About Heath

It was a love of photography that inspired Heath Robbins to leave his job as an agency executive and travel the world with a camera in hand. More than twenty years later, it is his love for food, people, and making pictures, that continues to fuel his commercial photography career with focus and passion. For every client and for every shoot, Heath sets out to capture moments, tastes, and emotions that pull people out of their everyday, and straight into the moments that he creates.


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Entries in advertising photography production (3)

TBT Staples

Today I just wanted to remember what warm days and wearing shorts was like and since we are shooting with Staples again next week I thought a look at our production this past summer was perfect! We had multple sets going at the same time for multiple days and a good size crew so there was always a lot happening. Here's a look behind the scenes.




Every shoot has it's moments. Fun ones, stressful ones, creative insights, creative confrontations, the moment you really need a cup of coffee or the one where you want something stonger, when partnerships form and when it all comes together...

We recently had a shoot for PartyLite that involved 12 models and 9 crew members on location for 2 days. What struck me while editing was not, however, anything like I described above. It was looking at all the outakes of the shoot I saw two things: 1. We have a really good time on set and 2. I could put some really funny captions on some of these moments in between takes.

Here are some of them and just to be clear - I never yelled at anyone, at anytime. Never out loud anyway...

Let's start with some of the models caught off guard. The titles below are what I thought should be in thought bubbles somewhere in the image. Feel free to add some of your own below.  ~Heath




"You shouldn't have yelled at her. Now look what you did."


"Seriously? Did she just throw something at me?"


"Those look really good"


"I don't feel so good"


Three thought bubbles here. From left to right:

"She's mine, don't get any ideas",  "This is awkward",  "Yeah well, we'll see about that"


"Try it again and I'll slap you"



And then there were all the shots with my crew, standing in, or, well, sometimes you just have to be there.. but I think you'll get the idea.


"How did you do that?"

Quite often I get the same question from people about some of my bigger lifestyle productions: "How did you do that?" The answer is of course a little more complicated and detailed than I could explain here but I thought I would give a general explanation of one one of my favorite shots.

The thought process:
For years I had this image in my head of a middle school dance. For me that was back in the late 70's and I can always remember the bleachers in the gym, the way the guys held the girls and vice versa, the glow of the exit signs in the dark, and the horrible food and punch. One day when going over some of the wordplays I saw "YeaHRight" and the idea of a geeky guy and beautiful girl came to mind. Right after that the image of the dance came up and I knew I had to make the image.

The pre-production process:
This stage is critical for a smooth production. I never skimp here, to do so invites disaster the day of your shoot.

My first concern is always location. It can make or break a big production. Where is it? How much will it cost? Can it be lit the way I want the shot to appear? Is it available when we need it? Are there any restrictions? When I have only a short period of time and I have no idea where to find it, I hire a good location scout otherwise I go straight to areas I think might have it. In this case, I went straight to our high school in Dover/Sherborn and luckily it was perfect. Had it not been we would have started calling all the schools in the surrounding towns and asking all the questions above. Once I found the location I went back a second time with my assistant to map out our lighting plan and all the equipment we would need.

The second most critical piece is talent. If you need a certain look, or your models to be able to pull off an expression,emotion or some kind of action you have to do a casting. I always try to do my own castings. I like to see the models in front of the camera and I make them do exactly what I will need from them on the actual shoot day. I look for whether they are comfortable or versatile. If they seem awkward, stiff or uncomfortable they dont make the list no matter how gorgeous they may be. Never cast from comp cards!!! The models always look different from their cards. On one shoot that was cast that way the client chose a kid who showed up missing a front tooth and then refused to smile. Ended up taking hours to coax one out of him.

For this shoot not only did I cast but I put them in a similar lighting situation and made them dance together

I was looking for whether as teens, they were comfortable getting close to each other as well as a look that would clearly show the stretch of the pairing.. both of those things might be tough on a 15 year old so I had to seem them do it ahead of time. Why I do the castings personally, is because the casting shots don't always convey the potential of every model as was the case with this shoot.

The final piece of this is picking your crew. Good stylists are so critical for a shoot of this size. We talk in length about style, the overall look of the shoot, do we want it to be over the top with humor? Should it feel 70's or contemporary? What should they wear? Whats in the background and so forth. For this shoot we hired Verne Cordova.

He is a master at props and wardrobe and does both equally as well! He never fails to surprise me with something on every shoot that I hadn't thought about before hand and it usually is a huge contribution to the shot. That's what makes a good stylist, great! Not to mention that he has everyone laughing all day long.

The production process:
For hair we hired Alyssa Vachon and for make up Audrey Berman. Good hair and make up stylists are needed for obvious reason but I always look for ones that can understand the look I am going for.

The final piece is your assistants and producer. Your assistants need to be hard working, fast and organized. In my case they work full time for me and if we hire additional freelancers then my assistants are in charge them on set and tell them exactly what we need. Your producer needs to be organized and everywhere at once. Is the client comfortable? Is lunch arriving on time. Does everyone have directions. Is everything set with the location? The talent? Jenna, is of course, all of this and more. She is the ultimate task master.... right down to making sure I always have a cup of coffee close at hand!

After that I start shooting and I just keep talking with the talent moving things here and there until that image that was in my head shows up on my monitor. The more meticulous you are on the pre-production the faster that happens.For this shot it came rather quickly.

For more production stills of this shoot you can go back to the blog I posted in May of 2010