When outdoor equipment brand Therm-a-Rest needed a photographer to take on a week-long kayaking shoot, they sought out Alaska-based photographers Matt and Agnes Hage. With several new Therm-a-Rest products launching in the spring, they wanted a new campaign to show off their products in an authentic outdoor setting. Because the gear was more appropriate for car camping than backpacking, they came up with the idea of an extended sea kayaking trip to produce the shoot.
The path we chose was the 100-mile paddle from the Alaskan harbor town of Whittier across Prince William Sound to Valdez. We scheduled a week to do the trip and shoot.
Matt and Agnes have specialized in trip-based shoots like this since they began working with outdoor brands ten years ago, making them the perfect fit for Therm-a-Rest. There are a few major differences between a trip-based shoot and a regular location shoot, making specialists like Matt and Agnes necessary for the job.
They differ from more conventional photo shoots in the sense that you cast a team of characters, plan out a journey, schedule about twice the time you would normally need for a shoot, and then just go.
One of the most important factors when planning this shoot was figuring out the actual trip from the Alaskan harbor town of Whittier, across the Prince William Sound, to Valdez. The 100-mile paddle required numerous maps and local resources, as well as consulting experienced kayakers on locations to camp and produce work. There were a few challenges along the way, including high winds and rains, big seas, harsh sun, and simply planning and executing a week-long kayaking trip with a whole team of crew.
We expected and were prepared for wind, rain, and big seas, however we actually enjoyed fine weather for the week. So fine that it was actually a challenge to shoot on the forested islands and glaciers of Prince William Sound. Bright sun creates a harsh contrast in both scenarios. When clouds moved in one day, we took full advantage of producing in the trees.
Due to strategic planning and a dedicated crew, the shoot went off without a hitch and Matt and Agnes were able to get some fantastic images for Therm-a-Rest. The images were really well received by Therm-a-Rest, and the company is using them in various forms of marketing, including on their website, in print ads, on social media, and more.
Since then, a kayaking magazine saw the work on social media and reached out to Matt and Agnes. They are now working together to run a photo spread on paddling across Prince William Sound.
After pulling off one sea worthy shoot, Matt and Agnes have some final advice for us…don’t turn your back to the ocean.
To view more of Matt and Agnes’s work, visit hagephoto.com.