Christopher Malcolm - Los Angeles based Lifestyle, Fitness, Activewear and Fashion Photographer

Case Study: Write Your Own Story

Nowadays, brands have more marketing demands than ever.  In addition to traditional advertising channels like print and broadcast, there are now a myriad of digital outlets from websites to various social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, with ever more new technologies emerging every day.  And with the global marketplace leading to somewhat fragmented audiences, companies are under increased pressure to provide continuous quality content to all these various outlets. In essence, in addition to their core business, every brand must also be its own media company.  Of course, even though demands may have grown, budgets haven’t always kept pace, which is why it’s important that companies can partner with the right creatives who can help tell their stories effectively, efficiently, and deliver a large variety of assets to maximize the return on their investment.

For the Write Your Own Story series, I created an integrated activewear campaign that resulted in a wealth of assets that establish brand identity.

The project resulted in a gallery of 150 still images, 8 videos, as well as supplemental material perfect for social media sharing including 12 GIFs, 12 Boomerangs, a Behind the Scenes documentary, as well as an interviews with the talent.

In order to pull off a job like this, it first all begins with planning.  Working prior to the shoot to create a detailed moodboard, shot list, and shooting schedule, I like to have a blueprint of the entire project laid out before starting any new shoot.  For projects where multiple assets are required, this is even more of a necessity. Prior to shooting, I generate what I call a preshoot. This is a document that explains in detail the mood I’m looking to achieve, specific lighting techniques, poses, compositions, and so forth which I intend to use to achieve that mood, as well as how I plan to execute the production.

I am what can most commonly be referred to as a “planner.”  So my preshoots can range anywhere from 25 to around 100 pages.  Most of which are visual references, links, or even written paragraphs explaining my approach.  I usually try to have more ideas than I actually need for a shoot, as this allows me flexibility on set to adjust to the shoot dynamic and maximize the results based on a client’s preference.



As a fitness and activewear photographer, what I love most about my work is the ability to create art that can help, not only to propel a brand’s growth, but also to inspire audiences to live their best lives.  Like any great sports film from Rocky to Friday Night Lights, art has the ability to convince those who view it that, if they work hard, they can also achieve their dreams. Not matter where one starts in life, our potential is limitless.  We simply have to put in the effort and never stop believing in our own ability to achieve success.

With the Write Your Own Story series, I wanted to create a gallery of images and visual assets that would underscore that message.  My concept was to take two female athletes, played by Nikkie and Jasmin from Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited, and create strong and powerful imagery that would allow women, or men, in the audience to connect to their fitness journey and reach to achieve new heights. 

When creating an integrated campaign, it’s important that both the still and motion components connect.  Even though they may be separate mediums, the resulting material should speak from the same voice. To that end, I supplemented the still material with ten short films reflecting each of the athletes putting in the hard work necessary to live out their dreams.  I wanted to literally show them “writing their own story,” so to speak.

In an environment like Instagram, for example, GIFs, Boomerangs, or Cinemagraphs can add just that little bit of variation necessary to cause a customer to pause their scrolling for a moment to take notice of a company’s post.

For this project, a created 24 different “moving images” ideal for posting to social media and driving customer engagement.  Like the short films, the moving images still fit into the overall theme of the campaign and serve to strengthen the brand message.

In a way, it’s never been more challenging or more exciting to bring products to market and establish or maintain a brand identity.  There are infinitely more pathways available to connect with consumers that ever before and this new world order allows companies to have a direct connection with the individuals they are trying to reach with their message.  Brands come to me to help them convey that message clearly, creatively, and consistently.  I help translate brand’s message into imagery that engages an audience, bolster’s brand identity, and helps a company write their own story.

To see the various elements of the project, click any of the following links

Still and GIF Gallery

Short Films

Making Of Documentary

Using Format