Wednesday March 28th, 2012
Bruton Stroube Studios photographer, Brandon Voges, recently completed a fun assignment for Budweiser and Cannonball Agency. Loving the photos, I got in touch with Brandon to learn more about the shoot including where the concept came from, what challenges were involved and how much beer was really involved…
- Maria Luci
This assignment was for Budweiser through Cannonball. How did they find you?
Cannonball is one of our longstanding clients. They do great work and are definitely a fun group to work with.
How was the concept presented?
This job was to shoot a series of billboards for the Budweiser “Grab Some Buds” campaign, geared toward summer. There was one comp by the agency that described the tone for the series, and from there, we had multiple conversations with the creative director about what the goals for the shoot were. The big idea was to capture that moment when things are just about to kick off and the fun is just ahead.
How much involvement did you have in the direction of the assignment?
The general concept and direction was well buttoned up before we got involved. Our job was to digest that information, and create images that fit the direction with the goal of exceeding their expectation.
How much creative freedom did you have?
I’ve worked with this particular CD before and I feel we have a really solid working relationship. He trusts my judgement and is great about giving feedback and letting me know when something is or isn’t working. This particular job was more about “feel” than about shooting to a very specific layout, so creatively, it was pretty open.
Were there any challenges with this shoot?
Challenges? (gulp) There are always challenges involved with these larger shoots. During pre-production, our team brainstorms any obstacles that may arise during the shoot so we are well-equipped from the start. We play a little bit of the what-if game but a big part of the job is becoming a problem solver and being able to swiftly diffuse those pesky “surprises.” The talent we hired for this shoot really gelled well together, almost too well. With a tight schedule, the hardest part was trying to get the laughing talent to pay attention so I could give direction without killing the spirit of the photo shoot.
Can you describe what it was like on set?
The shoot took place over two days and at four locations throughout Saint Louis. Call times were early so we could catch that great directional lighting that defined the look of the campaign. There was a nice weather system that came through town that provided us with clear skies, perfect for the summery days concept. We had to work efficiently at each location, and our assistants made that possible. They were able to pre-light multiple scenes at each location so we could move from spot to spot and cover a lot of ground. Then strike the sets, pack the truck and move to the next location. We had lunch somewhere in there… I think.
Which is your favorite image from the shoot?
One favorite image? That’s tough. I’m a big fan of the image of the group walking with the cooler and cracking up. It’s honest and hits the feeling we were aiming for.
What was the client’s reaction to the images?
The great thing about technology is that it allows me to get instant feedback from clients throughout the day. I was shooting tethered to a laptop that applied global edits like color and contrast to the images during import so the client could see the general look and feel. The benefit of shooting this way is knowing when I get that exact moment the client is looking for and if there is extra time, experimenting with a couple other ideas we come up with mid-shoot. For shoots like these where the creative is a little more open, the entire process is more organic, and that’s when the magic happens.
How are the images being used?
The primary usage was billboards, so we had to be sure each image would crop well to that aspect-ratio. The images were also added to their Budweiser library and used for other things.
Did you learn anything from this assignment?
I learn something (often plural) from every job I do and this one is no different. One thing I feel I do well is gaining a certain rapport, or trust with the talent. There is always a break-in period at first where the expressions may not feel genuine and with a job like this, that just will not work. This project showed me that personality with talent is such an important factor in creating believable images.
Any fun anecdotes from the shoot?
I always try to fit in a crew shot or two at the end of a shoot and have an ongoing collection on display in my studio. In one of the crew shots everyone is holding the hero cans from the cooler that our prop master made look perfect. When was the last time you saw so many people going crazy about empty beer cans?
How much beer did you actually get to drink?
I would say a half, to full booty load. Oh heck yes, we consumed quite a few frosty Budweisers at the end of shoot days. It was the perfect end to a really enjoyable shoot with great people.
View more of Brandon and the rest of Bruton Stroube Studios’ work here.
Friday March 2nd, 2012
Equipment error? Yeah right! It’s the beginning of the end.
Sexy stock photo of the day (happens to be by our own Andy Reynolds).
Live action recreation of The Fox and The Hound.
Watch for the cuddly sequel, "The Wolf and the Lab." photo by Darrell Lecorre/Canada
90′s nostalgia in full force.
Instagram is so last year…I’m all about Cinemagram now!
Find your doggelganger.
A great way to meet your new best friend! photo by Scott Witter/Los Angeles
New York Times’ launches Lively Morgue tumblr.
"Limp body in dark parking lot" just missed the creepy cut. photo by Brandon Voges/Bruton Stroube Studios/St Louis
Cheesy typography humor.
- Maria Luci
Tuesday November 1st, 2011
Not too long ago, one of Bruton Stroube Studios‘ regular clients, Rodgers Townsend, came to them with an interesting project for the moving company Mayflower Transit. The Rodgers Townsend team had just one question for the BSS crew, could they build an automotive wind tunnel in a tractor trailer? The answer? “Hell yes!”
