Concept To Execution
Every watch The A-Team back in the ’80s? As The A-Team was pulling off some great rescue, George Peppard, as Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, would say “I love it when a plan comes together” and light a cigar. (If I could find a good YouTube clip of this, I’d insert it here. But I can’t.)
Anyway, I too love it when a plan comes together. So eere was the plan:
A year ago, I was on the primary re-launch team of a major Fortune 500’s corporate website. Not from a technical aspect mind you – heck, I have trouble getting WordPress to do what I want it to – but from an editorial and strategic standpoint. Today, that’s my primary professional role – keep advancing the website through great content to help continue building the long-standing equity of my company.
So, we re-launched the corporate website on April 25, 2008. This involved a cast of, well, not thousands, but a helluva lot of people. As we approached the 1-year anniversary of this huge project, I thought a fun announcement would be in order to a goodly number of those involved then, and involved now.
The homepage of our website sets the tone, and I’m always looking to keep a good mix of homepage stories on there. Whenever we hear about new possible stories from within our company, I think “Can this be a homepage story?” The homepage is often the first place a user comes to, and we want to make it a good experience. It sets the pace.
So, I thought it would be fun to mock-up a homepage that celebrates the one-year birthday of the website. Honestly, I had been so busy at work all week, I hadn’t thought of anything. But driving home from work on Thursday, inspiration hit, and the Blackberry/iPhone messages started to flow. So here it is…from concept to execution (geez, I feel a little like Chase Jarvis here…)
Photography and images are a big part of my company’s brand identity. So I thought a fun mock-up of the homepage would be the appropriate reminder announcement. Birthday cakes – too big and not what I wanted. So I thought of a simple cupcake with a candle. At a stoplight, I emailed one of my crack designers and told her to look for an image later that night (Thursday). On the way home from work, I swung my local grocery store and picked up what I needed: cupcake (check), frosting (check), candles (check).
I got home, dinner was ready, but I wanted to shoot using nice ambient light if I could. I asked my wife if she could help out with some frosting..and she agreed…then she went to eat dinner.
Here was my base-line shot (white table settings to help boost the ambient): f/8, ISO 1600, 28mm, 1/100 sec
Nothing great, but now we go to work. A few shots later: f5.6, still at ISO 1600, 1/100 sec, 17mm
Getting there. Really drilling in here. I also was using the ambient light, camera left, along with my 430EX Speedlight hot-shoed on top of the 20D. I liked where I was at, so I was ready to start propping the scene in case I got my close to my shot.The one thing about my company’s homepage is that you need to leave enough negative space to the left to add copy. So I started to shoot it for this aspect. This was f5.6 while I dropped the ISO to 100 at 38mm, 1/8 sec, and the 430 at about -1 1/3 power.
Just. About. There. A few more tweaks, though, including the candle. This one came in at f5.6 (yes, I like this focal length), ISO 400, -1 EV, 47mm at 1/135 sec.
Shot a few more but liked this one the best. So, with the first shot done at about 7:15 PM and the last one done at about 7:50 PM, I was confident I had what I needed to send to my creative designer.
Enter Melissa Mancuso, from Local Wisdom. Hannibel Smith may have had his A-Team…well, I have mine. This includes a crack team of writers and designers. Melissa is a four-star general on this team. (by the way, another A-Team member – at least for a little while longer – is this guy. I’ve been trying to convince him to get a mohawk like Mr. T’s B.A. Barakus, but so far, no go.)
Around 10:20 PM on Thursday night, I sent her the image that I liked. Told her I was hoping to send something to the group around mid-day or so on Friday, April 24th.
She took it and not only ran with it, she scored. Big time.
Mid-morning on Friday, Melissa set me a couple of version of the “homepage”. I was blown away. They looked great. Eventually, we settled on the blue wall rather than the orange wall because it looked better against the type color we normally use. She took my concept and brought it to execution.
And while I won’t be running this homepage on my company’s website this weekend, I did sent it around to a cast of , well, almost hundreds to remind them that one year ago on April 25th, we were launching a new corporate website on a worldwide basis. And we suceeded.
Pretty cool. Loved how it came out and we got a great reaction from the people I sent the “Happy Birthday” email too.
So, big props to Melissa Mancuso for her graphic and creative design work and to my lovely Leslie for her food styling.
Someone else celebrates a birthday on April 25th……(hands off, kid! That’s MY carrot cake…)
Thanks for hanging in through this uber-long post! Hope you enjoyed the creative process here!
© Mark V. Krajnak 2009 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 20D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 and Nik Software.