Simone Biles for Spieth America

Three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

In January of this year I was given the opportunity to photograph Simone Biles for one of the largest manufacturers of gymnastics equipment in the world. Simone has won the last three world championships in the all-around completion and just won the US Women’s Gymnastics trials to lead the women’s team to the Rio Olympics. This shoot with Simone fit perfectly with my work as a portrait and lifestyle photographer. The client needed mostly portraits of Simone but also wanted a couple of action shots as well. The client had just signed her to endorse their product and asked her dad to recommended a local photographer. I had recently photographed Simone and her family for an editorial shoot and based on that experience, he was happy to pass my name on for the job.

Spieth America 2016 catalog cover of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles during a photo shoot with portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Spieth America 2016 catalog cover of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles during a photo shoot with portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

During our first phone conversation, the client knew we would need three shots of Simone for their product catalog. There was a possibility that three more shots would be needed depending on an additional product line endorsement agreement that was in the works with her. I covered the laundry list of questions needed for production. We determined there wasn’t room in the budget for a producer or a digi tech. I had worked as a tech for a number of years and was very comfortable shooting tethered on my own, as long as the client understood that it would inhibit our ability to go over the shots during the shoot. Catering wasn’t needed we only had the morning to shoot and would have to wrap before lunch anyway. Simone and the client would handle wardrobe and props. Given the size of the production I had no problem producing this one on my own. We worked out two estimates to cover both shot lists and licensing contingencies then proceeded with creative planning.

A few days before the shoot, the product line deal came through which meant that our shot list had now doubled. Awesome. The client then announced that we had the same hour and a half with the talent. So instead of 30 minutes per shot we now had an average of 15 minutes per shot. I asked if more time would be an option but with her training schedule and numerous other commitments, Simone had no more time. No problem, that’s the way our industry works and I’m used to solving problems to make everything work, no matter what is thrown our way. The client understood that we were under tight time constraints and we worked well together to plan how best to use the time we had with Simone.

Spieth America 2016 Simone Biles Signature Products catalog cover of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles during a photo shoot with portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Spieth America 2016 Simone Biles Signature Products catalog cover of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles during a photo shoot with portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

During our preproduction conversations I worked with the client to finalize our shot list. We worked together to create a mood board for the creative direction then we worked to prioritize the shot list. Given the tight time constraints on this production, having clear priorities on the shots was extremely important. The client and I were on the same page going into the shoot on which shots we could cut if needed.

The evening before the shoot the client, my first assistant for this job, Michael Klein, and I did a walk through of Simone’s gym. This gave us time to work out any kinks and miscommunications in our plans. We were also able to rearrange a lot of the gym equipment so that we could easily move our gear in for the very early call time the next morning. Having that prepro day was essential for the smooth operation of the shoot.

Even with all the prep from the night before the day of the shoot was on of those fast paced, barely-any-time-to-think kind of days I thrive on. Klien and Brandon Chessher, my two assistants, were amazing. They worked hard to get multiple sets up and ready while Devon Harvey of VCI Artists did a stellar job with Simone’s hair and makeup. We all worked fast to move through the shot list. When it came to the action shot of Simone performing a back handspring on the balance beam, I nailed the timing on the third frame, the client saw it on the computer, signed off on it and we moved on to the next shot. Being able to move quickly through shots like that gave us extra time to concentrate on other shots.

Screen shot from www.spiethamerica.com of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles performing a back handspring during a shoot with lifestyle photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Screen shot from www.spiethamerica.com of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles performing a back handspring during a shoot with lifestyle photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Simone was a total pro through all of it. I know she had a crazy schedule leading up to the US Olympic team’s February media cutoff for all of the athletes competing to go to Rio this summer. Given all of her endorsement deals and training schedule I’m not sure how she managed everything. Even so, she was one of the sweetest individuals with whom I have had the pleasure of photographing. With her ever ready winning smile and ability to hit any mark on command, we cruised through all six shots on the list with enough time to spare that we pulled off an extra shot for the client at the end of the shoot. When we wrapped we covered seven shots in an hour and a half and had Simone out right on time.

Seventh shot of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Seventh shot of three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

After every shoot I ask my crew and, if possible the client, these three questions: What went well? What went poorly? And what could we do better next time?

From this production I would say that our planning went very well which was essential to the success of the shoot. I felt like there was clear communication with the client and my team. My biggest complaint about the shoot was that we had a messy set. Given the amount of work and time constraints I can’t fault my assistants for that one. To do it better next time I’d push harder for a PA or third assistant. By the end of the shoot I knew I was dragging. I’m not sure I had taken time to eat or even drink anything for 4-5 hours. Like I said, we moved fast. Having an extra set of hands to help tidy up the set and make sure everyone stayed hydrated and fed from the craft services table would have been ideal.

