Behind the scenes in Rockingham County: Lessons in advertising and life

Luke Scalf lighting the shoot

Before starting my internship at Tigermoth, I thought I would be learning about marketing and advertising primarily by shadowing the partners. Instead, a photo and video shoot in Rockingham County put me in the driver’s seat and taught me several valuable lessons that I thought I’d share with our readers.

Throughout the day, Chris, Dave and their crew captured images and video for Rockingham County tourism advertisements in two locations: Deep Springs Country Club and Mayodan Mountain Bike Trail. Ultimately, their work would support a print ad series and a promotional video for the web (check those out below).

Here is what I learned after a day on location with the Tigermoth team.

1. Lighting can be tricky, but it can bring a whole new life to images.

Throughout the summer, and especially that day in Rockingham County, I experienced firsthand the importance of lighting during photo and video shoots. I learned how to counteract lighting issues created by either too much sun or too many shadows. In the photo shoot out on the open golf course, we used reflectors to redirect the sun so that we could light up darker areas on the person we were shooting. Chris took a few pictures without the reflectors to show me just how important light aid can be.

In the afternoon, when we headed to the mountain bike trails, we needed strobes to eliminate shadows. Despite being similar to the previous shoot, this one was in dense woods — shadows from the trees proved to be a real challenge. This time, we strategically placed multiple strobes to enhance the lighting in darker areas where bikers were riding. While lighting can be tricky to manipulate, it brings a whole new life to pictures and videos.

2. Great shots take many attempts to achieve – but, like in life, persistence pays off.

On the Mayodan Mountain Bike Trail, I also learned that action shots are trickier than stills. One individual scene took numerous attempts for both photo and video. Our five-person crew constantly moved into the best position to get the best angle, lighting and focus. One picture or video segment could take several or even fifteen attempts to get right. After a while, you’d hit a wall. The guys would say, “Let’s get one more,” but I learned that one more is never just one more. But — there was one shot, in particular, that showed how much persistence can pay off. David positioned himself in the creek for a close up of the mountain bike tearing through the water. The first shot or two were great; but that “just one more” resulted in the shot of the day — and David being soaked in creek water.

3. Communication helps you constant adjust to challenges — and capture great opportunities.

With constantly changing external forces like the sun and shadows, being nimble is key, and that required good communication. During the last shot of the day, Chris and David wanted to get images of the cyclists riding off into the sunset. As the sun went down, time was of the essence. We had to constantly adjust to the changing conditions in order to get the shot. Chris and David amazed me with how fluidly they would manage Dante, Jesse and me while shooting. They were able to focus on one area, while simultaneously knowing where each of us was and being able to shift us at a moment’s notice. The Rockingham shoots taught me the importance of communication and good management during projects where there are a lot of factors and moving parts. Below, check out one of the ads from the Rethink Rural campaign.

Tigermoth's Rethink Rural campaign ad for Rockingham County

By the end of the day, I had begun to feel a sense of pride in what I had helped create — images and video full of life and joy in Rockingham County. The ads that now feature those images promote a familial connection to the places we shot. I was reminded of a quote by Confucius, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” I spent the remainder of the summer applying the lessons learned in Rockingham County to other areas of marketing. Like so much I have learned this summer, the Rockingham County shoot showed me that hands-on learning is the best teacher.

Luke Scalf, Tigermoth intern

Luke Scalf is a Project Management Intern at Tigermoth Creative. He enjoys outdoor adventures, working out, reading and yoga. His long-term dreams are to own a ranch and raise goats.