The Red-Hot Imagery of Lindsey Drennan

GraphisJune 10, 2024

If you thought you knew what makes a photograph stand out, Lindsey Drennan is here to ignite your senses. With her award-winning projects "Fragrance on Fire" and "Regal Lips," Lindsey is capturing beauty and redefining it. These self-promotional pieces, born from a renewed focus on her passion, showcase her exceptional skill and creativity. Look closer into the story behind these stunning works.

By: Lindsey Drennan, Photographer

"Fragrance on Fire" and "Regal Lips" were two personal projects I decided to shoot after a hiatus of shooting personal projects/creatives for about ten years. Towards the end of 2022, I chose to focus on getting more of the jobs I wanted to shoot rather than shooting whatever came my way. To make this happen, I knew I needed to update my portfolio with the kind of work I was passionate about in the beauty and product world.

Fragrance on Fire

For "Fragrance on Fire," I aimed to blend technical precision with creativity and master the art of lighting reflective surfaces and glass. As I started the creative process, I sought inspiration that would set my work apart, and that's when I stumbled upon an editorial shot by Phú Đào for L'Officiel. It featured florals ablaze falling onto perfume bottles—a concept that instantly intrigued me. I wanted to build upon this idea to create work uniquely mine.

Realizing the complexity of executing this concept in-camera, I was excited for the challenge, knowing it would elevate my portfolio. I produced the shoot and creative concept to ensure the final images were polished, with the product as the focal point. I knew collaboration was vital, and I was only as good as my team, so I reached out to one of the top artist agencies, Cadre, and was happy to secure Alanna Davey for the shoot. With a strong background in prop construction and set design, I knew Alanna would be instrumental. Her expertise in styling and sourcing props like heat-resistant glass and a diverse array of flowers ensured our vision would come to life.

Since a client's specific vision didn't drive this shoot, we embraced creative freedom, experimenting with various techniques on set—playing with composition, igniting flowers, and applying lighter fluid to the glass. However, it wasn't without its challenges. Initially, capturing the flames on camera proved to be quite tricky. Thankfully, with the assistance of my photo assistant, Ryan Francoz, we found a simple solution: more lighter fluid!

The result? Four great images, each offering a unique perspective. The winning shot, a composite of various elements, was crafted in post-production by my retoucher for the project, Irmina Mikolajczyk. This project has been one of my most successful, winning a Graphis Platinum Award, getting picked up for publication in Scentury Magazine, attracting new clients, and signing on with my rep shortly after its release. I believe this image showcases the dedication and creativity that define my work.

Regal Lips

I began conceptualizing the "Regal Lips" shoot when a local studio, Sorry Studio, announced a contest for free studio time. Knowing how costly creative shoots can be, I jumped at the opportunity. My goal was to showcase my skills in both product and beauty photography, as well as film direction. I, therefore, pitched a straightforward concept centered on the timelessness of the classic red lip.

Given the shoot's complexity and limited time frame, I opted for a simple yet impactful creative direction. The creative brief called for a monochromatic look featuring red wardrobe styling, natural hair and makeup, and a bold red lip. I planned to use hard light for the beauty shots and softer overhead light for the product shots to enhance the moodiness of the images.

After my pitch was selected as one of the winners, I swiftly assembled a stellar team. This included DOP Peter Schnobb, photo assistant Jason Mortlock, makeup and hair by Kim Creton with Plutino Group, wardrobe stylist Neil Franklin with Judy Inc., prop stylist Rodney Smith with Plutino Group, model Julie F from Spot 6 Management, and production assistant Jack Ritnoul. I felt confident that we could create something extraordinary with this talented group.

The shoot day was hectic, but we had a blast. Despite the tight schedule, we captured some stunning images and my first video as a director. Reflecting on the experience, I realize we could have benefited from more time to focus on a few key shots. Nonetheless, we all walked away with fantastic additions to our portfolios, and winning a Gold Award with Graphis was the red cherry on top. :)

These shoots were an excellent way to reignite my creative spark after years of client work. Winning these awards reminded me of the importance of pursuing innovative projects that inspire you. It reinforced the notion that investing in yourself and your career will always bring rewarding results.


Lindsey Drennan is a Toronto-based commercial photographer with over 19 years of experience. In 2005, while studying at school, she became the first international student to do an internship at Vogue Magazine in New York City. Lindsey has since spent her time shooting commercial products and beauty photography. She has worked for a wide variety of Canada’s top brands, publications, agencies, and production houses.

Social: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn


To see more Photography 2024 competition winners, click here.

You may also like

Related Annuals & Publications

View All
Issue 345 - Digital Version

Issue 345 - Digital Version

$4.99
Interactive Design 1 - Digital Version

Interactive Design 1 - Digital Version

$30.00$15.00
Design 2017 - Digital Version

Design 2017 - Digital Version

$30.00$15.00
Issue 355 - Digital Version

Issue 355 - Digital Version

$4.99

Become a Member

Join as a Member and enjoy savings on Call for Entries, Publications, and much more!
Join Now
  • Enjoy 50% off on Call for Entries
  • 1-Year FREE Subscription to Graphis Journal Magazine
  • Your Portfolio online with profile + links
  • Get 20% off on Graphis Books
  • Exclusive access to the Graphis Archives
Become a Member