February 25th, 2015
When we found out that the latest issue of imbibe magazine was releasing at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, we knew we needed to do something special. Something to show off our cocktail offering. We scheduled a brainstorm that happened to fall on National Kahlua Day. So naturally, we drank White Russians.
We thought the idea of knolling the products on the ground would be a great way to showcase our 350+ cocktail ingredients. But doing so would be tough. I realized I’d have to shoot from directly overhead.
Taking photos from above is tricky, especially when you need to shoot a number that high. This meant taking the shot at the highest point in our warehouse. I decided the easiest way to do that was with our forklift. I could adjust the height, and the forks come out an even three feet, so there’s enough room on the floor to arrange product.
Here are a few of the sketches I worked on while concepting and planning the shoot:
I used the head from my tripod and attached a bolt through the piece of wood that runs perpendicular to the forks on our lift. Once I had a plan for the rig, I hit up Home Depot.
March 4th, 2015: Building the Rig
Here’s what I ended up getting from Home Depot…
- Two 2×4’s cut into two 12” pieces
- One 2×4 cut to 36”
- One 2×8 cut to 36”
- Three 2-piece sets of corner brackets (6 total)
- Two pistol clamps
- One ⅜” threaded bolt 2” in length
- The width of the 2×8 is actually 1.5,” and the depth of the tripod head that held the bolt is ½”
After piecing all of that together with the tripod head, the rig looked like this:
The clamps held the rig in place on the forks.
Once I got the camera intact, I needed to get the product in place. I wanted one of every product in our Cocktail Ingredients category. Our warehouse is massive, and not always organized by category, so this was no a simple task. I asked our Inventory Manager, Nick Cirocco if this was possible, and he assured me it was. I needed it at the start of the next day and there it was sitting on a pallet for me later that afternoon. Our Shipping and Receiving guys know exactly where everything is at the drop of a hat. It’s amazing.
March 9th, 2015: Shoot Day
By this day, I was ready to set up for the shoot. Since I planned to have the camera over 10 feet in the air, I needed to shoot tethered (using a cable running from camera to computer which allows you to control the camera settings and shoot from the computer). I used a 15-foot USB cord to connect to my laptop, which I then connected to a secondary screen.
We were slated for a half-page vertical ad for this issue of imbibe, which is pretty hard to shoot. It’s tall, narrow, and generally just awkward. But we had to make it work. So we mapped out the size of the ad on the floor and started putting the products in place.
We did encounter one problem with this. If you put a bottle on the floor, it rolls. And we had to put a lot of bottles on the floor. Shocking, right? So here’s the solution we came up with…
We put rubber bands under each of the bottles to keep them from rolling around. Though this took some time, it actually worked really well.
Check out some of the test shots below…
And here’s the photo that we ended up using for the ad:
Here’s the final version:
So there you have it. Now you know how we roll when we have a print ad we need to shoot. Hope you enjoyed it!