I'll try to inform how I do things, why I do them, and the experiences I have along the way. Hopefully, you can learn from my pursuit of learning how to create images and enjoying all the aspects that it brings.


CalArk had just hired a new marketing director in 2018. One of her first projects was redesigning the website. She had contacted me and asked if I would help her with showcasing their new Peterbilt trucks for their new website. Usually, CD’s or MD’s have a vision for a redesign but good MD’s understand that relying and putting faith in their creative partners can result in better than expected results. So, when she asked me to take lead on the creative direction for the visuals, I was excited about the possibilities. I had researched what other companies were doing. By my surprise, there weren’t many trucking companies that had good visuals. Stock agencies had better options but not many.

So, I was left to think about my approach without much inspiration. As an avid road tripper, I wanted to create the romance of the drive from clean air country roads to urban exploration. To create this feel I wanted to shoot at dawn and shoot through mid-morning. I wanted to get the cool night shots that showed these trucks driving into the morning light on a country road. After getting an idea of the direction, I had to scout the locations. Thanks to google maps, I was able to view many roads from a bird eye perspective and on the ground. After planning my routes, I picked a few days that would fit in my schedule.

When the day before the shoot came it looked as if the weather wasn’t going to be in our favor. It was the second time we had to reschedule. However, my client needed the photos that week. So she made the call to continue. Although I was reluctant about the shoot, I’m glad we stuck with it. The clouds in the morning gave a dramatic feel and the sun peaked from behind the clouds on occasion. This helped romanticize the images even more. Sometimes you have to roll with it even when your “perfect” idea of conditions aren’t met.

The client loved the images and they just launched the website this week. Check out to view the new website.


AIA People's Choice Award / WDD and ATA

I've had the honor of working with Chad Young with his company Wittenberg Delony Davidson on the new building of the international headquarters for the American Taekwondo Association. Chad used elements of water, color, design, contrast and the idea of knowledge as a dedication to founder, the Eternal Grand Master H. U. Lee. For me, this was a fun challenge to capture these elements in a way that represented these ideas.

Before the shoot, we walked through the building to make sure we discussed all the elements and the ideas behind the design. The fountains were an important element and had to be shot correctly. The interior fountain had to filled with water (it was undergoing a repair) for our shoot to show that the exterior and interior fountain were connected, or at least appeared that way. We had to replace a couple of lights to make sure the building was lit correctly.

On the day of the shoot, a couple of representatives from WDD attended the shoot, Jay and Brian. They were a huge help along with my assistant to keep the lights on. Since, the lights were all motion sensored, they had to run around the building during the dusk and dawn shots to keep the lights on. It was fun to be on the phone with them and tell them to run down to the second floor, third room from the left of the west side of the building. It almost seemed like a game. They had fun.

Our work paid off. Chad and WDD won the AIA People's Choice Award (he won last years award for his work the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, AR). You can check out the project at

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Compositing images

Arkansas advertising photographer talks about image compositing on a project with Zoetis and Archer Malmo.

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by Dero Sanford

The Cloud Gate

I got to spend some time in Chicago this month. I was showing a friend around the city and he wanted to spend some time in the Millennium Park and view the Cloud Gate or as it is known, the Bean. We were there for awhile and I wanted to capture some images. I started to watch all the tourists and realized the amazing experience that one or many go through as they photograph themselves in front of this amazing piece of art. I find as a photographer at times difficult to capture a true person's expression. As I watched these people photograph themselves, they were more open to being real or expressive on their own accord. This was quite profound to witness such a moment. So, I started to ask people if I could photograph them photographing themselves. At first, the question seemed confusing to them but quickly realized what I was doing after I showed some examples on my camera.

Here is what I captured. You can view all of them at here.

by Dero Sanford

Gold Addy's in Pennslyvania

This year, Sodexo entered some of our work into the Addys. We were excited to hear that they won Gold in the photography category. Although, it's nice to get these awards, it's even better to share it with the team that helped create the images. Sodexo has a great team of art directors and brand leaders who understand not only the food but their market. They spend endless hours talking about recipe development, visual propping, layout, etc. I especially have to give a majority of the credit to Brett Dill for managing the creative direction and to Erica Milios for her managing the whole creative team, and of course to Dan Macey and Sharon Sharp for their amazing styling work. Without these people, these images would not have come together to create such a great campaign. 

by Dero Sanford



We recently teamed up with Rizon Media on a shoot for UPS, part of their "United Problem Solvers Campaign." It was an excellent chance to show off our latest upgrades in equipment along and the evolving talents of our crew.

US based custom menswear brand, J. Hilburn, imports luxury fabrics and materials from all over the world and counts on UPS to manage their shipping logistics. This required UPS to custom tailor their services for J. Hilburn with an onsite manager to facilitate a streamlined delivery to it's clients. It's a fine partnership and we were called in to tell the story.

The high-end RED DRAGON camera system, which delivers one of the highest standards of video and stills in the industry today, was primarily used to capture this project.  Among it's many great features is the ability to pull extremely high-quality still images from video. DxOMark, a comprehensive RAW-based image quality measurement database recently evaluated RED's new 6K DRAGON sensor. The result measured the DRAGON as the best overall sensor they've ever tested, breaking 100 points on their scale. Considering that DxOMark has tested all sorts of cameras (some even more expensive than the DRAGON like the medium format Phase One IQ180), the results are indeed impressive.   All told, It is simply an amazing camera.  It is a goto camera for many top Hollywood productions and allows us to deliver high budget, cinema quality video and stills to our clients.

We enjoyed traveling to the home office of J. Hilburn in Dallas, TX for this shoot and used several locations as our backdrop.  From showcasing the delicate work of the seamstresses in the company warehouse all the way to hearing the stories of success from it's leaders in the corporate office, the RED DRAGON was able to beautifully capture it all.   

Great footage and stills are only half the story, though. This project really came together on the editing table thanks to the remarkable talents of Chris Dellapace with Rizon Media. His experience and know how combined with his ability to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in industry trends and standards all came together to deliver a amazing product for our client.  

We are very proud of this one.  Be sure to check out our finished work for UPS and J. Hilburn here or click the photo above.  

by Dero Sanford