Lincoln, Nebraska, has a population of almost 300 thousand people with a thriving economy and high quality of life but is relatively unknown outside of Nebraska. Local photographer Kathy Plunkett’s images for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau aim to change that by shining a light on the area as a travel destination and a great place to live and work.
While there are no oceans or mountains in the city, there are great restaurants, a budding music scene, golf courses, and a few fascinating museums to visit. As part of her ongoing contract, Kathy captures the city’s architecture, landmarks, and lifestyle images of people enjoying local parks and attractions. Being on retainer gives her some flexibility and allows her to shoot both natural “spur of the moment” images as well as staged photos with talent.
It is a combination of planned lifestyle shoots, like this one, and photos of real-life moments. They give me general guidelines of things they hope to accomplish with the images, but I have creative control over how I make that happen.
Kathy’s latest images for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau showcase a young couple visiting a restaurant, playing sports, and enjoying a local park. The campaign aimed to attract a younger generation to Lincoln — the creative direction for this shoot was to capture natural images of the couple on a date.
Companies often try to expand here but sometimes have difficulty attracting young people to move here because, honestly, who has ever dreamed of moving to Lincoln, Nebraska? That is where this project comes in!
For this shoot, Kathy approached a local model named Jada about photographing her and her boyfriend out on a date. Kathy had previously worked with Jada and still followed her on Instagram when she spotted photos of the couple and decided to reach out.
I thought they would be a perfect couple to capture on a date night. Once they agreed to a shoot, I planned the date around their age and interests. This couple was a dream to work with.
Kathy’s images utilize dynamic compositions and natural light to create images that are playful and fun. While the shoot was staged and the date planned in advance, the genuine moments shared between the couple that Kathy managed to capture showcased the authentic connection between the two.
I came up with a new way to get them to authentically look and smile at something by telling Kobe to explain to Jada how he would set up their home on the street corner over there. There are definitely moments of genuine laughter with that one.
After the shoot, Kathy lightly retouched the images while keeping them as close to natural as possible and shared them with the client. The beautiful light, authenticity of the shots, and genuine connection between the couple won over the client, who prefers images that aren’t “over-produced” or too obviously staged.
The client loved all of these photos. One image went to print in a record five days after it was shot!