Chicagoland Photographer | Akira Rose Skirt inspired Editorial Shoot

Emily was one of my 2017 Seniors I photographed last fall. I mentioned that I had a really cool maxi skirt with Roses on it (and pockets) and that I wanted to do an editorial shoot inspired by it. We didn't know when or how our schedules would match up again but I had a feeling she would be perfect for this shoot.

A couple weeks ago she sent me a message that she is about to cut her hair because she wanted to donate it to Locks of Love and it was now or never. I work best under pressure and tight timelines, otherwise I can procrastinate. I had already discussed this idea with one of my favorite hair artists Madeline (who's wedding I will be blogging shortly) and we were able to find a day that worked for everyone. Maddie recommended Emilee for make-up.

I had about a week to prepare for the shoot, so I created a pinterest board to get everyone thinking about the possibilities. I didn't have it all thought out but I knew I wanted to put Emily in some of my military jackets, use the rose skirt and show off her hair. When I went to JoAnn Fabrics I came across the upholstery fabric with roses and fell in love. I wanted to mix textures, patterns and florals.

Maddie and I loved the idea of this hair style with sleek top and making the hair big on the bottom by curling and teasing it. Emily's hair was perfect for this because her hair is so healthy and strong. For the make-up we wanted nothing too distracting but something that looked a bit bolder than your every day look. Emilee used greens and earth tones with gold on her eyes and a soft coral/nude lip. The eyebrows turned out so stunning with dimension and shimmer.

Afterwards we took the pins out and had Emily shake up her hair. We went outside to get a few shots by my chipped paint garage. It really made her hair, make-up, long military coat and red rose skirt stand out.

Our next look was a nod to the late princess Leia. I thought the loose buns would look so cool given the texture Emily's hair had from the look before. I found these satin rose leaves also at JoAnn's and it completed this look.

For our next hair style I made a garland out of flowers by putting flowers on thin wire that could be pinned in Emily's hair. When I make quick rose crowns for my shoots I always poke the flowers onto a wire and this time I just left the wire long and put all the flowers I had on it. It was a spontaneous decision and it's definitely one of my favorite looks.

Braids are really in and I've been seeing this look with the braids across the forehead for a while on instagram or pinterest. After Maddie finished the braids, we added a layer of small roses on top of the braids. We then made two rows out of the other flower garland to give it a bit of height. All 3 of us started playing around while Emily patiently let us do our thing. I thought maybe some sticks in the hair would look cool. Brenda, Emily's mom, went outside my door and got us some. We got a bit creative on this look, adding some thin leaves into the braids and Emilee glued some flower petals onto Emily's skin. The flowers and braids started looking like a head dress. It gave us an eastern european vibe, like a russian beauty with a kokoshnik. Last minute I found this embroidered chiffon dress in my closet that I bought from one of my favorite sites called Boohoo. (Tim Gunn would probably call this look a floral potpourri.)  When everything was styled and perfected, Emily also gave us major Frida Kahlo vibes but definitely prettier minus the mustache and unibrows. What do you think?

The studded leather Jacket made this look more fashion and a little edgier.

The studded leather Jacket made this look more fashion and a little edgier.

At the very end Brenda, Emily and I drove out to a spot I had scouted on Broadway to do a few moody outdoor shots. At this point the sun had set and it was pretty dark and cold. I grabbed a video light and Brenda held it for me and for some shots I just pushed the ISO up.

This desolate location with the beige tall weeds, grass and black dirt was such a stunning juxtaposition to the vibrant rose skirt and Emily's overall pretty look. The days are still really short and it gets dark too soon, so we had to call it after 15 minutes.

This shoot turned out much better than I had imagined in my mind. Since I don't work with models but mostly high school seniors I am over the moon with the final images. Maddie is so amazingly intuitive with hair and made my hair dreams come true. Emilee had never done an editorial make-up look and I think she nailed it.

Behind the Scenes Facts:

I used my 18 inch Diva Ring Light as lighting. For outdoors I also used this cheap video light. I shot this in my tiny living room. I bought the upholstery fabric for $23 (1.5 yards) at JoAnn Fabrics and clipped it to my backdrop stand. All clothes we used for styling was something I already had. The Akira skirt was around $40 on sale last year. I bought 3 bouquets of flowers at Jewel for $12 and one pair of Ardell eyelashes with coupon for $2.99. I spend $10 on wires and petals at Michaels. For under $100 this is a pretty amazing shoot. We all donated our time and talents to make this an unforgettable vendor collaboration with images we can all be proud of. Emily is getting her hair chopped by the famous Ben Mollin from Ben Mollin Hair Education at the end of the month. I think we gave Emily's hair a proper Good-Bye.


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- Carmen