Dallas-based photographer Matt Hawthorne recently shot several covers for JCPenney’s. Matt answered a few questions about the shoot for I Love Texas Photo.

ILTP: How did you get hired to do these JCPenney shoots?
I had worked with JCP in the past, shooting lots of their catalogs, mailers, and online imagery, even hired a couple of times to create the lighting diagrams for Spring and Winter that all studios shooting JCP would reference.  This time they were asking me to do much larger productions and bring my own style into the images.  My agent, Jen Butters, was definitely in the conversation for scheduling and billing, but JCP was a client that I had before shooting these covers.

WE WOULD USUALLY KNOW ONLY A FEW DAYS BEFORE SHOOTING WHAT THE CONCEPTS WERE FOR THE NEXT SHOOT GIVING US ONLY A FEW DAYS TO HIRE SET DESIGNERS TO CONSTRUCT SETS AND GETS MODELS FIGURED OUT

 

ILTP: What was the process like of putting these shoots together? Did the JCPenney team tell you exactly what they wanted or was the process more collaborative?
JCP at that moment was working very rapidly throughout the entire process of conceptualizing the covers, to booking crew and talent, to shooting, post production, and straight to print, a matter of several weeks.  It was a very collaborative process, but deciding what the concept was going to be was handled by the creatives at JCP and when they were finally approved we would start the production process.  We would usually know only a few days before shooting what the concepts were for the next shoot giving us only a few days to hire set designers to construct sets and gets models figured out.  Luckily JCPenney has very good talent bookers that handle picking all talent and getting them scheduled, and incredible producers that book all crew while getting everything in order for studios, deliveries, and so on.  My role was to help bring the sketches from the art directors to life by deciding the scale and dimensions of everything, creating lighting scenarios for each cover, then making sure we stayed on track and brought the concepts to life just the way the Art Directors were envisioning.  We would also have 3 day shoots doing one cover per day, so while shooting one cover, set builders would be building the next days set behind the current set, it was Tetris in there constantly, trying to figure out how to design and manage such large sets.

Most sets had between 8-12 lights, one going up to 16 lights

ILTP: Could you talk a little about the equipment you used? What kind of cameras, lighting, etc?   
We used mainly Profoto gear with a few pieces of Broncolor, and the Canon 5d Mark ll for cameras.  Most sets had between 8-12 lights, one going up to 16 lights.  We were constantly hanging 20-40 foot sky backgrounds from the ceiling and also using cars.  Large studio spaces were a must to complete productions like these!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>