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Can you walk right by our magazine without it catching your eye? If so, we haven’t done our job — or at least not at the level we constantly aspire to.

In your hands is the 80th edition of The Lakelander, and the stories and inspirations behind our covers are sometimes just as intriguing as the final product themselves.

What follows are 10 of our favorites with insights from the people who helped bring them to life.

Issue #49: Health & Beauty

Contributing Photographer: Dan Austin

"One of the most fun shoots I have done to date was this health and beauty feature! Our team wanted all of the focus to be on the model’s face and skin, with other elements — sand, water, milk — as the backdrop. 

The makeup and hair team that day was phenomenal. It was a great flow.

It felt very much like "America’s Next Top Model" in the studio that day. We unknowingly forgot to heat the water in the kiddie pool we brought into the studio. All three models were fully submerged up to their faces, they were shivering between takes, but they gave 100 percent as you can see in the final images. I shot each model as swiftly as possible. This cover stands out from the lot, in all the right ways."

Issue #40: Sports

Contributing Photographer: Jason Stephens

"There were a few challenges I had to work against for this one. One is the fact that we had to shoot this in February, so the air was chilly that morning, and because of that it felt better in the water than out. 

Next, the perspective of looking at the skier from the boat can get pretty boring, so I tried to position myself as low in the back of the boat as possible to freshen it up a bit. Last, shooting action early in the morning with less intense light can make it tough to freeze the action, and focusing can become difficult, so you really need to know your gear and how to make it work for you. But I think when you combine water, a dynamic action, and sunshine, it's a recipe for some beautiful results. And it’s always fun to see your work in printed form, especially in the age of digital media."

Issue #78: Taste

Creative Director: Jon Sierra

"When I saw the cover, I could not believe how stunning that shot came out. That chicken sandwich felt like it was leaping off the page at me.

This idea was birthed by photos I've admired of late, voiced in the tone of LoveBird's brand. I wanted to lean into their neon pink punk aesthetic and tone along with trying a style that I'd seen in Publix store aisles and food & wine magazines where they made objects appear as though they were falling in air.

The way we shot this was that we ran skewers through every individual piece of LoveBird's GOAT chicken sandwich and shot them against a flamingo-pink backdrop.  We held individual pickles, onions and chicken tenders on sticks. 

Dan Austin & I collaborated on a plan, executed it with the help of Jordan Randall and then a lot of the magic was done in post production."

Issue #69: Entertains

Former Art Director: Michelle Simanca

"For this shoot, we wanted the cover image to stand out and be bolder than some of the covers we’ve done for The Lakelander in the past. The shoot had its challenges, but ultimately me and my editorial director felt proud of what we were able to put together. This cover really ended up being something different and striking for The Lakelander, so much so that I remember mocking it up on my computer and being nervous that the team wouldn’t choose it for the cover image. But ultimately, they did, and I was pretty happy about that. When we finally got to see it in print and hold it in our hands, it was really affirming. Seeing something you put a lot of heart and time into come to life is always super exciting."

Issue #61: Music

Associate Publisher: Jason Jacobs

"This cover turned out even better than I imagined in my mind, and I give much credit to the Creative Director and photographer.  

Personally, it stands out because the old speakers and receivers we used were from my childhood. They were the ones in the living room of the home I grew up in. 

I would come home from school and listen to records for hours. I still have that sound system today and still love listening to music through those old speakers. "

Issue #8: Nov-Dec 2013

Owner, Seventeen20: Jonathan Bucklew

"I remember when The Lakelander let us know that not only would we be featured in the upcoming issue, we’d be the cover shot. This was fairly early on in the life of the magazine and we were so happy just to be featured. When it came time for the shoot, we all thought it would be great to have Huckleberry be a part of it, since he was such a big part of our lives and he loved going to “papa’s shop.” 

Huck made it to 11 years old and went to the big dog park in the sky in September of 2020, and we cherish that cover shot very much."

Issue #14: Lakelander MADE

Associate Publisher: Jason Jacobs

"When we discovered DogHouse Forge we knew had to feature them in our Lakelander MADE Issue. We had produced 13 issues so far, and when we came out with this issue it was definitely my favorite cover to date, and it solidified in my mind that we were on to something. 

After the issue was released I talked to Jonathan about ordering some knives and he shared with me that he was backlogged with orders. 

It shows the power of a positive platform for local businesses to showcase their work to a local audience. I still get excited today when I see DogHouse Forge knives in my friend's homes."

Issue #76: Weddings

Editor: RJ Walters

"One of the greatest resources we have at The Lakelander is our relationships. 

When we had the idea to do something that had never been done before at a yet-to-open, much hyped new addition to Lakeland, we turned to local business woman Laura Shannon to help us make it happen. The owner of Ashton Events, Bloom Shakalaka and Haus 820 created floral arrangements, contacted vendors and was a logistical wizard in setting up a full day of photo shoots.

Coordinating an entire "mock wedding" was not easy, and getting a young set of models to "act like they were in love" was interesting, but the distinct details tied into incredible panoramic views made a gorgeous feature and stunning cover."

Issue #11: May-June 2014

Former Editor: Jackie Houghton

"I believe we shot this in the basement of what was the Catapult building at that time. It was Penny and Finn (photographers), Josh Vasquez (hair stylist), Courtney Philpot (style editor), and myself. It was still early on so we were borrowing a lot from our own closets and maybe had one store who would lend us things from time to time. 

Our intern, Bea, was our model and I did her makeup, but it was one of my favorite shoots because of our collaboration on set that day. 

It was always a small thrill to see any of our issues in print knowing all of the hard work, time, and tremendous talent that everyone on the team contributed to make it come into existence."