Behind the Scenes of a Spillman Photo Shoot
Ever wonder where the photos you see on Spillman’s website, advertisements, and brochures come from? Those aren’t actors or models – the people pictured are actual Spillman customers, posing in their real uniforms. All of the photos are taken inside their agencies or at an outdoor location in their home towns. These annual Spillman photo shoots not only provide the company with great images of real agencies, they also give us a chance to get to know our Spillman customers better – and have a lot of fun in the process.
This year, representatives from Spillman’s marketing department headed to the Midwest, where we photographed personnel from Lake County Sheriff, Schererville Police Department, Crown Point Fire Rescue, and the Munster Police Department in Indiana, as well as the E-Com Dispatch Center in Homewood, Ill. We schedule our photo shoots in a different area of the country each year to reflect the diversity of Spillman agencies. Past years have taken us to New Jersey, Florida, and Alabama, just to name a few.
When deciding where to do a photo shoot, we also discuss the type of photos we need the most at that time. This year, we knew we wanted a new group shot with representation from police, fire, sheriff, and dispatch. With 40 shared agencies on its system, Lake County was a perfect fit for us this year. Once we’ve identified a customer that is willing to be the “face of Spillman”, we schedule a date for the shoot and dig into the logistics.
We also make sure that we have our professional photographer and his locally hired crew scheduled for the shoot. Participants are often surprised to see not only a photographer but also a make-up artist, several photography assistants, lighting equipment, and reflectors. The photos that you see in our marketing material might look natural and casual, but the behind-the-scenes process requires a lot of work from an entire team of people.
The Spillman team arrives at the photo shoot location a day or two in advance. This gives us time to finalize a location for the shoot, get all of the supplies we need, and hopefully, spend our free time soaking up the local color. This year we took an (accidental) detour through Chicago’s Chinatown and saw the old Lake County Jail in Crown Point, the location of John Dillinger’s infamous escape.
The actual day of the photo shoot starts bright and early. By the time we arrive on site at 8:30 a.m., the photographer and his crew have already started setting up the lights and staging equipment. By 9, our first “models” arrive on the set, ready for breakfast and a little touch-up from our makeup artist. We quickly learned to refer to our make-up artist as a “shine-reduction specialist” so that our male photo shoot participants wouldn’t panic at the idea of having a little powder on their faces!
Before the photo shoot, we prepare a list of all the poses and photos we want our photographer to capture. This helps us work quickly, which is important because all of our customers have busy schedules and could get called off the set at any time for an emergency.
We managed to squeeze in three location shoots that day – one outside Lake County’s facilities, one inside the E-Com Dispatch Center, and a night shoot on the streets of Crown Point. Keep your eyes peeled for these photos to appear in upcoming Spillman ads and other publications.
We want to send a big thank you to all of the agencies that participated in the shoot. Your Midwestern friendliness made our experience so pleasant and fun, and we even turned the camera over to some of our customers and let them take some pictures of us! Hopefully, this will be the first and last time Spillman’s marketing team will be in the back of a police cruiser.
Thanks again to our Indiana and Illinois agencies. We look forward to seeing our new friends at Users’ Conference this year!