Marketing Photography Case Study #6 – Air Animal Pet Movers

Every once in awhile a project comes along with way more facets than ordinary photo projects. This is one such project!

Client:  Air Animal Pet Movers is a company that specializes in the arrangement of domestic and international travel for pets, to include at least dogs and cats. Their family-owned business was founded by Dr. Walter Woolf, a licensed veterinarian in 1977. I was brought in to this project by friend and client Karen Frashier of AdvocateMarketingPR, who had been hard at work helping Air Animal with their brand presence and marketing message. After several conversations it was determined (and driven by magazine articles Karen had pre-arranged in both Lufthansa Cargo and British Travel Magazine) that we needed to shoot 3 key images to get the magazine articles to snap: one at Tampa International Airport that showing an Air Animal Van entering the Airport, a pet examination shot for a dog that was actually traveling to Brussells in real life, and a shot of a ‘stand-in’ dog (looked the same!) being checked in at an counter inside the airport. We also produced studio portraits of all staff posing with their personal pets – a clever way of playfully shooting what would typically be head shots to give their website more personality.

Challenges:  At the top of this list was the fact that all shots but one featured live animals, which automatically increased the ‘trickiness’ factor exponentially! We needed the assistance of the TIA marketing and security departments to help manage incoming airport traffic as we shot our images at sunrise at the main junction entrance of the airport, one of the busiest times for the airport. We had our newly wrapped Air Animal van drive very slowly in a pre-scouted lane during morning rush hour at the entrance to the airport for four or five laps.

Client Comments:  “The planets aligned and offered Air Animal not one, but two international magazine features. Thompson Brand Images got the shots we needed in two very focused shoots inside and outside one of the world’s busiest airports. Bob talked with me about the brand and the article, and we built the shoot around Lufthansa’s story.

We ignored the old showbiz warnings and worked with two weimaraners, three people, a van, an airplane, airport traffic and airport police during Florida’s unpredictable rainy season. Then, we did it again two weeks later with studio shots of Air Animal staff with their pets. The pets and the people look great in every shot and mesh with the brand—not an easy task. But that’s what Bob does! Another successful project by Thompson Brand Images…”

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Marketing Photgraphy Case Study #5 – Stetson University College of Law – Gulfport

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Davina Gould, Marketing Director for Stetson University College of Law, reached out to Thompson Brand Images recently in need of a new library of marketing images to use for websites, brochures and advertisements. Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport is Florida’s oldest law school, founded in 1900, and the campus occupies an historic hotel from the 1920’s. Because it had been some time since they’d done any photography, a 3-day shoot was scheduled, but this one had a bit of a different flavor to it.

Challenges: Almost all photography was accomplished during live classes, with the exception of a few sessions where we were able to place student models for set shots. This meant that we could use very little or no lighting at all in some cases. Given the live classroom environments, I had to blend in and be as unobtrusive as possible, and do what I could do not distract the students, and more importantly, disrupt the professors.

Solution: We went with extremely simple and battery operated lighting, often using a single light source bounced off of walls/ceilings to provide some pop and contrast, but which didn’t require any setup or leave cables on floors. Emphasis was also placed on getting in and out of the classrooms as quickly and quietly as possible.

Bob’s Comments: This was a fun shoot – Davina gave me a schedule of where to be and when, which accounted for about two thirds of the images – the rest were shot organically while roaming the campus between assignments. Free flowing, but with a gameplan – my favorite kind of shooting day! Some of my favorite images were the live classroom shots which captured the personality and delivery style of the professors in action, as well as the scenics of the campus with students sprinkled throughout to give those potentially static shots some life.

University of Tampa View Book Assignment

UT View-027 LR for blog

This University of Tampa grad is now part of the leadership team of College Hunks Hauling Junk, located in Ybor City. Here’s an environmental portrait we shot recently at their offices. Looks like a pretty cool place to work! This photo will appear in University of Tampa’s updated view book, something we have contributed to (in partnership with Cherry and Company) regularly for many years.

Temporary

temporary permit

I picked up my disabled parking permit today from the Tax Collectors Office. Took me almost a month to do this, but I did it. For those just getting on board, I’m recovering from Achilles tendon repair surgery and am in a boot and wheeling around on a knee scooter, unable to put weight on said injured foot. Anyway, I’ve always had a ‘thing’ about these parking permits, and those who use them without having any affliction or challenge, and how often I see someone of complete ability come springing out of their car parked in a handicap space and go dashing into a Publix. But I, for better or worse, am legit. I need this thing, and today I used it for the first time.

