We all want to know those “dirty little secrets,” the inside scoop, the behind-the-scenes documentary of our favorite cycling brands. “How do they get those photos?” “Where did they find those props?” “What does that person look like in real life?”
It’s really not all that secretive and we’re here to share with you how Primal goes about getting our photos for Catalogs, Instagram, and Advertisement.
The Six Steps We More or Less Take For That Great Shot
1. Choose the location
Sometimes, we’ll shoot in our studio, sometimes on top of Mt. Evans or in the Red Rocks Amphitheater, and other times, we’ll run outside our office if the primal urge hits our photographers. As with all art, the location is a key element in showing aspects and characteristics of a story. And here at Primal, we have a ton of stories to tell.
From Tour de Cure and Bike MS, to the Sea Otter Classic and the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, we travel far and wide for the best shot. There have been many a tale of ‘Jason Statham’-inspired stunts coming from our Primal sprinter vans as these puppies go all over the Continent.
One time in Monterey, California, a beast-of-a-photographer took some of the best landscape photographs through death-defying stunts as the Primal sprinter van charged along the highway. As our stunt driver gassed the pedal, our photographer leant out and over the van at every possible angle he could perform to catch the perfect shot of riders. As he snapped the camera button, wind whipped through his hair as the sprinter van sailed around the curves of Highway 1.
2. Get the right light
The challenges of light and aperture are plentiful. Lighting is much like porridge and beds: it has to be just right. Too much light washes out a photo. Too dark and we’re in a horror film. The camera settings need to be dialed in and adjusted any time we change scenes. It takes a skilled hand and keen eye to make it ideal.
In our studio, the light and settings are easier to control than when we are gallivanting outside searching for that spot. It still takes adjustment and our team works together to achieve great lighting to show off our best cycling apparel features.
3. Gather the props
Our treasure chest of props is constantly expanding. One of our core values is to bring the fun and photo shoots are no different. Pop open the chest and you’ll find gorilla and horse masks, rubber chickens and space boots, all shapes and sizes of sunglasses, and a pile of our awesome socks. We love experimenting and trying new things, so we’ll always say “YES” to a unique prop to add life to our photos.
4. Recruit the Model
It’s fun finding models for our crazy ideas because they’re excited to help recreate our primal notions. Recruiting models comes down to the “look” and “feel” we’re going for at a particular photo shoot. Sometimes we’ll have a professional model come in to our studio if we’re shooting for our catalogs.
Oftentimes, we seek out cyclists who don our cycling apparel on the daily and who are willing to be photographed (who doesn’t want a shot at their 15 minutes?). Our everyday cyclist models are the most unique photos we end up taking because they’re not professionals – they’re serious cyclists helping us out. This, in turn, helps us with our product development. We want to produce the best fitting and technical apparel for cyclists worldwide and it starts with bodies of all shapes and sizes sampling our gear.
If it’s a spur-of-the-moment photo we need to take, like the most recent snowstorm, usually we’ll kidnap someone in the office and throw on some of our products to test the features we brag about. The latest flurries tested the durability, ventilation, and warmth of the Sector Hardshell Jacket. Needless to say, our co-workers didn’t mind hanging out in the snow with that jacket on as we filmed snowflakes bouncing off their shoulders.
5. Strike a Pose
The professional models don’t need as much instruction as our volunteers or involuntarily-chosen co-workers, because, well, they’re professionals. Before we shoot, our photographers create a plan which includes the different poses we want to capture. It involves research and creativity to find the best pose to show off how our cycling apparel will work for our customers.
We aim for an au naturale look because people don’t go through life posing. We’re not mannequins – we’re people who love bikes and things to wear on the bike!
We like to have fun with these poses because that’s what life’s about: fun. We love our products and we love having fun in them. Our goal is to make that apparent through the images we take.
After hundreds of photos are shot, we filter through the best ones. After the best are selected – the ones that demonstrate a true “primal instinct,” they’re published. Whether that is in a catalog, social media, or an advertisement.
With everything we do at Primal, our goal is to strive for excellence and have fun while doing it.