Let’s dispel some of the secretiveness we are often guilty of as photographers. This post will explain all, or at least try to – how we set it up, how we got the tops of the drinks, how we created the background, and the details of the equipment we used. Actually most important is the thought process we go through. If others out there have different approaches, I’d love to hear. Never too late to learn new things.
Above is a shot we recently did with agency Hill Holliday for our friends at Dunkin’ Donuts. The project was to show 5 hot chocolate drinks in a horizontal format, with room for type. The scene was to convey a “wintery” holiday feel as if you’re keeping warm inside the house, but still not be overly holiday looking. One of the featured flavors was a new product, and I’ve obscured the name when it appears at the client’s request.
Here we go. You will see a messy studio so be forewarned! Starting with empty cups we begin to find placement for the beverages. It’s important to read all the logos and flavor names, and to “hero” the one drink in front with the new flavor. Right now we’re making rough moves and don’t care too much about the background. It will look better when it’s lit and when it’s put out of focus. “OOF” I like to say.
We’re testing several things at the same time, so here you see an orange napkin and as we go we’ll be trying other colors.
At first we arrange stand-in cups.
We also check how the image looks with a crop on it. Lots of the extra frame in our capture will be gone in the final layout.
Once the cups are in position and the art director and clients are happy, we swap the stand-in cups for our “ad cups” that are shipped from a graphics house in New York. They’re special because the colors they use are a true match to the brand specification, and the printing is perfect. We have to treat them like gold. Seriously!
We’ve made a quick jpeg of the approved positions. Then here’s what we see on the monitor, when we lay that jpeg over a live image of what’s in front of the camera. In the double image we watch the stylist placing the ad cups, matching positions. We’ve also made marks on the set for position, but the overlay is helpful to get the logo rotation to match.
Here you see the stylists on-set work area. It’s important to set up a spot for them to put their tools close, by even when most of their stuff is in the kitchen.
Blogging is hard work I find! This post has been weeks in the making and I’ve only covered the beginning. Never fear, because in the next installments of this expose, we’ll show you how we achieved the dreamy background, what the lighting was, the equipment we used, and how we got the swirly tops on all the 5 cups. See you next time!