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In today’s overstimulating landscape of social media, food blogs and influencers, it is estimated that the average person sees over 5,000 advertisements a day. Have you ever stopped to wonder just what was involved in creating that photo or video you just saw? Did you know that behind that new hard seltzer Instagram post was a team of 20 people, who worked for months to conceptualize, produce, photograph, edit and deliver that final image?
Artist Agent Jenna Teeson of Teeson Reps and her roster of commercial photographers and directors give us a peek behind the scenes at what it’s really like to create the images that fill our feeds each day.
Here are five facts about advertising photography and videography that might just make you look at Instagram differently.
Those mouth-watering cocktail posts may look effortless, but most are created by a team of artists who build each drink with precision and pull it all together in photoshop. It can take hours to meticulously layer a glass with fake ice and garnishes, sometimes glued strategically in place before a drop of liquid even comes near the set. The process can be grueling and time consuming, but when everything is ready the perfect pour is photographed over and over again. “In the case of the splash we created for Drinkworks, 25 select frames were captured, composited and retouched to make one seamless, final image. It can often be like a giant puzzle, when we create our own pieces on set to put together in post production,” says Photographer David Butler.
A bit about the expert:
Beverage and product photographer David Butler
Working out of his lofty studios in Portland, Maine and East Boston, commercial Photographer & Digital Artist David Butler specializes in product and still life photography. He collaborates with brands to craft images that showcase their products in all forms of print and digital media. You’ve probably walked the aisles at Target and seen his work for clients Keurig, Dr. Pepper, Tide and iRobot. At the liquor store, you’ll recognize his work for Samuel Adams, Jack Daniels, Anheusher Bush, and Twisted Tea.
Successful travel photographers are on the road the majority of the year, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in airports, and constantly fighting jet lag. “Travel photography is not for the faint of heart,” says National Geographic Photographer Susan Seubert. In an average year, Seubert is on the road more than 200 days. Her time at home is spent in the studio, preparing an average of 30,000 photos to be sent to magazine editors and brands. “It’s never easy, but the moments of exquisite beauty and incredible opportunities to meet people all around the world make it all worthwhile,” says Seubert.
Travel photographer Susan Seubert
Photographer Susan Seubert is based out of Portland, Oregon and Maui, Hawaii. She spends much of her time traveling around the world, capturing stunning landscapes and candid moments that tell the story of a destination. Her other clients include National Geographic, USAA, Staples, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Lindblad Expeditions, and more.
“The secret behind the gorgeous food you see in magazines and on your Instagram feed is not just a skilled photographer, it’s food styling,” says Boston-based food and lifestyle Photographer Emily Kan. Boston is home to several renowned food stylists, each specializing in specific types of food and drink, like the perfect ice cream scoop or steaming coffee. Stylists arrive in the studio with a kit of tools to help make the food camera-ready. Grill marks? That’s made with an electric charcoal starter. A perfectly moist cake? It’s brushed with oil. Billowing steam from a cold coffee cup. Boiled tampons do the trick. Bubbling sodas? A dash of baking soda stirred in with chopsticks. And, tweezers galore! Sesame seeds are painfully placed one by one.
Food photographer Emily Kan
Fueled by her love for experiencing new cultures and cuisines, Boston-based food and lifestyle Photographer Emily Kan is often on the road with camera in hand. When she’s not sampling street food in India or pho at the market in Vietnam, she’s in the studio weaving her love of food into stunning images for her commercial clients. Some of Emily’s clients include Hood, al fresco, Bailey’s, Drinkworks, and Keurig.
No two days as a commercial photographer are the same. When you pursue an unconventional career in photography, you need to prepare yourself for the ups and downs of freelance life. “While there are certainly moments of stress and uncertainty, the best part of the job is the doors it opens,” says healthcare and lifestyle Photographer Tim Llewellyn. During his 20 years as a photographer, Llewellyn has been in the room when a baby was born and in orphanages halfway around the world, he was lost in Boston with an astronaut, rode in President Obama’s motorcade, stood at center court in Madison Square Garden, met some of the most influential minds in medicine and biotechnology and smelled a prehistoric flower, all with camera in hand.
Healthcare and lifestyle photographer Tim Llewellyn
With a particular focus on healthcare and lifestyle portraiture, Tim Llewellyn’s work combines big production and a captured moment style, blurring the line between orchestrated and the candid. His clients include Liberty Mutual, Ginkgo Bioworks, Boston Scientific, and US Oncology.
One short Instagram video is the result of weeks of work. Stylists visit dozens of stores to source props, hundreds of models are considered for the job, scouts scour New England for the perfect location. Thousands of pounds of equipment are loaded in and out of vans. Shooting all of the scenes can take days. Then, the editing begins, cutting down hours and hours of footage into the most impactful moments. All done to get you to pause your scroll and watch for 30 seconds.
Video production company Copper Hound Pictures
The Copper Hound Pictures team is a compilation of various talents, from videography, editing, and graphic design to production, marketing, and art direction. As a team, they all share a common passion for uncovering compelling stories for clients, as well as creating beautifully produced content. Their clients include iRobot, Lahey Health, Crane & Co, The Williston Northampton School, Smith College, Colby College, and more.
A collection of video work from Copper Hound Pictures.
Watch Teeson Rep’s reel below: