Over the past two and a half years I’ve had the privilege of gaining Marriott Hotels as a regular client of mine starting with my initial shoot of the PARQ hotel and casino complex in downtown Vancouver. It’s a large development with towers that encompass two separate hotels, (a JW Marriott and an Autograph Collection hotel called the DOUGLAS) with a casino and various restaurant options as well.
I was brought on by Marriott pre-opening to produce almost all of the initial public facing commercial imagery of both hotels along with various vignette shots including some F&B work. Specifically the DOUGLAS Hotel worked with a local distiller to produce a gin for the hotel itself, and the in-house bar created a specific cocktail to feature the new gin. Enter the Douglas Fir:
Impromptu Cocktail Shoot
This image came about during a packed day of shooting in and around the Douglas and was produced on the fly inside a hotel room with the set being on top of a coffee table we pulled together last minute. The Marriott F&B stylist from HQ was on set that day to help with hotel opening and luckily was able to spare some time to help art direct and to assist us in making sure the look was consistent with the overall beverage marketing strategy.
We moved quickly as we only had an hour slated for this shot, with my assistant and I pulling chairs and props from around the room and eventually landing on this simple styling using only the coffee table as the set. The thick iron rim and dark wood tones played well with the overall feel of the Douglas along with looking great with oranges and dark greens in the drink itself. We lit the shot with two B1’s – one camera left with a giant soft box maybe two feet from the left of the frame, and one from far right bare-bulb just throwing some light onto the rear of the glass causing nice separation for the subjects. Lighting diagram below.
After placing the lights we went about taking multiple frames at various powers and with some black cards inserted at various angles as to create the nicest looking transitions on the glass itself. Beverage photography can be quite challenging in terms of lighting but that’s half the fun, especially when you only have an hour on set to basically nail the shot with the entire marketing team and someone from corporate looking over your shoulder at your every move…but I digress…
We ended up going with a lower key look in line with DOUGLAS branding and with the nice soft light streaming in from the left, just accentuating the shape of the glass and table while maintaining the evening look they wanted. Below is a frame-by-frame GIF of the process we went through while shooting, making decisions on styling, lighting etc along with the final retouched image.
This image is a favourite for myself and my team, because it is beautiful in and of itself but as well because of the extremely limited time we had to execute and the immediate creative problem solving required in the moment to get the shot. I think the final shot is marvellous and the client was very happy with it.
A special thanks to the JW Marriott PARQ Vancouver and the DOUGLAS Hotel for the help and for being such a great client to work with as always!