The brief from Salomon Running was simple; shoot this apparel collection for worldwide marketing and advertising. Location? Anna’s home in Dunedin New Zealand.
Anna Frost Signature Running & Lifestyle Range
Salomon athlete and Kiwi based Anna Frost and I (Paul) have worked together for nearly 4 years now. Our first assignment kicked off in 2012 at Mount Taranaki as she smashed world records. Not a bad first commercial shoot right! Fast forward to the Christmas build up in 2014, and a shipment of a brand new range designed by Anna and Salomon Running arrived in Dunedin, New Zealand. I was asked to shoot this amazing range with Anna.
With Anna’s direction we wanted to shoot across several locations and connect these Kiwi environments of her home to the range. Rolling hills, beach and ocean, forest and chill out cafes. We had a good plan!
Mother Nature was our friend
All shoots with Anna so far have followed a similar vibe… Mother Nature was been very unhappy … and then settles down to allow us a shoot. The few days we planned was no different, and our dawn rise was simply breath taking. Leading up to the shoot date was torrential rain for 10 days, and after this shoot, the rain returned. We were blessed!
Hitting the coast on day one we played on the sand dunes, ran on golden beaches and I got a feel for this amazing little sleepy town. The day finished up high as the cold and dark came in quick and hard, and not expected being the Summer! Next day we rose early and drove to the Otago Peninsula fuelled by coffee and anticipation of what we were going to capture together. There is always an electricity between my clients and I as we shoot, but with Anna it’s so damn free. We work pretty well in this space because… well we get each other, and that enables us to capture some great work together. With some climbing up to a high point of the Peninsula, the sunrise was upon us, and as you know, is short and sweet so we wasted no time.
To me it’s like poetry in motion and through the lens, it’s kind of a natural reflex.
Getting the money shots
Shooting runners in motion for me is like walking. I’m not being arrogant here by the way, I just really find shooting runners of all abilities an utter joy, watching our bodies ‘do what they are made to do naturally’. To me it’s like poetry in motion and through the lens, it’s kind of a natural reflex. I just capture this beauty in motion quite instinctively, but I’m never over confident with lighting and composition. When it comes to paying clients and commercial work, I listen and understand the solution that they want through the brief. With the act of capturing this beautiful motion taken care of, my focus is always on light and composition.
This is where most of my energy is placed when shooting runners, with a conscious decision prior to pressing the shutter to what I’m looking for when it comes to mood, and camera settings. For the majority of commercial running photography the recipe is to shoot with everything in focus, the brand, products and good lighting. Because at the end of the day commercial photography is all about selling stuff.
With mostly natural light photography and a few wardrobe changes we shot some lovely imagery for the running range as well as some lifestyle apparel for days out walking. Was the Otago Peninsula a good choice for this shoot? Yes! It has rolling green hills that seemed to go on forever, yet turning another direction there were some houses and ocean. One thing I’ve learnt when shooting commercial lifestyle photography is to connect it to a wider audience, with good location choice. The bonus of this location was that it could also look connected to a town and be accessible, or remote. The client can choose.
Fine art Imagery for GPR
While on shoots (if an option and time allowing), once the ‘money shots’ are done and dusted, I have some creative fun. I mean why not! We are on location, the client brief is ‘ticked off’ and getting creative makes photographers happy. Anna was cool to capture imagery that was not commercially focussed on the shoot, that would be very special to us both. Anna has such a characteristic running gait and style, so we explored this first with a ridge line descent against the stunning sunrise. Key to this is Anna’s hair tied back and hands out wide to stabilise her on these types of challenging ‘downs’. We then turned to face the green hill decent with the warm light showing us the way. Working with professional runners is amazing! They are fit and able to repeat shots, take risks other runners would not dare to take, and have such amazing running styles. It’s like cheating!
This was my own moment, and I have Frosty to thank for this :)
At the time on this shoot, we planned on pushing them out through our own social media, and had no idea that what we were shooting was also going to be part of the first GPR fine art print range available in our store. I remember looking at the results of this collaboration with Anna and seeing the future direction of my work. Every professional photographer can tell you of ‘that moment’ when they find a visual style and point of difference in the very crowded world of sports photography. This was my own moment, and I have Frosty to thank for this :)
Beaches, forest, huge hills, and coffee!
This was my first visit to Dunedin and I was utterly gob smacked with the variation of outdoor terrain there. Stunning golden beaches and vibrant aqua ocean in the morning and then high climbing mounts and hills in the evening. Anna commented on how the ocean inspires and energises her as much as the mountains, and I could now see why. Off we went to the long endless views where the ocean meets the perfect sand. Lighting? Golden and diffused, and once again Mother Nature was smiling upon us. Can you see a theme here?
The Summer days were long and we had plenty of time for checking out some of the coffee shop culture in town and visually explore the ‘chill out’ garments of Anna’s range. It was a perfect place to show Anna relaxing over a good magazine and coffee. We had some spare time on the last day, and with cloud cover burning off into the harsh midday light, we headed to find some forest cover to mellow out the light for the last part of the shoot.
Throughout the Salomon Running ‘Frosty range’ there are elements that are very specific to New Zealand that includes ferns and flowers of the Pohutukawa Tree. While we never saw any red flowers due to the time of year, we did focus on shooting connected to the lush endless ferns throughout the Dunedin forests. There is something very special about Kiwi ferns and totally understandable why they are part of the whole countries identity. They look so vibrant, fresh and full of vitality, and a perfect choice for Anna’s signature range.
We shot the hell out of the few days we spent together and as always, it was great to work with Anna and Salomon Running. Was I happy with the images that we captured? Yes indeed, and it was very cool to visit and finally see the best of Dunedin. Here is a selection of commercial images used, as well as some candid behind the scenes, and GPR’s fine art photos.