Simone, Brandon and Michael work with our client to style Simone's three World Championship gold medals.

Simone, Brandon and Michael work with our client to style Simone’s three World Championship gold medals.

All in all, I am pleased with how the project turned out. My crew was outstanding and Simone was a joy to work with again. The client was extremely happy with the shoot and the images we produced. That seventh shot we worked in at the end has gotten a lot of use in their marketing materials so I’m thankful everything went smoothly to get it for them. We’re all looking forward to working together again soon.

Check out my Instagram feed for more behind the scenes shots. Good luck to Simone and all of our Olympic hopefuls in Rio!

Three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Three-time world champion and Olympic hopeful Simone Biles photographed by portrait photographer Nathan Lindstrom in Houston, TX.

Remembering Milo

Houston Astros legendary announcer Milo Hamilton is photographed on September 22, 2012 at Minutemaid Park in Houston, TX. Nathan Lindstrom Photography ©2012 Nathan Lindstrom

Houston Astros legendary announcer Milo Hamilton is photographed on September 22, 2012 at Minutemaid Park in Houston, TX.
Nathan Lindstrom Photography
©2012 Nathan Lindstrom

I am saddened today to hear about the passing of Houston Astros legendary announcer Milo Hamilton. I had the honor to photograph Hamilton during an editorial assignment a few years ago. To me Hamilton represented the great memories of playing baseball as a child, dreaming of going pro and not having care in the world. You will be missed Milo.

Long’s Peak

While spending a week in Denver and Boulder making some great contacts I had a chance to hike Long’s Peak with my childhood friend, Drew. It took us 14 hours to hike the 14 miles round trip to the top and back down to our cars. At the time we swore we’d never do it again but I’m game now. Enjoy the pics!

 

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Houston Lifestyle Photography

The last two months have been super busy and very exciting. I just moved into a new studio, more on that in my next post. Since meeting in Austin last March, Peter Dennen (of Pedro + Jackie) and I have been working closely on updating my portfolio and my brand. Our immediate push has been to develop my book portfolio to present at 15 different portfolio reviews at the Palm Springs Photo Festival at the end of April. I am very happy to say that things went very well with all of the editors and art buyers who saw my work!

Part of our portfolio update project has been producing a few personal projects to push my work from purely portraiture for editorial and advertising clients into more lifestyle photography work, which we are targeting at growing my advertising photography business.

During my portfolio update, we identified a new visual direction that I wanted to explore. Up to this point, my focus has been primarily portraiture, shot for editorial, commercial and corporate clients. I have begun the process of creating new lifestyle work that is applicable for advertising clients.

The latest shoot took my crew and me out to a farm an hour north of Houston. An interior designer friend, who offices in the same building as my old office, was kind enough to volunteer her three kids and her mother-in-law’s property for us to photograph. In addition we were able to photograph an eighty-year-old real life cowboy and his Australian Shepherd. Everyone had a great time at the shoot – even the cowboy who didn’t think he was worthy of all the “fuss” we put into photographing him. The teenage kids who thought their mom was crazy for putting them up to play models for the day, had a blast shooting on the farm!

I hope you enjoy the selects here and more in my portfolio.”20140412_Country Life_1765 20140412_Country Life_1897 20140412_Country Life_2352 20140412_Country Life_3180 20140412_Country Life_3290_ATA_V2 20140412_Country-Life_2993_ATA_v2

Happy New Year!

Things have been busy around here at Nathan Lindstrom Photography. The end of 2013 was jam packed with great projects. We are looking forward to talking about them as soon as the work goes public. We have spent most of January updating our new website, many thanks to Photoshelter for the template and to Wonderful Machine for editing our new content. We have also updated our blog and are working to reload older posts. Please stay tuned for blog updates and recent news. Everyone at Nathan Lindstrom Photography wishes you a very happy 2014!

Guest Post: Hannah Park

When I came on board NLP as the summer marketing intern, I knew (and was excited) that some days at work would be spent on shoots rather than at a desk. Little did I know my very first two days would be spent “on the field” figuratively and literally.

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Day 2. 5:40am. Arrive at the office, pack up the car with equipment, and off we head to what would turn out to be a very entertaining shoot for the Dog Show edition of Pet Talk magazine. With the sun slowly rising behind us, we knew we had to work quickly to get set up before we lost perfect light. Luckily, we had a shoot the day before so I was gaining familiarity with all of the equipment.

