Project: Of Brushes & Books

Make-Up Artist and Author Lauren Vena

One of the best things that happened in 2022 is that I got to work with, and photograph, some truly creative people.

Whether it’s musician Bob Geiger, whom I first shot in 2021, but also did some work with this year – can’t share yet but early in 2023, hopefully – to innovative businesspeople like Donna and Mike. 

But it’s also really great when you work with a creative in one capacity, like when she’s on set with you helping to make your clients look great for their photos – and then you get to do her photos to help promote her business…both of them.

The “she” pronoun I’m referencing above is Lauren Vena, the super in-demand make-up artist from here in New Jersey. After meeting her while she was doing doing the make up on a bride for a wedding I shot in 2020, I’ve had the pleasure of working with her on a few of my sets and shoots this year. 

If you remember back in the summer she contacted me about shooting some promo work for her other passion and side hustle – writing children’s books! The Best Mom Ever and The Best Dad Ever are the two books she’s written, portraying the joys of parenting (!) in a fun light that appeals to so many and to which many of us parents can relate!

Since then, Lauren has worked with me on a few shoots this year. Not only is she amazing at making my clients look their best, she’s also willing to always jump in and help me out – fixing a collar, smoothing down hair, holding my pop-up backdrop (honestly, that’s above and beyond but she’s done it).

So when she reached out again, saying she needed some new promo shots to help grow her business and help sell her own line of make up brushes – I was all in. 

We both recently had worked on a shoot where I used a plain black background and one strobe light to do some simple portraits of small business owners in Allentown, NJ. She was hoping to use the same set up for her shots, as they would give her a lot of flexibility for promo use.

So that’s what we worked on – a plain black background, and a Neewer strobe in a softbox to provide a bit of fill. I only needed it for fill because Lauren was also positioned in front of a big window that was throwing some nice natural light directly on her.


I joked with Lauren that with her brushes around her waist like that, she looks like a make-up gunslinger. But one with a 1,000 watt smile. She’s really good in front of the camera so we have a lot of good ones to work from. 

I tried to leave enough headroom and edge room in the frame so that she could use these to do promo work. And viola! It worked! There’s your tip, kids: Always leave room for text. If you want to crop, do so after you send to the client as a Round 2!

That’s not a typo – she’s so booked up for 2023, she’s already booking for 2024. And from what I understand, her phone was flooded with appoints on 12/9 starting at 6 a.m.! That’s what being great at what you do for 20 years gets you…a full book!

After we got done doing the brush work, Lauren always wanted some fun shots to do to help promote her latest book, The Best Dad Ever. Because parents often read these books to their kids while tucking them in, Lauren had an idea to do a pajama (sorta) shoot. She’s a HUGE fan of the Marvel universe…..and onsies…so after a quick change, she was ready.

My Spidey senses started tingling!

Does whatever a spider can…

She’s so great in front of the camera, probably because she’s been on so many sets and knows what it takes.

Overall, it was a great shoot with Lauren, using available and strobe lights. I’m happy with how these promo photos came out – and I think she likes them too!

And if you’re looking to order her make-up brushes or books, head to her website for more! They make great gifts any time of the year.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2022

Instagram | Twitter | LinkTree

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: