Client: Strada for Willow Valley Communities
Capture the unexpectedly vibrant life of downtown Lancaster, PA. Showcase Lancaster as a city that is attractive to retiree-aged adults interested in a rich, diverse, urban lifestyle. The goal is to see the city’s beauty as locals do.
The opportunity of this project was to tell the story of how Willow Valley Communities is already embracing the culture and lifestyle of Lancaster, PA as it is as they look to expand development in the vibrant city. To goal of the shoot was to produce a large portfolio of authentic images that were to come from genuinely found moments and produced shots with real people casting from the client's senior living community. This task required a well developed content and logistics strategy.
My approach in these situations is to get involved early to understand, as I would as a journalist, the motivation and essence of what this project is after. This allows me to give strategic advice on the direction we take and which situations and opportunities we should seize that will drive home the message and how to prioritize ambition so we focus in on the most valuable opportunities and our ability to achieve success. I have a ranking system of must have, need to have something from here and nice to have but not essential that quickly prioritizes the shoot for the client and then further guides our approach.
As is common for these quick moving lifestyle shoots, I worked with one assistant with producing support from the client's marketing department of superheroes. Most situations were in and out in an hour while other situations afforded some breathing room to let things unfold naturally and work out technical concerns. Buffers in the schedule are a vital element of every schedule when moving fast and doing a lot. As a photojournalist on set, there's really no such thing as down time as my eye is constantly scanning the scene for image opportunities and how they might play into achieving our goals and perhaps deliver something unexpected, like this more National Geographic style image that combines both the bucolic setting with more urban style culture.
At the final presentation to the client, I was informed "there were tears in the room" as the images alone accounted for more than half of the presentation to drive home the values based message the client wanted to deliver.