© GEORGE KAMPER
Activities, suites and grounds for the Biltmore Hotel photo library.
New York and Miami-based photographer and director George Kamper is more than a gifted visual artist. He is an astute businessman who is able to see the big picture that benefits his clients as well as his personal quest for beautiful imagery. He is known and trusted by clients for his careful and detailed pre-production, location scouting and coordination of talent.
Recently Kamper had the assignment of producing a photo library for the highly renowned Miami Biltmore Hotel in Coral Cables, Florida. The Biltmore in Coral Gables is steeped in history and is known for its classic Mediterranean architecture. It was the vision of real estate developer, planner, and builder George Merrick who had the vision of designing and building Coral Gables as an elegant suburb as part of his City Beautiful Movement, beginning in 1922.
Kamper felt at home in this venue having photographed here on several occasions previously for the Miami Tourism campaign that focused Miami as a sexy lifestyle destination in a Mediterranean setting. The shoot was coordinated by the Biltmore Hotel's Director of Marketing, Danielle Finnegan. Finnegan and Kamper had been teamed together on earlier projects and found their work styles meshed seamlessly. “When I asked about the agency's input in pre-production, Danielle suggested that she would art direct. She also mentioned she might produce the shoot, since she had a challenging budget,” adds Kamper. Preliminary layouts were produced by Matrix2 Advertising with Creative Director Bill Thomas and AE/Project Coordinator Kim Haber.
Having hotel management coordinate the shoot might seem a little risky from a production and coordination point of view, but Finnegan’s prior experience as a model and coordinator brought the right kind of experience and look that was needed for the shoot.
Working together, Kamper prepared an estimate that included all production details from hiring a producer, casting talent, wardrobe stylists, makeup artists and additional shooting crew. He gave Finnegan the option of an a la carte estimate, so she could pick and choose what services they would each provide and handle. With Finnegan’s great eye for talent and Kamper’s production experience the two worked through the details of costs and crew, wardrobe stylists and talent agencies, and were able to divide duties so that Finnegan handled all production, casting, scheduling, and wardrobe through the hotel’s on-site stores. Kamper then brought in his crew that included a digital technician, two assistants, and makeup and hair artists. Also, he would be responsible for the coordination of the final selects and retouching with Finnegan and Matrix2.
Kamper shot roughly six to nine scenarios a day, mostly with talent. He began his shoot days at daybreak and ended just after sunset. Almost all of the shots were lit with one portable flash and reflectors. “We've been working in a new way, usually finding the light instead of manufacturing it... this approach allows us the advantage of producing a variety of perspectives and allowing the shoots to look more organic,” says Kamper. Originally he had reviewed some loose layouts, but during the shoot they would have an idea and just run with it. He shot a wide variety of scenarios including a heroic looking grandfather and his grandchild on the famous Biltmore golf course at dawn, frolicking kids underwater, a couple enjoying a gourmet dinner at the Plame D’or French Restaurant and a multigenerational family enjoying the beautiful Biltmore grounds. Some of the final shots came from scouting and even attending the world-famous "Sunday Brunch" at the Biltmore.
© George Kamper
Once the shooting was completed, Kamper created a web gallery for Finnegan to review the shots, which were then forwarded to the agency for consideration and input from Creative Director Thomas. Working in close partnership with the Biltmore Hotel gave Kamper the freedom to make artistic suggestions for the selection and final enhancement of images with cropping, retouching and compositing.
"George is a gifted photographer with years of experience in fashion, lifestyle, travel, and tourism" says Finnegan.” He has highly skilled technical abilities and a discerning eye. George is cool and calm, hard-working and relentless in his pursuit of a great shot and his client’s best interest.”
Kamper and his team approached this project as a joint partnership, an opportunity to create great photos for the hotel, as well as to enhance his own portfolio— a combination of creativity and business savvy that propels his work to new heights, new clients and personal artistic satisfaction.
You can see more of George Kamper’s lifestyle, travel, fashion and tourism at his site, www.georgekamper.com. His newest Hospitality section howcases many of the shots from his scouting and location shooting for the Biltmore Hotel.
Biltmore Hotel Credits:
Client: The Biltmore Miami Hotel in Coral Gables
Client/Producer: Danielle Finnegan
Agency: Matrix2 Advertising
CD: Bill Thomas
AE/Project Coordinator: Kim Haber
Photographer: George Kamper
First Assistant: Felipe Patino
Digital Tech: Zach Scheffer/Visual Agenda
Makeup & Hair: Leslie Munsell/Beauty for Real
Retouching: George Kamper Inc./Christine