Luxury resorts know that relaxation takes on many forms. Whether it’s engaging in outdoor activities or cozying by the fire with friends, these spaces include an array of amenities enjoyed by families and colleagues alike. Austin-based photographer Buff Strickland combines her food and lifestyle imagery to highlight the multitude of recreational experiences available at Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club.
Prior to the shoot, Buff spoke with Shannon McMillan, her rep at Homestead Creatives, to discuss the needs of the client. As the shoot occurred amid the pandemic, the team also needed to have a clear idea of the facility’s protocols for keeping everyone safe.
Shannon and I had a series of conversations early on to discuss the guidelines of the shoot and what we thought would be possible given Covid precautions at the time.
The client intended to use the images to rebrand their website with a combination of still photography and videos. Buff reached out to videographer Andrew Loehman to provide the motion elements the client needed, and together they shared locations and subjects to provide a cohesiveness between their one-day self-made work.
We had to figure out how to share subjects and light in the time we had, which proved difficult under the protocols we had to follow.
The client asked Buff to travel to their ranch outside of Austin to capture the extensive grounds of the property and the array of activities available to their members. As a Texas native, she’s always happy to visit Hill County and get a taste of the big open sky.
Shooting in the Texas Hill Country is always a pleasure. I love the landscape and its proximity to my home.
After spending time at Driftwood Ranch, Buff had a few suggestions on sites that appealed to her and the client was happy to follow her creative direction. While she took the time to highlight recreational activities, her food photographer’s eye kept coming back to the open fire pit where meats and vegetables were roasting for that night’s meal.
The client was open to places that would look better than others for locations as long as we captured the activities and the overall experience members can have at the club.
I was completely enamored by shooting the chef cooking over a giant fire pit.
Initially, the assignment was intended to be a one-day shoot, however, Buff and Andrew spoke to the client about having a second day to capture the best light for different areas of the ranch. This extra time helped relax some of the constraints of trying to share time with Andrew and allowed Buff to see areas of the property she hadn’t yet ventured to.
For the second part of the assignment, Buff headed into the center of Austin to Driftwood Downtown, a modern private club offering poker tables, virtual golf, and rooftop bars. Because of the limitations of COVID, the team couldn’t hire a lot of talent, so some of Driftwood’s staff had to stand in at the poker table and seemed to enjoy playing with the club’s members.
We needed an array of models but had very little money for professional talent so we worked with what we had.
The city of Austin’s self-proclaimed motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” which speaks to the eclectic personalities and lifestyles of its residents. Buff sought to capture individuals who reflect the city’s array of inhabitants and help open Driftwood’s doors to a younger clientele.
The subjects were great. They all knew each other and were comfortable hanging out and being natural around one another.
While recreation takes on a different meaning for each individual, Buff strove to capture the endless opportunities available to Austin’s elite. Her commitment to the assignment allowed Buff to create meaningful images that speak to the carefully curated environments at Driftwood’s Ranch and Downtown club.