After taking outdoor portraits of the owners and their award-winning dogs, we were ready to see their skills! I honestly don’t know how Nathan was able to capture such great images because these dogs move FAST. We shot them on 3 different elements before moving inside to get some portraits in front of an olive green backdrop. Not only did I learn about photographing moving animals and dealing with clients, I also gained a wealth of information about dog training and showing.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the shoot:

Forbes Magazine Russia

Our intern, Hannah, has been doing an amazing job the last few weeks working on promo material for Nathan Lindstrom Photography. As we prepare to launch into our new marketing campaign I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share this project we shot for Forbes Magazine Russia last year.

Forbes Russia ran a story on Vasilii Shelkov, the Russian born CEO of Rock Flow Dynamics, a software development company for the petroleum industry. The magazine hired me to make a portrait of the Houston-based CEO.

 

After visiting with Shelkov over the phone I arranged for us to meet in Galveston, an hour south of Houston. Through my former work as a photojournalist at The Houston Chronicle I knew there were offshore drilling platforms at the shipyard across the channel from the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum. I double-checked with the museum to make sure the pier I wanted to shoot from was public property and off we went.

 

My assistant and I arrived early to scout out the shot I had picked using Google maps and my knowledge of the area. We finished testing lights right as Mr. Shelkov arrived and we began shooting right as the sun descended for the perfect light. Vasilii, as he quickly asked me to call him, gave us far more time than I hoped to get from a CEO. We had a wonderful shoot and ended up eating at a local restaurant before we all drove back to Houston.

 

Here’s the spread that ran in Russia and a few outtakes from the shoot:

Nathan Lindstrom Photography welcomes our summer intern!

We at Nathan Lindstrom Photography are very excited to introduce our summer intern for this year, Hannah Park! Hannah is a marketing major from Baylor University  and has been working here for the past few weeks developing our marketing strategy for the following year and learning what it takes to be an editorial and commercial photographer in Texas. Say hi Hannah!


Hannah wanted this internship to earn credit toward her degree and to have a chance at exploring passion for photography. Hannah sites the amazing humanitarian photographer, Esther Havens, as one of her biggest influences and reasons that she wants to become a photographer.

 

After agreeing to take Hannah on for the summer I turned to Google to find out what to do with an intern. While she isn’t the first intern we’ve had at NLP I thought there might be a good set of tips to help make the best of her time here. I came across this great article from the National Association of Colleges and Employers that gave “15 Best Practices for Internship Programs.”

 

First on the list is to give an intern real projects. Got that planned. Second was to “hold orientations for all involved.” After planning out how to teach Hannah about what we do and how our company works we got a call to do a cover shoot the first morning she was to start. Oh well, trial by fire. Hannah learned quickly how to be a good assistant during a shoot. The second morning we had a 5 a.m. call time for another magazine cover shoot. Further trial by fire!

 

Even with a rougher-than-planned start Hannah has proven to be very adaptable, a seriously fast learner and a hard worker – all qualities that will be invaluable as a photographer.

 

We’re looking forward to all she will accomplish during her time at NLP!

NLP mascot and self-assumed studio manager, Kirby, takes a break from the all important bone chewing to keep Hannah entertained at the office.

Big Oil CEO

In celebration of BP finally slowing down the oil leak into the gulf I thought I’d post this portrait of Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation, that I took a few months back. Tillerson was in town to speak at a luncheon at the Hilton Hotel Americas in downtown Houston. I was able to pull him aside as he left and took these two portraits in 30 seconds. No exaggeration. Working with very little time I decided to use the giant floor to ceiling windows outside of the ballroom where Tillerson spoke as my light source. I also really liked the slanting columns in the background as the angles draw the viewers eye to the subject. When photographing CEOs or celebrities it is very important to be respectful of their time. While I would have preferred to shoot a little longer and work the angles a little better, there just wasn’t time. As it was, the editors (my clients), were very happy with my take for the day.

MD Anderson Flashes of Hope

I recently had the honor of photographing patients in MD Anderson’s pediatric care for Flashes of Hope. We photographed 27 patients and families in one five hour session, a record for the MD Anderson chapter of Flashes of Hope (FOH).

In case you haven’t heard about it FOH is a “nonprofit organization that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research.” The way I see it, I got to bring a bright spot and some entertainment (hopefully!) into the marathon of cancer treatment for these kids and their families. We saw a number of patients who hadn’t slept the night before because they had to go through tests or whatever else can happen in a hospital. I tried to create an environment for tired parents and children to enter into and cut loose for a few minutes and I think the images reflect it.

