Southern California-based commercial lifestyle photographer Erik Isakson has over twenty years of experience in the industry working for clients such as Nike, Chevrolet, and Sports Illustrated.
In recent years, Erik has been working for Samsung as both a photographer and producer, providing images for a series of projects across many different industries. His assignments have included photographing images for their website and social media in a variety of business settings, including construction, manufacturing, and medical, as well as launching products such as phones, tablets, and monitors.
I have always photographed people in lifestyle scenarios and this series of shoots for Samsung has been particularly interesting as we’ve explored the possibilities of showcasing the various products in diverse work environments.
Erik has been working with Samsung for the last four years thanks to his longstanding relationship with Truth & Advertising — focusing on their business sector including firefighters, police, architects, construction, small business owners, corporate banking scenarios, doing business on the go and at home.
We treat these more as “image library” shoots for Samsung, mostly centered around adding content for the website and social media and less about a particular product launch. There have been recent shoots where we were shooting their latest phones and signed NDA’s beforehand. But for the most part what we shoot isn’t top secret and may already be out on the market.
All of the images were shot between LA and San Diego, with a typical shoot consisting of Erik, the Creative Director Shawn Gill, photo assistant, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, and talent. They strive to keep the mood light on set and to provide the talent very precise direction, including the technique for holding the phone and stylus at the perfect angle to properly illustrate its features and capabilities.
Each shoot is about 4-5 hours tops. We jump into a location and shoot like crazy for the specific need and then move on to the next shot. It’s been a fun challenge to have all sorts of ideas thrown at me and then be able to turn them into a successful shoot.
The days are filled with a variety of adventures for Erik and his crew, including the use of rented police cars and uniforms, and working inside homes in the Hollywood Hills just a couple of doors down from Miley Cyrus’ home. Each project involves a host of moving parts, but Erik is able to pull everything together, no matter how tight the timeline is, to locate a factory, cast talent, obtain permits, and gather crew.
One very memorable shoot started before sunrise photographing a firefighter with several fire engines, then photographing EMTs in an ambulance at another location, and finally making it to downtown LA to photograph a rented police car and policeman at dusk. It made for a long day with a lot of logistics, permits and moving parts, but it ended up being a very successful and rewarding day!
At one particular home in the Hollywood hills, we shot just a few doors down from Miley Cyrus’ home. She was making a music video in her backyard, so we had a fun soundtrack during our shoot!
Working inside offices and other indoor locations, Erik often runs into issues with lighting and space, but with so much experience under his belt, he’s a pro at finding solutions to any issue.
What ends up appearing on the screens is often added in post, so Erik’s main concern is making sure the device provides a natural-looking glow on the talent’s hands or face.
If we’re working outside, we almost always shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon so we can really get that nice light glow. This requires us being totally dialed in on what we want so we are ready when the light is perfect.
These shoots have helped me become much more resourceful – finding great locations and talent within budget and working with a great team of assistants and stylists to make the client’s vision come to life. The experience has also taught me the importance of capturing great images in-camera, and then enhancing in post production as needed.
See more of Erik’s images on Instagram.