This summer I was asked to help out Citrix Systems with creating two libraries in one shoot; one for the specific purpose of a large trade show in Tokyo and the second for ongoing general marketing purposes. Citrix has approximately 6000 employees worldwide and about $2.2B in annual revenue.
The main idea behind the shoot was to show off their technologies of “The Cloud”, using servers to facilitate ‘working on the go’ with all kinds of devices. For example, see your high-res files or an Excel doc from your office computer while you are at a coffee shop. We decided to do this shoot in two consecutive days near and at their offices in Santa Clara, CA. It became immediately clear, that the two biggest challenges of the shoot would be capturing the sheer amount of different imagery needed and finding authentic Japanese talent, which for whatever reason, is not easy. I guess not many Japanese Americans or Japanese Nationals living in the U.S. are in the modeling business.
For the problem of capturing enough imagery we decided to hire two additional photographers, Ronny Knight, and Caterina Bernardi. We decided to use “real” people instead of professional models. Although we set up the casting to find “real” people, I actually wanted to hire professionally trained actors. This was to be a lifestyle shoot and I find professional actors to work best. Models, as opposed to trained actors, can sometimes come off looking less than authentic. It’s risky to cast inexperienced people as talent, especially when trying to set up group dynamic imagery. We decided to cast in-house drawing actors as much as possible. I like to do this when possible, because if I’m at the studio it gives me a chance to meet the talent in person and get a feel for how natural they are.
Over the course of four days we had around 2000 people come through the studio. We ended up hiring 24 people. We hired Christine Featherstone as our stylist with her assistant Kate. They did a great job dressing the cast and helped in providing dozens of device props, like Samsung Galaxies, iPads, iPhones, MacBook Airs, Macbook Pros, PC laptops, etc. Rene Rael provided great makeup help with her assistant.
Ronny and Caterina did a great job capturing images. I spent my time wearing many different hats. At times I shot, but a lot of the time I was looking at a monitor to see what was coming in or I was looking around for interesting locations or giving feedback to Ronny and Caterina and providing them with new ideas. Although I shot about a third of the photos I was operating as a director a lot of the time and really enjoyed it. At the end of two days we captured more than 24,000 images! Thank you to everyone for making this shoot a great success, especially the ultra fantastic creative director Sander Leech!