Spring Marketing Campaign | Portraits for COD

Spring Marketing Campaign | Portraits for COD

It has been way too long since I’ve had a chance to swing by the blog to do some updates.  Lucky me, I was asked by a client to do some traveling to various cities south and east of Chicago to shoot corporate lifestyle in the last months of 2016 so that kept me super busy though December (fill you in on those travels on a blurb to come). By the time I came up for a little air, I needed some time to binge on Netflix and check off some novels on my Good Reads list.  But now it’s time to get to it.

The last thing I shot prior to this travel assignment was for the College of DuPage, which is the largest community college in the state.  I’ve been working regularly with their marketing and communications team for the last 2 years or so and am always happy to get their call.  The assignments normally revolve around a series of environmental portraits of students who have made the most of their time at COD and then we catch them doing what they do.  We’ve worked in the computer labs, architecture classrooms, welding facilities, professional kitchens, hospitals and local fire departments.  Incorporating the students’ work space into the shots helps to tell their success stories more than a standard headshot and a few lines of text. 

It’s always a pleasure to meet with the students and talk to them about their plans, especially those who are returning to school in hopes of making a career change as I can relate.  After years of working at a staffing agency, I decided it was time to try to do my own thing and I thought photography would be a challenge and continually keep my interest.  I was enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago for a few studio lighting classes, learned as much as I could and started assisting around town.  Getting myself back into school was the first step in making the big change and kudos to anyone who takes those same chances.

Chicago-Portrait-Photographer

Here we are working in the nursing lab at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.  Every day, every location, every subject looks a little different than the one that came before it which definitely keeps us on our toes. This project took us from the COD campus in Glen Ellyn to Elmhurst Hospital, over to Old Orchard Mall where we were treated to a fantastic lunch at Roka Akor and back to the campus library.   Looking forward to more of these kind of assignments in 2017 for sure.

Corporate Lifestyle Photography for Convergint Technologies

Corporate Lifestyle Photography for Convergint Technologies

We had several shoots over the past week and my favorite was a corporate lifestyle assignment for SSI Magazine featuring Convergint Technologies, a Chicago-based security firm that designs, installs and services life safety systems for commercial properties.  The plan was to do a cover photo for the magazines’ upcoming issue of the three top executives as well as several interior shots that featured day-in-the life portraits and lifestyle images featuring the employees doing what they do best.

I love assignments like this because every scenario is very different, our timeline for this assignment required us to move quickly and every scenario we were working in, from the outdoor shot to the warehouse, required us to play around with the lighting quite a bit which for me with the time constraint is a fun challenge.

There was an opportunity to use just about every light in our arsenal along with each modifier and a variety of lenses, including the 70-200mm which I love for the compression effect and the 85mm prime which when shooting wide open produces a beautifully soft background.

Even better, the executives and staff at Convergint were a pleasure to work with.  Gotta love people with a great sense of humor who decorate their office with silkscreens of the characters from Caddy Shack and whose corporate mascot is Bill Murrays’ nemesis in the movie.  As an added bonus maybe as much for me as for them, they asked us to incorporate their life-size stuffed gopher in the shots which we did happily.

It’s a beautiful thing when everything goes smoothly and we have the chance to work with incredibly fun people who are also fantastic collaborators.  A big shout out to Marie and Tony who wrangled staff members, brought us lunch even though we were prepared to work right through and kept us smiling with plenty of humor and a few quotable moments.

And of course, hats off to this guy whose homework assignment is to watch Caddy Shack as he’s never seen it before. Something is missing from life when you haven’t had the chance to appreciate Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray in the same sitting.

On Assignment: Environmental Portraits for the University of Phoenix

On Assignment: Environmental Portraits for the University of Phoenix

Afew weeks ago, I received a call from the University of Phoenix as they were researching Chicago portrait Photographers and had found me through the ASMP.  They were looking to do a feature story on one of their recent graduates for the Alumni Associations’ publication, Phoenix Focus and sent me on assignment to capture a few environmental portraits.

The subject of the story, Ted Barrett had been in the corporate world for several years, working in business development and account management when he decided to make a major change.  Returning to college, he studied Psychology, received his certification as an Autism Behavior Interventionist and now provides therapeutic services to kids who fall within the autistic spectrum.

Because Ted works with his clients in their homes, the Art Director was hoping to do something outdoors which of course is always a gamble as the weather gods like to toy with the nerves of certain Photographers such as myself.  After speaking with Ted, who may possibly be one of the nicest guys on the planet, we scheduled for a 10am shoot with the next day being our back-up in the case of rain, hail, tornados, etc.   It is Chicago after all.

Chicago-Portrait-Photographer

 

A few days prior to our shoot, I took a drive just west of Chicago to the the very charming town of Oak Park.  Within the main part of town, there is the Frank Lloyd Wright Historical District and this is where I found the perfect spot for our shoot.  Looking south, there was a row of super cute houses with just enough color to add dimension to the background.  And across the street, the sidewalks were lined with huge oak trees and white picket fences.  Finally, right around the corner was a shaded park that would work as a great alternate for our more casual environmental portrait.

For lighting, we went with a 48″ octobox for the main light and a smaller softbox with an egg crate modifier as a back kicker.  The beautiful thing is that I had just exchanged a few external battery packs for the Paul C. Buff Lithium Extreme pack which has proven to be an absolute powerhouse.  The recycle time, even at 800ws is lightning fast and completely reliable not to mention that it is just heavy enough to function as a light stand weight so no need for additional sandbags.

Chicago-Portrait-Photographer

 

After about two hours, a plethora of questions from curious passerby and three wardrobe changes in the back of Teds’ car, we called it a wrap.  And I have to say, I do love the challenge of walking into a different “office” on a daily basis and having a plan but also always being ready to adapt to the changing circumstances of light.

And of course, it’s always a pleasure to meet such interesting people who choose to take a chance and do something different because as my favorite On Golden Pond actress, Katherine Hepburn once said “if you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.”