Little Rock, Arkansas-based photographer Karen E. Segrave’s latest work for Coulson Oil’s RoadRunner stores captures wholesome vignettes of “real people” shopping and working at the gas station convenience stores.
Karen previously worked with the client to photograph some of their gas stations’ exteriors to be hung in the company’s new headquarters in North Little Rock, Arkansas. She was referred to them by another photographer who didn’t shoot architectural images.
The client was happy with her work, and they reached out to her a few years later to help them launch a new brand awareness campaign. The idea was to use their employees to position the stores as an integral part of the local community.
Their Loyalty Manager liked my work from our previous project, and they liked that I was comfortable working with real people.
Coulson Oil’s Loyalty Manager sent Karen a detailed creative brief, which outlined their needs and expectations for the shoot. This allowed her to create images that aligned with the brand’s established aesthetic and focus on getting the shots that would be used for their website, social media, and marketing materials.
Initially, the client wanted photos over three full days taken in three different gas stations located miles apart in two different states, but this ended up being too costly. In the end, they settled on photographing two locations over two days and used company employees to act as models.
After calculating shooting time, hotels, mileage, usage, crew, and meals, the initial estimate was over budget, so we worked together to scale it back. We ended up taking photos for a full day in Texarkana, Texas, and Conway, Arkansas.
The company wanted to use actual employees instead of models, and they acted as both employees and as customers. Some of the talent was a bit nervous at first, but they felt at ease pretty fast, and everyone took direction very well.
During the shoot, Karen was able to transmit her photos real-time into an iPad using CamRanger so the client could see the images immediately and give feedback. This allowed Karen to make adjustments quickly, as needed.
Due to COVID-19, everyone wore masks, and the gas stations had plexiglass dividers between the customers and staff. The client wanted the images to be timeless, so each scenario was photographed twice — with and without the partitions and masks while maintaining social distancing protocols and safety precautions. The plexiglass dividers were challenging to work with as light could easily reflect off them, causing a glare, but Karen was able to adjust the lighting to get the desired images.
This was the most significant creative challenge: to light my set and not get the reflective glare in the plexiglass divider, so my assistant and I tried a few options to achieve the result I wanted.
The two-day shoot went smoothly, and post-production was kept minimal to maintain a more natural and approachable look. She did have to photoshop a few elements, including extra chicken, into the food cases to fill out the scene.
Photoshopping extra *chicken on a stick* into some of the food cases was a retouching challenge, but their chicken on a stick is damn delicious.
See more of Karen’s work at kesphoto.com
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