I had an amazing opportunity this month to shoot an ad campaign for Under Armour. I have to say it was a dream job! Kris Stone, the director of basketball for UA called me up and said "Kelly, would you like to go to Italy?", I said, "Hell yeah!" As it turns out Under Armour had just signed basketball phenom Brandon Jennings.... the first high school player to skip college and go pro in Europe... He will most likely declare for the NBA draft in April.
The crazy part is, I got the call on a Thursday and by Sunday was on a plane to Italy!!! Since Brandon's stay in Italy will likely be short, UA didn't have time to go into a full scale production for the campaign; Kris and I literally had to get there and make it work! Yes you're hearing me right, I had 48 hours to produce a shoot in Rome, Italy... and I don't speak Italian! My knight in shining armour was Elio Carchidi, a photographer and owner of Studio 154 in Rome. Elio was able to handle all the production in Rome: locations, assistants, equipment rental, vehicles, catering, even a local cell phone! He was great!
We landed in Rome at 7am on Monday morning and began working right away... Location scouting places like the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, the Arch of Constantine and many of the beautiful, narrow cobble streets of Rome. It was like stepping back in time... the texture and history of Rome was mind blowing! By 7am on Tuesday morning we began shooting at the arena where Brandon has practice. This was no ordinary gymnasium, it was built for the 1960 Olympics and had windows all around the top of the arena. I have to say the available light is very different in Italy. We shot the whole first set Tuesday morning with mostly available light! IT was BEAUTIFUL light! The afternoon was back to Profoto... big sets and lots of outfit changing! One note for photographers, the pocketwizards in Europe are on a different frequency than the ones in the US and they don't work together!
Wednesday was location day around Rome. We started at sunrise at the Arch of Constantine, which is right next to the Coliseum. It was a bit stressful since we didn't have the 15 days necessary to get permits, but my rule of thumb is keep it simple! Trusty 7b's in backpacks and enough assistants to keep them mobile! Every time I got a bit stressed, I would look at my assisant and say "We're in Rome!"
Brandon was great to work with. He and I had worked together earlier this year at the Jordan Brand Classic, but this was much more involved. Brandon was very focused and was well aware that he is the future of Under Armour basketball. He worked very hard to get across the mood or attitude we were trying to achieve in the images. ... but honestly it wasn't that hard! He has a natural swagger and confidence...the camera loves him!