Taylor Rainbolt Shoots on Pixel for Google
With the rise of mobile cell phones, most individuals have a camera at their disposal, right in the palm of their hand. In a world where anyone can become the director of their own story, cell phone companies have taken the extra step to showcase the professional quality of the cameras within their devices as well as the latest designs. In her latest collaboration with Google, photographer Taylor Rainbolt showcased the new Pixel phone in a campaign shot entirely on the device itself.
“Google gave me direction, but it was kind of up to me to learn how to use the phone. They gave it to me a few days before the shoot to get my bearings and shoot some personal shots of friends,” explained Taylor. “It was different first going into the shoot because it’s not an actual camera like I’m used to. Once I had the freedom to play, I got much more comfortable with the device. It was definitely the hardest job I’ve ever done technically. The shot in the theatre took six or seven hours to light. Just the one shot. We turned off every single light possible in the theatre, even if it was someone’s cell phone light, because the Pixel is that good that you can literally capture the smallest light. Everything was done in camera on the phone, and we didn’t manipulate any of the shots. Everything you see is raw.”
Although it’s not required for every project, Taylor enjoys being fully involved in the process, including the location and model scouting. During the conversation with Google about casting, Taylor realized that she had friends that had the look the brand was hoping to cast. She created a deck of friends and loved ones who would fit in well with the aesthetic of the shoot. “Google liked practically everyone that I cast,” said Taylor. “It was really great because being from LA with a community that’s so diverse, my friend groups are into different things. I like that I can bring them into my work. I think it’s important to show diversity in casting and work in general because these are real people that I interact with and I want people to see that, and feel like they can be themselves.”
“I shot my friend Hazel for Solar Magazine and also for this shoot. I think that people are under the impression that being Indian means like wearing a jewel in the middle of your forehead and you wear a wrap around your head. We stereotype people and put people into boxes when really Hazel is just a normal girl, she’s a person just like the rest of us. So I think that when people see that everyone is kind of the same then we can all just love each other, and stop assuming people are certain ways because that’s what society has made us believe for so long,” explained Taylor. “We still have a long way to go. We’re so saturated with imagery constantly, ultimately the goal is usually that we’re selling things. But what I can bring to the world is changing how we see things. That’s the small role I can play.”
The shoot took place in LA, but the team spent their scout day looking for locations that were relatable no matter which corner of the world the viewer was from. “We wanted to find locations that didn’t feel like LA, locations that had a global feeling, as if it could be anywhere in the world. That was part of the message we wanted to get across. Grand Central Market was one of the main locations, which I felt like worked perfectly because there was so much culture and diversity there. I had a great group on this shoot. Google was very hands on. We worked as a team to get exactly what we wanted. They were a big help because they know the camera, the phone, better than I do - they built it. Having their input was really helpful.”
“I think my favorite moment was honestly just having my friends involved and getting to work with them. I think that with everything going on in the world right now, there’s so many photographers, so many DJs, so many creatives, and I never really talk about photography with my friends. Having them get to see what I actually do and how seriously I take what I do and getting to share something that I love with them was my favorite part of the shoot.”
Taylor Rainbolt Brings The Energy With Refinery29 & Adidas
As one of the youngest photographers on our roster, Taylor Rainbolt’s fresh take on capturing an organic moment proves to be a unique advantage. She believes in collaboration, and the nature of her process relies on connecting with her subjects in a non-traditional way. Taylor Rainbolt gives us a behind-the-scenes look into her techniques and aesthetic in her latest photoshoot collaborations with Refinery29 and Adidas.
“I love shooting as everything is happening. I think you get a better result when you’re in the moment. I like when the client understands when the shot looks different and gives me the creative freedom to roam and really connect with my talent. That’s how my work can feel really genuine when looking at it,” explained Taylor. Like most photo shoots, the brief for her shoot with Adidas included a shot list, but the team quickly put it to the side. “It was really nice to work with the Adidas team because we were all on the same page and I like to be very collaborative with my client. I want to make sure we’re all getting what we need. Being one of the younger photographers on the rosters, I regularly work with a younger demographic. I love when clients take my opinion into consideration and we can really collaborate on something rad.”
Taylor believes in creating an authentic moment on set, and that connecting with her talent can make or break the flow of a shoot. Part of her process involves bringing extra tools to set to create a specific atmosphere for her subjects. “One thing I do always have with me when shooting is my Polaroid camera. I like to start my shoot off on a positive note. I believe that playing around with the Polaroid and being able to show the talent “this is what it’s gonna look like” gets them excited. Being able to hand them something tangible creates an intimate moment between us, and the subject is able to see that outcome instantly. Everyone is all about Instagram these days, so being able to collage your favorites and show what we’ve been up to and what we did that day, really resonates with my generation and future generations in general. So that’s really important to me. I have boxes and boxes of polaroids, with these mementos. My polaroid camera is always with me, but not necessarily that I do my whole shoot with.”