Once they were enthusiastically on board and back in the studio, the Bruton Stroube crew looked at each other and said “whaaaa?” However, have no fear, the BSS crew can handle just about anything and are known for their creative problem solving skills. So, photographer Brandon Voges and their team of producers got to work brainstorming ways to make the Rodgers Townsend view come to life.
It’s always fun to work on a good concept. The idea was interesting and the challenge of making it come to life was our favorite part. They are a very passionate and talented group—also a blast to hang out with— so figuring this out together with them was a real treat.
The Mayflower campaign concept was based on moving someone’s career as opposed to the individual person. After some discussion, the BSS crew agreed that the images needed to feel photo-realistic but have a bit of a fantasy flair. To accomplish this, they decided to create the images with a combination of shooting the Mayflower trucks on location, building sets back at the studio, and a pinch of 3D magic from Roger Stagner, Bruton Stroube’s in house digital artist.
Together, the team drew concept drawings and which Roger then turned their ideas into 3D models. However, the 3d modeling wasn’t the only fun aspect to the shoot, they also got to blast three leaf blowers at the talent, fill their studio with fog, and draw on a car.
The BSS team was kind enough to share some behind the scenes shots along with some of their renders. Check it out along with the finished product:
Both the client and the entire BSS team were thrilled with the results. The Rodgers Townsend creatives have already come back to the studio for another project.
You can check out more of Bruton Stroube Studio’s work on their website, www.brutonstroube.com.
- Maria Luci
Monday August 29th, 2011
Photographer Brandon Voges of Bruton Stroube Studios will take any excuse to photograph his friends doing weird things. A few years back, he put together a series called Shakey Face and had been itching to try something similar ever since. Brandon decided that he wanted to create another set similar to Shakey Face that would hold the viewers attention longer than the average portrait. With this in mind, he came up with the idea to hang and shoot his subjects upside down but print the images right side up, then make large scale prints to show all the nitty-gritty, upside-downy details. “I wanted to emphasize that odd, glitch-in-the-matrix feeling you get when you viewed them. The weirder the feeling, the better. I debated doing the upside down part along with having the people scream to really make it intense, but decided against it, for fear of someone popping blood vessels in their face.”
Once he had the concept in mind, Brandon set out to make it a reality. The biggest challenge, of course, was how to hang his subjects upside down…safely. It took some thought and testing but the Bruton Stroube crew was there to help,
Our building manager and set builder suggested modifying an inversion table, the type you use for spine problems. We connected that to a 1/2 ton winch and secured that the the trusses in my studio. I, of course, had to take the maiden voyage. It was a little scary, but felt fantastic on my back.
Now that the rig was set and the studio filled with snacks and beers, Brandon invited his friends to come eat, drink, and be hung upside down.
Since I had done a similar project a while back, some of the people were aware of it and were excited to be involved. I essentially sent out an email with the concept and pleaded for people to come be a part of it. I think in the end, I shot around 30 people over a course of a few days. I was very fortunate to have such willing participants.
Brandon soon realized that lighting a subject upside down was a bit of a trick. He also found that, “directing people backwards is one thing, but upside down and backwards a whole new ball game. Nobody passed out or threw up though, that was a definite plus.” He titled the set Upside Downy.
Here’s a little video of how they did it:
After the shoot was finished and the beers downed, Brandon got the series together and put on a showing at a local tavern. There they built an Upside Downy Photo Booth so attendees could have their portrait taken in a similar fashion. The photos were displayed in real time on screens around the venue. “People really seemed to enjoy it. The turnout was amazing, it was a great time. It was also hilarious to see people standing next to their own portraits. Some of them looked like completely different people…or a creepy, bloated zombie version.”
Brandon’s subjects weren’t the only ones who liked the images. They quickly became a hit throughout the blogosphere and ended up catching the eye of some creatives at Y&R Brazil. They reached out to Brandon about using some of his Upside Downy faces in one of their campaigns. Brandon happily agreed and they worked on licensing from there.
That’s not the end of the story though! The Y&R Brazil folks were so happy with Brandon’s images and the subsequent campaign, that they entered the ads in the Cannes Lions International Festival For Creativity, where it then won a Bronze Lion award.
Headline text translates to, "You have more blood than you need. Give a little."
Of course, Brandon was thrilled, especially to have a personal project win such a prestigious award.
Anytime I do a personal project, I realize how important it is to concept and create images for myself. It’s good for my brain and I should do it more often. You shouldn’t discount the business value either. If you do something that’s unique enough to get noticed and passed around, it pays for itself. We’ve had multiple inquiries from agencies about using the images for projects or pitches. Those conversations have developed into relationships with clients we’ve previously not had access to, or had never spoken with before, and have turned into real jobs. Oh, and did I mention I got to hang people upside down? It was a blast.
- Maria Luci