Pita For Good

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A while back I was asked by Whiskey Design if I was interested in photographing a food truck that they were branding. If you don't know anything about Whiskey Design, simply put, if Whiskey asks you to photograph anything, DO IT. They are one of the most, if not the most talented creatives in Kansas City. A small business of four insanely talented designers that often times stomp out the bigger design firms of 50 plus.

After getting over the excitement of finally doing automotive work for a super dope creative entity, we hashed out details and finalized a plan. We got all of our ideas into an organized shoot and everything was set. Until everything changed. Then changed again. Then changed again. 

Food trucks move around a lot. A lot more then I really give them credit. So our shoot day essentially turned into, follow the food truck because it's not shutting down it's operation because business is good and the food is even better.

Pita For Good was feeding a crew downtown and so we figured it'd be a good chance to get some shots of the shirts and aprons that Whiskey had designed.

A few things I learned at this moment...

1. The interior of a food truck is actually pretty small after you put staff, food, and hungry people in and around it. 

2. Probably not the best time to be stopping a chef for a shot when they're in the middle of cooking, taking orders, and serving hungry crew/construction dudes.

3. Woah. It's pretty smoky in here.


After trying my best at staying out of the way, (which I failed horrifically at by the way) we went to our second location to setup while the food truck finished serving its lunch crowd and cleaned up its post lunch time mess. The idea was to get the truck in a park and set up a scene to recreate the truck in it's natural state of being parked and serving the people its delicious food. 

H - A - U - G - H - T . HAUGHT.

I checked the temperature on my phone and realized I had very little time to get the shot before everyone got too hot and invetibly started to sweat. If I recall correctly it was in the high 90's and I noticed that I myself had sweat through my shirt just standing in the sun building the composition in my head. The truck showed up, we put everyone in place and snagged our shot.


After getting the shot I ripped my camera off of the tripod, dismissed all the extras and localized in on the talent wearing the branded merchandise before the heat destroyed everyone (which it was already doing I might add.)


Finally, after getting the shots we needed after everyone sweat through their shirts, we kicked everyone off set and started shooting the truck. Immediately I noticed realized I had undermined one huge fact.

Shooting yellow in broad daylight sucks.

Shooting bright colors at 1pm in broad daylight is hard stuff. The color wanted to lose itself in the highlights and I was very prone to blowing them out. It's tricky to get a good exposure in this setting. Normally you would have flashes to add light but I needed something to take light away from the truck. And this truck was a friggin' HUGE truck so I just had to roll with the unforgiving light.

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After getting the details we headed to last location for my favorite part of the shoot. Photographing the truck hero shots. No people, no details, ALL TRUCK STUFF.

We went to our location that we scouted and long behold AN EVENT WAS GOING ON! Parking was ridiculous, people were everywhere, cars were everywhere, and the exact shot we had scouted was pretty much done for. Looking back, maybe we could've used the crowd to our advantage, but the composition would've been extraordinarily busy. I was overheated and trying to finish the shoot before it left for its dinner shift, I had to find the first clean spot and just make something work.

The art director, Micah Barta, and I were in my car as we quietly spoke profanities to ourselves as we circled around the block trying to not look too lost because we had a food truck following us who did not realize we had lost our original shoot spot.

Then we stumbled down this quite road. 


Thanks, dude! I'm actually pretty stoked about this spot. The lighting was not ideal at all, all harsh sunlight, random shadows, the color was not receptive to the kind of quality of light we had, aaaaaand I was uncomfortably drenched in sweat. But when you have to make images, you make images. We adapted and made it work. No excuses.


I love rolling shots. They're my favorite. And for some reason, roller shots of cars that are not racecars (like family vans or in this very specific case, food trucks) crack me up.



I was too hot and maybe too stressed to care about how dope the images came out given that we shot in the harshest of light conditions. The owner of the food truck asked if we got what we needed. I'm pretty sure he was very over moving his truck backwards and forwards on an active street repeatedly over and over again. So we gave him the okay and watched this wonderfully branded truck disappear. 


PITA FOR GOOD PT. 2 - JUDGEMENT DAY. Watching the car drive off was dope. Micah and I were relieved. Not because it was over, but because we could sit in air conditioning. We made our way back over to Red Star, the building that Whiskey Design was in and started doing table top photography.


Let me just take this moment and say, props to the dudes over at Whiskey. The owner, Matt Wegerer, knows how to organize the hell out of a tabletop to showcase their collateral. They had their own props and did their own styling and it's always crazy to see them put these layouts on the table.


Hard work shows. Hard work pays. Two very obvious statements. When it's all said and done, it takes hard work to care, and it takes harder work to test yourself and not sell yourself short. It's hard work to do your best at what's in front of you. 

The dudes over at Whiskey work their asses off. And I'm insanely stoked I got to be apart of their award winning process to visually showcase their work.

Oh yeah...


Whiskey Design // Pita For Good


Here's to dope people who make dope work who allow random Asians like me to photograph their stuff.

Life is dope. Until next time.

     — T.H.

Travis HoangComment