It’s that all-too-familiar moment when you are making eye contact with a baby and he/she lets you in on a little secret: they’re the ones who are really in control of the situation.
In their third campaign with Glasshouse photographer Evan Kafka, Ogilvy & Mather commissioned the photographer to capture these types of unforgettable moments for Huggies. It was a genius creative idea that Evan Kafka was quickly on board with. With the help of a large production team, including Ogilvy & Mather’s creative department, Set Designer Peter Gargliano, Wardrobe Stylist Ellen Silverstein, Diaper Stylist Heidi Samuda, Baby Wrangler Bethany Pettigrew and many others, the envisioned idea emerged into final ads that are brilliant, humorous, and relatable. While Evan is well known as a renowned baby photographer, this campaign was a new and exciting venture for the photographer. In a recent interview, Evan shared the challenges and factors he faced.
“This was the 2nd Dad’s campaign shoot with Huggies, and the first that incorporated environment factors. One of the challenges was trying to keep the background from competing with the subjects. I shot everything with aperture wide open to make the background out of focus. I think it works really well, but it’s also kind of risky because the camera can easily go out of focus.”
Because this was a campaign involving multiple scenarios (five scenes were shot and four were selected as final images), the production team had to bring on a large amount of talent and crew members. Led by Producer Jake Mills, the production team proved to be hardworking and effective. Evan spoke about how helpful a large crew can be, and how he manages the set as a photographer.
“As the photographer, I have to manage between the baby’s mood, the wrangler being in and out of frame, the diaper stylist (and yes, diaper stylists really do make a difference—the diapers definitely look neater!), any wardrobe changes, the clients, etc. For this shoot, I was about 20-30ft away from the baby and talent, in which case, I try to gain attention by making loud noises—quacking, barking, or banging my wedding ring are my usuals to get the baby’s attention.”
For Evan, eye contact can be one of the most compelling elements of a photograph. Especially in this series, where the environment plays a large role in the image. That might be why one of his favorite shots from the series is the “dirty diaper” photograph, where the father is looking away, for relief from the smell, and the baby is looking straight on at the camera.
“Eye contact in an environment like this makes it a little more ironic—it’s kind of like the kid’s giving you a wink, like they know what’s going on, at the father’s expense.”
Evan really enjoyed collaborating with Huggies and O & M Agency, and commended the creative team, led by Ogilvy & Mather Art Director Vince Soliven, Creative Directors Chris Turner and David Metcalf, and Senior Art Buyer Susan Hatten for having a specific vision.
“In a shoot with lots of factors and options, having an art director who is really good about making decisions about environment and styling, and committing to their decisions, is important. Otherwise, you lose what’s most important, which is fresh faces.”
I definitely think these final ad images are full of fresh faces, and I look forward to see the next advertisement, due out later this year!
Written by Glasshouse Assignment Blogpost Contributor, Marissa Ericson.