So you received your new Burlington mailer in your mailbox. But do you know exactly what goes into a Burlington photo shoot? Well, our creative team just returned from a shoot in Miami for our 2017 summer mailer and they’re sharing all the juicy details…from planning to locations to model selections and much more.
And tune in now! Watch our exclusive insider video to get a sneak peek into Burlington’s Miami photo shoot. P.S.: the swimsuits are super hot this year!
How does the team prepare for an on-location photo shoot?
There are a number of steps that have to happen prior to an on-location photo shoot. We first work with our internal creative team on concepts – what is the theme, the overall look we’re going for? This helps us determine where we want to shoot if a specific environment is needed. After we get final approvals on creative concepts, we get to work on logistics. The Photographer and Creative Director scout out locations they think will work with the creative vision. Specific locations are then finalized, as well as the equipment, props and talent needed to make the shoot happen. Next, the Advertising Coordinator works on hiring the talent (models, hair & makeup and stylist), securing location permits, handling all travel and logistics, as well as reserving the RV.
How far ahead do you start planning the shoot?
We typically start 3 months ahead of our shoot date, but shoots can be organized in less time if needed.
Is there a list of shots that you put together beforehand?
Definitely! We try to plan out as much as we can prior to the shoot date – and that includes our wishlist of shots we need to bring the creative vision to life. We collaborate with the stylist to determine the specific trends we should feature in our direct mailers. The stylist then works hard creating eye-catching outfits from clothing samples the buyers provide to best spotlight the trend in each shot.
For example, this summer the one piece, mixed media, crochet detailing and high necks are HUGE in women’s swimsuits. So we selected the most striking swimsuits we could find that nailed these trends and would also have mass appeal to the Burlington customer. Of course, summer is more than just swim. We also make sure that we have a great offering of what’s new and now for all of our customers’ needs. That includes everything from home to kids to shoes – and everything in between.
Our direct mail is just one facet of what we produce in the marketing department. We also do a ton of emails, social media and digital advertising – so we reach out to those teams to ensure that we have their photo needs met, too
How do you go about selecting models?
For all of our marketing, it’s really important to us that we use models our customers can relate to. We seek out models from a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, sizes – even attitude. Next, we tap modeling agencies in the cities where we’re shooting and let them know our needs. How do we determine whom we need? Well, it’s based on a variety of factors like the sizes of the sample clothing we receive, gender, creative vision, etc. Portfolios start pouring in and we then pick our cast based off of the merchandise we’ll be highlighting.
How does the team select a location for the shoot?
We typically pick our location based upon the campaign or season that we’re shooting for. Our summer campaign needs to be shot in March in order for our summer mailer to arrive in customers’ mailboxes in mid May. Burlington’s corporate headquarters is located in Burlington, NJ (a suburb of Philadelphia). As you can imagine, it can still be quite chilly in these parts at that time. That’s why we opt to shoot in a sunny, warm climate like Miami. When the Photographer and Creative Director scout locations they look at things like backgrounds, accessibility and foot traffic that could all impact the shoot.
Are there challenges in terms of where/when you can shoot?
There are a number of challenges that figure into shooting on-location. The first is permitting. If it’s a public space we need, approvals from the city must be obtained prior to shooting. Oftentimes, this process takes anywhere from 1-3 days.
The next big challenge is the weather. Our photo shoots are jam-packed and timelines are very tight. As such, we have no room to shift the shooting schedule if a rainstorm hits. As they say: the show must go on! We still have to get those shots…whatever the weather. For our summer shoot, we had quite a few windy days in Miami. We had to figure out how to work with the wind without sacrificing the integrity of the shot
What does a shoot day look like on location?
Shoot days can vary location to location and from one day to the next. A typical day starts early for the crew – call times are around 7 a.m. That’s because we want to take advantage of the morning sun. The RV serves as our “staging area” for the duration of the shoot. This is where models get hair and makeup done, as well as outfit changes. A catered breakfast is provided and we’re normally ready to shoot our first model by 8:30 a.m. We spend the day walking to different locations to get the shots needed. We’ll break an hour for lunch, if time permits, and then get right back to shooting. The day wraps up around 5 p.m., but could stretch well into the evening if there are nighttime shots required.
What happens after the shoot?
Once we’re back at Burlington’s corporate headquarters, the work isn’t over. The Photographer and Creative Director sift through hundreds – even thousands – of images captured and select the best shots that highlight the merchandise and trends. The selected photos are then given to the Graphic Designer who will place the images into the layouts created for the mailer. There are many rounds of proofing and approvals needed before the creative goes into final production. Simultaneously, the Advertising Coordinator organizes all of the samples and returns them to the buyers. When all of the post-production work is finished, we’re ready to jump on to our next campaign!