Multiple exterior location shoots can really test a photographer. Countless variables emerge, from uncooperative weather to schedule changes to … in the case of Atlanta-based photographer Joe Boris, an early-morning car crash.
It was still pitch black and traffic was heavy on the eight lanes of Highway 78E outside of Atlanta. We were ‘at speed’ in the curb lane getting ready to exit two miles ahead [and]…
The plan was for Joe to shoot five locations across the Atlanta metro area in one day to capture “real-world portraits of [Wolverton & Associates] engineers on-site surrounded by the fruits of their labors.” Inclement weather and logistical complications led Joe and his team to scrap two of those locations and push that part of the shoot to another day. Then, early in the morning on the second day, this happened:
…I saw a car weaving in-and-out of the lanes behind us, overtaking us at a high rate of speed. I knew it could never make it through the narrow gap behind me, so I expected to see it brake hard behind us. Instead, it suddenly disappeared from my rearview mirror, and an instant later it was crashing into my front fender. Then, the car spun in front of us at 80-ish mph before sliding off the roadway to my right, where it struck the guardrail and immediately bounced back into my rear quarter panel.
Alright, time for some context. Wolverton & Associates, an Atlanta-based engineering firm that builds infrastructure, wanted a professional photographer to help “polish [its] brand.” Rick Grimsley, a longtime friend of Joe’s, and his agency Resource Branding Atlanta won Wolverton’s approval for the project and brought Joe into the fold. The design agency then connected Joe with Wolverton and discussions commenced in November 2017. It took until May to decide on a one-day, five-site shoot. Then, after months of location scouting, the crew was ready to get started in early August.
Enter inclement weather, which pushed the shoot back about two months and split it into two days, one at the end of September and another at the beginning of October. The crash, a six-car pileup that thankfully did not result in any serious injuries, delayed the final day of the shoot until October 30. That day, Joe’s team crammed into a rented SUV and finished the project once and for all. Joe submitted the work in November 2018 – a full calendar year after discussions began. That didn’t stop Joe from reporting that Wolverton “loved our results.”
All’s well that ends well, as they say. And Wolverton needed this to end well because their online presence was in search of a facelift.
Their need was to have marketing professionals ‘polish their brand’ by showcasing their engineers and new projects on their website and in marketing materials.
[Wolverton] had never had ‘professional’ photography created of their ‘site-work(s) in progress,’ so they were excited by the possibilities. Up to that point, almost all of the images being used were shot by Wolverton employees.
Joe wasn’t the only person who was thrown for multiple loops during this process. Wolverton Marketing Manager Michelle Erste, the real MVP of this project, mapped out the entire itinerary, pulled all the strings, and pushed through myriad setbacks to get the job done.
Michelle planned our routes in-between the five sites, got approval from every different construction firm working on each different build-site, pulled a county permit and hired off-duty police to close a traffic lane for my camera position setup during twilight rush-hour (in a heavy commuting corridor), and coordinated all of the Wolverton personnel needed for each shot.
Once everything finally came together, Joe took center stage. Since Wolverton was new to the type of content Joe brings to the table, he could imbue the final product with his vision.
[It’s] always a delicate dance in educating the client as to what is possible for ‘X number of dollars,’ while hoping they will understand that ‘quality’ will serve them better than ‘quantity.’
Motion amid the still frame is added wherever that energy can enhance the emotional impact, and the serendipitous moment amid controlled chaos will always be my ideal type of image to present to clients.
Despite months of discussions and weeks of delays, everything worked out in the end. So much so, in fact, that Wolverton jumped at the chance to finance future projects.
Wolverton’s marketing division put together a 2019 budget allowing for 14 more site shoots this year, plus six more sites per year for 2020 and 2021.
Check out more of Joe Boris on his website.
Agency: Resource Branding Atlanta
Client: Wolverton & Associates
Client: Clarion Group
Partner: Ashley Agard