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Ready for their close-ups

Tallgrass Creek residents step in front of the camera for photo shoot

Created date

December 25th, 2012

When you see an ad for Tallgrass Creek, the Erickson Living community in Overland Park, Kans., you might assume the smiling, well-dressed retirees in the photographs are professional models. But, in many cases, the people featured in Tallgrass Creek ads are actually the residents who live there. There is certainly something more genuine and gratifying in shooting photographs of our actual residents, says Stephanie Carr, art director of photography for Erickson Living. Carr visited Tallgrass Creek last fall to coordinate a photo shoot for the company s upcoming ad campaigns. A full team accompanied her, including a photographer and assistants, a wardrobe consultant, hair and makeup artist, prop assistant, and producer. Carr says residents are often amazed by everything that goes into producing a photo shoot and enjoy getting a bird s eye view of the process while they volunteer as models. I don t think they realize everything that goes into an actual commercial photo shoot, she says. They think we are just taking a couple of snap shots that they re used to experiencing with their families. But we have full hair, makeup, and wardrobe available, as well as a production room for them to get ready in before they re called to set or a scene. I believe they enjoy all the attention and pampering we give them.

Unique opportunities

Tallgrass Creek resident Connie Shea modeled a little when she was very young but hasn t been in front of the camera for many years. She says she was delighted for the opportunity to model again. My kids said, Why are you doing that when you don t even like having your photo taken? Connie says. And I told them, I want to try something new. Connie, who moved to Tallgrass Creek about four years ago from Springfield, Ill., says her day as a model was a fun-filled and active one. She says she already knew most of her fellow models, and the group shared a lot of laughs during the process. It was a lot of fun, and they kept us moving, Connie says. The team that came here was great. They made us really comfortable. Ed Scanlon moved to Tallgrass Creek just a few months before the October photo shoot took place. So for Ed, who had also previously modeled when he was younger, the photo shoot was a chance to become better acquainted with some of his neighbors. It was a fun opportunity and a gorgeous day, Ed says. He also enjoyed working with the photographers and particularly appreciated the efforts of the hair and makeup staff. I looked better that day than I have in years, Ed jokes. I came upstairs and looked in the mirror, and I thought, I could stand more of this.

Perfect for the job

Tallgrass Creek Sales Director Debbie Messmer says the community s residents are its best representatives, and that is why she believes in featuring them as models in advertisements. This is their home, and they re so proud to tell others about it. And when their friends see their picture in a direct mail piece or other advertising materials, it prompts them to pick up the phone and call to find out what we re all about, Messmer says. Our residents are the best sales people around. Messmer says the Tallgrass Creek photo shoot was an exciting and lively day for everyone involved. She says she eagerly waited to see the finished products from the shoot. There was so much laughter the two days of the actual shoot, and it was wonderful to see and hear, Messmer says. There s no doubt in my mind that the pictures will show how our residents truly are happy, inspired, and fun-loving.