In another time and place, Erin Shephard might have been a pin-up girl. Instead, as the owner of Lone Star Pin-up Photography, Shephard makes a living recreating the pin-up era for her retro-hungry clientele.
Lone Star is a full-service photography studio that offers women a chance to be pampered, made over and recast as starlets from a bygone era.
“I think it is great to get to dress up and feel glamorous, even just for one day,” said Shephard. “Any woman who wants to feel pretty can come in here and be pampered. We do their hair and makeup, style and pose them, and they come away with beautiful photos.”
Shephard believes she can be turn anyone into a 1940s bombshell. Lone Star’s clients include teachers, Army wives, moms, nurses, real estate agents and any woman who wants a different kind of portrait experience.
“We can turn a stay-at-home mom into Marilyn Monroe,” she added.
Shephard, a Killeen native, always loved graphic design but expanded her skills greatly while earning an associate in digital media design.
Over the years, she taught herself to retouch photos with magazine-quality precision. She proudly shows off her portfolio, which exhibits the transformative power of her work. The portfolio is full of before-and-after pictures showing tattoos and double chins becoming smooth skin and Hollywood jaw lines.
Shephard is constantly updating her sets, and her clients have their choice of hundreds of wardrobe options. Customers can choose from Shephard’s collection or from Sew She Says, a retro boutique that Lone Star shares space with.
Private sessions begin at $599, but people often spend significantly more.
“We can do pretty much whatever they want, as long as it’s retro,” she said. “The sky is the limit.”
And customers regularly travel to Killeen to take advantage of Lone Star’s relatively low prices.
“I’ve had numerous clients fly or drive across state lines to shoot here,” Shephard said. “You can’t do this in a big city for less than a few thousand dollars.”
Shephard also runs regular specials at discounted rates, which she announces on her Facebook page. Lone Star currently has more than 33,000 “likes” on Facebook. Shephard, who also has a bachelor’s degree in advertising, said Facebook has been a critical part of her success.
“Every time someone likes, shares or comments on a picture, all of their friends see it,” she said. “That is potentially thousands, even millions of free ads. Those 33,000 have a total of more than 11 million friends combined.”
Shephard is currently working to increase the retail side of her business. Along with Sew She Said, she offers retro style clothing and steel-boned corsets. Exclusive and high-end vintage reproduction label Pin Up Girl Clothing has recently been added to their lineup, along with Bettie Page Clothing, Unique Vintage and Sourpuss.
Lone Star is preparing to open a second studio and retail shop in Salado. The store celebrated its soft launch on Saturday, but the new location won’t officially be up and running until Oct. 1.
Shephard opened the second studio to meet demand, but she said the original will always be special to her.
“Part of the reason I opened the studio was so there would be a fun and creative attraction in Killeen,” she said, “That really means a lot to me.”