Category Case Studies

Client Work: Agri Cycle Website Project

Agri Cycle

I love working with innovative Maine companies that are doing interesting, important work. This week, Agri Cycle launched their re-branded website with some of the work I’ve done for them this year.

Agri Cycle recycles organic waste and turns it into renewable energy using an anaerobic digester facility in Exeter, Maine. They do great business working with other marquee companies from Waterville to Boston, including Whole Foods, Colby College, Hannaford Bros. supermarkets, and others.  They also arguably do important business—not just producing energy from matter that normally would be discarded, but by reducing the amount of organic matter in landfills (meaning: less greenhouse gas emissions).

Agri Cycle

They are so busy, in fact, that one of the biggest challenges to photographing their team and equipment was simpy to pin them down (from their perspective, admittedly, a good problem to have). Another challenge was to create visuals that spoke to the relationships and the needs of Agri Cycle’s clients rather than focusing on the waste itself—which, let’s face it—wouldn’t win any beauty contests. By focusing on their clients, and on Agri Cycle’s processes, we were able to show their reach and their impact without just showing a bunch of bins of discarded vegetables. Because ultimately, it’s not about what they do, but why.

Agri Cycle

Showcase: Baker, Newman & Noyes

I’ve worked with the fine folks at BNN, a full-service accounting firm based in Portland, ME, for a few years now.  In honor of their 20th anniversary, they just relaunched their refreshed website look this week with a new logo and a few of the environmental portraits we’ve done featuring their principals within their beautiful downtown Portland office space.    They wanted to emphasize the personal, human component of their services, and I think the new web design and images work well to do that.

 

BNN_1_by_Brian_Fitzgerald

BNN_2_by_Brian_Fitzgerald

BNN_3_by_Brian_Fitzgerald

Why photographers ask so many darned questions

A lot of what I do these days is destined for web-only use.   It seems as though print use is getting less and less, but I like to think of it another way…that print is used when it really matters, and thus the quality of what’s printed—and the images needed for those pieces—is comensurately better.   Less, but more.

I like to get involved in these projects early on, or as early as possible.  It can be challenging to come in as a photographer once the design has been set by a web team, and then to have to create images that will safely fit into an ultra-cool horizontal web page slider that is 900 pixels wide and (it seems) 2 pixels deep.   Of course, that’s when you find out the client wants to shoot full-body portraits, too.

That said, I firmly believe my job as a photographer is to provide solutions—practical, useful and hopefully creatively fulfilling—no matter what stage of the process I’m called in on.   It’s never too late to bring some value to my clients even if the train has not only left the station, but is set to arrive in five minutes.

So when local law firm Perkins Thompson wanted to create a variety of team photos for their already-templated site, it was necessary not only to work with their chosen design (fortunately, not 2 pixels tall), but to understand what uses they might have beyond the site.   That’s why photographers should and do ask clients a lot of questions about potential future uses of images.  I found that they wanted the images for a variety of print ads and other collateral, even though the initial use was for a (very) horizontal web page display.  So, the images needed to be flexible enough, in terms of composition, to work for both.

Add to the mix that they have far-flung attorneys who had to be merged into photos together, and it became a logistic challenge.

Here are a few screenshots from their new site–I’m happy with the interaction and group photos we got.   All were shoot loose enough to work in print pieces and ads, but with heads and head sizes in a relative horizontal line so they could be used for web ads.  Doing so cut down on the chance that my client will have to call me in a year asking for a Photoshop miracle, like turning a head-and-shoulders image into a full-body portrait.

To their credit, Perkins T were great to work with and very patient (candidly, I also love that they were founded by a guy named Widgery “Whisker Bill” Thomas).   I’m happy with the results, which feature their teams in a dynamic way that works for them.
Perkins_Thompson_Web_01 Perkins_Thompson_Web_02 Perkins_Thompson_Web_03

 

Case Study – Financial Services firm portraits

When a company decides to embark upon a rebranding initiative they often hire an agency, a designer or a photographer to help them.   There are a lot of ‘triggers’ for when a company decides to do take this critical step forward.  It often happens when the company is in transition, whether physical or something more existential—a move to a new location, a major renovation, a period of great growth.