I was hanging it on my rear view mirror, when the word hit me hard, it hit me good, and it sunk in. Temporary. Temporary Permit. Now, I’ve been doing a pretty darn good job of staying upbeat and seeing the best of the situation and all that, but fact is, this has been life-altering, and it has challenged me like nothing I can remember. I’m learning things about myself I never knew, good and bad. I’ll tell you I have more compassion than ever for those with Permanent Disabilities.  And as much as I honor and respect injured veterans, this speed bump in my life has given me but a taste of what these folks have to contend with permanently. Permanently – this is a much different word.

In my normal everyday moments, I’m having to employ my ‘solution-finding’ skill set every step, or hobble, of the way. Before I received the incredible life-saving scooter, I couldn’t put the mustard back in the fridge on crutches, for example, or offer any other assistance to my family in daily household undertakings. Working out EVERYTHING when you’ve never before had to consider how to, let’s say, get off the stool and get a glass of water, is a very humbling, yet presence-inducing process.

I’m making my way, and finding my solutions every moment of the day, graciously (I hope!) accepting the assistance of those around me. I even believe I’m done once and for all talking myself into thinking that I can pull off some stupid stunt on my scooter that ought even be considered (i.e. “Sure, I can go outside on the lawn at night around the corner and turn off the hot-tub on my scooter, yeah, no problem…”). And for all the things I’m grateful for out of this game-changing experience, I am most grateful for the fact that it is indeed, temporary.

It’s temporary. This is temporary. And, digging a little deeper, oh yeah, everything is temporary. Not a bad thing to re-presence from time to time, no?

This is My Good Side – Take #1

Nothing gets in our head and acting nutty more than pictures of ourselves, and moreover, having them taken. As a photographer who has photographed literally thousands of individuals, I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve seen people cry on set, I’ve seen people show me the literal side of their head, saying “this is my good side,’ and I’ve seen people give up and walk away from a head shot altogether. This aspect of human behavior fascinates me, and for years I didn’t feel qualified (maybe the lack of a psychology degree?) to opine or give my view on the topic. Well, that has all changed. I am now an expert with my own personal study of an estimated 40,000 participants over the course of 20 years!

Next time you’re scrolling through profiles in LinkedIn or any other Social Media where we represent ourselves with a 3/4 inch square likeness of ourselves, notice the HUGE variety of shots you see as profile photos. We obviously are NOT aligned in our thinking of what constitutes a great head shot or else these would tend to look the same. I know they’re just head shots, but I have some things to say about them, about what makes a good one and what does not. But before I dive in with all of that, I want to hear from you. Ask yourself this question:  Is getting your head shot taken stressful for you? If so, why? What kinds of things are you concerned about, what drives you nutty?  Have you been scarred by bad photographers?  Tell your story!  You may have to let the guard down a bit to play here, but don’t be afraid.  Good things are coming…

Curveball

Curveball

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. In this case, the curveball was a ruptured achilles tendon, which I just had surgery on this last Tuesday. Doc’s instructions? Stay off the foot, keep it elevated. Period. Not exactly how I’d planned on spending ANY time during this life. Okay, so here I am. On the couch. With a laptop. Stay tuned…

Environmental Portait – Jack Barbour and Rhea Law, CEOs in merging law firms

Environmental Portait - Jack Barbour and Rhea Law, CEOs in merging law firms

Here’s an environmental portrait we shot of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s CEO, Jack Barbour, and Fowler White Boggs CEO Rhea Law, whose two firms completed a merger last week. We pre-scouted 3 setups in the lobby spaces of Fowler White, and shot 3 options in under one hour. This was the ‘winning’ selection.

“So, what do you do?”

I have been asked this question most days of my 21 year career, and I’m quite certain I’ve answered this question a thousand different ways, if there are indeed a thousand ways to tell someone that I’m a photographer.  After a flurry of marketing and social media training over the last 2 months or so, I have a new answer:  “I free people from the notion that they hate photos of themselves.”

This was born out of the literally thousands of times I’ve heard this comment as someone steps up to my set (typically a head shot set).  I estimate, cuz I’m kind of a stats guy, that 40-50% of human beings make this type of an announcement upon arrival to my set.  I have made it my business to send those folks away from my set saying something different, for example, “Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever liked my photo!”

Call it my mini-ministry, call it a subtext to the hundreds of head shots I shoot every year.  I call it a new way to relate to what I do that gives me a way to make a lasting difference with the people I’m fortunate enough to meet every day of my life.

So, that’s it for now – I’ll be saying more – lots more, about this topic in the very near future.  I just wanted you to know I’ve been listening to you all these years.  Oh, and welcome to my new blog!  We’ll talk soon…

Cheers,

Bob