Photographer Spotlight Adam & Robin Voorhes
Meet The Voorhes
We’re The Voorhes, a husband and wife (Adam & Robin) creative team. We actually met via work. Robin was the new art director of a city magazine in Austin and Adam had been shooting for the mag for a little while. The whole thing started innocently enough. We’d collaborate on projects, Robin would style still life and food scenes for Adam to photograph. We’d come up with projects to work together on. Then one day Adam decided he had a massive crush on Robin and she begrudgingly agreed to get drinks together. Then we started meeting for drinks pretty much every day. Then we got married. Then we started building a business together. And after ten years of marriage we’ve created a visual aesthetic that is truly a collaboration and something we’re very proud of.
Diving right into it, tell us…why photography? What’s launched your passion?
At this point neither one of us is really employable anymore. We’ve been marching to the beat of our own drum for far too long. So this is pretty much it! But in the beginning we were both drawn to art. We both fell in love with the dark room and have art related degrees. But more than anything we’re just really lucky that our paths led to where we are now. It has been more of a journey of discovery and exploration than anything overly planned.
Adam, you’ve been photographing with Phase One for quite some time. How has the recent upgrade to the Phase One IQ3 100 XF changed the scope of your work?
Oh man! I love that camera. We do a lot of large laydowns with the camera 20 to 25 feet up in the air. Before we’d have to get up there to fine tune focus or make any adjustments. Now we can control everything remotely, including focus. Robin can be styling on set and take shots with her phone or use a remote live view while styling. My favorite upgrade however has been using the IQ3 100 on a view camera. I’m very traditional and enjoy working with ground glass. Or at least I used to be. Now I’m all about composing with the back. The screen is super bright and crisp. I double tap to check focus, and because I’m not using a sliding back the focus is spot on. It also makes the view camera a lot smaller and easier to get into tight spaces. It’s a pretty awesome setup.
Lighting plays a major role in telling the story of your image. What are your favorite lighting techniques to tell your story?
We’re very fond of hard light. Super crisp. Not always, but frequently that is our key. This lets us use shadows as part of a composition. Then we play with edge lights, reflections, maybe some colored gels. Again, the exploration and growth is half of the fun!
In which ways do you see your work evolving in the next 5 – 10 years from now?
We always try to push in two directions. One being classic and the other being contemporary. So I’m hopeful that in a decade, our body of work will reflect dutch still life paintings and Irving Penn photographs, but will also be fresh and inventive. This comes through experimentation, embracing new technologies and not being afraid to fail.
If you could have given yourself any advice when you first launched your career in photography, what would it be?
Adam was given two pieces of advice from Bill Robins, an instructor at Brooks Institute. One was low overhead. Don’t invest in something that isn’t going to bring profit! The second was buy a building. Your studio becomes a huge part of your retirement fund. We’ve tried to maintain those concepts as fundamentals in our business.
What are some of the most difficult challenges you’ve faced in advertising photography to date? How did you navigate them? The first major challenge was learning to turn work off, and to make time to recover and reset. Since we work together and as a team, we can find ourselves working 12 to 18 hours days non stop for pretty long stretches. We’ll take work home and work on weekends and brainstorm over the weekend and plan productions over breakfast. It is our life, but people also need to breathe every now and then. The next challenge was learning to match our still aesthetic in our motion projects. The equipment and limitations are very different. But the process of exploration, learning, and experimentation has been a lot of fun. And we’re still working on it!
The Voorhes Favorite Gear
Do you have any favorite photo gear or tools that is your must have on every shoot? For Robin, it used to be, hands down, her hot glue gun. But now she is all about the Glowforge laser cutter. It has turned prop making projects that would take a weekend into something that can be done in a couple of hours! For Adam, it is easily the Arca Swiss Cube. Leveling a horizon with a view camera has never been so easy. That thing is amazing.
Why Capture Integration?
CI is awesome. I feel like they really understand the uniqueness of different aspects of photography. People in different genres have very different needs. And we all have our quirks. And CI is willing to work with us to put together the highest end package of gear tailored to our needs. =-)
Adam’s Instagram: @adamvoorhes
Robin’s Instagram: @finlayrobin