We know Matt Trappe is more than capable when it comes to getting imagery of runners and running. Sports photography is one of his (many) specialties, but it played a very small part in a recent shoot the Coloradoan did for headphones manufacturer Jaybird. The photographer/director went out to L.A. to complete an assignment for the company, during which he was asked to get three sets of imagery and three different videos centered around one person. In two weeks, mind you.
They had a gap in their calendar that they needed to fill immediately, and we had just two weeks to decide, plan, shoot, edit, and deliver the final assets. The original goal was a set of images and video shorts for Instagram Stories. We knew we wanted an urban running angle but that was about the extent of the parameters.
I already had a trip planned to L.A. that following week, so I immediately reached out to any contact I knew that would know the best/most interesting stories there that I could reach out to. I pitched a handful of ideas to Jaybird and we quickly decided that Hakim would be perfect. Fortunately, he was able to carve out a full day for us, and I tacked on that extra day to my trip.
Working with Jaybird, I had planned the three stories we would focus on: music, running and mindfulness. I then shot all of the stills while directing the video portion that a friend and cinematographer would shoot alongside me.
Matt did most of the heavy lifting himself, spending a marathon extended weekend working with Hakim and learning about his backstory. Not only did Matt fulfill the request, he went above and beyond to the point where Jaybird couldn’t confine his video assets to just Instagram — they became standalone pieces of content.
We shot on a Friday, and I spent Saturday through Tuesday doing all of the photo edits plus the three video edits myself. The final content started rolling out that Tuesday. The client liked all of the work so much that we are planning more as we speak. The videos that were originally intended as IG stories content were recut to be 60s in length in 4:5 vertical to be featured as posts instead.
Fortunately for Matt, he received all the creative freedom a photographer could ask for — and took full advantage. Hakim, a supremely interesting person who seems to age like fine wine, was the ideal subject for such an impromptu project. His easy-going yet captivating demeanor made the videos must watch stuff.
The entire thing was improvised. The beauty of a great subject is that you just have to let them do their thing and get out of the way. We knew generally that we wanted to shoot three of his interests (music, mindfulness and running) and we thought ahead of time about how to shoot those in places he would naturally do each of them.
Beyond that, we just let him do his thing and we moved around him to get the most creative angles/shots we could. During the interview I asked Hakim maybe two questions and he just pulled together most incredible descriptions for us. It was magic. He feels passionate about these things so it just flows. Hakim was an incredible individual and spending time with him was the best part of the project.
But credit should go to Matt for doing this work in an incredibly truncated timeframe. The photographer was right to be proud of the work he put in across such a short period of time, noting that the efficiency of the workflow was key. It helps when it’s essentially a two-person show with a few other important role players involved.
I’m honestly just really happy to step back and look at the body of work as a whole. In one day, we were able to capture three distinct sets of stories all shot in essentially the same place with the same person. We only left his house for some of the running shots. That’s hard to do and a massive production could never pull that off in such a short amount of time.
I have known several people at Jaybird for years, and they are all great people. They seek out really authentic stories that push the edge of content in this area and that is very fulfilling to be a part of. If you look across the films and projects they have created over the years, they have partnered with some of the best in the outdoor world and then just get out of their way. That’s what every storyteller wants to work with.
See more of Matt’s work at trappephoto.com.
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