Before pursuing a career as a professional photographer, sports, fitness, and lifestyle photographer Mike Tittel worked as a wilderness educator, leading teens on adventure-based trips. Photography became a way he could share his experiences and passion for the outdoors with others. Naturally, his professional photography focuses on outdoor adventure and sports.
Mike’s photography fits into two categories: one, authentic, documentary shots that focus on nature and iconic locations, and two, high-production-value sports and fitness work requiring creative collaboration and a team effort. Recently, Mike combined these two styles for his second assignment with the outerwear company, Columbia Sportswear.
After regularly receiving Mike’s email promos for some time, the Columbia team picked up the phone and gave Mike a call for an assignment. Liking the work he created for the first project, they came back again for seconds. For this second assignment, Mike was given two creative briefs to follow. “Some of the information spoke to the brand as a whole, plus I received creative direction that was specific to the project and products featured.” Other than this direction though, Mike was able to choose his own scenarios and locations. According to him,
We photographed so many different scenarios that the project just required a lot of creative diversity in general. We shot for two LONG days in the Moab area of Southern Utah. Authenticity and connectivity were very important to Columbia. We capitalized on ideal light and inspiring locations. Images were naturally lit, augmented only with reflectors and diffusers.
The shoot days went smoothly, an outcome that Mike attributes to his great team,
As with all projects of this production level, it’s a good reminder that you’re only as good as your talent and crew. Group dynamics on this shoot were really good. We definitely put in long, hard days and I asked a ton of the models and crew, but we had loads of fun along the way. That’s super important to me and is critical to success on a project like this.
So which is Mike’s favorite shot from the two days? It’s this one:
He explains why: “To me, it represents everything we were striving for—authenticity, inspiring location, and great light.”
Mike’s images are being used in Columbia’s retail signage and point-of-purchase (POP) displays in their stores and retailers worldwide. They’re also on display on Columbia’s website.
Asked how the client reacted to the final delivered images, Mike replied,
I don’t want to speak on behalf of Columbia, but given the ways I’ve seen the images used and the fact that I’ve been talking about future projects with them leads me to assume they’re happy with our work.