This summer I was hired by Talent Management magazine to photograph Kimberly Hauer, the chief human resources officer for Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Illinois. Here's an inside look at the project.
Travis Rothe, the art director for Talent Management, which is published in Chicago, contacted me in mid-June. He'd found me by searching the Professional Photographers of America website for photographers near Peoria, Illinois. After reviewing my portfolio, he emailed me with details for the project and I agreed to shoot it. He then put me in touch with the PR people at Caterpillar. We made plans to do the shoot at Caterpillar's new Visitors Center in Peoria at the end of July. The story would run in the October issue of Talent Management.
On the day of the shoot, I'd have an hour to work with Ms. Hauer. I arrived about two hours before our appointment to ensure I'd have time to unload gear and scout for good locations. The goal was to photograph Ms. Hauer in scenes that would feature Caterpillar's equipment and distinctive yellow and black branding.
Lindsey Shubert, one of Caterpillar's public relations representatives, met me and led me through the Visitors Center. She was wonderfully helpful at identifying good locations (I'd guessed she'd done this before) and patient as a stand-in to let me test the look and lighting in the possible scenes. This ensured that we'd use our time well and give the magazine lots of choices once Ms. Hauer joined us.
Ms. Hauer arrived with Heidi Epley, who'd been my main Caterpillar contact before the shoot, and we began the session. Here are a few of the images we made.
Ms. Hauer was very pleasant, friendly, and easy to work with on the shoot. I'd researched a bit about her and the work she was developing at Cat. It's no small thing to be responsible for the human resource efforts at an organization that employs 132,000 people around the world. In addition to work, we also talked a little about our families and the books we were reading.
The Visitors Center features large expanses of glass walls, and some areas have great natural light. I lit many of the scenes, though, with a Nikon SB-26 hotshoe flash in a 60" umbrella. I'd also brought a more powerful Alien Bee studio strobe but, after doing the scouting with Lindsey, decided the SB-26 would get the job done. Most of the images were photographed with my Panasonic GH3 and the Lumix 35-100 f/2.8 lens. I had the Lumix 12-25 f/2.8 lens on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 body but only shot a few frames with it. We had plenty of space to use the longer lens and it performed admirably.
After the shoot, I quickly processed the proofs for Travis at Talent Management. He selected three images for the story; here's how they appeared in print (the story is also available in the online edition of the magazine here).
In the end, this was a fun assignment with great people to work with all around. Ms. Hauer and the Caterpillar staff I met were a delight, and Travis at Talent Management was a professional at every step of the process--before, during, and after the shoot.