What first drew you to Wisp? Was it our eye-catching colors? Our delightful packaging? Or maybe our gorgeous photography? Diane Villadsen is the woman who perfects the virtual window dressing of the Wisp brand! She’s worked with Wisp since 2018 as a portrait and product photographer and you can find Diane’s work on our website, Instagram, Facebook ads, emails, and more—she helps make Wisp come to life. We took an opportunity to dive behind the scenes into what that looks like and what Wisp means to her.
Diane (center) at work with two of our models, Nkechi Njaka (left) and Natalia Papova (right).
What drew you to Wisp and/or Wisp’s mission?
In the world of advertising, it can be challenging to find clients who align with your personal values. When Wisp first reached out back in 2021, it was really refreshing to have an opportunity to work with a company that was actively improving people’s lives through access to healthcare, especially in our current political climate. I was impressed with how the team was conducting thorough case studies with their client base to find out what they really needed and how they could best serve them.
Diane behind the camera shooting with Nkechi Njaka.
What are the unique challenges of shooting for a healthcare brand?
Working with pills is tricky! It’s pretty much the tiniest possible “product” you could be working with, so handling them and styling them is an interesting challenge. The scale of the props has to match the scale of the product, and it takes some practice for the hand models to pose with them in a way that feels natural. Another challenge is getting creative with something fairly sterile. Luckily Wisp’s packaging and branding is more sophisticated and fun than similar brands. A lot of healthcare companies have photography that leans really corporate and stock photo-esque, so from the start I wanted to make sure I was creating something that felt fresh and approachable.
Diane behind the camera shooting with Natalia Papova.
What are the unique challenges of shooting for a brand that addresses themes/topics that are often censored, sensitive, or may be viewed as taboo?
I think the right images can help break down stigmas without being overtly explicit. I’ve always loved the task of taking something taboo and expressing it metaphorically, like I did in my film “Milk.” Using a bit of visual humor to address taboo topics can be a good strategy, too.
Model and prop stylist Natalia Papova getting to know some fruit.
What are the fun pros of working with a brand like Wisp? In what ways are you able to stretch your creativity?
We have a lot of fun on set while shooting Wisp. During the last shoot, we were all laughing as we threw around terms you’d use with other clients, like “Let's try to reduce the glare on the clit" or "SEX needs to shift over a bit.” It’s also a good creative exercise to brainstorm how to visually depict themes like comfort, privacy, and pleasure within the confines of our props. Maybe it’s a texture, or a hand gesture. Prop stylist Natalie Papova is great at coming up with subtle suggestions of Wisp themes as well, like red spheres for herpes meds. The Wisp team comes up with some great concepts and is always supportive of our ideas, as well. I had a lot of fun being part of the initial branding phase where I basically got to set the visual tone for Wisp – including the color palette, which I will never tire of! Pink and red is a classic combination.
Diane Villadsen is a portrait & product photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Colorful and abstract, her work is influenced by principles of design and surrealism, and explores themes such as aging and gender roles. When she’s not taking photos, you can find her practicing banjo, waterskiing, or playing cards with family.