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.
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.