A bit of creativity can go a long, long way – 4,000 miles across the country to be exact.
In September of 2016, I was approached by Kerry Babb, Art Director at The Company, to discuss a client project for Waste Management, a sponsor of the Phoenix Open. It is the PGA event held annually at the TPC Course in Scottsdale, AZ.
The Company wanted a series of three images featuring one golf personality and one senior Waste Management executive on different holes of the TPC Course. This was an excellent idea, but there was a caveat.
Only one of the individuals was available to be physically present and photographed on the golf course. The other five would each need a separate shot to then be composited into the final images.
With Kerry’s layouts and our subjects’ schedules in hand, we flew to Arizona in early November to begin the process–a process which would take us from Scottsdale to Orlando, to San Diego, and back to Houston – all to bring the client’s vision to life.
The weather was glorious. We were able to scout the course upon arrival on Sunday afternoon. We noted where the sun would be for our first scheduled shoot the next day, then we settled on the location. Bright and early on Monday morning we greeted Joe Skovron, who caddies for well-known PGA Pro, Rickie Fowler (7th in the FedEx Cup rankings as of this writing).
Skovron was easy to work with on the course. Kerry, Michael Klein, my assistant, and I had the photoshoot pre-visualized and set up on one of the greens, facing east with the rising sun peeking out over the southeastern horizon to provide some golden back edge lighting.
We filled Skovron’s front side with a portable Canon flash in a small soft box and went about shooting many images in different body poses and with the club in various positions. We also did a photo of Klein standing next to Skovron and did the same with our following subjects so that we would have a size-relationship in place when compositing the final images.
Once we were confident we captured what we needed, we turned Skovron loose and spent the next hour or so in the morning light taking photos of greens we might choose to use in our remaining two shots. We also returned in the afternoon, capturing the late light, to take pictures of additional options as well.
I selected images for Kerry to view the next day, as we flew through Houston and on to Orlando where we were to meet our second golfer, top PGA swing coach, Sean Foley.
Foley, like our following subject, Waste Management-sponsored PGA pro Charley Hoffman, and all three Waste Management executives, would need to be photographed on white seamless, to be cut out and dropped onto the appropriate golf hole for their respective print pieces.
Kerry had to make her selection of each golf hole before photographing Foley and Fowler so I’d have a guideline to use in duplicating the lighting.
We rented function rooms at the hotel in Orlando close to Sean’s house, and again at the hotel in San Diego, near to Hoffman’s home. Both Foley and Hoffman were the consummate pros through the process– no pun intended.
This photoshoot was not their first rodeo; they were very easy to work with the entire engagement.
Once back in Houston, Kerry made her selections of the three subjects. In early December we visited Waste Management’s corporate headquarters in downtown Houston where we photographed CEO Jim Fish, and senior executives Barry Caldwell and Jim Trevathan.
Each time we referenced a printout of the image of either Skovron on the course at TPC, or the composited images of Foley and Fowler on the selected course backgrounds. Lighting was made to mimic the originals as much as possible.
Once the selections were made, they were composited with the appropriate subject and course shots, along with a flag I had shot in the studio. Copy was inserted to tell the story of each individual.
While The Company utilized an outside retoucher in the end, here is one of the images which I finished myself for use on my website and in my portfolio.
The original selection of Joe on the course at TPC Scottsdale:
The photo we captured downtown at the Waste Management offices of Sr. VP Jim Trevathan:
The final composite of the two images:
One of the final ads made up of four images, including the flag, subjects, and background image, complete with type:
There you have it! A behind-the-scenes look at what may seem like a simple photograph of two golfers out on the course.
This type of work is what we do to solve problems for our clients, agency or corporate. No matter the challenge, we aim to deliver successful results.