Making Photos in a Socially Distant World

Written by lookthinkmake | September 17, 2020


We’re lucky that with everything that has changed over these last few months, the power of a great photograph remains. The process of making that photo come to life is a different story these days.

Early this year lookthinkmake began conceptualizing a new campaign for a long standing client, The Crossvine, a master planned community in Schertz, TX. As the community has grown so have the stories and interactions among the residents and their friends and families. More than just homes, this community creates a place where memories are made and lives are formed. We knew photography was going to play a large part in telling this client’s story well.

As we finalized the campaign with our client, the pandemic brought production planning to a halt. We began reworking our process to make sure the outcome would remain impeccable while keeping our team and partners safe throughout.

For us, there are some key differences to focus on when planning a photoshoot/production during this pandemic.

Measure twice a lot, cut once.

It was important for us to build a great rapport with our photographer, Karl Hebert, and make sure the vision was well established. In addition to zoom calls beforehand we built a progression of visual decks—from moodboards to rough comps—in order to make sure each member of the team was on the same page.

(Initial inspiration moodboard for campaign photography.)

Planning and shoot prep was more important on this shoot than ever before as we weren’t going to be as able to be in the same place to work through shots or make on the fly adjustments.

Through communication that began early and happened often, we were able to have full trust in our photographer by the time we were ready to shoot.

Everyone is a producer.

As a small agency, we’re used to covering multiple roles on a project. That was never more true than when working with a remote team to concept and execute a photoshoot. Given the style and content of the photos, sourcing props became one of the most complicated endeavors.

Since we couldn’t meet together to organize and shop in person as much to source materials, we created a Google Sheet inventory for each scene. We then shared this list with our entire agency so that individuals could safely drop off any items they had at our currently unoccupied office. Sourcing from inside the agency meant less time needing to shop in person or crossing our fingers with online ordering.

(Rough comps provided to photographer.)

Additional time was built into our prep schedule so that our creative team would work in shifts to review and build the initial iterations of each photo.

A few days before shoot day, we safely dropped off rough photo comps, a prioritized & itemized list of shots, and highly organized boxes of props. From art-director to account manager to photographer, each person knew the constraints and necessities for the project.

The power of group text.

When it came to the day of the shoot, our fastest and most reliable tool for rapid feedback was a pair of clearly labeled group chats. We had an internal chain for our remote team to work through feedback and a chain directly with the photographer to give consolidated feedback that had already worked its way through our agency. This made it clear when we could move on something vs. when we were still hashing out alterations.

The final shoot was separated into sections so that team members knew when to be on call. Quick and accessible tools like markup in the photos app allowed for succinct and clear back-and-forth with the photographer and our art director.

(Day of shot changes and small alterations were all made over group text.)

Thanks to the copious preparation, communication, and organization, the shoot was as seamless as any other that we’ve done in person.

The final result shows that even when we can’t be in the same space together, through thoughtfulness and collaboration, it is still possible to bring humanity and warmth to the work.

More about The Crossvine’s new campaign

With hundreds of homeowners and families living in The Crossvine, acres and acres of green space, and countless community events and initiatives, this community is Schertz has grown far beyond being just a real estate development. The extraordinary everyday moments of each resident bring new life to The Crossvine.

Beyond what the incredible development team has built at The Crossvine, each resident brings a unique perspective and their own hobbies and interests in order to build a complex and beautiful life. We want to honor the way that people live at The Crossvine and raise up the personal stories of our community in a way that feels authentic to the residents.

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