Tourism Focused Commercial Lifestyle Photography for Merchants Square in Williamsburg, VA



Pre-Covid I had the opportunity to work with Howell Creative Group on a tourism marketing campaign for Merchants Square in Williamsburg, Virginia. Merchants Square is a unique 18th century-style shopping and dining area on the Duke of Gloucester Street near the College of William & Mary and within Colonial Williamsburg. It's truly a quaint little gem that's been a part of Williamsburg since 1927!


The team at Howell Creative Group and I worked together to produce a two day shoot, capturing photos of a variety of activities that visitors enjoy within Merchants Square. We focused on creating images that would feature the unique and historic look of the area while highlighting some of the shops and restaurants within the square. The goal of this shoot was to show potential visitors what it's like to eat, shop and experience Merchants Square! A few of the shops and restaurants we featured included: Blackbird Bakery, The Trellis Bar & Grill, The Precious Gem jewelry shop, The Carousel Children's Boutique, Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop and Mellow Mushroom pizza. We also made sure to dress our models in clothing from some of the local boutiques, such as the French Twist Boutique, The Shoe Attic and Ocean Palm. And of course, to feature their delicious coffee, we had our models carry coffee cups from Aromas Coffeehouse, Bakery & Cafe for several of the photos!


Merchants Square used the images we created to promote themselves on their website, social media channels, in print brochures, ads and on billboards. I had an amazing experience working with them! Here's what we created together:


A mother and daughter walk with coffee from Aromas in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A mother and daughter walk with coffee from Aromas Coffeehouse, Bakery & Cafe in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A group of friends walk down Duke of Gloucester Street at sunset in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A group of friends walk down Duke of Gloucester Street at sunset in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

An older couple enjoying dinner and a glass of wine at The Trellis Bar & Grill in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
An older couple enjoys dinner and a glass of wine at The Trellis Bar & Grill in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

This photo of the couple eating dinner at The Trellis restaurant was one of my favorite from our shoot. I had a vision for the feel of this shot that I was able to capture exactly how I saw it! We were struggling with harsher light than we expected and a couple of other challenges. I had my assistants completely shade the couple and I then recreated the golden hour lighting with two strobes.


A couple shops for engagement rings at The Precious Gem in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A couple shops for engagement rings at The Precious Gem in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A mother and daughter shop for clothes at The Carousel Children's Boutique in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A mother and daughter shop for clothes at The Carousel Children's Boutique in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A boy and his grandfather admire the sweet treats at Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A boy and his grandfather admire the sweet treats at Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A family takes a selfie with Thomas Jefferson in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A family takes a selfie with Thomas Jefferson in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A dad walks with his kids through the square in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A dad walks with his kids through the square in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

Our 3 year old model loved racing down the sidewalk for this shot!


Two young women carry their shopping bags as they walk through Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
Two young women carry their shopping bags as they walk through Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

A young woman sips coffee as she enjoys the morning in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A young woman sips coffee as she enjoys the morning in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

I also loved how the shot of the group of friends having dinner at Mellow Mushroom turned out. This shot took a lot of coordinating, from the placement of the models to the styling of the food. I strategically placed each person and got them laughing and talking to each other to capture some fun expressions. I used one gelled strobe to spotlight the table and added a bit more lighting that looked similar to what the fire would be giving off. I also set up a strobe pointed at the Mellow Mushroom sign to help fill in the dark background and emphasize where the shot was taken.


A group of friends enjoy pizza and beer at Mellow Mushroom in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.
A group of friends enjoy pizza and beer at Mellow Mushroom in Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

 

Here's a few ways Merchants Square has used the photos in their marketing so far:


Caroline Martin Photography traveling in Sydney, Australia

 

A few Behind the Scenes from the shoot:

That's a wrap! I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such a great group of people!



A special thanks to Howell Creative Group and my wonderful crew:


Art Director: Christy Keeler, Howell Creative Group

Modeling Agency: Liquid Talent

First Assistant: Eric Carlson

Second Assistant: Chuck Rudisill

Wardrobe Stylist: Sydney Lester, Chic Stripes

Hair/Makeup: Ashlyn Landrum, Transformations Artistry

Hair/Makeup: Kelsea Dayberry

Commercial Drone Photographer: Mike Resendes

BTS Photos: Lincoln Martin




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