A few months ago, London-based photographer Jon Enoch traveled to San Francisco in search of a personal project that would help him expand his portfolio and refine his craft. Intrigued by the area’s beautiful beaches, he decided to do a series on a group of local surfers. He decided to go to a beach early in the morning, when surfers catch the best waves, and just see what happens.
Jon was very excited about this new challenge and to complete a project like nothing he had ever done before. The goal was to bring out some of the surfers’ inner personalities and display the wide variety of people who participate in this activity.
Shooting this project was not easy, as it did not follow the usual pre-planning, layout, and execution of a regular shoot. Everything happened on the spot and involved dealing with the natural elements of wind, lighting, and timing.
This was very much a suck it up and see what happens shoot, as so many elements were outside of my control.
Jon did a little research on which beaches might potentially be good locations and crudely worked out sun position. Other than that, he just rocked up at the beach and began shooting the surfers.
Working on a very long beach, and with no idea of where the surfers would return from their sessions, Jon ended up doing a lot of running. He wanted to shoot them close to the water’s edge on the wet sand and capture their expressions after emerging from the waves. In order to do this, he had to get to the surfers quickly before they traveled too far up the beach.
It’s probably the highest ‘yes for sure’ hit rate I have ever had. I think only one person politely declined but we shot about 20 people so it’s quite remarkable. I’m not sure if it’s the Californian mindset or my British accent working for me.
The biggest challenge besides running surfers down was working out the lighting. As the day progressed, the sunlight became very harsh and he had to scrim the light. The wet sand also acted as a bounce, so he just had to make sure people were roughly at the same point to get the same effect.
The reaction to the images have been very positive, and they’ve been great promotional material for Jon. This was an inspiring assignment for him, as he enjoys doing personal projects in order to help the creative mind flow. A lot of shoots take excessive planning, and there was definitely something refreshing about just going with the flow. Jon hopes to add to this project in the future by doing a series on British surfers and observing any differences between the cultures.
See more of Jon at jonenoch.com!
In Los Angeles
An art director from CAA Magazine reached out to Los Angeles-based Photographer Natasha Lee about completing a travel based project in Los Angeles. Inquiring about Natasha’s availability and interest, she expressed that she loved the feel of Natasha’s site and thought she would be a great fit for the assignment. A Canadian magazine reaching out to a photographer in Las Vegas is pretty rare, so Natasha was excited to begin the project.
For this project, Natasha was tasked with exploring the city of Las Vegas and capturing an image library that would illustrate the essence and culture of the city. In addition to the highlights on the strip, the client really wanted to showcase life off the strip. Natasha did a ton of research ahead of time and received some great tips from a few journalists she met on the trip who had been covering Vegas for over a decade.
Being adventurous, Natasha used the time slots between scheduled events to explore around on her own. Every night, Natasha processed what she shot that day and sent her previews. From there, she would get feedback about anything the art director wanted to see more or less of in order to round out the story.
The shoot itself did not have too many challenges, as the main task was to make sure they were capturing the correct locations and enough content for the client to choose from.
I loved shooting assignment. It was pretty dreamy in that I got to shoot documentary style as I explored the city on my own.
Natasha was encouraged to seek out unique under-the-radar spots, which is her favorite thing to do. She also chatted with a wide range of people in the process since she needed to shoot local portraits and get releases.
This process was definitely a bit nerve wracking, approaching strangers, but I ended up having so many enjoyable conversations with locals and people passing through which was an awesome experience.
The feedback she received has been nothing but positive. The client really enjoyed Natasha’s bold work style and dedication to exploring on her own, and they look forward to working with her again in the future.
See more of Natasha at bynatasha.net!
A few months back, Lululemon’s team in Vancouver reached out to Toronto-based photographer Nick Wong about shooting a project for their sporting apparel line. Each store brings on ambassadors to help represent their brand, and this particular shop was impressed by Nick’s work and creative style. In this case, with their new wing being added to Yorkdale Shopping Center in Toronto, they decided to move to a bigger space and add brand new imagery.
The client’s intent was to use the photos in larger-than-life light boxes around their store, with additional images to be rotated in throughout the year. Since the apparel can be used for athletic activity as well as casual wear, Nick was tasked with showcasing the various conditions in which this clothing could be worn and demonstrate the flexibility.
Pre-planning went pretty smoothly, as the client was very helpful and hands-on with the whole project. With the Lululemon team based out west, Nick dealt mainly with the local Yorkdale team to coordinate and plan each day of shooting. Given the visual direction they wanted to move in, they decided to shoot at sunrise and sunset each day. This was one of the only big challenges, but Nick declared that it was totally worth it.
The locations we used were absolutely stunning and our ambassadors really gave it their all when I asked them to work up a true, honest to god sweat.
Besides this challenge, the shoot itself was pretty efficient. The whole crew was fantastic, the weather panned out perfectly, and the locations were great. Nick relished working with Lululemon, and he was proud of the finished product they were able to create.
I loved collaborating with the Lululemon team, they really gave me a lot of creative freedom to bring West Coast tones, colors, and feel to an East Coast vibe and aesthetic.
The client was thrilled with the work, and Nick has received great reactions from everyone who has seen it. The images are now up in the beautifully designed Yorkdale store and occasionally appears on their social media. With both parties so happy with the finished project, they plan on working together again soon.
See more of Nick at nickwongphoto.com!