“I think what really brings the energy is that I have to be super positive and be ready to shoot. I always grew up listening to Spanish music, so getting that going before I go on set really amps me up, and bringing that playlist to set really helps. Most importantly, my goal is to always make sure that my talent feels very comfortable and I want them to feel confident. It’s important to make my talent feel beautiful or handsome and feel good in what they're wearing and how they look. If they don’t feel good, it shows in the photos. Actors are just normal people, they're just as self-conscious about the same things as we are. I hate being in front of the camera, so I totally understand that feeling. My job is to make everyone comfortable.” Taylor’s ability to inspire the subject to let loose is an asset on set and her unbreakable energy sets her apart. “In my recent shoot Refinery29, it was rainy and we had no sun but the whole shoot was based on being outside. It was muddy and I had to get in the mud and just do it. The team is so important. It was an all hands on deck moment, the stylist even had to carry the talent so that she didn’t get all gross and dirty. I would do anything for the photo.”
TEVA Straps In with Taylor Rainbolt
TEVA is undergoing a transformation. What used to be an outdoor sandal brand is now expanding into new markets thanks to the explosive and exploratory nature of today’s fashion community. This season the brand is underscoring the shift with a campaign shot by Taylor Rainbolt in collaboration with Chloe x Halle, the R&B duo blessed by Beyoncé’s mentorship. The resulting campaign combines the two artist’s unique style sensibilities with the cultural heritage of TEVA. “We wanted to keep it raw so that we felt like it wasn’t too high-end where it wasn’t accessible to people. Giving it that rawness from nature. TEVA can be for anybody, so we decided to show the actual scene and give it that,” explained Taylor. “They’ve noticed their products showing up a lot in New York Fashion Week, so they came out with a line that you could wear every day, not just to the beach or hiking, or just camping.”
The shoot features Chloe x Halle lounging in styles that they chose on a set that gives away its own secrets: you see C-stands, sandbags, and clips holding up pieces of flora or the draped seamless. Everything was brought together to play with the tension inherent in the pieces that bring together the final look. “We used plants to cast shadows onto the wall, to keep both together. Keep fashion and nature together. And then if we didn’t cast a shadow we put plants in the scene to give it that natural vibe. It’s cool vibes, it’s so versatile you can wear it with an outfit or go camping,” Taylor explains. “And then we played with the color because I feel like it really gives it that pop.” Chloe x Halle are set in this specially created world to bridge the gap, but it’s not just the aesthetic that got it to work. It was also the energy that Taylor was able to create with Chloe x Halle on set.
“They came to set right away giving everyone hugs and were super excited about it and we created the dynamic where we know everyone’s excited. They were great at collaborating and it was just really amazing,” Taylor says. “It’s cool that it was bringing young women working together; just collaborating with younger women.” The collaboration between all three women created a dynamic set of imagery that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else.
Taylor Rainbolt Vibes with Migos and Finish Line
It’s not every day that Migos opens a car wash, but in a recent campaign with Taylor Rainbolt for Finish Line, they did just that. Taylor met up with the hip hop trio to pop off on the whips, for the latest in the ongoing Shoes So Fresh campaign. Taylor captured a series of images that highlight Migos’ favorite products from Finish Line’s current selection. “We’re trying to create the vibe that it’s a party all the time, so it’s a lot of loud music, a lot of talking to talent and getting them excited and recreating almost an 80s party scene with the lighting and everything,” Taylor explains. “[Migos is] like actors in a sense where they just want the product to be amazing and do the take over and over again until they felt like it was right, so that was really great, it was a really great collaborative.”
Riverdale actress Vanessa Morgan was also in attendance for when the party moved out to the pool.
You’ll notice a lot of the images are from different mediums, including digital and Polaroid, and that’s something that Taylor really enjoyed. “It was really cool because [Finish Line was] really adamant about me using film and stuff like that so I got to mix digital with film and play around with it,” Taylor says. “People like having tangible things and being able to process really fast. So, I’m getting what they are actually giving me. The mood is more authentic and we’re taking our time because I only have so many Polaroids in my camera.” With each moment being precious, a ton of care was brought into the creation of every image. The results are calibrated and carefully constructed in such a way that feels effortless. And when you’re partying with Migos and Finish Line that’s exactly what you want.