Strutt For A Mutt

Strutt For A Mutt


My work is starting to ramp-up with London Couture, one of my large commercial clients. One of the first photo shoots we had was for marketing a fundraising event they are hosting, Strutt For A Mutt (yes, it’s intentionally spelled wrong). The owner, a giant dog lover and overall kind person, is holding this event with 100% of proceeds going to the metro animal shelter. This is the second annual for this event, which I was not around for the first one. When the event was brought up in a meeting, we mentioned how ads and marketing were going to made. Prior to my being a part of the team, London Couture was left with scavenging the internet for passable images to use for their graphic design. With me around now, we can take idea from concept, to photo shoot, to graphic design without depending on any other resources. This is the real fun part for me. They showed me last year’s logo, which like I said, had a random image off of the internet. The key part of the imagery, a fashionably savvy woman carrying a shopping bad with dog leading her on a leashed (all silhouetted). Bad habits had them going to the internet once again, looking for a “better” image to use for this year’s design, and that is where I grabbed the wheel on the operation. “Why not just grab a model, some clothes out of the store, a couple of your dogs, and head down to my studio and do this right,” were the words out of my mouth. Not only should we use our photographic resources for the big things, but everything, big or small. All of the suggested items were very easy to reach and doing the shoot ourselves would ensure it’s done right, and most importantly, the image is OURS, and we can continue to use it or other work we produce marketing material.

This is something I’m getting the team to realize – we have all the resources, the knowhow, and the creative ability to make all of our marketing and visual content ourselves. It’s a no-brainer, so let’s stop making this so hard. No matter how small of an element some visual may be in the end graphic design, we should be making it ourselves. After the owner of the business saw this, going “this is exactly what I had in my head,” we are going full steam ahead with fully produced in-house content. I work with London Couture on creative design, then I workout the logistics (photographically), scout locations, execute the shoots, and do the end graphic design. So now all the owner has to do is tell me what she wants and it’s done, and I know that makes her happy.

Here we have our model, hand-picked clothes from the London Couture store, and a couple of the owner’s dogs. Shot on white seamless and only backlit to create a silhouette with just a tad of light wrapping around the subjects, which gives us a little detail yet leaving plenty of mystery. This was a tricky shoot not only because we were working with animals, but because we were working in a very tight space, the white seamless paper only 9 feet wide. To give the appearance of walking, yet standing still is a challenge. So, the model took a stance which gave the appearance of walking, and just off the seamless were two assistants holding food to get the dogs to step in the direction we wanted (or at least be looking that way, with tension on the leashes). Animals are super hard to work with. It always seems they are behaving great, doing everything you could ask for, and the moment you raise your camera to your face it all goes down hill. They are walking off, looking the wrong way, wanting to sit, you name it. These kinds of photo sessions are like 95% prep. Set the lights, test lights on test subjects (so we don’t fatigue real subjects), and then the last 5% are hoping and praying for 5 good frames in about a minute you have of good behavior from the animals. They really don’t like the flash and get restless pretty fast. 10-15 pops of the lights and we are done, and of those 15 maybe four of them have all the factors we need done right in combination to pull-off the visual.

We shot two looks, one head-on with the subjects, and one of the profile. We ended up using both, as you can see in the image up top. White seamless is a dream in post production, just plop it in your graphic design and you are done. I created a quick logo and there you go, a look that London Couture is really happy with and can use for years to come.

Strutt For A Mutt will be taking place September 9th, 7pm, in Opera Alley, Tacoma, WA.

Life is hard being a dog model.