Advertising photography: How to capture perfection 

 July 9, 2015

By  Pascal Depuhl

Waiting to capture perfection

05:30 am It’s pitch black as I’m pulling into the beach on the day of our shoot. Today is the day when everything comes together. All the planning, scouting, casting and preparation are done. Talent, crew and client are coming together for the first time to create some great photos.

I huddle together with my assistants, as we go over today’s game plan – how we’re lighting this job; what their responsibilities are and what I expect from my crew. Make-up is there working on the first models hair and face, outfits have been decided on and we’re getting ready to get to the beach before sunrise.

06:15 am Everybody is on the beach. 16 minutes to sunrise. Chompin’ at the bit – still to dark.

06:31 am Sunrise. The athletes that are modeling for us do a couple practice runs. Exact spot is picked. Now it’s just waiting for the sun to climb a little bit higher. Tides on it’s way in, working against us – but the sky is crisp and perfect. Perfection happens when everything culminates.

Perfection happened at 06:42:50 am

06:42 am Ok, to be precise and according to the camera’s timestamp, 50 seconds after that, this happens:

Perfection happens

Everything clicks (well of course the camera does), but so do all the other elements. The sun paints the sky, the tide is just right, the runner flies down the beach, product is facing the camera, in perfect stride and the client is thrilled. Perfection.

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Careful planning = perfect pictures

It’s exciting when everything falls into place: when all the hard work, the detailed planning, the many hours spend scouting locations, casting models and assembling the crew come together, when the weather cooperates (we’d been watching the weather for days to pick the perfect morning).

Check out a short behind the scenes (BTS) video of this shoot – courtesy of Gilberto one of my two assistants on this job.


Photos like these are great to enter in contests (read more about that in a later #MarketingHack post) and in advertising pieces for the business. Check out why I got floored, when I asked an art director friend of mine for his opinion on a tagline I’m working on and why what he said afterwards floored me in #MarketingHack #12)


Check out the planning that goes into estimating an advertising photo shoot and come with me as I scout this very beach [#periscope video] to find the perfect spot to photograph this ad  in the two earlier post in this series on advertising photography.

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Pascal Depuhl

Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.