Photo shoots, especially for magazine covers, can be glossy affairs in vast lofty studios with bright lights, leggy models, and a craft table heaped with yummy food.

Not so much with LSA Magazine.

Picture this instead: It was a dark and stormy night. No, seriously. It was! We set up in an open garage on the evening of June 1, 2012, and it was an unseasonably brisk 54 degrees with drizzling rain and 25 mph wind gusts wreaking havoc with our equipment. We (two videographers, the art director, and the editor) wore winter coats, hats, and gloves through the entire photo shoot.

For one of the magazine’s most arresting covers, we sure found ourselves in extremely low-key surroundings. Let’s set the scene with a few more details:

  • The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot set is vintage, purchased on eBay for $45.
  • When the Robots arrived, they were so soiled and dingy, our art director, Patricia Claydon, spent an hour scrubbing them with spray cleaner and cotton swabs.
  • For the record, she then spent an hour photoshopping cotton lint off each robot in post-production.
  • We placed the robots on a vintage typewriter stand draped with black fabric and hung black velvet as the backdrop with several C47s (videographer-speak for clothespins).
  • We juggled our equipment and fought to keep the robots away from two dogs underfoot: a 5-year-old-ish yellow labrador and a 6-year-old beagle.
  • Manning the controls for the above animated fight were videographer Natalie Condon and Patricia Claydon. Neither could manage to knock the other’s block off, though. (It’s surprisingly harder than you might remember! Plus, our hands were really cold.)
  • Designer Carly Parker spent hours adding frames of the heads popping up in post-production. But at least her hands were warm while doing so. Or that’s what we keep telling her.

You might think the business of magazine photo shoots is glamorous and dreamy. But we’re a duct tape and chewing gum crew—we make it happen wherever and whenever we can. Even if that’s in a garage on a dark and stormy night.