I was fortunate enough last week to have been engaged by one of the premier Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the country, Schumacher European, to photograph both; a Google Virtual Tour, and, facility and operations images. And I have to tell you, what a facility it is!
You know how when you go to a dealership you normally get this uneasy feeling? Well, this is the polar opposite. At Schumacher European in Scottsdale, AZ the second I walked into this facility I had a sense of calm come over me. This facility is absolutely gorgeous, and the people there are equally as impressive. I worked with Jennifer, Director of Marketing, and Kevin, the General Manager, to discuss how their virtual tour would be laid out and what feature photos would be needed. As we walked and talked, I listened to find out what Schumacher European meant, to them and their customers. I always want to know because it helps me to portray a sense in the images I deliver to my clients.
From the first moment they started talking I couldn’t help but notice that this wasn’t any ordinary automotive dealership. Their paramount concern is their customers satisfaction and integrity. I also found out they were the FIRST automotive facility to have ever received the Better Business Bureau “BBB Business Ethics Award”!
There is absolutely no doubt that everything here is first-class and that everyone here really cares about what they do, and loves where they work. Jennifer made sure that I also spent time with Andy, Service & Parts Director, to ensure that I captured images for him that reflected the quality of their service facility, from outside, right into the actual service area. He was extremely knowledgeable and caring (leaving our conversation multiple times to step aside to open a door for a customer), and it made me proud to have been involved with them, if only for a day. And about their service area, you know, the area that almost none of us ever see? After seeing this I’d be more than comfortable having them work on my car, I witnessed some the best high-tech equipment, top technicians, and you could damn near eat off their floors! This place is cleaner than most kitchens I’ve been in.
They made arrangements for a scissor-lift to be on-site that day so I could shoot the front from an elevated platform, and both Kevin and I knew we might get lucky… “clouds!” There was a storm rolling through which always adds to the drama. Clouds are a photographers best friend because they help to add depth and drama. In fact, many commercial photographers have a library of “skies” or “clouds” so they can add them in post-production. I didn’t have to do it here as they were all nature added. It was just a matter of “timing” to get the right light. One thing that was interesting was while I stood 30′ up in the air on this platform (for over 30 minutes waiting for the perfect lighting), this storm was kind enough to have added WIND! Ya, it was like riding a skateboard with no net, but after a while you don’t notice the swaying so much, and just hope you can get the shots you need between gusts. Fun stuff.
Automotive photography takes several things to lead to quality results: getting to know, and listening to your client, learning their facility, product and services, watching customers to see how they are treated, loving what you do as a photographer, and the technical ability to deliver clean, crisp images. In this instance, each was very easy to achieve because of the level of caring that goes on here. It makes you want to be better. I learn something with every client, and this was no different. I loved each and every minute I was there and only hope to work with them again.
Here’s just a couple of automotive facility images from Schumacher European. Leave your comments below!
(click any image to view large)