(This is Part 2 of a three-part series)
When a Drysdales catalog coordinators talk about a throwdown, they’re not referring to a World Wrestling Entertainment event.
The term “throwdown” is coined for products in the Drysdales catalog that don’t require models. These products are thrown down, so to speak, on a table to be photographed. Such items include hats, boots, belts, toys, jewelry, purses, decor and housewares.
Hawks Photography, a studio in a midtown Tulsa building that once served as an auto-parts store, shoots these throwdown images.
Inside, walls are painted white to better reflect light. Stand-alone strobes and an Apple computer are wired to a high-end Nikon digital camera.
On this day, Hawks photographer Scott Johnson shoots a pair of child’s western boots placed in front of a white plastic sheet. Such images, called “dropout” photos, make it easier for digital editing.
Hawks Photography keeps a variety of western-themed backdrops and props for Drysdales shoots, including straw bales and saddles. To photograph a purse, Johnson uses a backdrop that resembles an old brick wall. He raises the purse’s strap with a thin wire before photographing it; the wire will be digitally erased from the image later.
Johnson says boots usually require only a few minutes and four or five shots before he’s satisfied the image is suitable for the Drysdales catalog.
A more complex image, such as eight pieces of jewelry, may require eight to 10 shots and up to an hour.
In case the weather is lousy, the Hawks facility can also be used as a place to photograph models wearing Drysdales’ apparel.
For safekeeping, Johnson stores Drysdales’ images on at least two computers, a backup drive, and also burns them onto DVDs.
(Next: A photo session for a Drysdales catalog using professional models)