Karelle Edwards is a Canadian 100m hurdler and five-time Canadian National Team member, having participated in:
- 2017 World University Games
- 2015 World University Games
- 2013 Francophone Games
- 2008 World Junior Championships
- 2007 World Youth Championships
Karelle is currently training for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. We joined her on the track in Los Angeles, California to photograph these great images.
We teamed up with Karelle Edwards to produce professional photography that would be used to enhance her professional sports brand just in time for her debut at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Our concepts fused professional athlete photography with athletic fashion photography, but in a way that looked and felt like lifestyle photography. To achieve this, we combined stills that showcase her personality, action shots that capture her athletic prowess, and poses that highlight her athletic wear. As artistic directors, we sat down with Karelle Edwards to conceptualize our shot list and ensure that our gallery would fully showcase her personality, skill, and sport. As marketing managers, we chose to integrate poses, settings, and postures that our target audience would gravitate towards, and that other marketers and brands would feel inclined to share or mimic.
Coming from a commercial background it is difficult guiding a professional athlete to pose and move the way you think they should. When mapping out the visuals, it’s easy to say pose this way or that because you know the photo will be beautiful. But from the athletes perspective, our artistic direction may not always represent the sport.
For instance, when posing Karelle to take off from the starting block, we wanted her shoes positioned so that the Nike logo would be clearly visible. It took some adjusting to get the right balance between the shot we envisioned and what would appeal to athletes. In the end, we achieved that balance. The image not only looks great but will also appeal to consumers shopping for sportswear in Sports Illustrated as well as amateur athletes looking for guidance in their sport. A lot of the challenges come down to what is proper and what is marketable. In the end, you have to trust the person (or people) you are working with. Every photo shoot is a partnership between professionals. That is how we operate. Karelle was great to work with and (unbeknownst to us) a keen artistic director, so all the challenges we faced were easily overcome.
One of the coolest parts of working with a professional athlete is seeing them in action. It is also one of the core challenges. Capturing that perfect moment when Karelle was taking off from the starting block or leaping over a hurdle suspended in midair was tough (especially because she really is quite fast!). In addition to capturing movement at the perfect moment, the photos still need to align with the concepts outlined in the shot list. We could not sacrifice obscuring the logo on her clothing or overshadowing her personality and determination for the sake of good action shot. If we did, it wouldn’t be a good action shot. Through trial and error — a few restarts and a couple of trips around the track — we captured some really awesome photographs of Karelle Edwards in action.
It was awesome working with Karelle Edwards. She has a very strong personality which truly elevated the photos we took for her. More importantly, she was super nice and great company. We’ll be rooting for you in the 2020 Olympics, Karelle! Maybe we can do a follow-up photo shoot after you earn that Olympic medal!