Air New Zealand: Photo Shoot & Post Production

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: May 14, 2010

Category: Videos

This past couple of weeks I’ve been working with Air New Zealand down at Heathrow Airport on a new marketing initiative that is planned to launch at the end of this month.

Before the start of the project, as is the norm I met up with their Marketing and Design Team to discuss the finer details of what was required which was to photograph all 24 of their UK based Flight Service Managers (F.S.M.’s) in a number of set poses that that will then be used in communications to be sent out to travelling passengers and other marketing material.

Now in an ideal world it would have been great to get all the F.S.M.’s along to the studio for a couple of days but this just wasn’t going to be possible as they would all still be within their work rota so would have to photographed as they were either about to go out on a flight or were returning. So this meant we would be photographing in the Air New Zealand offices at Heathrow which as you can see from the photo below meant that the only available space was rather limited and there certainly wasn’t going to be enough room to set up an ‘infinity’ paper background with it’s two stands and cross beam. Still, such is the life of a photographer and very rarely is a ‘situation perfect’ so the name of the game is being adaptable.

The Set Up: Really simple this one (more out of necessity)

To light the subjects I positioned a 60″ Reflective Umbrella and Nikon SB800 Speedlight camera left. Now this did a great job of lighting the subject and from the positioning provided enough light on the background which was a Lastolite Collapsible Backdrop with a white sheet attached to the bottom to allow for full length shots. A little extra light was needed under the subjects’ chins so the solution…bounce another Nikon SB800 (not literally) off the white sheet on which the FSM was standing.

The Result
Picture ‘A’ on the left shows you an example of the resulting ‘out of camera’ image and Picture ‘B’ on the right shows you what the images are like once the F.S.M. has been removed from the background for use in the marketing material.

Here’s a short video that I’ve put together to show you in ‘double time’ the editing that was needed in Photoshop; first making use of CS5’s revamped ‘Refine Edge’ and then adding a little contrast using my favourite technique using the image’s RGB Channel. Of course removing the subject from the background has always been possible in Photoshop but with the arrival of CS5 the time to do so was massively reduced.

With regards to the use of CS5’s Refine Edge here’s a video tutorial put together by my good friend A.J. Wood who runs Media Cats; a Digital Media Training Company and Authorised Adobe Training Centre based in Dallas, Texas:

The marketing initiative is set to ‘Go Live’ at the end of this month so once Air New Zealand’s Design Team have put together the material I’ll be sure to post up a sample of the end product here on the blog.

Huge thank you to everyone at Air New Zealand, in particular Tim Kitching, Tracey-Ann Moore and Graham McCutcheon for somehow managing to co-ordinate the seemingly impossible task of ensuring all 24 F.S.M’s were available in between flights. Now all we need to do is sort out those 2, 1st Class tickets to New Zealand I’ve been meaning to talk to you about and we’re all done 🙂

Any thoughts, questions or comments as always I’d love to ‘her’ them so feel free to make use of the ‘Comments’ section below.

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  1. Noel

    Morning Glyn,

    great shot and great video… just need to get CS5 now! But seriously, its always good to see a soluton for a situation that is thrown up at you with no noitce; great improvisation with the white towel. I am looking forward to see what they do with the finished photographs.

    And again, thanks for sharing the knowledge mate,

    All the best

    • Glyn

      @Noel…Thanks for commenting mate and yeah I’ll make sure I post up a sample of what the images are being used for as soon as I get hold of some.

      Cheers, Glyn

  2. David Kelly

    Hi Glyn, glad the shoot went well.

    Ingenuity & adaptability in a photographer is a skill I really admire. Sure it’s great that a photographer can work in their own studio set-up and create great shots with all their paraphernalia, but I really appreciate those who can be presented with a situation that tests their ingenuity to use what resources are presented to them – their MacGyver skills so to speak (

    Thanks for sharing the video from AJ Wood – you gotta be impressed with the new Refine Edge improvement in CS5.



    • Glyn

      @David Kelly…Thanks for the comments mate. Being someone who generally prefers to shoot out on location as opposed to in the studio, having to be adaptable is an every day thing but serves to make the shoot that much for interesting 🙂

      Glad you liked A.J’s video. I’ve just posted a YouTube Follow Friday with a link to A.J.’s YouTube page; a great guy, great friend and very talented. Oh by the he mentioned he may be looking at coming over to the UK to run some workshops later this year so I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  3. Keith Hammond

    Another simple setup and stick men info, like it. Have you handed over the images so their people will make up the ads / promo material?
    Good to see how its done on the mac, i thought damn that Glyn is quick, all that training was not wasted, then i see you ran it at 2x 🙂
    Keep em coming mate.
    Regards Keith

    • Glyn

      @Keith…Hi Mate. I’ve a few hours of post to do on the images before I hand them over next week to Air NZ’s design Team when they’ll then be adding them into new marketing material and communications/emails to customers. I’ll post up some samples of the final work here on the blog as soon as I have some.

      Cheers and all the best to you,
      Glyn 🙂

  4. Rick Wenner

    Hey Glyn,

    Congratulations on the success of this shoot. You were able to make the best of a “tight situation” and come out with great results. Good job man! Looking forward to seeing what the airline creates for their marketing materials with your photos.

    All the best,

    • Glyn

      @Rick…Thanks Buddy. Certainly a testing shoot at first but I guess it made it interesting…lol 🙂
      Cheers, Glyn

  5. David Kelly

    @Rick – re: your comments about the airlines marketing material, I’m interested in knowing what that the lady in Glyn’s shot above will be pointing to in the finalised work. Maybe we should run a book on what it’s going to be? 😉

  6. Rick Wenner

    “This is not one of the 4 exits on this airplane. This is an overhead compartment for your carry on. Use accordingly.”

  7. Noel Hannan

    ‘That is what a volcanic ash cloud looks like’

  8. David Kelly

    “And as you can see my Photoshop Surgeon, Dr. Dewis, got rid of my bingo wings in a small procedure with just a few sweeps and clicks with, now what was it he called it, a Wacom thingymajig or something like that. I was just so painless, I didn’t even need a local anesthetic and I was able to return back to work after lunch….”

  9. DaveT

    What I really liked was getting the insight of how you adapted to the circumstances to make this work. I’ts not everyday that one gets to see behind the scenes of a working professional. Great stuff!

    • Glyn

      @DaveT…Thanks for commenting mate; glad you liked it.
      Cheers, Glyn 🙂

  10. A.J. Wood

    Hey Glyn,

    I pinged you earlier, but had to take a moment to stop by with a Thank You. Appreciate the shouts out this past week.

    I was wondering where the 10,000 views originated. ;^)


    – A.J.

    • Glyn

      @A.J. … Hey Buddy, can’t say I’m responsible for the 10,000 views but if you insist I’ll take the credit…lol 🙂
      Talking of ‘credit’ … credit where it’s due mate … 10,000 views is a drop in the ocean compared to how things are clearly going to be moving on for you.

      Keep it comin’ 🙂



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