This spring, The Richards Group reached out to Austin-based photographer Amy Mikler about a project for Omni Hotels & Resorts. It was initially supposed to take place last fall in Florida, but halfway through planning Amelia Island was hit with a hurricane. Though the damage was minimal, it created just enough chaos to push the shoot back until April.
The delay allowed Omni time to think about what else needed to be accomplished, and they decided to add a two-day social media shoot alongside regular production. Come springtime, Omni had a better idea of what they needed, and Amy was ready to tackle the assignment.
The goal of the campaign was to create new images that showed off Omni’s recently-renovated hotels and resorts. In the previous photos, some of the clothing was out of style, interiors showcased old furniture and design, and other shots had merely been overused. With new ad campaigns on the horizon, fresh images were a must. Seeing as the agency and Omni personnel were already on site, it made sense to integrate a social media shoot into the regular production schedule.
The pre-planning process went over well with only a few hiccups along the way. For the creative call, the property helped out and supplied Amy and her team with a defined shot list, scouting images, and a schedule for the tide and sunrise/sunset. The agency’s Art Director, Sarah Brandon, then walked them through the Omni Photo Shoot Guide so they would be familiar with brand wording as well as how the images would be laid out. For the social shoot, they did another creative call and only had a half day to scout, which was a daunting task given the enormity of the 1300-acre resort and length of the shot list.
All of the pre-planning paid off in the end! The schedule was jam-packed and entailed a variety of shots, so Amy was grateful for all of the advance preparation. On days where they were shooting at the resorts, they worked from dawn to dusk in order to capture sunrise and sunset.
The social shoot was a run and gun type production, with all hands-on deck and gear kept to a minimum so the team could cover more ground. Amy had a digital tech/assistant who handled the time lapse shots, allowing her to be elsewhere to capture sunrise and sunset. They also split the creative personnel so the drone photographer could work separately and everything could be captured. Altogether, the project resulted in 15 property selects and 150 images, cinemagraphs, and video clips for social media.
Like usual, I found myself wedged into all sorts of corners and situations… I was sweating in a bee suit, hanging off docks, lying on a busy lobby floor, waist deep walking in the ocean to capture models walking along the beach with the resort in the background, and sitting and shooting on a paddle board while my assist paddled.
With such a large production, there were a few obstacles along the way. Luckily the weather was clear and sunny every day, which isn’t a given during Florida’s spring rainy season. The downside of the unusual dryness was that area wild fires affected some of the shots. Thankfully, the smoke didn’t blow in for every sunrise and sunset that week, so Amy grabbed some beautiful skies when she saw them.
The reaction to the images has been excellent. Amy was blown away by some of the responses she received and very proud as well. Sarah reached out to Amy after the shoot with very kind remarks.
Amy, I got the drive yesterday and am sifting through everything today. They look amazing! I am so excited to show the team and client all of these.
Amy’s favorite part of working with Omni was how much the experience reminded her of shooting for travel publications early on in her career. Though there were specific images she was responsible for capturing, there was a greater sense of freedom that allowed her to gravitate towards what was inviting and record some really beautiful sceneries. She also enjoyed collaborating with the agency and was impressed by the hardworking nature of the team. Since this project, Amy has estimated on another Omni property shoot that is coming up in the fall and hopes this relationship will continue to grow.
See more of Amy at amymikler.com!