The Photographic (finger)print of Elsa Melero

(Photographer Elsa Melero)

Often in life our “idea” of something is better than the actual thing or experience. It only takes one bad date to convince you of this. However, there are some instances when someone else’s vision of an experience inspires us to manifest these moments and they become truly fantastic. Elsa Melero often finds herself being this facilitator. A photographer with an artistic sensibility while simultaneously possesses an insight into psychology, she is continually called upon to deliver the imagery which brands want to convey to the public. Melero is the conduit of communication that is completely nonverbal but which says everything. The Spanish born Melero is well travelled and enchanted by the idea that her work allows her to speak to anyone in the world clearly while challenging herself to create. Modern day artists find themselves immersed in a career that vacillates between art and commerce, whether they be musicians, architects, or a multitude of creative endeavors…including photography. Elsa finds herself in such an environment, achieving notoriety for her creations while supporting them.

Melero has become the main photographer for the Social Media and web-based presence of PepsiCo’s newest offering Drinkfinity. The beverage appeals to a healthy lifestyle and Elsa’s aesthetics portray this. The nature of this type of drink should communicate spontaneity, portability, and inspiration congruent with the daily activities of those it speaks to. PepsiCo (whose 2017 net income approached $5 Billion) made Elsa the producer, art director, and photographer for five different shoots based on her prior work and ideas. The colors needed to display a naturalness and warmth while being clean and fresh. It was also necessary to show important moments like the peel-pop-shake of the drink with close and detail shots. Elsa’s multiple roles on this project allowed her to streamline the process, overseeing every aspect from casting to locations and the actual shoot. It’s intuitive for her as she confirms, “As a photographer you also are a director of the project and you have to make important decisions and not only push the shutter button. For the first shoot I decided to use a girl practicing yoga. The model’s clothes have to be beautiful and have the colors of the brand; that’s part of the art direction. Another aspect is the location. The beach and the ocean are places that reflect a healthy lifestyle. There’s a psychology behind the direction of the pictures. I love working with other creative professionals but sometimes when I have a clear vision of what the end result should be, it’s better for the client if I serve in multiple roles.”

This photographer’s worldwide acclaim attracts clients from across the globe, as when Bill’s Watches of Switzerland approached her to create the perfect California Dream for an ad campaign. Elsa recalls, “They had one thing clearly in mind, they wanted to show the attractive California vibe. The goal was to associate their youth and colorful collection of watches to the sunny and beachy California seen in movies. California is a cultural symbol for the whole world, not just America. Songs are written about it. It’s one of the most depicted places in media. The famous beaches, the theme parks, the music, and dramatic scene are unparalleled. There is a reason the Hollywood sign is so familiar. The client wanted to show themes that inspired a holiday/summer mood: girls roller skating on the boardwalk, beautiful convertible cars, and attractive burgers.”

What initially started as a photo shoot was so exciting to Bill’s Watches that they allowed it (at Melero’s suggestion) to be developed into a short film that was used as a commercial. Elsa wrote the script, directed, and shot it with cinematographer Leco Moura (nominated for his work on another short film to best Oscar Short Films titled ‘ Jimbo ‘). The success of this campaign in terms of sales and web-traffic has already led to a second campaign for Elsa with Bill’s Watches.

This photographer’s success is not based on her immense talent alone. She often points to communication as an essential factor in her work. While her travels have her well versed in linguistics (Melero speaks Spanish, French, English, and other languages), it’s often the nonverbal that she is focused on. She stipulates, “What I’m really thinking about when writing down the first ideas or doing the visual treatment is finding a way to connect emotionally with the viewer. The challenge as a photographer here is that the images had not only be of a very high quality and attractive but also interesting and eye-catching. They should not only cause consumers to notice an advertisement but also make consumers want to buy the product or service. Photographers have to demonstrate not only a comfort with the medium in which the work will appear but also an understanding of what the brand is trying to communicate. I feel the challenge is that as a photographer you have to give somebody a reason to be a fan of the brand in the first place. I think all too often brands don’t really offer much other than throwing out some resized image assets from their other media channels. When shooting for a product it’s very important to always have in mind that the first thing a potential customer’s eyes will be drawn to are the images. The goal of these images is to really enhance the perceived value of the product, show off its quality and to make it more aspirational.”