After a whirlwind year like 2020, getting your work commissioned and published can feel like a blessing. For Digital & Social Media students Jaimee Lee and Georgia McGregor, Melbourne's tough lockdown generated an unlikely opportunity in one bubbly avenue: alcohol-free beer photography.
“During lockdown, Holgrate Brewhouse—where I work in marketing and PR—launched this alcohol-free beer. It’s a new segment in the market that’s gaining popularity, and I had to put together a campaign idea to soft-launch it,” explains Lucy Watson, the Digital & Social Media Lecturer who made the mini project happen.
“After releasing the PR, we were getting emails from Broadsheet and many other trade magazines who wanted to feature us that week, but at that point we had no photography because of COVID-19 and many photographers I knew couldn’t turn the content around in time.”
Faced with this logistical problem to solve, Lucy decided to turn to her students Jaimee and Georgia, offering them the opportunity to freelance. “I knew them and their work well, so I reached out to each of them individually and said here’s the deal: we've got this beer, I’ve got this paid opportunity, and we need to get photos across the weekend.”
Taking up the offer, Jaimee and Georgia agreed to put together shoots in their respective lockdown zones; the beer couriered right to their doorstep the next day.
Photography by Jaimee Lee / @jaimeeklee
“NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THEY'RE PUBLISHED IN BROADSHEET, LET ALONE DURING THEIR STUDIES.”
“It was a really tight deadline,” said Jaimee, sharing what it was like to be approached with a fast turnaround. “Responding to the creative brief, I had 48 hours to do a ‘70s-themed beer shoot that had a lifestyle-editorial feel. It was a good sprint challenge—I had to think creatively on my feet and use the resources I had—as it was peak lockdown.”
Gathering retro-feeling props from her family home and asking her Dad to be a last-minute model, Jaimee decided to lean into the flamboyancy of ‘70s advertising that defined the decade. “From people leaning on things to really awkward eye contact, I wanted to pay homage to that cheesiness,” she noted. “It’s all very staged: think big hair, posed models, and fun props—in this case, the props were the beers.”
Creating a mood board and shot list, Georgia approached the brief a little differently; her original idea marrying lifestyle and food photography into an outdoorsy shoot. But of course, things didn’t go to plan—it was bucketing.
“It was pouring with rain that day, so I had to change my plan. Luckily, I had access to a family member’s photo studio. It was a good learning experience and reminder to be adaptable,” Georgia says. “The opportunity was fantastic though, especially as food, beverage, and lifestyle photography is the niche I want to work in. Treating Holgate Brewhouse like I would any client, I was determined to make it work.”
“WITH THE INDUSTRY MOVING SO RAPIDLY IT CAN FEEL VERY SURREAL AT TIMES, BUT EXPERIENCES LIKE THIS MAKE ME FEEL CONFIDENT I CAN HANDLE ANYTHING.”
Impressed by Jaimee’s and Georgia’s final work, Lucy quickly sent across assets to different publishers where it was picked up and featured in web articles and print mags by Broadsheet, Time Out, Beer and Brewer, and more.
“Digital & Social Media students like Jaimee and Georgia have a really great ability to respond to and understand the details of a brief, going above and beyond,” shares Lucy. “Not many people can say they're published in Broadsheet, let alone during their studies.”
Reflecting on the experience, Jaimee cited the shoot as the creative jumpstart she was needing in both her studies and personal design work. “In 2020—like many people—I felt I was in a rut, and this was exactly what I needed to get my creativity flowing again,” she shared.
“Coming out of my studies with Collarts, I feel so well-rounded and grateful I can say yes to so many different things. With the industry moving so rapidly it can feel very surreal at times, but experiences like this make me feel confident I can handle anything or anyone when I am approached with different things. I’m excited for the future.”