Shooting a Hard Hat Ad Campaign

Heavy equipment operator working a loader
in Coolidge, AZ.

Last week I was contacted by Italian helmet manufacturer KASK about shooting a quick ad campaign to kick off their new line of construction hard hats. I was incredibly excited about the opportunity and of course agreed to take the job, did I mention it would be quick though?

I spoke with KASK Tuesday evening, on Wednesday they overnighted me a box of the new hard hats, which arrived Thursday afternoon. I began shooting immediately on Friday morning and my deadline was for final images to be submitted by Tuesday afternoon. It was a whirlwind, but it was also a lot of fun.

My first thought, when I opened the box of hard hats, was that these hard hats looked like nothing I'd ever seen before in general construction. They looked more like a cross between the rope access/rock climbing helmets that Abseilon USA wears and a bicycle helmet. I opened the box and tried one on, I couldn't believe how lightweight and comfortable it was. I've worn hard hats while shooting at construction sites dozens of times before, but these were game-changers.

Unwrapping the hard hats when they arrived from KASK

The client wanted an edgy look and feel to the shots, but also wanted to keep the hard hats within a 'general construction' context. I began networking with local builders, contractors, electricians, heavy equipment operators, and professional organizations within the construction industry to begin lining up shoots with the new hard hats.

In addition to lining up shoots with actual construction workers, I contemplated shooting background plates of various working construction sites and then doing a few composites of models wearing the hard hats, just in case I had trouble securing the necessary permissions to shoot at actual job sites. As it turned out, I was able to schedule more shoots than I actually needed, so I scrapped the composite angle altogether.

Lightweight and comfortable, the new hard hats didn't look or
feel like any hard hat I'd ever worn before. I couldn't wait to
get out and start shooting.
The extremely quick turn-around on the this shoot, especially for an advertising shoot, made me nervous the first couple of days. By day 2, however, they response to my emails and phone calls gave me a lot of confidence in the project. By day 3 of shooting I was actually turning away people offering to help because I just couldn't fit another shoot into the schedule and meet my deadlines. For that, I have nothing but gratitude to the Arizona construction community and your willingness to be a part of this project.

Something that I felt was really important to the success of this project was being able to show the versatility of the hard hats. I didn't want to have three or four shoots showing the same situations and types of construction. I was hoping to diversify the final set of images as much as I could, to show the hard hats being used by heavy equipment operators, laborers, general contractors, civil engineers, welders, and pretty much anybody working in and around general construction and industrial areas. I'm really pleased I was able to get the diversity in shots that I actually did.

With at least two shoots a day for five days, and the deadline to submit final images ON the fifth day, there were a few things I had to do in order to stay on top of the workflow. For one, I needed to proof and edit the day's images every night. That was the only way I'd be able to finish shooting, and upload final images to the client hours later. It definitely made for long days to keep this shoot on track and not let other ongoing projects fall to the wayside.

I really had so much fun shooting this project, I was a little sad to finally reach the end. I'm very happy with the final images, as was the client. I can't wait to work with KASK again on another project, KASK, if you're reading this, you've got like 6 other lines of helmets, so come on - let's get some shooting scheduled...

Welder Amado Carrasco working on a
project at C N N Welding in Phoenix
A little BTS photographed by my
assistant that day, while shooting
the image to the left.



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