Adventure and lifestyle photographer Mark Skovorodko had no problem switching gears for a recent shoot with two of Toyota’s most popular models. The Los Angeles photographer typically shoots people-focused projects, but he was excited to kick up some dirt and get rolling with Toyota to work with the 4Runner SUV and the Tacoma truck.
Toyota found Mark last summer through his online portfolio and thought he would be a great fit to feature several of their vehicle lines.
The team at Toyota asked if I could come in to their Los Angeles headquarters to meet in person. We had a great meeting and once my shoot schedule opened up at the end of the year, we reconnected and began discussing details for this shoot.
While the initial plan was to just feature one product line, they decided to expand the scope of the project to include two different vehicle models.
Initially we were planning on shooting just the 4Runner, but soon after we dove into conversations about the project, the team at Toyota decided to expand the scope of the shoot to include the Tacoma as well.
Mark and Toyota worked together to plan separate concepts for the 4Runner and the Tacoma. They based the 4Runner shoot off of the SUV’s slogan, “Keep It Wild” and incorporated natural environments that centered around outdoor recreation such as surfing, backpacking, and camping.
For the Tacoma images, Toyota was looking for something that captured the motion of the truck, and Mark wanted to do this by highlighting the substrates they were shooting on. Because of the difficulty of some of the Tacoma driving scenarios (plowing through water, whipping around in the sand dunes, drifting out in the high sierra) a professional precision driver, Ryan Millen, was brought on to ensure they could get the best shots.
Preproduction came with its own set of challenges, as Mark was not able to scout locations in advance due to short lead times and the distance of each shoot location from Los Angeles. Planning around daylight was also a big concern, as Mark and his team needed to create a schedule that would allow them to maximize their ideal light windows over the three-day, 700-mile shoot.
With months of planning in place, Mark was able to execute the shoot in top form, keeping his attention alert to solving new obstacles that presented themselves through the days. A fog bank rolled in near the end of the first day of shooting, so Mark changed up his schedule and shot images focused on the vehicle’s headlights, taking advantage of the fog. The snowpack became too thick to navigate at the top of one of the truck trails, so the crew turned back and found an alternative location that would let them pull off a similar set of images to what had been planned.
The response to the images so far has been very positive. Mark has gotten feedback from Toyota saying the finished work is “stunning” and “exactly what we had envisioned.”
Mark is looking forward to continuing to build a positive working relationship with Toyota and collaborating with their team in the future. Working on the automotive project has also refreshed Mark’s work, and he’s enjoyed the shift from human-centric outdoor activities.
I’m excited to continue expanding the scope of my outdoor adventure niche towards shooting vehicles. Additionally, I’ve gotten an itch recently for shooting aircraft as well, so I’m hoping to expand my current body of work even further in the coming year.