Erin Reas Creates


Blog for graphic designer + photographer, Erin Reas. Based in Austin, TX, Erin shares stories from photoshoots, case studies on design projects, and tips and tricks for either profession!

Lessons Learned from a Brand Lifestyle Shoot | Austin Down to Earth | Jewelry Designer

Working with small businesses and other entrepreneurs has been a goal of mine for some time. I assist with photoshoots and the photographer at my full-time job, so I’ve seen how lifestyle brand shoots work.

Austin Down to Earth is a small business that designs jewelry in Austin, Tx. Created by Mary Werner, Austin Down to Earth provides gorgeous and simple jewelry for any woman from the everyday pieces to special moments. Mary and I consulted for a month leading up to her shoot date on location, models, how many pieces she wanted, the style of shooting, etc. We went over a lot of details, and even after shooting, I realized there were things we didn’t consider.

Hire a Hair and Makeup artist (or even solely Makeup artist)

Mary decided to not hire a makeup artist (or MUA) because she wanted to keep costs low. This was a wise decision, but in the future, I would highly encourage hiring a MUA or HMUA. A HMUA or MUA is able to create certain looks that others on the team wouldn’t be able to. You want a specific look for your models? That’s where the HMUA or MUA comes in! Even with doing touch-ups during the shoot is very helpful.

Have a shoot list

We knew which pieces to photograph, but we didn’t have a specific shoot list. Looking back, having a shoot list would have been amazing to determine which pieces would be ideal for the website, or for social, or just for product images. A shoot list would also have been a good reminder to mix up the type of photos I was taking and how I was framing the photos.

Shoot to your strengths

I've never shot in a studio or used studio lighting before. I told Mary this right off the bat, so we would have to use natural light. Instead of trying to cram new information and education into my head before a client session, I prefer to shoot to my strengths. I could have tried to learn the new information and practice, but that was still a risk especially with a client that is relying on my photography.

Find ideal models

I loved working with our models! Both Alejandra Palomo and Shelby Sawyer did a great job with modeling the jewelry and were great to work with! Both were found through the Austin Area Models and Photographers Facebook group. Looking through each of their website portfolios and Instagram (which most of the time is their portfolio rather than a website) was a task to make sure we got girls who would do a good job. I also made it a point to make sure we got models of varying race and ethnic backgrounds. That way, not every photo looks the same, and the photos can help build the brand to be more diverse.

Rent out an airbnb

I didn’t think of this at first, but Mary wanted to rent out an airbnb. I was looking through studio space to try and find a good place at a low cost. A lot of the studios were indoor only where you have to use flash photography, or they were far out of our price range. Mary had the idea of renting out an airbnb, and it was the best idea! We got to use the interior of the little house we rented as well as the yard to get some nice photos outside when the weather was a little better.

Expect to be shooting for longer than you think

I thought it would take one hour. I was wrong. Mary had a large number of jewelry she needed to be photographed, and it took me a little bit to get in a groove with shooting. We ended up going for two hours. 

Models: Alejandra Palomo and Shelby Sawyer

Brand: Austin Down to Earth