More often than not, our covers are photo-based. But for our November issue, we knew that wouldn’t work. Tom Mason’s …
Behind the scenes: our July/August coverBy Trevor J. Adams | Jul 6, 2011
Our July/August issue, which hits the streets this weekend, is one of the brightest, livliest, most vibrant covers we’ve ever done. In the accompanying story, Jessica Burns profiles author Steve Vernon. For designer Jay Hiltz, the challenge was to capture Vernon’s larger-than-life personality, and create a cover that would remain lively and engaging throughout the summer.
“A big part of the cover was wanting it to be overly summer looking,” Hiltz says. “It’s going to be on the newsstands for two months so we wanted lots of bright colours and an image that reflected summer fun. We shot against a white background with the intentions of cropping him out inserting various backgrounds. This gave us more control over lighting and weather conditions since our spring was mostly rain.”
We turned to photographer Tim Richard. We were familiar with his work, but this was his first time shooting for Halifax Magazine. “Tim is an amazing photographer and excels at bring out the best in his models’ personality,” Hiltz says. “He’s also a bit of a Photoshop guru so I knew this was exactly the type of cover shoot he’d be up for.”
With a shoot like this, so much hinges on the subject’s attitude and trust in the photographer. Fortunately, Vernon and Richard hit it off immediately. “Steve is known for being a very animated storyteller with big voices and expressions so we were hoping to play up that side of his personality—assuming that he could be equally animated in front of the camera and hoping that he would be up for anything we wanted to put him through,” Hiltz says. “I’m not sure he was quite expecting the experience he had when he arrived at the studio… But he was a great sport and amazing to work with. After about 15 minutes of taking various shots with him eating and biting into Popsicles I said, ‘OK you can eat the rest now.’ He responded with, ‘that’s alright I hate Popsicles.’ Ha. All for the sake of art I suppose.”
The shoot went on for three hours, as they put Vernon through the paces. “We shot with tons of props from water guns, melting ice cream cones, hot dogs, inflatable ducks, to watermelon and straw hats—we gave Steve a crash course on summer,” Hiltz recalls. “In the end the pics turned out great. He looks a bit like a big kid on the cover but it seems to suit him. Perhaps a bit unlike anything we’ve seen on the cover of Halifax to date… But that’s what we’re after.”
Click here for three cover concepts that Hiltz and Richard considered for this issue. And click here for behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot by Terra Ciolfe.