When it comes to bright and colorful imagery, Los Angeles-based photographer Michelle McSwain is right where she wants to be: soaking up the sun while capturing beautiful photos. Michelle’s lively and vibrant style brings the perfect amount of creative flair to this fun and flirty shoot for modern American liquor brand Bimini Gin. Made to taste good on a warm summer day, Bimini is infused with the aromas of grapefruit, hops, and coriander to create a refreshing cocktail intended for sipping in the sun.
Creatively, this assignment was right in my wheelhouse.
Handcrafted and hand-bottled in Maine, Bimini Gin was inspired by the salty air and sand-in-your-toes feeling of relaxing with a drink in hand after a long day in the sun. Unlike other gins that use juniper as their primary botanical flavoring, Bimini’s unique and modern distillation process separates out the piney flavors and only extracts floral and fruity notes. This results in a smoother and more fragrant taste, that’s enjoyable over ice or enhanced in a flavorful cocktail.
Michelle was contacted by Art Director Kori Dyer Mastroieni, whom she’s worked with several times in the past, to work as the photographer on a new campaign for Bimini Gin. With just a brief look through Michelle’s portfolio, it was clear that her bright and summery aesthetic was just what the client wanted to accomplish with this creative endeavor.
When Michelle saw Kori’s creative brief, she knew it was a great fit for her portrait and lifestyle background and was eager to communicate the client’s vision. The two began collaborating on all the elements that would create style and movement to match the liquor’s refreshing notes.
The client wanted to freshen up their product’s look and bring in a voyeuristic and nostalgic feel to their brand while keeping it bright, colorful, and summery.
Kori secured the lush Baja-inspired Hotel June on the west side of Los Angeles for the shoot. Located in a timeless mid-century modern building, the hotel’s alluring and chic design had all the elements to create a luxurious and fun pool-side series.
It was truly perfect for what we were going for. Beautiful bar, ideal pool and lounge area, and we lucked out with a mostly sunny day.
Kori and Michelle worked harmoniously to set up the shots despite the fact that LA mornings are typically quite cloudy. In the event that this was the case, Michelle was prepared with the necessary gear to fake a sunny day. Thanks to her assistant Colin Jacob, the team created the light and shadows when the sun was hidden behind the clouds.
Honestly, this shoot was quite dreamy and the day carried on smoothly.
After the shoot, Michelle handled all the post-production and worked alongside Kori to create a processing style that fit their brand identity.
Our final project came out with a twinge of pink in every image as a nod to the Bimini Gin pink in their branding.
From working with a brand that fits so seamlessly with her own personal style and aesthetic to collaborating with an incredible art director and crew, Michelle described working with Bimini Gin as everything she could ask for in the ideal client and shoot.
Start to finish, this has been one of my most favorite projects to date.
The Bimini Gin team was incredible to work with and were happy with the images we created together. I think it all comes down to having realistic expectations around budget and being able to build an excellent team of creatives.