Annabel Mehran on shooting for the Google Nexus 5 ad campaign

Google recently rolled out a Flipboard campaign for its new smartphone, the Nexus 5, that focuses on the experience of using the camera and carries the tagline “Capture the moments that matter.” Annabel Mehran was one of a handful of photographers commissioned to create one of those authentic-feeling moments.

Below, she talks about the generous creative latitude she was given and how her nears and dears figured into her process. She also shares some of her favorite outtakes…

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Annabel Mehran_Google Nexus 5

Photo by Annabel Mehran for the Google Nexus 5.

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It all came together in a few days: I was hired Friday, got the Nexus 5 Saturday morning, learned how to use it, shot through the weekend, and mailed it back to Google on Monday.

It was really fun to do a whole shoot on a phone because people have such a different relationship to the camera in a phone than any other kind of camera. It’s so much more casual and personal. Also, this shoot was so DIY that I could shoot all over the place and no one questioned me. I could just go guerrilla style and run wild.

I wanted to cover a wide range to give the client lots of options, so I brainstormed about what I love to capture on my phone, the moments that I treasure—a birthday, a wild night out, my best friend wedding-dress shopping, taking my goddaughter to the farmers market, the great leaf war in the fall of 2013, my last visit with my girlfriend before she meets her daughter… So I texted my friends, and we busted it out.

The shot the client chose is of my goddaughter, Dune. We had such a blast! We started the morning at the farmers market in Brooklyn, and I had her pick out what she wanted for dinner. When she grabbed the lettuce head and it was so huge compared to her, I was like, “Show me what ya got!” And she smiled with all the teeth in her mouth and we got the shot. And then we got more options—she’s so cute that it’s hard to stop—like going to a candy store to get a giant lollipop (I taught her the classic lollipop song that afternoon, and we haven’t stopped singing it since), then the carousel under the Brooklyn Bridge.  

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Annabel Mehran outtakes

Annabel’s goddaughter, Dune, was a willing (and adorable) subject.

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After that, I went over to my friend Brannie’s house to shoot the last moments before we met her beautiful daughter. I wanted to show the extremity of her belly, so I thought it would be funny to shoot from her toes’ perspective. (You know how pregnant women say they can’t see their feet.) So I shot her with just her shades peaking out above the belly.

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Annabel Mehran 3

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

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Then I met up with my sweet friend Allie for her “birthday.” We went to the most glamorous restaurant I knew so it could be a real celebration—a place I could NEVER bring a camera into!

After that, we hit the town and partied at the Boom Boom Room. It was a great night.  

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Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

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Then I invited some boys into the mix and had my favorite skaters get into a leaf war in Tompkins Square Park. Afterward, they tried to show off some of their newest skate tricks.

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Annabel Mehran 2

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

Annabel Mehran 4

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

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Finally, my bride! A friend of mine owns the beautiful Stone Fox Bride, so we went to their showroom and spent the afternoon really girling out! We tried veils, engagement rings—the whole shebang! Caroline is gonna make some man the dreamiest bride!

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Annabel Mehran 5

Photo by Annabel Mehran.

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Read more about the Google Nexus 5 Flipboard campaign at the blog of San Francisco–based marketing and design company Avantgarde.

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