The True Story Behind the Urban Element Photoshoot.

The True Story Behind the Urban Element Photoshoot. Archive

Urban Element have launched our new website, you may have noticed. One of the most prominent features on our new site are the images, and most importantly, the team photos.

So, how did we plan the day? How did we get the shots? And what lessons did we learn? All is revealed in the truth behind the Urban Element photo-shoot.

Before the Shoot

We knew that the look and feel of the new Urban Element website would be paramount to its success. Newly promoted UX Designer and Information Architect, Mark Lyne, identified key pages and creating a detailed photography brief that would communicate our positional messaging, including:

Our Team

Our Process

Our location

This brief detailed the exact shots we would need. From this we story boarded the photo shoot. The story board would map out the timing, positioning and framing that we were looking for with each shot.

One of the concepts Mark created for the photo shoot was the use of props to Urban Element's brand. Once story boarded, these props needed spec’d out, designed, and printed in time for the photo shoot.

Finally we brought experienced photographer Jackie Cross on board to take the shots. 

The day of the shoot

The day started early. At 8:30 am the team met outside the Radcliffe Camera, with everyone's first priority was to find coffee. Fully caffeinated, the team were ready to begin.


Outside Influence

One factor we didn’t take into account was the number of people in Oxford. From the very first head shot, our team had to compete for space with cyclists, pedestrians, and workmen carrying out road works. 

Eventually, we found a spot which worked great until we were asked to move on by a mobile coffee Vendor. Despite our initial grumblings, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise when 1 hour later the team needed a coffee break.

The volume of people caused another problem as well – many of them wanted to get involved in the photo shoot themselves.  Between cyclists, pedestrians, and SEO expert Matt Baker, there were some valiant attempts to photo-bomb the shots. However all of these efforts were put to shame by the constant menace of Oxford’s streets - the tourists.


Team Capers

Despite the hustle and bustle, the weather remained good and the team were in high spirits. So, with 15 sets of headshots to take and only one photographer, it was only to be expected that the team would find ways to entertain themselves. What we didn’t realise is the wide range of talents the team possess.

It didn’t take long for a spontaneous football match to begin in the street whilst Front End Developer, Chris Sawyer, entertained us all with his juggling routine. Online Marketing Manager, Matt Gilbert, even broke out his guitar and played us his rendition of a Jake Bugg song.

Unfortunately the fun didn’t last long and all was soon halted when Director Jon Ellard’s golf ball was accidentally thrown down a drain pipe and lost forever.

The rest of the shoot passed (thankfully) without incident, culminating with a well-earned drink and some more relaxed photos. After this it was time to head back to the office.

The journey home allowed for one last hiccup, with our Content Specialist, Douglas Handford’s car breaking down just five minutes away from our office, making him miss both lunch and the rest of the afternoon. Conveniently this happened to be Douglas’ birthday…

Being Prepared and Flexible

Approaching the photo-shoot, we were prepared in that we had more than once concept. You can not guarantee that one idea will work, so it's always good to have more than one. We were also prepared by thinking ahead, knowing that there could be new members joining our team in the future. 

Team Changes

Changes in the team is a challenge faced by any company. However, when your team are the face of the company, what do you do when they leave - or more members are hired?

In the case of a team member leaving, clever editing has served enough. New team members coming on board provided much more of a challenge. Fortunately we had already thought ahead. Photographing the backdrop, we were able to digitally impose new members of the team onto the image. 

Unsuccessful Concepts

One of the more adventurous concepts we tried was for the Meet the Team page. The idea was for the headshot shown on the finished site to be matched with a more relaxed image of team members and their hobby. Unfortunately these images didn't fit well with the finished website. 

5 Tips to make your photo-shoot go well

1 -Plan your shoot in advance. Creating a storyboard provided a direction and vision that went hand-in-hand with the design of our new website

2 - Always have a contingency plan. As you read above, we had to change locations several times due to the areas being busier than we had originally expected.

3 - Go with more than one idea in mind for the photo shoot. When putting our photos onto the new website, we later found out that the images with props didn't work in the design of our new website.

4 - Hire a professional photographer. Jackie's experience and direction meant we got quality shots first time.

5 - Plan for changes in your team. We took a photo of the backdrop, so if necessary, we could digitally place new team members into the same frame.

Tour the new Website

Imagery is one of the most important features of the new website. Though careful planning, and a considered approach we achieved a look and feel that we are pr oud of.


Take a tour of the new site to see the finished results and for the chance to win a fantastic night at The Feathered Nest worth £150 in our website launch competition.


Jon Ellard
- Director

A results driven, self-motivated and resourceful director with a proven ability to develop and strengthen client relationships. With 14 years marketing experience Jon’s main focus is to ensure clients receive return on investment from their online investment. Jon has excellent people skills and possesses the valuable ability to explain technically-complex subjects and make them comprehensible.


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