Being on location with We Are Handsome in Bali’s blistering summer heat gave us an unfiltered look into how much work goes into creating those perfectly composed campaign shots. Our conclusion? It’s no day at the beach.
WAH founders Katinka and Jeremy Somers have churned out 19 campaigns to date, and here they tell us how they nail it every time.
INVEST IN FINDING THE PERFECT LOCATION
Find the right location that will represent what you’re trying to do in the best way possible. We really think through the location and do a lot of research before we go. We look for something unique or special; an aspirational component, which is why we now shoot in foreign locations. [They did 13 shoots in Australia before going abroad.]
Right down to components like planning which look on which model at which specific location. Once the location is locked down, we plan what the photos are going to look like at the end so everybody has a shared creative view for it. At Rimba (part of the larger Ayana Resort and Spa grounds), it was very jungle-looking which we thought would be cool for the activewear, so we put together a mood board of jungle images and stock photos of the area, so we knew how it would feel – was it dark, what was the like going to be like? You have to see that far ahead; to know what we can get out of it.
BE MINDFUL OF BRAND LONGEVITY
Sometimes you will capture great shots but [they] weren’t the plan for this photo shoot. You’ve got to remember that you have seasons and seasons to come and you’re going to have to continue to become creative, so you must stick to the plans for this shoot. Generally when we’re doing swim, it’s around a beach or a resort and so you have to be careful not to duplicate what you’ve already done. Most campaigns for most swim labels are exactly the same, so we try to do things which are different and are a talking point.
TRUST YOUR TEAM
If someone wants to try something or someone says, “I think we should do this…” then we just do it. If we allow everybody to be creative like that, that’s when you get the best results. It’s not the be-all and end-all if it doesn’t work; it’s just one frame.
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
In Thailand, the model pulled out a week before. In the Caribbean, we had hair and make-up pull out. It’s long days out in the sun or waiting for monsoonal rain to pass and to get the best creative output everyone needs to be on their A-game. Of course we’ve had issues along the way, but you’ve got to remember you’re dealing with humans, not robots!
KNOW YOUR MODELS (AND YOUR TEAM)
We know Margo’s shape and demeanour versus Lola’s; we know the way that she moves and the way that she turns because the girls move very differently when they’re in the shot. You need to know them well and that’s why we do like to use models we have used before… you know that they can cope with a full week of shooting, you know they can handle the heat, and that they’ll work with the team to achieve the best creative output. For the most part, our team are people we already hang out with at home.
HAVE A STORY
Being here [on location] you have a story. A photo shoot in Maroubra Beach [in Sydney] had little story for us after the 13th shoot; they were just photos. Now, we have a story and we involve all different types of people; a Russian model and another from New York City that come together with us in the heat to craft a really great story. And that is what people want to know. We’re creating a brand story… of an endless summer.