Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith | Celebrity Photo Shoot with WCSG (with Behind the Scenes...)
This post will be of interest to you if any of these things are true:
2) You are interested in what a styled photo shoot looks like
3) You are interested in how we approach photo projects for business clients.
In case you're not familiar with our work, we photograph brides and businesses. Families are something we typically refer out to other photographers in the area.
But when the #1 local Christian radio station called with a project for a local family, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, we said we were excited to work with them.
WCSG held a contest to find a family who wanted a "Christmas photo shoot" with Amy and Micheal prior to their Grand Rapids tour stop.
Working with WCSG, we approached the photo session as though it were a business project they would use for advertising and promotion in the future.
Things we were going to need: Location, Set Design, Styling and Wardrobe.
I worked with several great people to pull this together for WCSG and without their help it wouldn't have been possible.
Location, Set Design & Styling
We were given a 7:00 - 7:15pm time slot with Amy and Michael at the Van Andel Arena. Knowing the public would be in the arena taking their seats for a 7:30pm show we knew setup and shoot would have to happen backstage.
That meant everything needed to be brought into the backstage area to make the shoot look great.
I called a friend who has great style and loves design, Heather from House of Haveman. After talking about the project, the budget provided by WCSG and the scope of the Sunday evening shoot, she decided to work with us on the project!
During the next 6 weeks Heather decided on a shiplap wall (that she had to have built), garland strung across the backdrop wall, a simple black bench for seating, several outdoor tins filled with a small Christmas tree and firewood and a few accessories to match.
One of the curveballs I threw at her was the fact that all of this had to be transported down to the Van Andel Arena, loaded inside, setup, decorated and ready to go at least 1 hour before the 7pm shoot time.
As Heather says, so many of her ideas would not come to life without the help of her husband Josh, it was with his help (and her brother in law Kevin, who is a master woodworker) that the backdrop and set was built and made its way to the arena.
With location, set design and styling taken care of by Heather, she connected me with Renee Hogoboom.
Renee is the manager at the local JCrew Factory Store at Tanger Outlet. She is also a personal shopper and stylist with a background in fashion and merchandising from the west coast.
Renee was able to meet with the winning family prior to the photo shoot and spent time helping them choose wardrobe that would work with the set design and overall theme.
To say that Renee has good taste when it comes to fashion is an understatement. Her assistance and expertise made the project that much better!
The family arrived about 30 minutes prior to shoot time.
Renee and tour management had a private dressing room ready to go for their change into wardrobe.
**Wardrobe Tip -- Reach out to Renee on Instagram if you're planning a photo shoot. Not only did she make the family look great, she also made sure no one asked the question, "What am I going to wear for the photo shoot!?!"
Then it was time for a few test shots to get everyone looking great.
Then it was time for the winning family's photo shoot. The Kik family told us they hadn't had family photos taken since their daughter was in Kindergarten. With dad running a successful business and girls active year round, family photos has been something that simply got away from them.
With a beautiful backdrop and set design, we spent the next 30-40 minutes getting them comfortable in front of the camera, getting to know them and capturing some unforgettable moments (and this was all before Michael and Amy arrived).
Just before 7pm, we gave the family a few minute break from the camera. As you can see from above, we had a great time working with the entire family.
Then Amy and Michael arrived! They greeted the family and being the professionals they are, knew it was time for photos.
We knew we would have them for only a few minutes as the show was about to start. We planned on two specific poses with Amy and Michael, one where they were standing and one with them sitting by the two daughters.
With lighting set and ready to go and excited group of 6, we created a couple of timeless portraits for the family.
Following the two setups and knowing Amy and Michael had about 2 more minutes with us, they took a moment and recorded a special video with the daughter's.
It was a moment that showed Amy and Michael going above and beyond for the winners (and now fans for life).
The staff at WCSG, along with my team of Rebecca, Heather (and Josh), Kevin (and his wife Hillary), Renee and fellow photographer Aimee (along with her husband Wes) made this project one we will never forget.
That being said, we wanted to make sure and capture additional portraits of each of the people that helped us on the project (Renee, you were busy getting everyone dressed and looking great, so sorry about that).
This photo shoot went above and beyond the "normal" family photo session, but WCSG's result from this shoot is as follows (so far):
Facebook: 323 likes, 29 comments and 2 shares (regular is about 50-100 likes)
Instagram: 95 likes (regular is about 25-50 likes)
Winning Family: Fans for Life & Unparalleled Experience
This shoot helped drive interest in the event prior to the concert with Amy and Michael AND gave the on air staff something to talk about and promote following the event.