Wednesday, December 31, 2014

French Baroque Promotional Shoot

We have been planning this French Baroque test shoot for our portfolio with food stylist, Tamara Kaufman, for the past year.  After several months of production, set building, planning and scheduling, we are excited to share the results. 

Our creative vision was to show a table full of desserts and other luscious foods with a "Marie Antoinette" styled model in a beautiful but dark opulent room setting.  Easy enough, right...?  The important lesson from this project was realizing that sometimes you have to turn "test projects" into actual jobs to insure that you complete them in a timely manner. The unexpected lesson from this project was gaining essential experience as the producer AND the client.  

As a client you get to experience the excitement of your dream becoming a visual reality. As a producer, your job is to make the client's experience a smooth, relaxing event with all of the right elements and talent fulfilling that vision. As the photographer you work at balancing the client's expectations with the producer's reality, working within in a predetermined  budget to put it all together into beautiful imagery. We may have created the perfect storm by combining all of those people into one. This taught us how all of the titles above work (and sometimes conflict) with each other in getting to the final shoot day. If you want to learn what it takes to be an advertising photographer, I recommend that you create 1-2 projects a year that force you to do the job of each of the roles I have mentioned above.

For our commercial/advertising clients we will hire a producer, stylist or experienced assistant to "produce" a photo shoot if the budget allows for this. Many times our clients may not have the budget for this or would prefer that the photographer produce the project.  The more experience you have with putting together a photo shoot the more it will help in doing so for a client. At the very least, it will allow you to gather important details to share with a producer/assistant in helping projects flow smoother from beginning to end.
Chocolate cake creation, Winter Wonderland cake with deer and the entire table scene created by Tamara Kaufman.  Beautiful floral centerpiece  (top row, center) created by Daffodil Parker. Props courtesy of Constance Abode, LLC.

For this project, we started with a rough idea, French Baroque and food. Next we started pulling together imagery and notes that we felt matched that vision.  For this, Tamara and I utilized Pinterest and our favorite Art History books to share ideas of paintings from the French Baroque period and specifically some history on Marie Antoinette.  More importantly, we made a decision early on that we did NOT want this to be a historically accurate representation and simply wanted the inspiration from the time period.  At this point Tamara began to gather supplies to build the room set and we worked together in roughing it in until we could bring in our set builder, Tony Anderson, for construction of the set.  

Behind the scenes photos from the early construction (top left), Tamara creating the sweet goodies (top right), lighting the set (bottom left and bottom center), Kendra completing the hair on our model, Emma.

What we learned-
• Put it on the calendar, give it a job number, schedule and hold the people you want to work your project. Schedules not lining up...? Then negotiate rates with your favorite vendors that will allow them to treat it as a real job they can schedule but stays on budget for you.  
•Think about the scope of the project, what you can complete on your own and what you need help with. Work as a team, talk through ideas and always speak up if something needs to change or be added to make it all come together the way you want (a client would do this, remember you are the client on a test shoot as well as the photographer)
• Think outside the box when visiting your hardware store or builder's supply in finding bits & parts that together create great details.  
• Hire the right people for the right job. For example, we found a great dress (within budget) but it was not quite as refined as we wanted and the fit was too large for our model.  We hired Danielle McKinney Haberdashery to complete all the detailing & fitting. Also, our set builder gave us great ideas for finishing out the set based on all his experience that cut the construction time in half.
•Expect to put in some long hours and extra weekends if needed.  Tamara and I had busy schedules we had to work around but committed ourselves to specific times to get together and work on set construction, food preparation and prop shopping.

We were blessed with great beauty and talent for this project. Thank you to our model, Emma from the Rock Agency, for such a great job and spending the many hours in the dressing room with the hair construction  -she absolutely looks the part, bravo!  Also thank you to Kendra Gassner our hair & makeup artist for creating that awesome hair do. Danielle (Determined Minx on Facebook) for the the perfect dress, Mark Gillespie for his patience on set and his understanding with all the post production and retouching. Emily Kuh and Joelle Olmsted for painting, organizing, painting, coproducing (did I mention painting?)  and all of the other little odd jobs that come up with this type of project. Daffodil Parker for the gorgeous floral centerpiece, there was no way we could have pulled a few flowers from a store to get the look that they created for us. Constance Abode for the amazing supply of props, furniture and crazy little things we thought of at the last minute- miniature red & gold carriage, coming right up!

 I also want to thank Tamara for her skills, vision and hours of frosting many cakes... it's a tough challenge working with and for someone simultaneously -I appreciate your enthusiasm through it all. 

Yay team!

Additional detail photos shot with Emily Kuh standing in and cat Steven showing off some diamonds on the settee.  Tamara whipped up some fresh mini cakes for a few extra photos.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Florsheim 2015 Spring & Summer Style Guide

It's never too early to start thinking about Spring  -Here's some recent published work we completed for Florsheim Kids.  Thank you to Cricket Design Works, and the entire Chris Hynes Photography team: Kelly Erickson, Stylist, Mark Gillespie, digital imaging specialist and Emily Kuh, assistant producer.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wisconsin Cheese -more cheese please!

October has been a busy month at the studio. The new prep kitchen was put to the test with all the different food clients we had in this month.  
We were especially excited to work with Wisconsin Cheese again for their 12 months of cheese series -yes, 12 different, delicious Wisconsin cheeses tempting us everyday for the week long shoot. Though we cannot show you the yummy images from this month's photo shoot, (for those, keep an eye on Wisconsin Cheese Talk) we can show you highlights from the 2014 Wisconsin Cheese of the month campaign that we photographed last Fall.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Photography for Fair Indigo's Fall 2014 catalog

We recently completed photography for Fair Indigo's Fall 2014 catalog.  We loved working with Fair Indigo and are very proud to be part of the effort in bringing fair trade, American made, organic materials, etc. to the market place.  We were very impressed with the quality and workmanship of the items we photographed- just one more point for the fair trade & sustainable fashion world!

The location was generously donated by Cento restaurant in Madison, WI and the sets were in our Madison studio.

Thanks to everyone for all of your hard work!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The big reveal-The NEW Chris Hynes Photo Studio in Madison

Out with the old and in with the new! -Finally, photos of the new studio layout and the new fully renovated prep kitchen in our Madison, WI studio.  We have expanded, remodeled, renovated and created a separate company (across the hall!) to house all of the props and backgrounds that are so essential for all of our client's projects. 
 We have kept the cozy atmosphere and just brightened up the space. Oh, and did we mention we have vinyl, as in records, and a great turntable?  Resident DJ, Mark G., will spin some favorites for you the next time you are in -Dance Party anyone?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Phox Band in the Studio

The wonderfully talented & Midwest favorite band, Phox, stopped in the studio courtesy of our friends at Iristocracy to show off some new eyewear.  Phox will be on tour in Europe through the end of November and then will be on tour opening for The Head and the Heart upon their return.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Faces of Food Fight

We have had the pleasure of photographing Food Fight's various restaurants menus for some time now -Recently we were asked to begin photographing portraits of the chefs, managers and the other hardworking people who are the heart & soul behind all that delicious food. Here are a few of those final portraits combined next to some of the menu items from each restaurant. In order from top left, clockwise to bottom center:
 Michael Pruett, Exceutive Chef for Cento;  Jordan Bright, Assistant General Manager for  Cento &  Emily Perina, Maitre D'/Dining Room Manager for Cento .
 Tim Larsen, Executive Chef for The Coopers Tavern
 Jason Kierce, Executive Chef for Johnny Delmonico's
 John Jerabek, Executive Chef for Fresco