A case study on our historic preservation commercial session with Sherwin Williams and Ohio State University.


One of the many joys of being a commercial photographer is getting the chance to capture the unique qualities of places, products, and people that make them stand out.

Which is why we were excited when Sherwin Williams called about a historic preservation project involving The Schottenstein Center.

The center, originally opened in 1998, is home to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball team, as well as men’s ice hockey. Anyone that walks through its doors is immediately welcomed by a very interesting display: six brilliant floorscapes designed by artist Alexis Smith that celebrate the university’s athletic history.

The Schottenstein Center’s northeast rotunda features a floorscape of the university’s 1890 men’s baseball team. But why? While the team never called the center home, baseball was the first varsity sport at Ohio State University.

Sherwin Williams sought our services out for two reasons:

  1. The last time these floorscapes were photographed was 28 years ago on film, shortly after construction was completed. Although scans of these slides could have been made for university presentations, the quality of these images wouldn’t be near what we could create with our modern professional gear and techniques.
  2. One of the tradesmen that originally laid the terrazzo floor passed away, and the company wanted to gift his family with a framed print of a section that featured him and other people of importance in the project mixed into a crowd.

While we understand (and will always advocate for) the value of having high-quality images for your business development and marketing efforts, you know that last reason really pulled us in!

This mosaic of a crowd features individuals that contributed to The Schottenstein Center’s completion; including architects, engineers, floor installers, and university administrators. It is displayed in the center’s southwest entry floorscape that celebrates the men’s basketball team.

So our founder and CEO Kelly Settle traveled up to Columbus for this session, camera in hand, to capture these extraordinary floorscapes.

“This was a really cool project,” Settle said. “One of the things I love most about commercial photography is getting to go behind the scenes. It’s incredible to be invited into these spaces and hear stories about why things – be it the process, the place, or the people – are significant.”

This was not Settle’s first time working with terrazzo flooring either, so she came into the situation fully prepared to work with the building’s abundant natural light.

“Distracting glares were my primary concern here, and I didn’t want to do a lot of editing in post,” Settle said. “We had to be creative in how we got the perfect angles and lighting for each section. So I scaled whatever was climbable, and used a bounce light to combat any bright spotlights. I did leave in a few glares here and there though, because I think it’s important to see what the space looks like naturally too.”

Natural glares frame this photo mosaic of a Ohio State University baseball player in the Schottenstein Center.

Another familiar aspect of this project for Settle was working with Sherwin Williams. The Ohio-based manufacturing company is commonly known for paints and stains, but some may be surprised to learn that it also offers flooring materials and installation services. We were fortunate to have worked with Sherwin Williams before and captured the new terrazzo flooring at the Dayton International Airport in 2019.

“People don’t think that a flooring company needs photos for them to sell their products,” Settle said. “But they’re just like any other business: you’ve got to show it to sell it. Having professional visual aids to sell these large scale intricate projects is imperative to show potential clients the unlimited options available to them.”

In the end, Sherwin Williams walked away with far more than just updated photos of a decades-old project. They now have in their pocket compelling imagery that both sells their product and celebrates their history. What’s more, these photos have the potential to attract thousands of devoted Ohio State fans to explore their flooring sites and services all while showing how much they care for their people.