I recently received an advertising commission to photograph a rum called Pito Rico.The rum is widely known on the island of Puerto Rico, but they wanted to expand into the New York City market. We worked with an awesome team from Dunn Co. who also designed the label on the bottle. On the creative side the rum which is produced in the mountain side near Jayuya, needed to glow from the inside.
The brief or storyboard was for 4 different set-ups to be done in two locations including a bar / nightclub and a beach. The talent would be 18 models for the bar scene and one model for a pin-up / swimsuit photograph. All had to look Puerto rican.
A key element to doing a shoot like this was having a great producer. My go to guy when shooting advertising productions in Miami and South Florida is David Segui, firstname.lastname@example.org. He is always well prepared and has wide resources in regards to modeling agencies and locations. Next I secured Kristina Larson a fashion and a topnotch prop stylist who was brought on board to create just the right mood for the nightclub.
We casted over 100 models at Aperture studios. The idea was to have a diverse group for the club scene. Some would be in front holding the rum bottle or in the background. Afterwards we set up a web gallery for the Ad firm and Client to review in Puerto Rico.
On an advertising photography shoot many steps needed to be taken before the first frame is snapped. On this advertising shoot we: Scouted locations, casted models, assembled the production team, everything from first photo assistants to caters. Submitted tests (to find the right amount of glow for the bottles) to ad agency. Due to the tight deadline, most of the effected needed to be in camera.
We scouted over 10 locations to find the “perfect” night club and bar. Well what exactly does “perfect” mean? The bar had to be approachable in the sense that it had to be the type of bar that the drinkers of PitoRico would most likely to go, not one in which there was a velvet rope or too space age or high tech. It needed a space that was dark so I could control the light in order to capture the glowing bottle. We found a great place called Prohibition which had high ceilings to suspend any lights I was to add in the background for effect. The furnishing in the bar was contemporary but didn’t over power the rum bottle or the talent.
Figuring out just the right type of light to create the bottle “glow” took a fair amount of testing. It was achieved several different ways. For the orange colored rum we attached glow sticks to the back and sides, for the clear liquor we used “Mini Morris” strobes and for the coconut as well. To create the light trails I used a light blade created by an artist in Canada. Who personally packaged and shipped via FEDEX it to me so I would have ample time to test and learn the different creative effects that could be done via long exposure and flash.
The final set-up was on South Beach. It was important that the key light, in this case a beauty dish didn’t wash out the rum which was lighted by three Mini Morris strobes. One was attached to the back of the bottle and the other two were held slightly off camera by my photography assistant.