The 3 factors set to propel Equator in-house photography to new heights
There’s a palpable undercurrent of anticipation bubbling away within the in-house photography studio at Equator Manchester.
It’s not just because there’s a steady stream of dynamic projects for the team to get stuck into – although this does continuously feed and energise the team.
What’s really driving the continuous crescendo of excitement is that months of careful planning and growth strategy are on the brink of coming to fruition: a brand-spanking-new fully renovated studio, a brimming pool of fresh talent, and an expanded offering aligned with burgeoning media and advertising trends.
New digs for in-house photography
To accomplish optimal work, you need an environment conducive to optimal working. With this in mind, Equator kicked off an ambitious studio renovation project earlier this year, undertaking an update of the Ragged School photography studio in order to prepare the vital department for long-term growth.
With the renovations expected to be complete in Spring 2023, the current studio will be expanded to nearly double in size. Along with larger workspace and meeting areas to accommodate a growing team, there will be the exciting addition of multiple kitchens, food preparation stations and shooting areas.
Alongside the physical changes to the studio comes significant investment in new kit, for example the excellent Canon EOS R5s which captures 45-megapixel photos at up to 20 frames per second and cinematic video, with Advanced AF deep-learning AI-enabled programming and internal IS image stabilisation.
Studio Director Si Thompson comments, “It’s all systems go. If you look back 18 months, this looks and feels like and entirely new department. Because all these changes really got underway in the midst of Covid, we now have clients stepping back into the studio, finding out what’s new about our studio and offering. They’re keen to collaborate and create with our team, fully believing in us and eager to talk trends, discuss concepts and ideas, and learn how we can take their brand further.”
Skill behind the lens
Industry veteran Thompson is at the helm of the in-house photography studio, joining Equator 18 months ago following a varied career across fashion, celebrity, lifestyle and fine art photography in the UK and across Europe. With 10+ years with leadership positions in a prominent brand agency, where he delivered images for packaging, above the line campaigns and social media content.
At Equator, Si leads a tight-knit crew of food photographers, stylists and home economists, each having their own impressive credentials and bringing deep expertise and wide-ranging skillsets to the table. It all makes for a rich, varied department with just the right mix of talent needed to grow the studio exponentially.
Lead food stylist Joe Wright comments, “As a team, we’re united by a pure and relentless passion for cooking and food. Because we are all so deeply immersed in this world, every one of us is fully dialled in to recipe trends and food photography trends as they begin to emerge. No other studio I’ve worked in can compare to the shared drive and enthusiasm for delivering for our clients and for taking the studio as whole to the next level.”
Equator photography has historically served an important role in delivering the agency’s well-known “under-one-roof” model, but an insatiable appetite for growth means aiming far beyond the current remit.
The in-house photography studio has long been known as a safe pair of hands for Equator clients’ packaging photography needs, however current leadership is keen to break out of this comparatively narrow categorisation and to expand the offering to encompass food photography intended for wide-ranging media, from POS and editorials to video. It’s video in particular that Si and Jo are keen to drive forward in order to meet rising demand among brands. An area of strong expertise for both of them, video is becoming an essential element in the modern marketing mix and a component of growing importance in Equator’s integrated strategy, design and production offering.
Si adds, “Ultimately, we aim to grow this studio into something of a UK hub for food photography – a place where food photography players and client partners meet to originate inspirational work. We really want to play our part in galvanizing the industry whilst bringing more brands to the Equator banner. The sky really is the limit.”