second and montana started out with my need to put my production services under one umbrella in order to start contracting resources around the globe. Before this time I was working for a production house in Seattle. I had switched from being a jack of all trades at a boutique food photography studio where I handled everything from shooting my own clients, assisting the main shooter, scouting, prop sourcing, catering, booking, dishes, and taking out the trash to the production house in order to broaden the projects I was getting to work on. I really enjoyed doing imagery and the studio environment was awesome, but I wanted to take on larger jobs and work that was more lifestyle oriented instead of table top imagery.
At the production house I was hired to assist several senior producers and help them price, plan, and find the necessary resources under budget to accomplish any type of imagery needs. Because of the structure I was the only junior producer and it gave me the opportunity to work on all of the projects at once instead of one or two which each senior producer handled at a time. Small jobs that the other producers weren’t interested in or weren’t available for because of travel eventually slid down towards me and I began nurturing my own clients and opportunities there.
One early opportunity was for a client I had remembered wanting some skyline imagery of Los Angeles, but the visibility had been too poor to get the shots they had wanted to invest in. The client had decided to look into other options, but I had been intrigued because skyline imagery seemed visually appealing to me. I started watching the weather in Los Angeles and saw that it was expected to receive rain for two days in a row after a long time without much precipitation. I convinced my boss to give me budget to go down over the weekend on my own time to find and capture skyline opportunities that we could show the client and convince them to use and thus hire us to do the other skyline imagery they wanted. If they didn’t want the imagery we could license it because we knew the shots weren’t available otherwise the client would have begun there.
We traipsed all over the hills to the east of Los Angeles and got some incredible imagery which the client happened to like. From there it was aerials over Dubai and NYC and other clients started taking notice of the imagery. I started doing jobs for higher end hotels to capture properties during the magic hour. It steam rolled further into some urban landscapes for a solar power company in San Francisco, which led to shooting solar farms all over California, which led to shooting solar farms all across the globe. Which led to shooting for companies that had multiple projects happening simultaneously in different places around the globe. I had to admit I was really in a whirlwind when I realized I was standing on the roof of a house five hours outside of Perth, Australia. Definitely a surreal feeling. It seemed about as far away as you could go to capture an image and the local scenery was so foreign to me. I somehow managed to turn those first few gigs into a specialty and I’ve always really enjoyed the opportunity to capture landscape and architectural type settings.
In the above video you can see some of those many opportunities I’ve had on six of the seven continents in over 40 different countries and hundreds of cities across the globe capturing and producing imagery. I’ve been assisted by some great people that really made things easier and taught me a lot along the way. There have been so many clients and crew that have gone the extra mile to make sure we get the very best imagery. Whether that means heading to the location at 3am, staying till way past midnight, translating with local contacts and talent to get the most out of people, making that extra phone call to see if we can get better access, traveling hours upon hours while maintaining a great demeanor, and the myriad of little things it takes to help get just the right images and still enjoy the process.
Many of these projects are quite fascinating such as the Solar Impulse project second and montana tracked across the globe as they vied to become the first airplane to circumnavigate the globe without using a single drop of fossil fuel. Yumi the robot, high speed trains, arenas in Cape Town for the World Cup, and all sorts of other fascinating opportunities. Thanks so much for all the opportunities and for those who contributed. Let me know if you have a need to capture this kind of work or need advice on best practices and approaches.