Across the board there's been a trend towards combining commercial/motion shoots with still photography. (Here's what Art Buyers are People Too has to say about that). I've worked on a few projects for Verizon shooting still images during a commercial shoot. These shoots can definitely be interesting to navigate, but I also think that they can pay great dividends in terms of creating social media content.
Brands may have limited access to talent, particularly if they are athletes or culture personalities. So a huge advantage of approaching a shoot like this is that it might be the only opportunity to work with particular talent. My first shoot was of IndyCar drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves. It would definitely be hard to imagine a scenario where we were able to arrange for a day of their time for me to focus solely on shooting them for social media. But the time that Verizon had them scheduled to create the TV commercial seemed like a great opportunity to make the most of their commitment and to create some content in parallel with the larger production.
Something to be aware of for anyone who wants to create these sorts of images is that a commercial shoot can be a delicate place to navigate. This was a high pressure situation for the director and crew involved. They were shooting at an expensive location (renting an entire racetrack), with expensive talent, complicated tracking shots with car mounted steadicams, and a whole slew of extras standing by for some of the shots. Every minute of shooting counted. To throw in an unknown variable like a me - a photographer with my own set of goals - definitely had the potential to add to the stress. I was very fortunate that the production crew was amazing and very open to having me on set. In turn I walked very lightly and made sure that I was always aware of the next moves for the production, and that I was never in a place that would slow it down.
This was an early shoot for Verizon. We didn't enter it with a ton of direction, and all of the photography I created was with a behind-the-scenes approach. It was all documentary, and I didn't try to create specific shots or manipulate anything. At a more recent shoot that I did on an NFL set (which I'll be sharing as soon as I'm able to!), I worked with our creative team to think up specific shots, and we worked collaboratively in very brief chunks of time to create some setup shots with the talent.
Take a look at the Verizon Facebook page, and you'll see that we really got the most out of the images that I shot during this shoot. As the IndyCar season continues, we're able to continue to draw from a library of images. They're consistent with the overall photography style, and give a unique perspective on the two Verizon sponsored athletes.