Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Vision Forum Photoshoot

We got the call around 3 PM. The message was that we were to arrive at the planned location within the hour. With three cases of water in tow, we made our way towards an estate located on the outskirts of downtown San Antonio. The goal for the day was to assist those responsible for capturing photos pertaining to items which will soon be featured in Vision Forum’s 2007 catalog in whichever way necessary.

After admiring the upscale ranches we passed along the way, we finally drove up to a gate which guarded the entrance of a exquisite looking mansion, preceded by a winding loop through the front of the property. After entering the gate code we then drove up to and parked near a house/garage situated 200 yards away from the main residence.

Upon our arrival we gazed in wonder at the beautiful property and the enormous house. As we walked along we met the photographer and his daughter, who served as his assistant. After introductions were made we all split up, starting out on various tasks. Jason helped by getting the bottled water out of my trunk and putting them in an ice filled chest. Tait started offloading the photographer’s equipment from a truck, and Chris and I started pulling potted flowers out of Mrs. Phillips’s vehicle, who had arrived shortly after us.

By this time, Mr. Turley had arrived with props, ranging from books, trebuchets, armor, several different sword styles and a few helmets. After these were unloaded we interns all made our way in through large solid oak doors which lead into the foyer of the house. Marble tile covered the floor while two white carpeted staircases, each on either sides of the entrance hall, led to the upper level of the house. We walked through the doors, passed under stair cases and then found our way to a richly decorated office. If you have seen last years “Henty shot” with Joshua Phillips and Samuel Turley posing atop a bear rug then you have seen part of the office I am talking about. Tait and I started setting up light stands while Jason was looking for a place to plug in the power box, a mechanism which makes all of the lighting flash at once. Meanwhile, Chris started putting up the overhead lighting and I was re-assigned to go back to the office to pick up some more supplies.

By the time I arrived back at the country estate the new Henty shot was complete and the crew was moving props outside under Mr. Phillips direction. Josh and Sam changed out of their period costumes as Justice was fitted with an authentic Jamestown breastplate by two professional costume assistants, Tait and I. Mr. Phillips then proceeded to photograph Justice in various poses while the main photographer (I forgot his name, sorry) instructed Sam and Joshua on how to interact with a trebuchet (very nice piece of work, everybody needs a few).

Next on the schedule were some new Beautiful Girlhood shots. While setting up for this scene one of the first tasks was to refill a snack tray that was partly a prop and partly, well, a snack. Time and sunlight were going faster than desired so Jason and I sprinted a hasty return to the shooting location after refilling a tray with some fresh cheese and crackers. Soon thereafter the cameras started clicking. I must say that those girls really had a strenuous job, particularly the two who were sitting on a tree limb while holding a doll and book. But everyone around offered words of encouragement, advice, and/or cracked jokes, thus making the girls perform their best.

About a hundred shots later we then moved to a different location, all the while Jason and Tait were employed by either holding flashes in various places or helping the camera man test the camera for the best lighting settings. Chris helped move different items around while I stood by Mr. Phillips, holding the different cameras was not using at the moment. During the second shoot, two of the models, miss Mary Ellen Turley and miss Faith Phillips, were excused from a particular photo arrangement and thus sat together reading a book. Overhearing that a couple of words were proving difficult I offered to read the book to them. They excitedly complied and I sat down. This lasted until the entire photo shoot was pronounced complete and so I started to get to work on wrapping things up. However, Faith begged me to at least finish the chapter I was on, and so it was I who then complied.

With the sun starting to dip behind the horizon and the shadows of the many trees stretching far across the yard, we quickly started winding up cords, putting away props, taking down lighting structures, storing the wardrobe, and making sure we left everything just as we found it. At the end of the day it was nice to see that both the photographer and Mr. Phillips were pleased with the result of the entire event and that all the day’s goals were reached.

During the entire event I was impressed to see how well everyone worked together in such a high stress environment. This is not that anybody was stressed out, but with uncooperative sunlight and cloud cover, the heat, and the needed urgency to take all of the necessary shots before the sunlight was insufficient, certainly presented plenty of opportunities for anybody on the set to get a little short. Another thing I observed first hand, and was impressed by, was Mr. Phillips interaction with his children, particularly his sons. He treated them like men and they responded to him with the deepest respect. When he spoke they listened and when they spoke they chose their words carefully. What a great opportunity to witness the good fruit Godly child training.

Going behind the scenes of the catalog shoot was both interesting and exciting. I learned few things and felt honored to participate in the event. Now it’s up to our Creative Media department to go through the hundreds of pictures taken and find the ones that will best suit the catalog. It’s only one more week till we are scheduled to send the completed project off to the printers and eventually to your home. I’m sure your family will enjoy the new products as much as we have by building, testing, or by otherwise indirectly helping to produce them. Enjoy!


jessie said...


Thanks for posting pictures of the photo shoot. I especially like the last one of the boys. The way you changed it looks really neat.

C of S said...

Great post, Dan'l!

Quick question: Can we treat the new Vision Forum catalog like a "Where's Waldo?" of sorts? (Only a where's Dan'l version)

Please tell me you somehow placed yourself in every photo so that we can look for you peeking sneakily through bushes and what not.

If you didn't you should re-do the shoot, because I for one will not buy anything from Vision Forum less there is a Where's Dan'l lay out to the catalog. I'm sure there are many others like me.

Keep up the good work, sir.

Daniel B said...

jessie: Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

C of S: The "Where's Dan'l" idea didn’t float past our director of operations. Maybe next year.