Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse Marketing Shoot

Recently, the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse (formerly known as the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium) was looking to update the photographs of their venue. The goal of their marketing department was to provide more detailed photos showcasing the playhouse, and to pitch the venue as a location for filming. I did an initial walkthrough with their marketing coordinator about a month before the actual shoot, and we discussed the look that they wanted to achieve. The playhouse has a natural vintage aura to it and they wanted to showcase all the little details and nuances of it through the photos. From the office suite to the auditorium, stage, lobby, and basement, we covered all the little details, and saw all the things nobody really gets to see. There is a grand organ that blew my mind. I have never seen anything like it, and literally had a field day photographing this thing. The photos really don’t do it any justice because it really is more than just the normal organ you see below. It’s literally got an orchestra of pipes on both sides of the stage – hidden from view. I had to take a long Indiana Jones- like, “Temple of Doom-looking maze of floorboards behind the auditorium walls to get there, and squeezed my way into the innards of the organ pipe rooms. It is something I never would have ever seen. It’s also got some great architectural details throughout the lobby, along with a gigantic soundboard, a vintage looking control room, and a basement with a trapdoor that houses backup lights and all kinds of props. I’m always glad to contribute to our local community by providing them with these photos. Below is a selection of some of my favorite from the shoot. Enjoy!


Exterior with pretty clouds.  It pays to shoot early in the morning! 
Interior architecture

One of many "spooky corridors."

The auditorium.

Just a small portion of the large soundboard.

A view from inside the control room.

A grand view of the organ.

A closer look at the organ.

Organ pipes from the sides of the stage.

A view from the stage.

A view from the audience!

Behind the stage - the ropes and weights used to lift the curtains.

Above the stage - a behind-the-scenes look at the ropes and pulleys.

A look at the basement.


  1. Wow, that place looks amazing! You should do a separate post on your lighting setup for us nerds (wink wink)

  2. No separate post necessary - it was all available light (and some fill flash on camera for a few shots, but 95% was all camera on a tripod with no flash. The stagehand was there to turn on the lights on stage. Theater lighting is awesome to work with. Everything looks so cool.