Run Pretty Far Summer '13 Campaign
I recently had the honor of shooting an ad release for Seattle-based clothing company Run Pretty Far. I’ve worked with the owner, Jenn, before, but this shoot definitely blew both of our expectations out of the water (pun sort of intended).
Jenn decided to go with somewhat of a “nautical” theme for these ads because she felt it matched the designs of the shirts being released. So, we secured permission to shoot on the docks at West Lake Union, by China Harbour. Apparently, Jenn used to go clubbing at China Harbour when she was my age. Fun fact.
Shooting on a dock is really… interesting. Especially when you carry around as much gear as I do. You’ve only got a few feet to work with, left to right, and there’s always the chance of falling into the water with however many thousands of dollars of gear you have on your body.
Special shoutout to Adam Haney at Outré Solutions for killing it on the assist for this shoot. Without his help, the images definitely wouldn’t have looked this good, and I probably would’ve lost some of my gear to the lake.
Seattle summer weather is absolutely amazing. Since mid June, we’ve had maybe one cloudy day. And, of course, that one cloudy day was the day I did this shoot.
As soon as I arrived at the location, I knew that I was going to be spending a lot of time in Photoshop. Like, a lot of time. The skies were a pretty dark gray, which made the water an ugly gray color as well.
Straight out of camera image:
It was tough to gauge exactly how I wanted to shoot this because it would be so drastically altered in post. The ambient light was so soft and dim, which works great for my street work. In this kind of weather, the strobe creates almost a spotlight effect on the subject, and the naturally desaturated tones create a cool, cinematic look. However, that’s totally not what my client was going for. I’ve learned tons of awesome techniques from my street work, many of which I apply to my commissions. But it’s important to distinguish what is and isn’t appropriate for your subject matter. For an upbeat, athletic clothing ad, I probably shouldn’t shoot it like I would a homeless man.
I ended up replacing the sky in almost every image, as well as manipulating the color of the water to match. As soon as I saw my first test shot on my LCD screen, I knew I would have to find an extremely thin balance between my strobe and the ambient light. Otherwise, the background would come out dark and muddy, which would make post processing even harder. I had to put my strobe on a low power and shoot at a fairly open aperture and medium shutter speed to achieve this.
This is one of the most drastic before/after’s from this shoot. Not only did I replace the sky, but I completely changed the color of the water, too. Sky replacement is pretty simple. I layered a new sky over the image, changed the blending mode to something that looked right, Gaussian blurred it to match the depth of field, and masked it to where it needed to be. For the water, I sampled a color from the sky and brushed over an empty layer set to Soft Light. Boom. Perfect fake weather. I did that same process almost all of the other images.
I had told Jenn that I would be able to make the weather look sunny in Photoshp, and her 6-year-old son, who was accompanying the shoot, said, “He can change the weather?!” To which Jenn replied, “I know! He’s kinda like… GOD, huh?”
I have awesome clients.
[Photo by Adam Haney at Outré Solutions]
For this shoot, I used a 5D Mark II, and mainly a Canon 50mm f/1.4, with a 0.6 Neutral Density filter. The images were lit with a Paul C. Buff Alien Bee B1600, modified with a 47" Paul C. Buff Octabank, powered by a VagaBond mini.
[Photo by Adam Haney at Outré Solutions]
Overall, I’m very proud of how these images turned out, and the client is pretty stoked as well. Marking this one down as a success. It’s refreshing to shoot something different for a commission. A lot of my paid work seems to be the same thing over and over again, so it’s fun to take my gear down to an interesting location and shoot something unique. I even learned a few new tricks a long the way (improv is the best education).
Hope you’re all well, and thanks for reading!
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