I even received this kind email from the local FOH chapter director, “We received your photos and were blown away by their beauty. You have been given an amazing gift; you captured the essence of those children’s souls in a truly profound way. I am certain that the MD Anderson families will be as appreciative as I am. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

This was the second year I’ve had the opportunity to participate with FOH and again it was an amazing experience. I hope you enjoy the images. Check out the FOH website and think about supporting this amazing organization.

Houston Area High School Softball

Life has been crazy busy these last few months. Between a major personal project and trips to Cuba, Iowa and Arkansas, I have been running myself thin. Even for these tough times business has been good and life in general is good. Pictures and stories from projects and trips are soon to come.
As it has been far too long since my last post on here I thought I’d show a few images from the regional high school softball games I shot last month for my main local editorial client, The Houston Chronicle. The days were very hot. At least one of these teams of girls had to skip prom to play. High school kids fighting for trips to the state tournaments always make for great moments. I hope you enjoy seeing a bit of what I had the pleasure to witness.

Recent Editorial Work

I had a lot of work from the Houston Chronicle in the first few weeks I was back in town. Here are a couple of my favorite assignments. The first was covering a mentoring program at a local high school in a low income neighborhood. One of the students the writer and I were introduced to aspires to be a car designer. He had 50 or 60 different designs on his iPhone. The program seemed like it was working really well. I’m always impressed with teachers who go the extra mile to pour their lives into their students.

The second image is of a woman who lost her home to Hurricane Ike. Galveston is still recovering from last year’s hurricane and restoring low income housing is under debate. This lady has two daughters in college and a third who is a straight ‘A’ student still in grade school. Oh, and mom is working on her associates degree at Galveston College. She had such an amazing attitude and outlook on life. We chatted and told stories throughout the whole shoot. I decided the shot of her in front of the college with her backpack full of books looked far too much like a college brochure so we ended up a mile away at the empty lot where her apartment complex had been. The evening sun was ducking in and out of the clouds. I made images of her in front of the tree from where she hung Christmas lights outside her old unit. When the sun came back out with its amazing warm light I had her stand in the middle of the street and got down on my stomach to make her look like the hero she is.

High School Art

I made the road trip up to Iowa for a family visit and as part of an extended trip where I will be working on a few personal projects for the next month. Here are a few images from the last week. The first is from the drive up from Houston. I found this old pump at a gas station in Texas where I made a pit stop.

The next few are portraits I shot of my high school art teacher, Darvin. He taught my first photography class. I am fairly sure that everyone who has gone through his classes has made some sort of portrait of the poor man. He hates having his picture taken but is always amenable to his students. He was kind enough to humor me when I went back to pack up my show ‘Quiet Beauty’ that hung at the Iowa Mennonite School art gallery this past spring. Darvin was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He taught me what may be the most valuable and possibly hardest lesson I’ve ever learned – how to take criticism well. Thank you Darvin.

Flashes of Hope

I recently finished a project for Flashes of Hope, a national non-profit organization that provides “uplifting portraits of children fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses” to the families of the patients. I became involved with Flashes of Hope through my local ASMP. The shoot itself went very smoothly. We photographed 12 families in one morning, including one from Scotland and one from Nepal.

Flashes of Hope also provides a makeup artist for the patients and families which is really nice for kids going through chemo and parents who haven’t had a full night’s sleep in days. Well, ok, so the guys could have done without it but women always love a free session from a professional makeup artist.

The Flashes of Hope representative and hospital staff said afterward that everyone there had a great time. Even the teenagers I photographed enjoyed the experience! Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed that one. I had a blast. My sense of humor couldn’t resist bringing a pair of high-brow disguise glasses. I went into the shoot hoping I could get at least one kid to wear them, but it turned out that almost everyone wanted to pose in the goofy glasses. I really enjoyed working with the kids and families, I hope they enjoy the prints from Flashes of Hope.

Flashes of Hope

Flashes of Hope

Flashes of Hope

Flashes of Hope

First Blog Entry

Welcome to the blog for Nathan Lindstrom Photography. This past week we launched the new website. Many thanks to Chris Treadwell who designed the site and to programmer extraordinaire Adam Shaw for making the design happen. Both are incredibly talented and great to work with. Great job guys!

I am very excited to have my new site and blog up and running. I aim to update this blog with current projects once or twice a month. I hope you enjoy your experience here!