As a creative, I am always trying to push the limits of my ideas. I have notebooks with sketches, words, print cut outs. I collect wedding magazines. I have notes on my phone, images saved. I have tons of Pinterest boards. I have IDEAS. But, it’s one thing to have ideas and quite another to have those ideas come to life. It isn’t easy (at least for me). It takes planning, timing, confidence, but mostly it takes me.
Planning my FIRST styled photo shoot was probably almost as stressful as planning a wedding! Months and months and some more months went into this shoot. I had to find a stylist. I had to find a hair and makeup artist. I had to find the location. And I had to coordinate all this on one day that worked for everyone involved, even Mother Nature, for my ideal shoot. I had to make sure my ideas of what I wanted showed and do this in front of fellow photographer and friend, Philitha, all the way down from CT.
From the very first wedding I second shot back in 2006 I have been stuck in awe of the bride on her wedding day. I have yet to photograph a wedding where the bride didn’t make me at least teary eyed at some point during the day.
Hair and Makeup: Hope Ferguson
Wardrobe Stylist: Sarah Hermann
Model: Brittany Berndt
Lately, I’ve been shooting a lot of babies and weddings. Which is awesome, because being the total girl that I am, I happen to love babies and weddings. BUT. I also happen to love other stuff too. Like, you know, a styled shoot in the woods with a psychic. And the bonus? I left this shoot more at peace than I’d felt in weeks. I’ll explain that part in a minute.
Sheri is this amazing clairvoyant that I met a few years back when I hired her to do readings at a party I threw. (Fun fact about me: Halloween is a big deal in my family, and I’ve been known to go a bit overboard with the annual Halloween parties I host every year. As in: I may or may not have transformed my house into a bayou last fall, complete with trees, vines, Spanish moss, and a bar in my living room. Just sayin’.)
I think styled shoots like this are important because you give your audience a chance to get lost in the details. It’s the same reason why I love weddings; the details are what transport you back to the moment, be it a string of pearls and a pair of high heels or a champagne glass reflection of a packed dance floor. And the details of this shoot were incredible. Books. Candlesticks. Intricate beading on fabric and scarves and saris. And naturally, tarot cards. Being a photographer and finding myself in the most unique of situations never ceases to amaze me. Who can say they’ve been on a photo shoot in the woods, crawling over and under branches and trees and I-hope-that’s-not-poison-ivy, ALL WHILE GETTING YOUR OWN PERSONALIZED TAROT READING? Um. Me.
And of course, Sheri’s reading was delightfully (and a little weirdly) accurate for me. Again. Did I mention I met her a few years ago? When I met her, I was newly pregnant with my second daughter and desperately needed somebody to tell me that me and the little life stirring inside me were going to be alright… cue Sheri and her Awesomeness. So this time around, after some back-and-forth of her literally reading my mind and me responding with constant, “YES. EXACTLY.”, I walked away feeling at peace. Because I made some beautiful photos, yes, but mostly because a little spiritual reassurance on a Wednesday afternoon was exactly what I needed.
And that’s what true peace really feels like.