Posts Tagged ‘art direction’

Kittens and Photo Shoots

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I’ve art directed a lot of models in the past, from babies to middle-aged men, but a recent photo shoot with kittens was a real eye-opener!

Our client, Drymate (R) Pet Mats, was seeking a photo to include in the last of three ads we did in a series of “Drymate Surface Solutions” ads. They already had a great photo for their Dog Food Place Mat—a Mastiff lying in front of a very messy bowl. And they had staged a beautiful shot of their Grill Mat protecting a wooden deck surface. But a search through stock photography featuring cats and litter boxes quickly made it clear to me that: 1) Cats and litter boxes are not cute. 2) Adult cats usually look ticked off in photos unless they are being pet or fed.

Kittens were the obvious choice. Kittens can make anything look cute, even cat litter.

So Drymate set out to find kittens to borrow for the shoot, and I called on my frequent collaborator, Rod Wilson of Andrews Photography, to do the shoot at our new home.

The day of the shoot, Rod arrived early and we did some test shots for lighting. Our cat, Fred, graciously stood in:


When the kittens arrived, they were a bit shaken from the ride over. Ruth, from Drymate, picked up the little white one and made instant friends with the little gal. The other two eventually zipped out and hid behind our couch. The shoot was getting off to a slow start!

Eventually, we placed the kittens into the frame and began photographing like crazy. We quickly learned to photograph the kitten who was currently the most at ease, art directing his movement with a green feather wand.

(By the way, that’s a funny story. . .I walked into the reptile and pet shop off of 280 and University Ave about 9am the day before, in full business dress and soaked from rain, walked over the to pet wands, grabbed one, and immediately went to the counter to check out. “Needed your morning cat wand fix?” the shop employee asked. I suppose it look really weird!)

Over time, the kittens warmed to their environment and we started getting some fun, playful shots. We quickly swapped out the different product versions—including their Cat Food Mat— and just kept shooting and waving our little wand like crazy until we got the right shot. The shoot was part art direction and part kitten wrangling. At one point, the president of the company, his assistant, and myself were all on our hands and knees, trying to coax the kittens from behind couches and under our entertainment center.

In the end, we got some great shots (photos: Rod Wilson):




Recent work: Commercial Real Estate Editorial

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Every now and then I like to share the process behind our work. This recent project was for a proposed editorial feature about investing in the condo market. We wanted a strong image to convey the content, and decided original photography would be the best option.

After scouting locations in Minneapolis, Mix Creative created a shot list and set the time and date for the shoot with Rod Wilson, of Andrews Photography. Mix arranged for a model, selected apparel and accessories, and art directed the shoot.

Our model braves the cold to make a wardrobe change.

Our model braves the cold to make a wardrobe change.

The day of the shoot, we moved quickly to get the shot that we needed. We tried several poses and backgrounds, including a new trick Rod cooked up of using a security mirror to add another dimension to the photo. We loved how this tied in with the “See yourself in the condo market” headline.

Rod suggests using a security mirror.

Rod suggests using a security mirror.

An alternate location and pose. Rod used a wide angle lens to give a sense of scale.

An alternate location and pose. Rod used a wide angle lens to give a sense of scale.

After the shoot, we selected our favorites to download to DVD over pizza at Punch.

Rod Wilson never stops looking for the perfect camera angle!

Rod Wilson never stops looking for the perfect camera angle!

The final product (designed by Mix Creative)!


Photo shoots are SO glamorous!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

We recently shot a fall collection for one of our clients, Schuler Shoes. As I mentioned before in this blog, there’s a lot of preparation, coordination, and hard work that goes into a photo shoot. Our photographer, Rod Wilson of Andrews Photography, captured the feeling perfectly in this shot (the girl on the right is my niece, Abby, who so generously volunteered her time for the day!):

Many thanks to our friends at Birch Clothing who loaned us the womens’ fashions for the day. Thanks also to our models, Kim Davison and Tony Hase—who found themselves hauling clothes and shoes from one location to the next, perching on uneven surfaces, and even climbing rock faces! And of course, thanks to Jennifer Lavine at Schuler Shoes, for coordinating with all of the vendors, helping us dream up the shots and for trusting us to make them shine!

Some examples of the final product: