Mattress Firm Product Photography - What goes into a shoot? / by katie ring

Jane is shopping for a mattress online. She’s scrolling through the photos to make her selection. If only she knew about the passionate team of creatives that made those photos possible!

Well, most people don’t give it a thought. However, you’re different. You’re here on my blog. Hello, fellow creatives and curious friends alike! What DO I do for a living? I take pictures, but I also do so much more!

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I should start by saying I have a GREAT team. Seriously, from beginning to end I get to work with wonderful and genuine people. Seeking out clients and creative partners like this is what makes me enjoy what I do so much.

These photos are the products of hours of pre-production planning. The in-house creative team at Jeffco, the mattress manufacturer, puts together a style document to show the look and feel they want for this line of mattresses. They think long and hard about price point, sales vehicle, and the target audience. This is a more affordable product line so we had to make it look great without overshadowing the other high end line of mattresses.

I’ve worked with this creative team, Rachel and Namrata, many times before. I can make suggestions at this stage of the process and we collaborate to get it right. I love to understand the how and why of what we’re doing and to be involved up front in the planning process. I make suggestions and help scout locations. I talk to them to know when I’m on target or off base so by the time of the shoot we’re all on the same page. I love this part of the creative process.

As my client shares the shoot planning documents with me, I start to assemble the team. I reach out to my network of stylists, assistants, and retouchers. I check calendars and I build a project estimate. We find the best fit for the project’s creative needs within budget. We book the shoot date and team.

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We schedule a call with our stylist. Together, the in-house team, stylist and I discuss the look and feel of the shots we’re planning. What props will be needed to achieve this look? We revisit the budget and give our stylist the difficult task of not only finding props that will tell the story we’ve created but ones that stay within the budget constraints. On this shoot Kate, of Kate Eckstein Design, leveraged her creative and organizational skills to achieve all of this without a hitch. Kate is able to come up with creative suggestions of her own but listens intently to the client’s needs and adjusts in a totally collaborative way. She’s awesome!

While Kate is shopping, I am planning my equipment needs. I bring my own gear, rent, or purchase items as needed. I’m confirming with my assistant and/or digital tech. Lucky for me, Chris, www.valitestechs.com, will both tech and assist. Coming from an in-house agency background I am used to being a bit scrappy and doing all the things. I’m a Capture One certified digital tech as well as a photographer. I sometimes act as my own assistant moving around lights and I sometimes give direction to my assistant. I can run the computer and ensure the files are named properly and without technical issues. However, I love when I have Chris on set to take care of this important task for me. You know what I like about him best? He has no ego and does whatever’s needed. We have FUN. I trust him to make big creative suggestions, and with the small yet still important stuff like playing DJ and asking me if I drank any water today. Spoiler alert: I probably forgot.

The shoot often ends with big effort to get everything cleaned, packed, and loaded up. Sometimes it even ends with hugs, because, my people are awesome and I enjoyed spending time with them! Thanks to my tech, Chris, the files are ready to send off to our retoucher. The retoucher for this gig is Christopher, www.christopherleedonovan.com, someone I met through the magic of the internet and LinkedIn. He shares the same qualities of the rest of my team. He takes the time to make sure he understands the job. He sends a sample image to make sure he’s on track. Most importantly, he takes pride in delivering great images.

So, yes, I take pictures. As a photographer I often the get the credit for “my work” but I wanted to share how having a good team and a positive environment is really what makes all of this happen.

And there is it is. On Mattress Firm’s website for Jane to browse. Do you think she knows it’s on sale now? ;)