Field of Wheat meets Table Topper
One day at work we sat around brainstorming the fall catalog’s cover concept: an inspirational shot of a table topper sewn in beautiful tones of harvest gold, red and orange. Our art director had a splendid idea in mind for showing this table topper in its harvest mode; surround it in a field of golden wheat loaded with succulent cheeses and breads. Sounded yummy to us. Now to find an available wheat field which wasn’t already being harvested. The thought bubble popped up above my head right then, “winter wheat, back 40.” So I grabbed my thought bubble and showed it to everybody and we dove into action. I called Pete to see if the wheat was harvested yet and if not, when. As it turns out, we had a window of 2 weeks to plan an off-site cover shoot on Pete’s wheat field.
Two weeks may seem like a lot of time to plan, but it went by fast, and there were a lot of preparations to be made for this off-site shoot. The calendar was consulted along with the extended weather report. Props were gathered. In fact, some of the team were assigned specific props to gather, such as Gouda cheese, wine, crumbly delicious bread, and a most beautiful Autumn floral display. Timing is a crucial thing. For one example, once the shoot date was set, the floral display had to be ordered at such a time as it wouldn’t dry out too soon. And it seemed that stormy weather was threatening before and after our scheduled shoot date. After each storm, I’d go out and check the status of the wheat. Each time good. Hurry up and shoot already!! This wheat wants to go!
After some studio test shots, the day finally came bright, clear and super hot! Time to hit the tractor road with gear and props. And the table topper. Don’t forget the table topper, that’s the whole reason we’re here! That, and our “after-shoot field picnic” where we get to eat all our delectable props! The whole process of the shoot was much like painting a canvas. It happened layer by layer. Once we got on site, a spot was picked out keeping in mind where the sun was and where it will be within the span of time it takes to “paint the canvas”.
Once a spot was chosen, the layering began. First up, place the table. Watch the wheat, don’t crush it!!
Then the subject of the shoot was placed on top of the table. Hello table topper. And so the primary layers were in situ.
Let’s layer some more, cue the first layer of props. We added some rustic wood elements. Ah, just look at those golden hues coming out already, and see that wheat just brushing up against the table giving the topper a little tickle. It’s blushing.
With each layer, a few shots were taken to check positioning.
Wait, who’s that coming up the tractor road? In that heat it was hard to imagine anyone wanting to walk out to the field, but lo, it is Action Figure Pete! With water! And a very smart-looking hat I might add. Naturally he wanted to come see what the heck is going on in his field of wheat.
Now we are ready for another layer of props. Ze food! Bring it on. Our lovely creative director Donna is arranging the bread, apples, grapes and cheeses. (Sorry about the low grape count Donna, I thought they were snacks for me to eat) Notice with what precision she works. Nothing is simply thrown on but rather carefully arranged. Some things are placed, and then taken out or shuffled around till the right arrangement is achieved always keeping in mind that the table topper is the hero of the shot.
Now it is time for the next layer, the beauteous floral arrangement. Like everything else on set, the floral arrangement was very carefully pulled together with the type of flower and color in mind for the autumn season.
Ah, phew, the arrangement has safely landed. Next our art director and photographer fussed over it for awhile. Its placement cannot overshadow the table topper but instead it should enhance it. As you can see, nothing is sitting directly on top of the topper. And no, the SUV will not be in the shot!! Gosh darn it, who parked that thing there anyway?!
Meanwhile, it looks like somebody found a job to do. Realizing the intensity of heat, Action Figure Pete leaped in to provide shade for Donna. Fortunately Marilyn, one of our graphic designers, caught this heroic moment with her camera. I was too busy eating grapes.
Well, let’s get back to business here. Final touches were made on the set before and during the final round of shots. Not one shot is taken, but rather several to fit all formats and allow us several takes from which to chose. When we were satisfied with all the shots taken, we broke down the set and headed back to the farmyard to eat the props. Except for the flowers. We kept the flowers intact. But we had plenty of cheese, bread and wine. A delicious repast was had.
After all that fussing around, the end result is a 2016 Fall cover featuring a gorgeous table topper:
Oh, and Marilyn once again captured Action Figure Pete, this time frolicking in his field after the shoot was done. He is truly outstanding in his field! A few days later the wheat was harvested and baled. Done!