Before I was a producer at Wonderful Machine, I was a commercial photographer in Los Angeles for about 12 years. Though originally from the east coast, I was a natural convert to the relaxed SoCal lifestyle. The sunshine, the beaches, the music, and my camera combined for an unforgettable experience.
One of my favorite repeat clients is the apparel brand Life Is Good (LIG). Their genial, relaxed personality has been a perfect fit for my spontaneous style of photography. The LIG team is always a pleasure to collaborate with, and I’m lucky to call them one of my clients over the years.
When I heard from my friends at LIG this past winter that they wanted me to bid on their Spring/Summer campaign, I was thrilled to reconnect with their creative team and the prospect of trading the frigid temperatures of Philly for the palm trees of southern California.
I worked with Wonderful Machine executive producer Craig Oppenheimer to put together an estimate based on their creative brief. Craig and I collaborated with L.A. producer Wendy Stenzel to help estimate the costs for local talent, casting, locations. The concept was a multi-location shoot to showcase their new line, so we had to think about the logistics and costs of eight talent photographed over two shoot days, at locations including a pool house, a beach, and a camping scene in a forest or mountain location near L.A.. I had creative calls with the client to inform the production needs as we put together the cost estimate.
We planned for a two-day shoot in the Los Angeles area with an additional Tech Scout day to visit locations, advise on the shots needed at each location, and determine the time needed for each scene within the client’s shot list. We took into account sunrise and sunset, company move times, and art department set-up at each location.
Once we were awarded the project, Wendy was instrumental in everything from booking hotels, securing the best glam team, managing the pile of paperwork for each location, and ordering the finest of gluten free vegan catering. (Everyone in L.A., and the client, is vegan! I was too for nine years, but currently love cheese too much.)
Our Tech Scout team included me (photographer), Producer, 1st Assist, Props Stylist, and the client team. The 4-person client team flew in from Boston; I flew in from Philadelphia.
The shoot was pre-COVID, and we like an environmentally friendly set and did not provide any single use plastic, nor straws, with crafty or catering. We had a filtered water dispenser on set and asked everyone to bring a refillable bottle. I’d love to see every production do this (once COVID’s over).
The shoot went smoothly and ended up being a huge success. We wrapped during sunset over the Pacific on Sycamore Cove Beach in northern Malibu.
This was a phenomenal production that came together with ample amounts of planning, and everyone got along swimmingly on set.
On Day 1, we spent the day on a ranch location in Calabassas, which is a small city west of Los Angeles. There were 4 talent and an 8 A.M. call time, with the first shot occurring at 10 am. It was a sunny, gorgeous day — ideal conditions. We were able to shoot the entire day until sunset. During the shoot there were 7 different set-ups with groupings of 1-4 talent in each scene. After we wrapped talent at sunset, we were able to get a few envionomental images in the twilight.
On Day 2 the first location was a rented house in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. Again there were 4 talent and an 8 A.M. call time. The house had a pool, palm trees, and a contemporary interior. We also shot on permitted street locations within the neighborhood. After these images were complete, we moved to the Sycamore Cove in Malibu. Throughout the day we had 8 different set-ups with 1-4 talent in each scene.
Photographer: Bryan Sheffield
Producer: Wendy Stenzel
1st Assist/ Lighting Tech: Jacob Rushing
2nd Assist: Kevin Pershin
Digitech: Thomas Mishima
Hair / MU: Lauren Lancaster
Wardrobe Stylist: Margaux Solano
Prop Stylist: Emily Baker
Prop Stylist Assist: Gabriela Alonso
PA: Seth Joiner
PA: Tommy Petroni
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