by Maria Luci
Recently, the design firm Little and Company contacted Michael Haug about an assignment for Target. Having worked with Michael before, the Little and Company team knew his energetic, colorful style would be a perfect match for the gig. After receiving the comps for the assignment, Michael happily signed on to create fun shots of Target employees and merchandise for the Target RED Magazine.
The main concept behind the shoot was to show real employees from the two specific Target stores that sell the most pillows each year. Apparently, the difference last year was by one pillow. Michael wanted to take this friendly rivalry up a notch and create high-energy shots featuring the employees with Target pillows. Creative direction for the shoot focused around this “pillow fight” with ideas including tug of war style images.
Target handled finding the subjects, which took one thing off of Michael’s plate. At the shoot’s pre-production meeting, he and the rest of the team decided on wardrobe and finalized concepts with stylist Maureen McKean who brought lots of clothing options.
The Little and Company art director gave Michael a good amount of freedom to direct and work with the talent the way he wanted. Being actual employees, and not professional models, it took a bit to loosen them up and bring their energy out, but Michael was able to do so and capture them having a great time. He adds, “I have a way of making people feel at ease; I joke around, I’m goofy. I like to laugh and that helps a lot! The makeup persona, Terra, is amazing too. She sat with them for 45 minutes and talked with them and let them know what they would be doing, this is something that’s really important as well.”
Of the shoot Michael says,
We spent one day shooting the two employees. I had my second shooter working on all the individual outline product shots, like the pillows and vases. This type of job was a little different because of the amount of product scenes. What I really appreciate is that they had the confidence in my lighting abilities to shoot the product set environments, it was a really fun and challenging assignment.
Michael and his team shot all of the pillows and vases separately and combined the shots in post, matching the light from the model shots to create one final, fun image. Michael credits Maureen with doing an “amazing job putting everything together,” and Paul, the art director, for giving him freedom to play.
Both Little and Company and Target were “ecstatic” about the final images, and the shoot has already lead to more assignments for Michael with the agency.