behind the scenes

How to Reach $1 Million for Money Magazine

It’s always a pleasure working with Ryan Cadiz and the team from Money Magazine. For their annual Millionaire Issue, they wanted the cover to capture the feeling of financial freedom that having $1M in assets can bring. After a lot of brainstorming and conversations with the magazine, it was decided that feeling involved a red Ford Mustang convertible and a beautiful sunset over water.

Because we were shooting this in Texas in July and also to give us the most control over light and the scene, we decided to shoot this in two parts. Part A involved Adam and Robin taking a couple afternoon drives to Canyon Lake, about an hour and a half outside of Austin, to capture sunsets. We have to say this was a first time a camping permit was purchased for a shoot. Part B involved finding the perfect car. We searched car museums and classic car clubs all over town. Finally, the Mustang Owner’s Club of Austin put us in touch with Diego Sandoval and the most perfect 1965 poppy red Ford Mustang we could have asked for. All original (except for the corroborator) and absolutely beautiful.

Adam and Nick put up a 20′ x 20′ scrim on a mildly breezy day (terrifying) and secured the heck out of it by anchoring it to other vehicles. Lights were set up and gelled to mimic a sunset in front of the car, and we were ready to rock. Our lovely couple were troopers, it was 102 degrees that day. A million thanks to Billy Mercer from Lip Service for keeping their hair and makeup perfect in that heat.




It took all of the sandbags, plus a Toyota Tundra, plus a Ford Explorer to keep the scrim from turning into a sail.


And here’s the man with the beautiful car. Thank you Diego for letting us use your baby!





Fortune 500 Cover Image

This was a very special assignment for us. Mia Diehl from Fortune magazine called and asked us to contribute to their annual Fortune 500 issue. (SUPER HONORED!) The magazine was going to run multiple covers and each cover would focus on a different company on the list. We were assigned Monsanto and she wanted to know if we could shoot a combine in a field. Absolutely we could! And it was the perfect time of year to take this image. Robin’s father still had wheat in the field and it had just started to turn golden. So one weekend in May we loaded up the car with gear and drove to the family farm. It’s hard to find many photo assistants in the “middle-of-nowhere” Texas, but lucky for us our family was more than happy to help. We scouted the different wheat fields till we found the right spot. Mr. Finlay parked the combine in the field and over the coarse of the weekend we were able to capture it during two sunrises and two sunsets. On the last sunset we realized the cabin of the combine felt kind of empty, so Robin’s dad climbed in the driver’s seat and started his modeling career.

Thank you so much Mia for trusting us to venture out of the studio for this assignment. We’re not much for the waking up before the sun part, but beside that the experience was very rewarding.



Here’s some behind the scene pics from the weekend.



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The Future of Football for GQ

GQ came to us with an article about the future of football, and one writer’s theory that football will not become less violent, but actually more violent in the future. So we were asked to imagine what this more violent future might look like. Menacing spikes on the helmet, barbs on the shoulder pads, players with brass knuckles, and razor wire at the end zone was where we went. This was an amazingly fun set and costume to build. Thank you to makeup artist Tara Cooper for making our player’s skin look phenomenal!





And here were some of the out takes that did not make it to print, but we love the way they turned out.

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We looked at all kinds of different spikes to find the most menacing. The end solution…..spear fishing tips! All ground down by hand. And yes, they were sharp!

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Last, here’s some behind the scene images from the day.

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Wired Design Life Issue

Last summer, Adam, Nick and I were invited by Wired magazine to come to their amazing San Francisco office and shoot 10 featured products plus a cover for their yearly Design Life issue. It was 3 long days of levitating products and extreme angles with lots of focus stacks. The 10 feature products are sections openers for this special issue.












I think everyone was surprised by the quantity of gear we were able to fit in the studio. We deffinatly pushed it’s limits with two working sets going at a time.

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Pharma-Geddon for Fortune Magazine

We got to make an Army tank out of drug store items for a Fortune magazine story about Walgreen’s, CVS, and the battle for American’s medicine cabinet. This took about 20 trips to Walgreen’s trying to plan out what went where and a lot of strange looks from the cashiers with baskets of only blue and white products.

Fortune_Tank_LayoutWe could not decide between a white or blue background, so we did both!


And here’s some behind the scene images of the tank coming together.



Building process




New Portfolio Section: It Starts With a Sketch

If you visit our studio and take a look at our desks, the first thing you notice (well, maybe the second after my mess of latte cups and receipts) are stacks and stacks of white copy paper covered in sketches. Sketching, physically putting pen to paper, is one of the first and most important steps for us when it comes to creating a photograph. Not a day goes by that we don’t sketch something. Sketches are the way we pitch ideas, think through composition, problem solve construction, and explain to each other the visions in our head. The sketches can be very detailed, or just a couple of lose marks. We have learned to interpret each other’s sketches and no matter how quick or how detailed they are, they become the road maps we use to get to a final image.

As a way to share our process we’ve created a new section of our portfolio we will be adding to periodically called “It starts with a sketch”. Below are a few images from that new section, the rest of the sketch/image pairings can be seen here.






New Cover for IEEE Spectrum


When the phone rings and the caller ID says Randi Klett, we know fun stuff will be happening. This time she asked for fireballs. On electrical transmission towers. Um, yeah!

This was a combination of prop building, problem solving, and shooting on location to get the right elements to make the picture happen. The basic tower and set were scale models photographed in the studio. For the actual wires connection to the tower, Adam and Nick headed out of town a bit to photograph the real deal. We found scale wires just did not have the right look. Lastly, for the fire balls, we filled black water balloons with either propane or acetylene gas and lit them on fire in the dark. The blaze was so fast we actually had to capture it with video and pull still frames from the video.

Below is a  little slow motion clip of one of the fireballs we captured and couple out takes of the process.


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Interview with Industry

Super honored to be interviewed by Kayla Rekofke from INDUSTRY out of Portland. We first met them when Adam photographed their SOLID bike for Wired’d Design Issue last year. Amazingly nice people with super rad offices. Thank you Kayla and all of INDUSTRY for making us look so good.