Spinnaker Trust is a Portland-based company providing wealth and finance management services.  Recently they grew with the merger with another firm, and moved into a really knock-out new space downtown.  To showcase their dynamic new space and their growth, they needed environmental portraits of their team members within their amazing offices—lots of frosted glass, hardwood flooring and deep blue walls.

I spoke with the team about their needs, and decided to go with a more dramatic approach to lighting.  With lighting you can go one of two ways.  Light ‘big’, and just create a wall of light so that everything’s bright, well-lit and very commercial-looking (see any national-level  advertisement) or light ‘small’, or selectively, throwing light just where you need it to create dimensionality, mood, and highlight aspects of the environment. Spinnaker was perfect for the latter.

I used three to four lights for most of the portraits—with all of the glass around, the lighting was tightly controlled to avoid reflections.  We did multiple scenarios with each person in a relatively limited period of time—in my shoots, I tend to move fast:  15 minutes being a long time to spend on any one portrait.

I was happy with the results:  professional but dramatic, with the environment a key feature of each image.   A big shout-out to the team at iBec Creative, who designed this clean and beautiful website.

Fitzgerald_Photo_Spinnaker_01

 

Spinnaker_Trust_iBec

 

Care without compromise

This past week marked the launch of one of the coolest sites I’ve seen in a long time.   The new InterMed website also happens to be locally designed, by Kemp Goldberg Partners, with original photography taken over the course of the past six months or so.    Beginning back in the fall of 2011, I was fortunate to work with KG’s talented crew to make it all happen.

The approach the KG team took was to photograph the doctors and other medical staff in a very casual, environmental style that both made them feel comfortable and allowed for personalities to come through.   These portraits are accompanied by a bio written by each person.  The result is warm, personal and compelling.   It was great working with each of these people, who had to endure my pleas for ‘just one more shot.’    The visual centerpiece of the site are the images of doctors and staff interacting with each other and with patients, along with views highlighting the beautiful Marginal Way InterMed building.   The first thing a visitor to the site sees are documentary shots of patients and their families whose lives have been impacted in positive ways by their InterMed doctors.  Shot in the moment, these vignettes illustrate well the InterMed creed, “Care without compromise”.

 

Do you Biba?

Drink Biba!

I love this….one of my clients is making it big.  Biba, a health “smart drink” startup based in Boston, is now in full production after a couple years of very hard work.  I just noticed them in the local grocery store, too.  Biba is hands-down the best energy-type drink I’ve ever had—light, full of vitamins rather than sugar, and darned tasty.  Go Biba!

Visuals for Verrill Dana

Verrill Dana's new website

I met the folks at Portland-based law firm Verrill Dana last year.  The firm was in the middle of a complete web redesign of their site, and needed photos—lots of them.  Verrill Dana is one of the largest law firms in northern New England, with offices in Maine, Boston, Connecticut and Washington, DC.

The firm already had professional headshots of most of the their 100+ attorneys, but needed updated versions.  In addition, they wanted to showcase more of each attorney’s personality: on each bio page they would run three black-and-white candid photographs of each person in their work environment, engaged in normal interaction.

We met and came up with a plan to tackle the job. The formal portraits would be taken over the course of weeks and would be shot in Portland, Boston and in our studio—but they had to look consistent, as if they were taken all at the same time.   The candids needed to be purposful but natural, orchestrated but spontaneous-looking.

I started by photographing some test “attorneys” in a variety of ways to provide some different looks.  Once the artistic vision was decided on, we arranged shoot dates and makeup days, then got to work.   The shooting days went very smoothly, primarily because the marketing team at Verrill Dana is so well-organized.   Although small issues always come up in the course of shooting, a bit of flexibility and a solid team can easily overcome them.  My years as a photojournalist helped me move quickly and roll with the punches, too.

We love Verrill Dana’s new site, launched earlier this month.  It’s inviting, clean and filled with nice touches, like being able to view an image of each attorney just by mousing over their name.   Congratulations, Verrill Dana!