May 13, 2014

Bouncy House IPA


Back in December I got a call from Chris Hamer, Art Director at Smuttynose Brewing Co. asking if I was available to shoot the images for the packaging of their new beer, Bouncy House IPA. The answer was, of course, a very enthusiastic YES!

I’ve long been a fan and consumer of Smuttynose’s fine craft brews and I’m also thrilled to call them a client, having shot employee portraits and some of their Big Beer product shots. So, naturally, the thought of shooting a beer label was very exciting. It was also challenging.

Rachel and Steve
Micah and Jaime
Liberty and Catherine
Matt and JT
Peter and Janet


Chris and Smuttynose’s Director or Marketing, Joanne Francis has a basic concept in mind. They wanted the labels to be light and fun. They wanted to feature models who represented a cross section of their customers and they wanted to feature (naturally) a bouncy house.

With that in mind Chris, Joanne and I met at Jump On In in Portsmouth, New Hampshire late in December to “audition” a few bouncy houses and do some very rough test shots. After a few minutes of bouncing around (and a mild case of whiplash) we concluded that we needed to shoot down on the bouncy house as our models jumped up into the camera.

One of the test shots

Another test shot
Bouncy House IPA labels

A plan quickly came together.

Chris arranged for a rental bouncy house to be delivered to Smuttynose’s new location in Hampton, NH. With construction at the facility still in progress, there were several pieces of construction equipment on site, including an articulating boom lift — perfect for lifting someone (me) above the center of the inflated bouncy house.

Lighting it was another challenge. I rented two Alien Bees 1600 strobes from Lens Pro to Go. I lit the bouncy house with one of the lights with a soft box and secured the other light with the umbrella on it’s stand to the bucket of the lift (gotta love Duck Tape). The lights were triggered by the Pocket Wizards. After a few test shots we were ready to go.

We wanted the character of the models’ faces to be the heros of the shoot, so my fish-eye lens was really the only choice. It provided some fun distortion and an exaggerated sense of perspective to the images. In order to convey a sense of motion in the images, I used a slower shutter speed and rear curtain sync.

As happy as I was with the images we got that day, I was thrilled to see how Chris and Joanne’s plan came together in the final packaging

I could tell you how much fun the day was, but you can see for yourself. I brought my son John Lussier along to assist on the shoot and to capture the day on video (using the Olympus OM-D E-M1). John then put together the video below. Check it out. It is as much about the beer as it is about the shoot.

Many many thanks to Chris and Joanne at Smuttynose and to all of the bouncers (watch the video to meet them).

And be sure to pick up a six pack of Smuttynose Bouncy House IPA for your summer barbeques. It will be available in stores and bars at the end of May.

You like the music in the video? Check out the Ryan Taylor Band.



Related Images:

Share This Post

Subscribe to Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. What a blast it was!!!
    My whole life I’ve wanted to be on a Smuttynose Beer Label!!!
    And on my 50th birthday week my dream came true!!
    The beer is delicious!!!
    I love beer and Bouncy House is the perfect name for this beer, it’s full of hops flavor with a bounce!!
    Thanks for the memories!!
    Love Catherine

  2. How fricking fun is that Bob, well done and a great video not to mention a bunch of fun! Is the IPA as good as this post?