Shooting Whiskey for easyJet, Europe’s second largest low-cost airline

Eyal Yassky is a travel photographer and social entrepreneur.

For the opening issue of 2019’s EasyJet Traveller magazine, Eyal shot an intriguing story about whiskey-making in Tel Aviv. I asked Eyal to peek his brain about the shoot and share it with the Spiffy Community:

A career in Travel photography gets you to… well… Travel. A lot. Work took me to more than 60 countries so far, but it’s very rare that I get to shoot around my hometown. So naturally, I was quite thrilled when the inquiry for this shoot popped in my email one day.

Shooting editorials in multiple locations is always challenging. There are people (The subjects) involved who need to go back to work when you’re done, and the locations are rarely tailored to the photographer’s needs. More often than not you’ll find yourself dealing with complex lighting in compact spaces with very little time on your hands.

Shooting for In-flight magazines is pretty unique work, and different in many ways than working for any other kind of magazines. In-flight magazines are practically a part of the reader’s vacation or business trip. A well-crafted story in an in-flight magazine should provide the readers with information and inspire them to explore further.
My purpose in creating the photos for the story was to show the unique atmosphere of a special young industry, forming in a beautiful place.

In this case, I used a few tricks to overcome some of the challenges we dealt with.

Planning was crucial. During pre-production, I made sure to coordinate and match expectations with the editor and writer that joined me on this trip. This planning saved us a lot of time, as I knew exactly what we need to achieve in every location we arrived at. I also spent quite a lot of time researching online. Gathering as much intel as I possibly could in regards to what the locations look like, and how they’re built. I also invested time in finding local connections in my network with whom I can consult and share thoughts and ideas I have for the shoot. They confirmed that my plans were solid. I could execute within the given time-frame. My network also shared relevant tips that helped me prepare better.

Equipment-wise, it was clear to me from the very first moment that I’ll have to travel light. I wanted to be able to set up, shoot, pack and leave as quickly as possible. The subjects of this shoot were very kind to give us their time and welcome us inside their homes and businesses. I needed to make sure we didn’t interrupt them too much. I also needed to stay prepared for the ever-changing conditions and unexpected developments shoots like this call for.

I used Spekular’s Spekular LED lighting to shoot the products and portraits. It’s a product I picked up after seeing it last year in NAB and pretty quickly, it became almost the only light I use. It’s the first time I encountered a powerful lighting product that is also super lightweight and fits in my carry on bag. This fact changed the way I travel for work and is making my life a whole lot easier. Spekular is also extremely accurate in color (CRI is 95) which turned out to be quite helpful, as I needed to blend a lot of my lighting setups for the shoot with available daylight.

Another cool feature about Spekular is that it’s versatile, so I could separate the kit to individual light strips and use them in endless ways. I connected the strips with cables, using them for a 3-point lighting setup. A minute later I was putting them back together as one big bulk of strong light. I also crawled down the floor to hide Spekular between whiskey barrels and even used it to light a cat that strolled around the location. (Or maybe we were shooting around it, it’s hard to tell with cats).”

Overall, shooting materials for the article spanned eight locations over the course of three days. As I had very little time at each location, I took nothing more than the equipment that was absolutely necessary. Instead of rapidly changing lenses, I took just two and had to be creative. Same with lights, tripods, and anything else. Looking back, On an assignment with such complexity and tight schedule, extreme efficiency is key. Traveling light was one of the key factors that enabled me to make the deadline.

The “Sun, sea, sand and… Scotch” was published in the January edition of easyJet Traveller magazine, making the lives of easyJet passengers a little happier. If you happen to grab a copy, make sure to read it with the right drink.

You can see more of Yassky’s work over at his Instagram account.

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