I thought it might be fun to give a little behind-the-scenes look from my perspective for “The Allure of Couture” feature in the latest issue of Smitten. I’m just going to come out and admit that this photo shoot was a rather defining moment in my career. I’m probably breaking all the rules of self-promotion 101 by admitting this, but I was scared sh*tless by this shoot.
I have photographed models before and countless brides, but when I walked into the Rice Mill that day and there were 10 models (up from 5, which was the original plan), I had one of those incredibly insecure moments where I thought… “What if I just walk out? I’m not sure I can do this.” The pressure, people, the pressure!
Not only were there 10 models there, one which came all the way from Raleigh with her mom, but there was a huge team of creative artists whom I really admire and did not want to disappoint. (See the bottom of the post for a list of the talented(x100) ladies who put together this shoot). I walked out to my car to catch my breath, called Bryan for a quick pep talk and then headed back in with the knowledge that if I could wrangle wedding parties of 30, I could handle this too. I was also very grateful in the knowledge that my friend and fellow photographer Jennifer Bearden would be there, ready to assist me.
While Pamela and Tanesha worked their magic on the models and created hair styles that I didn’t even know were possible, I scoped out the digs. A little intimidated by Lindsay of Maddison Row at first, I quickly realized her incredible skill of getting things done. Who else could wrangle up 10 designer dresses form the likes of Vera Wang, Carol Hannah and Anne Bowen for a shoot like this?! She is a girl who knows what she wants and had a shot list in mind.
I always like to start with the hardest shot, which not only gets it off my plate, but also gets the momentum rolling. Do you know Hollie Wood, of Hollie Wood Style? She is a character unto herself. Incredibly resourceful and with a finely tuned aesthetic, she helped to prop the shots not only with furniture, but with her personal vintage jewelry collection. And Della, the ever positive head honcho behind this shoot is a dream. She’s a catalyst. The fact that she trusted in each of us to do our jobs and let us be as creative as we wished is a pretty big allotment from a magazine editor.
In order to give this shoot my “all”, I started to remind myself of certain things. Namely, it was the fact that this was an incredible opportunity and a full-on fashion shoot is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I channeled my inner Annie Leibovitz and went for it. You know what I learned? Models are really awesome to photograph. They require very little direction and just intuitively move their bodies in interesting ways. Fascinating! I learned a lot from them that day.
This is starting to run on, so I will wrap things up with a nice little conclusion for you and that is this: You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations in order to grow. Sometimes the thought is hard to bear, but it will make you hardier and more dimensional, and you sure will feel good about yourself when it’s done!
Della MacNicholas, Editor of Smitten & Head Honcho
Lindsay Nowak of Maddison Row, Expert on bridal fashion, forward thinking and go-getter
Allison Cobb Long of Bella Bridesmaid, dream stylist
Hollie Wood of Hollie Wood Style, This girls’ got it going on! Vintage jewelry- check!, Furniture and Props- check!, A killer aesthetic- double check!
Palmela Lesch, An exceptional makeup artist with a heart of gold
Tanesha Dupree, Hair artist who creates coiffures worthy of an art show in itself
The Models, Unfortunately, I do not have their list of names. But WOW! I was very spoiled and thoroughly enjoyed working with these talented ladies!
The Rice Mill, historic building on the Ashley with a killer view that you can dress up or down!