CASE STUDY: Efficiency United – Advertising, Lifestyle and Stock Photography for Michigan-Based Energy Company
Client: Efficiency United
Creative Director: Christina Meisner
Art Director: Diana Maes
Photographer: Marek Dziekonski
– Real Style (talent: Anita Irons and Timothy Craiger)
– The iGroup (talent: Jan Cartwright and Jim Mika)
Puppy talent & handler: Suzanne Rondeau
Production manager: Shane Tincu
1st Assistant: David Heslip
2nd Assistant: Tim Heslip
– Neiman’s Family Market
– Rudy’s Market
Casting: Christina Meisner, Diana Maes, Marek Dziekonski (with big help from RealStyle and iGroup agencies)
Scouting: Marek Dziekonski
Brief: To work closely with CLEAResult’s team and produce and execute a photoshoot for Efficiency United that would yield advertising images to be used online, in print, and TV, consistent with their brand.
Christina Meisner reached out to me looking for a Michigan based commercial, advertising and lifestyle photographer. The goal of the campaign was to promote energy efficiency in a way that client’s target market could relate to. We were looking to accomplish 40 final images photographed over 2 consecutive days.
Christina, Diana and the Clearesults team took care of styling, props and provided me with a shotlist, marketing intelligence and customer profile. Using that information I was tasked with scouting and booking the locations, casting local talent, booking hair & makeup, puppy talent and puppy handler, catering and pulling together a crew.
We started off by scouting, looking for locations that matched the market intelligence and the shot list. We were looking for 2 locations: a new build that was framed in but had no drywall and a 1950s -1970s house with a value of about $150k. I scouted and submitted 9 locations that matched the criteria and that were available on our shoot dates. After getting feedback from Christina and Diana we settled on 3 locations:
– a new build house
– a house where most of our shooting would take place
– a third location nearby our main house that was a better fit for our laundry room shots
After we secured the locations, the next step was to find talent (including 2 puppy talent). Having good marketing intelligence really helped here. I reached out to my two favorite talent agencies in town (Real Style and iGroup) looking for 2 males and 2 females in their 50s, retired or blue collar. Armed with that information, Rose from RealStyle and Tony from iGroup promptly got back with me, each with a list of about 40 male and 40 female talent that matched the criteria and were available for our shoot. From there we quickly settled on 2 talent from RealStyle and 2 from iGroup.
Simultaneously I was in touch with a good friend – Suzanne Rondeau – who is a Copywriter and Creative Director by day and a passionate animal rescue hero by night. She casted perfect puppy talent options right out of the gate for us, all of which were rescue dogs. From there we were able to quickly select and book them for our shoot, along with booking Suzanne as our puppy talent. (side good story: both dogs got adopted not too long after the shoot).
From there I secured catering for both of our shooting days, equipment needed for the shoot and booked my grip crew: my production manager Shane and two assistants: David and Tim.
The shoot went really well and despite a very tight timeline and a few inevitable bumps along the road we were able to stay on or ahead of schedule throughout. Over the years, my team and I have found that keeping the atmosphere at our shoots very light helps us, the talent and everyone else involved keep giving their best while having a good time. This advertising photoshoot was no exception and in addition to all the usual pranks my team and I pull on each other throughout the day, Shane (my production manager) made sure to tell Polish jokes to anyone who would listen to him throughout the two days. This was a sure help as there were usually 15-16 of us (plus a puppy!) ‘stuck’ in a small house for two days.
Of course, no project is complete without a challenge and this one was no exception:
– We needed to portray winter and summer scenarios – this one was relatively easy, as we could do that with styling our talent in appropriate clothing. The harder part was when we were shooting outside because it was quite cold and our talent had to be wearing relatively light clothing.
– Our second challenge was shooting the furnace and water heater in the basement. While the furnace room had pleasing gray walls, it was a tight space and we needed to problem solve some lighting issues. The hardest room to shoot in was the water heater room as it had green/teal walls and was cluttered. To make the images more interesting we ended up putting a gelled strobe under the deck to simulate setting light outside in an effort to make the location more interesting.
Another challenge was achieving a consistent bright look while photographing in the very dark attic. I was glad to have Shane Tincu by my side, who willingly and (all things considered) cheerfully crawled around the space strategically placing our lights.
All in all it took some meticulous attention to detail of my production manager and really hard work from my assistants and the rest of the team to achieve a consistent look throughout all the series of these images.