Arlington, Texas-based photographer Kevin Brown captured photos for The State Fair of Texas, an annual Dallas event that promotes agriculture, community, and of course, fun. Kevin has been covering this event for many years, so he knows just how to highlight the memorable moments that family and friends enjoy while enjoying the local culture.
What was involved in planning and preproduction?
Because this is a longtime client (I’ve done still photography work for the State Fair of Texas since 2003), the planning and preproduction work was not too extensive. We did map out a few general ideas that we wanted to photograph, but much of what ends up being captured is more opportunistic during the shoot. The State Fair of Texas is a visual feast with vast photographic possibilities. The goal was to capture the spirit of the Fair, showcase some of the offerings like food, rides, livestock, and fun. Real fairgoers were recruited for photography.
What were the shoots like?
The State Fair of Texas is the largest state fair in the country, covering 277 acres. So, covering this amount of real estate is a logistical challenge. The Fair runs 24 days, but I’m generally on-site during each year’s fair maybe 6-7 days. I shoot several thousand images. From those, select images are used for TV spots, the State Fair of Texas website, media distribution, and some on social media.
What did the creative process look like on set? How did you collaborate with the producer or stylist to create these images?
Because this is a fair experience and covers such a large area with literally thousands of people present every single day of the event, the areas that we shoot vary from minute to minute. We remain extremely mobile – often on-foot – visiting different areas of the Fair to capture images. I always have an assistant present. In some instances, it may just be the two of us covering the fair as a photojournalist might, looking for feature photo opportunities. At other times we’ll be accompanied by The State Fair of Texas’s Creative Director where we’ll target more specific items to shoot. Many shots involve people – all real Fairgoers – so we work as a team to be on the lookout for people that have the right look and energy and then we might lightly map out a shot. Color is important, and of course light is as well. I typically try to use the sun as a natural backlight if possible and then use Profoto B1s with softbox managed by an assistant as the main light, or as fill as needed.
See more of Kevin’s work on his website.