Shots of Brilliance: The Voorhes x Herradura

The talented duo of Adam and Robin Voorhes broke away from convention, reimagining Herradura Tequila, which, in Spanish, means “horseshoe,” through their vibrant still life photography. Drawing inspiration from the perfumes and cosmetics industries and guided by the legacy of a horseshoe, supposedly discovered among the agave by Aurelio Lopez, they crafted an entirely unique aesthetic. They breathed new life into Herradura’s brand by experimenting with prism lighting effects, stylized botanical arrangements, and intricate compositions. Hear from the Voorhes on their innovative approach that captured the essence of Herradura and a Graphis Photography 2023 Gold award-winning campaign.

By: Adam & Robin Voorhes

We received a creative brief for a cocktail photoshoot. Instead of typical references like drinks and spirit bottles, the inspiration was drawn from images of perfumes and cosmetics, incorporating prism lighting effects, stylized botanical arrangements, and intricate, wild illustrations. The objective was to unify these diverse inspirations into a cohesive vision for Herradura while maintaining alignment with the established brand aesthetic from recent broadcast and illustration projects.

No single image perfectly encapsulated the envisioned creative, so we embarked on developing a distinct aesthetic specifically for this campaign. Experimentation was essential to bring all the elements together effectively.

Our preferred time for creative work is during quiet nights and weekends when the studio is less hectic. The daytime rush of emails and calls subsides after seven o’clock. We’d play music, mix a few margaritas, and let our creativity flow.

The scenes were carefully styled with flowers, cocktails, and simple staging. Notably, lighting and lens effects were just as crucial to the styling as the subjects themselves. Prisms were used to create colorful streaks of light and optical distortions. Lens flares and shadows from mirrors were incorporated, and colored lights were strategically positioned to infuse personality. All these elements were meticulously layered to craft a consistent look for the campaign.

After presenting our experimental tests to the agency, we were entrusted with the project to create 36 images over four shoot days. The prospect of consecutively creating intricate compositions for that duration can be emotionally and mentally taxing. However, thorough preparation and a well-planned schedule contributed significantly to a seamless shooting process. We rented a refrigerated trailer to store a large quantity of flowers on-site. The Herradura horseshoe logo was crafted using diverse materials. Geodes, crystals, cocktail props, and a variety of glassware were sourced. The idea was to have tables adorned with exciting props, surrounded by an environment teeming with inspiration — not forgetting the presence of tequila.

The project was immensely fulfilling, incorporating a plethora of techniques accumulated over years of experience. Reflecting on the work, it’s astounding to witness the emergence of an entirely new aesthetic that has now become an integral part of our creative expression.

Photographers, directors, prop masters, magic makers, frozen margarita enthusiasts, and so much more. For the past 14+ years Adam and Robin, The Voorhes, have been in a state of constant collaboration—with each other & their clients—including Pepsi, Kraft, Poppi, Uber Eats, Mother London, JKR, Motive, and more, figuring out how to achieve “how the heck did they do that?” results in their work. Their process is who they are. Two brains testing and tackling a problem from creative inception, through the storytelling, and all aspects of production: the lighting, camera movements, sets, and props. They pair their technical expertise with a playful, thoughtful curiosity. Their 6000 sq. ft. studio in Austin, TX could be called a Jr. High Science Lab meets tricked-out maker space (they have lots of toys). Whatever you want to call it, the studio offers complete creative freedom to take an idea from an initial sketch and build out a universe.

Social: Instagram

Discover more Photography 2023 winners here. If you want to enter our Photography 2024 Awards competition, click here to enter, and click here to read over our competition terms and conditions. Final deadline is November 7th!

Author: Graphis