Meet the Voorhes, a Husband-and-Wife Photography and Stylist Powerhouse
Learn about this dynamic Austin duo churning out vibrant images and videos
There’s no such thing as a “typical” day for Adam Voorhes and Robin Finlay. Working out of their enormous 6,000 square-foot East Austin studio, which used to be a gospel church, the team known as “The Voorhes” spends their time creating elaborate sets (like a full café and food truck for Mountain Dew), smashing props, lighting things on fire, setting off colored smoke bombs and even building a giant “O” out of live anemones and coral and then capturing it all on film.
“Not everyone gets it, but we’re more like a production studio than a photographer,” Voorhes explains. “We are a team, we’re a studio. You’re collaborating with a team of people that are concepting, building sets, making props, everything.” Finlay adds, “Our creations are great examples of our talents coming together because I can make a world, but if he doesn’t light it to look like it should in reality, then it doesn’t matter.”
A creative simpatico
Now together for more than 15 years, the duo worked together even before they started dating. Voorhes fell in love with the darkroom in high school. He studied photography at the Brooks Institute, before working as a camera assistant in California and New York, then making his way to Austin to take stock photos and still photography for local magazines. On the other end of the spectrum, Finlay studied interior design and graphic design at Texas Tech University, later going to work at Hallmark in Kansas City, creating in-store signage and displays. Finlay eventually “talked” her way into a job as the Art Director at Austin Monthly, where the two crossed paths, building a professional rapport and a creative simpatico.
“My boss at the time said I shouldn’t date him and ruin our working relationship,” Finlay laughs. “But he wouldn’t take no for an answer.” After dating and getting married, Finlay found herself exhausted, and Voorhes proposed to his wife for the second time at the bar at a Macaroni Grill, asking her to quit her job and work together full time. Although not a trained prop stylist, Finlay loved to make things, and soon found herself crafting props for photo shoots, like a wrecking ball, teeth or even a noodle tornado. While Voorhes calls his wife a “styling goddess,” Finlay says she’s “adverse to labels. I’m not the stylist or the prop builder. I want to do it all!”
Throughout the years, the couple have honed their vibrant and quirky style that have drawn the likes of Reese’s, Burger King, Uber Eats, Kraft-Heinz, 7-Eleven, Pepsi Co, Tommy John, Herradura, Credit Karma and Bombay Gin, as well as WIRED, The Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, Money and O, The Oprah Magazine.
“We have a shared aesthetic together. The work that we do is very much a hodge podge that’s developed over the years,” says Voorhes. While the Voorhes definitely have a colorful, punchy palette and a distinct style, they say they don’t have a dream client in mind — only that they look for companies that are open to wild ideas and a collaboration that allows them to play. For example, an Oscar Meyer hot dog campaign they came up with, where the wieners are photographed in dramatic poses.
“Hot dogs are inherently funny,” deadpans Voorhes.
Although the team loves to work with food — often weirdly with cheese, they admit — their one-eyed bulldog Lefty is no longer allowed on culinary campaigns after getting spoiled one too many times and now barking during the shoots. However, their favorite aspect of their work is seeing people’s reactions and watching them wonder, “How’d they do that?”
“I love when people can’t tell if it’s real, if it’s a photograph or a CGI — whether it’s a real space or a world we made or a prop Robin made,” Voorhes says. “People don’t really believe that’s how it was done, and when you show them behind the scenes, you’re like, ‘No, I was just hunking cups of orange juice at the wall, and that’s how it happened,’” Finlay adds. “But it looks a lot cooler than that!”