Just another day at the office! Or is it? One of the more enjoyable parts of working with a country club is doing photo shoots. It’s nice to get out of the office and away from the computer, and be outdoors in the visual side of bringing our club to life. Photo shoots are an important element in the marketing and branding for the club. Photography is an exquisite and visual storyteller of the exciting South Florida lifestyle of paradise, namely Mariner Sands.
To capture the attributes of our exceptional golf and tennis community takes a lot of planning and a little serendipity. What ends up as a stunning image often has a much different story if we take a step back behind the scenes. Let’s take a peek into his creative process by revealing what it really takes to achieve these beautiful images.
You never know what to expect on photo shoots. While everything is carefully planned in advance, everyone has to be flexible and willing to pitch in. The support team on-site is essential to the shoot’s success. People involved might find themselves grabbing pillows for added color or punch to the set, schlepping props, waiting for the sun to peek back out behind the clouds, moving furniture, charging batteries for drones, finding “lost drones,” hoping for wildlife to make a guest appearance, holding lights overhead and praying for great weather as much of the photo shoot happens in the great outdoors— you name it.
Although the primary goal on this day was to shoot the new Gold Course and Welcome Center, there are always partnering shots to gather. The pre-planning begins months in advance and once a date has been determined, the planning continues with a great photographer and a scouting mission. Photographer, Jason Nuttle has been on-site before so minimal scouting was required for this outing. Scouting involves:
- Seeking various areas that jump out, including angles and composition to be considered.
- Outlining the layout and factoring in potential times and placement of the sun.
- Reviewing notes to put together a rough estimate game plan on which areas to shoot and, more specifically, the best times of day to achieve the shots with where the sun would be in the sky.
- Vetting shoot concepts, ideas and timeline across the marketing team for their input on what they like, dislike or changes they would like to see made.
The day starts early (pre-dawn) with coffee at 6 a.m., Depending on the arrival time, we can catch sunrises over various holes; hues of the greens vary in intensity depending on the location of the sun. On this particular morning, we were able to capture the luminous pink moon rising over Gold Course hole number 8. Stunning.
We look to capture wildlife wandering into the scenes or flying overhead against the beauty of the golf course; morning dew on the petals of bordering flower bushes; and colorfully attired golfers putting around the greens. It is a juxtaposition of drone shots for both video and birds-eye view stills, plus telephoto and wide-angle images from a 35 mm high mega-pixel camera.
Throughout the day, we are keeping track of the shot list, reviewing every set of shots with the marketing team to make sure we had what we needed, shifting schedules, adding shots as requested and other equipment as necessary. We had to work around a few glitches: drones, clouds, and/or waiting for golfers to finish the hole or approach the greens!
The schedule flexes as we try to accommodate meandering Sandhill Cranes on hole 16, then we rushed over to the Sand Bar to stage and shoot before lunchtime taking full advantage of the sparkling light shining through the foliage. The trick is to make the most vibrant and appealing photo with props and positioning, while being true to the Mariner Sands sensibilities and branding.
- Tables and chairs are moved into position, tweaked and moved again
- Colorful salads and lively drinks are added to the setting
- Pillows were layered in for added color and pop
A quick lunchbreak doubles as a team meeting and we revisit our progress. Did we get everything? How is the sun cooperating? What is next? What props might be needed? Is the team ready for the next shot?
On the way to the Tennis Pro-shop, we catch a few spontaneous IPhone pics to share to social media:
- Assistant tennis pro Mike, of the top-rated tennis community, was teaching a lesson, so BONUS, we grabbed a quick video while the shop is being prepped.
- Bright yellow tennis balls against the Mariner Sands fence are also a quick, punchy snap for social media.
- Plus, the golf carts buzzing back and forth also provide a sense of the busy, fun, social and golf-centric lifestyle of Mariner Sands.
Capturing the Ashley Patio view onto the golf course was another high priority shot. We arrived on set and added lighting, more pillows, drinks and flowers and rearranged the furniture to create a sumptuous and inviting space where members can enjoy dinner, lunch, drinks, happy hour while embracing the expansive golf vistas. It’s important for future members to understand all the amenities and dining options available; our job is to tell the story of Mariner Sands--a gem of a private, gated community on the Treasure Coast.
In the late afternoon, we captured the sunlight beaming across to hole 18 beautifully busy with golfers and their carts. From the same angle, vibrant sunlight is perfect for the arrival drive to the Welcome Center. All the colors are bright and vivacious with quintessential palm tree shadows dancing in the drive.
As luck and timing would have it, an unexpected shot was the croquet tournament being played by Team Mallet Heads, looking crisp and sharp in their whites. We took drone shots from the jaws of the wicket to the entire overhead match, court and neighboring greens.
While the day ended at 5pm with packing up gear, the actual final step is the review and edit of hundreds of images as we whittle down to the final selects that are perfect enough for the official website and social media platforms. Then, Mr. DeMille, Mariner Sands, a showstopper in Martin County, is ready for a close-up!