Sometimes you have a vision and art direction that can only come to life outside of the studio. Working with a music client, we took this album cover to the next level, literally. This off-site photo shoot involved a 48 hour camping trip in the Texas hill country, a midnight sky shoot, a 4:00AM river crossing with about $25K worth of equipment stored on our backs, a 20-story mountain ledge view sunrise session and some camera aperture/light exploration. Ultimately we got the shot, and then some - collaborated on the final design and put out an original authentic piece of work, full with behind the scenes content.
Half the beauty is how you got there.
A project this size, with many stakeholders and a lot on the line, requires some major communication on the art direction and the ability to execute. Using mood boards to help capture an idea or ideas and manage expectations is an essential tool. This doesn't mean to under deliver, it actually means to bring them along for the journey and make them part of the process. Every project has it's own set of challenges but when travel and big budgets are on the line, it is imperative to over communicate the creative direction and get complete buyin on the execution. Mood boards allow us to do that as creatives, at a very high level. Speaking to c-suite leaders, it is important to define the objective and educate on the process of the delivery. Especially when the outdoors are involved, you have to factor many variables and have a plan A, B and C to deliver exactly what was agreed to.
When dealing with a stakeholder you have to be sure all parties are aligned on the objective. Many times there are more than one, but that is the beauty of design, it has purpose. Often if positioned correctly, that purpose can solve all the objectives. The key is to communicate heavily on the front end and narrow down your objectives to the bare essentials. What is it we are trying to communicate?...and what is the vision that everyone feels is aligned with that message. Then create that vision - which is often the hardest part. When in doubt, go back to your objective, this is your creative bible on every project.
After your have defined the objective, you want to show your stakeholder how you will achieve it. You want to do the thinking for them. After all, that is what we get paid to do as creatives - we create. This is also no easy task but can be done efficiently if you show them how the visual approach will align to the core message - and most of all, stay consistent to the brand. Find out what makes the brand or product unique and make sure everything you deliver has that common thread and consistent purpose. Once you settle on the objective and delivery, the design should be a matter of connecting the dots - easier said than done.
EXPLORE THE WILD
Do whatever it takes to get the shot.
Capturing the process means so many things. It not only makes for great content but it also helps drive value recognition. Often it is not understood how creatives create and how a vision comes to life but sharing the process and helping executives visually see the impact creativity makes on the organization helps prove that design, photography and video are essential to a thriving business model that cares about messaging and how it affects the bottom line. The process is not only sharable content both internally and externally, but it also helps manifest the spirit of the team or organization. People take pride in the brands they support and seeing that brand work hard to define a culture is an absolute critical key to growing and scaling a brand far beyond it's reach.
Sometimes you discover within the unknown.
When dealing with the outdoors, you never know what your going to encounter, and often you stumble onto a discovery that will not only surprise you but also end up becoming a unique piece of material that often outperforms the original plan. On this particular photoshoot, we set out to capture the midnight sky and sunrise but we ended up capturing so much more. Ultimately this material became assets and tools that lasted and supported an entire campaign of it's own. Adding tremendous value to the overall strategy, in addition to making a significant cultural impact on the brand, going above and beyond expectations and over delivering to the stakeholders.
CREATIVE DIRECTION // Chris David Garcia
PHOTOGRAPHY // First Shooter // Alex Bierens de Haan
PHOTOGRAPHY // Second Shooter // Chris David Garcia
VIDEOGRAPHY // Alex Bierens de Haan
ART DIRECTION SUPPORT // Joe Gonzalez