7 shoot days in 7 cities. We got the scoop from lifestyle photographer duo Shaughn and John on their journey across the country for Topo Chico during COVID.


SternRep: Which cities? 

Shaughn + John: Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and Denver.


SR: How many final images? 

S+J: 15 Final Images per restaurant plus Gifs and Video.


SR: How many final videos? Did you edit the videos at all? Which one of you shot the video? Did you shoot video and stills at the same time? Do you have a normal routine for how you do both in one shoot? 

S+J: We shot a lot of video at each restaurant.  Since this was going to be for social media, we created a special rig for the camera to be set up vertically with microphone.  The final video was edited by the agency Haymakr.  We often tried to shoot photo and video separately, but with such a large shot list we ultimately split off from time to time in order to get photo and video of different moments around the kitchen and restaurant.  Our workflow for doing photo and video is really dependent on the project.  We both feel comfortable doing either photo or video, so if we need to split up we make the decision on the fly.  In a perfect world we have the time to focus our energy one on or the other, but part of the power of having a team is the ability to split up and cover both when the job calls for it.


SR: Did Covid affect this filming at all? 

S+J: Covid definitely affected the project.  For one the agency was unable to travel with us.  Thus, we had to set up a zoom link for the agency to follow along remotely.  Also, the project was meant to show life beyond covid, and thus we had to work with the staff at each restaurant to maneuver around covid protocols….i..e Masks, social distancing, crew size, etc.


SR: Which are your favorite images and why? 

S+J: We love so many photos, but the food still lives are probably our favorite.  We are not known for our still life work, but love doing them.  We love to nerd out on all the minute details like lighting and design of the frame.  It is a slower process than our documentary style work, but we love it all the same.


SR: Is there something you each learned during this shoot?

S+J: I think the thing that came up over and over was to never assume anything.  There were a lot of moving parts to the project and it was easy to think that everything would be perfectly in place.  However, as usual we had to be diligent to think ahead and pre-vision any things that might not be perfectly set up.  Once such challenge were keeping the bottle looking good.  For all hero photos, the bottles had to be cleaned of any distracting smudges or labels.  Therefore before each shoot we would go to the restaurant and clean the bottles thoroughly.  Also, per the clients request, the bottles needed to look like they just came out of the refrigerator.  This meant that we had to make sure the bottles were all in a very cold location the night before so that during the shoot they would have perfect perspiration.  When the restaurants could not accommodate the space we would go to a CVS and buy a cooler, fill it with ice, and freeze the bottles ourselves. 

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See more of Shaughn and John's work at www.shaughnandjohn.com

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