landscape, and the kind of sunrise that dreams are made of, all made for the perfect recipe to pull off this shoot exactly as we had imagined it. We had 2 hours from the time the sun peaked over the hill tops to get all of the looks we needed before the light turned to shit. We made it just under the wire.

BLK LBL is the client we were shooting for, and what they've done is created a new style of bi-pod for the AR-15. The purpose of the shoot was to show how efficient and discreet the bi-pod is when attached to the gun, and the photography will be used for future ads and marketing materials. 

The entire shoot was done with the Fuji X-Pro2, which performs crazy well in these lighting conditions, using mostly the XF 16mm f/1.4 and a little of the XF 35mm f/2, 

Here are a few of the images from the shoot, larger versions available in my portfolio:

And of course, a full BTS video from the shoot:

 

If you have any questions, sound off in the comments below.

Thanks for following along.

Cheers
-Nate

Graham Construction

Sometime in the beginning of August my wife and I were driving and we passed by a Graham Construction sign, at which time I told her that I needed to figure out a way to add them to my client list. Having grown up around Estevan, SK, which is always undergoing some form of construction, I've grown up seeing Graham Construction signs all over the place my entire life.  Coincidentally, two weeks later I got a phone call from an agency in Calgary that was working with Graham and wanted me to bid a multi-day job shooting a bunch of portrait work for the company. Boom. Graham was very specific about wanting to use their actual employees for the portraits to best represent who they are as a company, so we spent a couple of days shooting at the head office in Calgary as well as at one of their construction sites downtown.

Here are a few of the portraits we created during that time:

Graham-001Graham-002Graham-003Graham-004Graham-005Graham-006Graham-007

 

And some behind the scenes, because well... who doesn't love behind the scenes.

CM4_6284CM4_6296 In all the years I've worked with Karen, this is the first time I've ever sat in her chair, and it was glorious. CM4_6326Graham-BTS-001Graham-BTS-002Graham-BTS-003Graham-BTS-004Graham-BTS-005CM4_6399Graham-BTS-006 Graham-BTS-007Graham-BTS-008

Oil Rig Portraits for NL Fisher

Oil-Rig-001 Back in October I was hired by NL Fisher to create some portraits for an upcoming feature in Business in Focus magazine and some future marketing materials.

With the alarm set for 5:00am, the original plan was to head an hour south of Calgary, AB to a Trinidad Drilling site to catch the sunrise and create some 'pretty' shots of the rig, but with an extremely heavy set fog that didn't appear to be lifting anytime soon, that plan quickly changed.

I for one love shooting in fog, and for this project it was perfect for helping to focus the portraits in what was a rather busy environment. Here are a few shots from the day with some shoot info and BTS the follow:

Oil-Rig-002Oil-Rig-003Oil-Rig-004Oil-Rig-005Oil-Rig-006Oil-Rig-007Oil-Rig-008Oil-Rig-009

{ GEAR TALK & BTS }

The majority of this shoot was shot with the Nikon D800 with either the 24mm-70mm f/2.8G or the 85mm f/1.8G using natural light. Fog creates this amazing light, and if it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. For the last two portraits in front of the rig I used a 47" octa to create a little more of a dramatic portrait.

And because I'm a fan of behind the scenes, here are a few shots captured by my assistant of me doing what I do:

Big-BTS-IG-1Big-BTS-IG-2Big-BTS-IG-3

Thanks for reading.

Cheers -Nate