Smartwool Winter Running Photoshoot

Smartwool has its act together. The product is superb, the creative gang a joy to work with and the brand just plain fun. That little logo of their’s – the happy little guy – that really is their energy. It is a fun brand that is reflected in the staff. As a result, we are happy photographers and like to promote them.

The typical clothing photoshoot scenario is to shoot out of season, meaning that we are sent summer clothing to shoot in the dead of winter. Much to our disliking, this is common timing. With Smartwool, they match the clothing availability with the season it is meant for. And so this winter we were called up for a few shoots; the first being winter road running of their Fall 2011 men’s running products.

The Making of a Photoshoot

From the Creative Team we are given the necessary ingredients, it is our job to put them all together.

Location – A snowy road with some character, near a mountain town.

Weather – Ideally a post storm day, snow on the trees, everything glimmering with a fresh layer of snow.

Model – A real runner, a guy, chiseled, with a boyish, fun look in his eye. He must really love running.

And so it begins. We scout locations, take angles of the sun, walk around to look for shots and consider all the variables that might pop up because they always do. Finally we settle on a little town about 30 minutes from our home.

Next up, the weather. Can’t do much about this, especially this winter where at one point we went 6 weeks without snow. The location is getting a little scrappy. I keep an eye on the web cam to see how it is fairing in the soaring temps. Stress begins to set in as we schedule other shoots around this one, we want it to happen but the weather needs to cooperate, the landscape needs a bit more snow, and on this day both the model, and us, need to be available.

The Model – Kurt Faltner. Through friends we meet a very real runner who happens to live a few houses away. He is the real deal with the current goal of this summer’s Jungfrau Marathon. We meet, give him the clothes to try and say we’ll be in touch. I tell him he’ll get to do intervals on photo day, he’s game.

The day arrives and we commit, call Kurt and all is set. It snowed the day before and the forecast is bluebird. Off we go.

Remember that line about how variables always seem to pop up? This shoot’s unexpected, near monkey wrenching, comes in the form of howling and well below zero winds. Huge plumes of snow engulf us and force us to wait for stiller moments. Frozen fingers, toes, and rapidly dropping battery levels – all part of shooting skiing, but road running? Kurt is doing fine wrapped in his merino wool while Janine and I, dressed for a near the car shoot, are less comfy.

In the end we have it, Kurt does his intervals, we fill a few cards and even have some time at sunset to make some portraits. A great shoot.

Back in the car and driving home comes the final confirmation from Kurt that everything went well, “Can I keep all the clothing? I really like it”. He got it, but you’ll have to wait a bit.

To see Smartwool’s cozy merino offerings this season, visit Smartwool and see if you can spot more of our photos on their site.


Comments 2

  1. Nice write up! You have to love those unexpected moments. I did a shoot this winter with a runner and was fortunate the weather worked out as well. Was worried on the drive to the shoot as there was a good snow pack but warm air so the fog was heavy, fortunately when we arrived at the location it was lifting and we were able to get some great light.

    Thanks for sharing, always great to see what you’re up to!

  2. I love it! Your walkthrough of the shoot, and description of the necessary elements, is like reading Mark Twain, or eating Martha Stewart, or listening to Bach – simply harmonious to see your compositions come together. I appreciate the work even more!

    PS: I love smartwool as well!

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