Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Counting Crows CD cover contest - 4 photoshoots

Photographer: Andrew Kufahl
CD Cover shoot #1
Andrew Kufahl and I stumbled across a contest for the cd cover of the Counting Crows' newest album. We realized they may be looking for something more graphic design based, but we thought we'd give it a shot anyway. We knew we'd have fun and get something good regardless!

We were given a title and a couple preview tracks to work off of.

 We got to work brainstorming.

We had some big ideas, but due to the time we had available, we wanted to just jump in with something a little smaller scale to test out the waters, try a few techniques, get warmed up. We started at my house.

I think it was the very next day after shoot #1 that we found out they changed the album name. None of our ideas fit with this new title, unfortunately, so we returned to the drawing board...

The new title was "Underwater Sunshine"...and then later on, they threw in an alternate title. Talk about having to roll with it!
Photographer: Andrew Kufahl
CD Cover shoot #2

Again, we came up with a large amount of ideas.

We started with ideas that were not literally underwater. A while back, we purchased some face paint that we were waiting to use for the right idea. We decided this was the time--I'd paint my face gold (like sunshine!) and would style my hair in a sunshiney way, as well...those were all the details we had figured out...

I opened the paint and smeared a little on my face. Oh dear. This was not gold at all! This looked more like baby poop green! ON MY FACE! Gross. We debated for a while. And had to laugh. For some reason we thought there would be a chance that this color would improve if we continued applying it, or that we could figure out a way to photograph it that was better looking that what we were seeing right now...

A little ways into the shoot, the power in Andrew's house went out. Unexpected... I got a little freaked out, I don't know his house well enough to navigate in the dark! Not to mention I was not finished spreading this grossness all over my face. AND I still had hair.

Photographer: Andrew Kufahl
CD Cover shoot #2
Andrew problem solved by setting up one of his lights, using one of his battery packs. Sweet deal. And better lighting than before. ;)

Eventually, the power returned, and I finished my look. I had created spikes with my hair, like sun rays--which sort of made me look like the Statue of Liberty...a sick Statue of Liberty... I'm still not sure how I was able to make them stick out!

We started shooting. And as usual, felt the need to modify, to build. We wanted more layers. We played around with a few ideas. We stayed in the bathroom for the most part and used what we had.

I will spare you the details of cleanup. It wasn't fun, or easy...let's just leave it at that. But worth it! These shots looked almost painterly!

Several of our other ideas involved actually being underwater. How could we do this in winter? I had done an underwater shoot a while back, in a pool with a viewing window. We weren't sure this would work for us however, as we wanted to be able to communicate and make changes quickly. And I didn't need to be in THAT deep of water for some of these.

It hit me later than it should have: my parents have a hot tub! While it would be quite cramped for both of us and a camera to be shooting in there, and again, it was winter, it was easy, affordable and we would have no time constraints.
Photographer: Andrew Kufahl
CD Cover shoot #3-4

We ended up doing two full days of this. The first day was below freezing. If you popped your head up past a certain point over the water, you'd turn to ice. That made it difficult for Andrew to get out and adjust lighting-though he did it anyway while I scolded him about frostbite.

The second day we shot in the hot tub, it was almost spring like weather. What a difference! This may sound perfect, but in both situations, I was wearing clothes in the water, and the water was heated--to be comfortable for those in swimsuits outside. I had problems with constantly overheating. When it was below freezing, it was difficult to cool off without icing up. When it was spring weather it was difficult to cool off because the air was not cool enough. We had to be sure to constantly hydrate.

These shoots lasted hours and hours. Our skin was wrinklier than ever, our eyes burned, but we were lovin' it! We got so many awesome shots! And we just wanted to keep going. However, the contest had a deadline and it was approaching quickly. We still had to choose our entries, and turn them into a cd cover-including text.

Photographer: Andrew Kufahl
CD Cover shoot #3-4
As Andrew edited images, we'd make our selections and print off a rough draft. I hung them on his living room wall. We'd stand there and stare, analyzing which stand out the most...what would stop us when flipping through cds at the store... which ones communicated the title best... We loved all of them for various reasons, so it was a difficult task!

Eventually we made our choices. I messed around with the text for the cover, and we submitted them.

While we did not win--most entries were graphic design based as predicted, a that is what they chose--we walked away with some amazing experiences, great memories, and images to be proud of. Four different shoots for this project, and we wouldn't have hesitated to do more if time had allowed.

To see ALL of our entries (5 total) and a few other images from these contest shoots, check out my artist page: or  Andrew's artist page: 

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