I’ve photographed more than 50 covers for Oregon Wine Press Magazine, and this concept was the the most ambitious and fun to date. For the feature story on the powerful, feminine, and fun personalities of Oregon’s women sommeliers, writer Jennifer Cossey (also a sommelier) pitched Hilary Berg, editor of Oregon Wine Press, on the concept of an April fool’s cover aka Vanity Fair with a nod to Annie Leibovitz’s elaborate sets for group portraits. However we did not have the extensive budget or staff to assist – no makeup or wardrobe stylists, nor group of assistants to move props, set up lights, or a digital tech to greenscreen individual portraits to be photoshoped together for the faux ‘group shot’ . With just three of us preparing for the shoot – Hilary braved the cold to stand in as a model for light tests and helped move the props to best locations with Jennifer, and Krysta McLaughlin, owner of Charlotte’s Weddings & More, provided the dresses and fitted everyone on location. Talk about multitasking – the sommeliers were equally involved keeping each other’s glasses full of bubbly, doing their own hair and makeup, and keeping the energy lively for the entire shoot, fueled by their passion for their jobs and the industry. The energy was contagious, and they were naturals.
I’ve produced many advertising shoots for other photographers while working at Nike World Headquarters and with other photographers on advertising campaigns, and well know the work Jennifer dedicated to coordinating the location, props, and wonderful lunch. The team effort allowed me to focus on capturing the right moment for the group, a challenging task for 10 people in a vertical group shot – but love how it all came together.