BLOG 2020

CASE STUDY: SHEPHERD NEAME SPITFIRE ALE

First in a series of case studies from over the last 15 years, I’m going through the archives at the moment and wanted to revisit some memories from past photo shoots...
07/04/2020
Back in September 2012 I covered a photography shoot at Lydd International airport in Kent for local brewery Shepherd Neame for Spitfire Kentish Ale, this also coincided with the Movember campaign to promote mens health issues. Retired RAF pilot Charlie Brown is now one of the very few pilots who flies a handful of Spitfire planes, these are used for experience days where customers can fly alongside in a helicopter and marvel at the design and grace of this world war 2 icon.

We had very limited time with the plane and Charlie in between flights and had to capture a number of different shots to link in with a Facebook competition where he would mark mens moustache growing efforts with scores out of ten, plus he had to make some costume change as well. I remember the day being warm and very bright, the sun was behind the plane and I opted to use the left side of the plane for the portraits, this was in shade but using two Canon speed lites off camera provided the fill in light, this was before the days of Profoto and being in the middle of an airfield there wasn’t the option to use studio lighting. Plus we had to move quickly as three 30 minute time slots were all that was available to us between Charlie’s flights.

Just to add some pressure to the time constraints Spitfire had just employed the services of PR firm Saachi and Saachi one of the biggest agencies in Europe to promote the branding of there biggest brand of beer.

The shoot went really well and the photographs of Charlie and the Spitfire were used across the UK in the breweries advertising campaign, in fact I couldn’t get away from the images as they were all over social media, on posters and even beer mats. It’s always a find memory as the top image is on a large acrylic in the office as it’s still one of my favourite ever portraits.