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JP Custom Kicks x Imaginary Zebra Photoshoot—Behind the Scenes

Location: Richmond, CA
Photo cred: Benson
Camera: Canon 5D mkIII
Lens: Canon 70-200 II f2.8

Had a golden opportunity to shoot the spectacular custom by JP Custom Kicks.
I’ve never done any serious sneaker shoots in the past; the last pair I shot was my own custom back in ’07 with my Canon point and shoot. Was excited to dig right in and explore ways to justify the beauty of this pair of “Rose Gold”.

Here’s the base shoe:
From the man behind the custom:
“I often start my thinking process with ‘what hasn’t been done before?’
and was surprised to find that a rose themed rose hadn’t been done. The Brenda colorway is the closest thing but it’s just black and red.”


I posted a few BTS shots, here’s what went down: jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra4 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra5

Here’s my first take, using just some basic flash and red backdrop.  jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra6
This is before color correcting, of course. Regardless, the result is poor and amateur.
The images look flat and simply too much red. It degrades the shoes and make the product look cheap. jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra7
Can’t settle with this.


From the last shoot, I knew red’s a no-go. I took out my black backdrop to make the shoes pop. Plus, black is a resilient color. jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra9

The black background brings out the smooth outline of the sneaker.  jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra10

No full on lighting. The heavier contrast from the shadow adds a bit of mystery and depth to these. jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra11 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra12

Details are key to customs: jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra13 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra14 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra15 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra16 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra17

For the final shoot, I wanted to spice things up a bit, leveraging the bold color blocks from the shoes. A quick illustration to demo the point: jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra18

All setup and ready to roll: jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra19


The 70-200 made the camera front heavy (the lens came with a tripod mount for itself, but I took it down to save space for my regular carry. ) And before I was completely sure the camera’s steady on the tripod, I went to tweak with the sneakers. The camera setup fell front face down, smashing the lens directly onto the ground, cracked the lens.


Thankfully, Canon’s built one monster lens. and I had my lens filter on. So, even after falling from a 3 feet tripod, the lens still functions perfectly and only the lens filter was broken. jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra22

Carry on.

I wanted to contrast the shoes with the bg, but turn out to be a bit messy.

Better.jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra24 jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra25

Name: “Rose Gold”
Shoe model: “Adidas Rose 4”
The base shoe was the “Home” colorway

More of his work can be found here.

That’s a wrap. jpcustomkicks_imaginaryzebra26

’til next project,



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