We have been blessed to have our article featured on the Pretty Pear Bride blog! In chatting recently with Shafonne Myers, founder of Pretty Pear Bride, we covered a wide range of topics relating to the plus-size bride. One of those topics included confidence in being a plus-size woman. Also relating to having confidence as a woman with curves, we discussed posing in different types of photography: engagement, wedding, and bridal boudoir. Bridal boudoir is such an amazing experience! Very empowering, and you feel like a queen. She asked me to share an article I wrote regarding this subject. Please enjoy!
Today we have my good friend and fellow bridal industry wedding planning maven Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance: Wedding & Event Planning sharing some invaluable insights into bridal boudoirs. Ladies this is something that you can do at any size.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! There are many events that will take place during your engagement and wedding planning, and one of them might include a bridal boudoir photo session. What is a boudoir session, one may ask? It is a photo session, in which you are posed by a professional photographer, wearing pretty lingerie. Often, professional hair styling and makeup are also included in a boudoir session. This photo session may take place in a photography studio, hotel room, or one’s own home. Sometimes photos are taken in outdoor, urban, or unexpected, non-traditional settings. The photos are then often given to your future spouse as a gift before the wedding, or as an anniversary gift.
That’s the basic definition of boudoir photography.
But it is so much more than that! Photography is an art form, no question about it. Boudoir photography is that same art form, elevated. It is sensual, soft, cozy, romantic, lush. It can also be edgy and raw, blatantly sexy, and badass. As Patrick Swayze once said in a famous movie, “it’s a feeling, a heartbeat.” Nothing could be more true about this artistic medium. An experienced boudoir photographer can pose you in ways that will bring out curves that you never thought you had, and will show your inner goddess off to perfection. It will leave you feeling glamorous, sexy, and empowered in a way that will keep you (and your significant other) smiling for years to come.
So, what can you expect to happen during a boudoir session? During your initial consultation with a boudoir photographer, you can discuss what you like to wear, whether it is lacy and daring, or soft and sweet. Some of the best boudoir photos I have ever seen have been with the model in an oversized, slouchy sweater, with one bare shoulder, and a pair of warm and cozy socks that reach above the knee. You may prefer to don the bridal undergarments that will be worn on your wedding day. Add your veil for a soft, timeless romantic look. If you or your intended are sports fans, why not go for a playful look with a favorite team jersey? Perhaps you would prefer a button-down shirt and a tie for a classic, professional vibe. Or would you like to go for an all-out bombshell look?
The options are endless, as are the wardrobe choices. Play around with different types of looks to see what complements your figure. Don’t forget to consider the shoes, stockings, jewelry and other accessories that will complete your ensemble. A few props can also enhance your photos, like an antique hand mirror, or a soft blanket that feels amazing against bare skin. If you want to feel like a queen, by all means, bring along a tiara. It’s your day! Anything goes!
During your consultation, your photographer will also talk about posing, and how many settings and wardrobe changes you will utilize. You will want to schedule your photo session a few months before your wedding or anniversary, so that your photographer has enough turn-around time for editing your photos, and to place your order for prints or an album.
It’s perfectly natural to feel a little bit nervous about an intimate photo session like this. You will relax once the camera starts clicking, I promise. If you would feel more comfortable with having a gal pal to accompany you to your session, definitely ask. Perhaps they would like to participate in a session as well. Always more fun! Also, go easy on the alcohol and salty foods a few days prior to the photo shoot to prevent bloating. Be sure to drink lots of water, to stay well hydrated, and set your skin to glowing. Enjoy being pampered by a hair stylist and make up artist prior to your photo session. This is your moment to shine, and revel in all of your womanly glory.
I highly encourage all women to schedule this type of photo session for themselves, at least once in their lives. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or size. All women are beautiful in their own unique shapes, and skin tones. The overall experience is amazing, and one that you will never forget! You will come away with quite the boost in self-confidence. You will feel very empowered, and ready to take on the world, in this next chapter of your life.
A short time ago, I was asked by Valerie Pritt, founder of the Engaged Wedding Planner Academy, if I would write a guest post for the blog about how to plan a styled bridal photo shoot. I happily agreed, as this is a subject I am quite passionate about! (If you would like to check out some of my past photo shoots, please feel free to hop on over to my media page.)
In this article, I outline the different stages of planning and producing a styled photo shoot, from a planner’s prospective, and my personal process. Please feel free to comment or ask questions relating to styled photo shoots. Enjoy!
Today we have Kimberly, founder of Love, Laughter & Elegance Wedding and Event Planning, giving us great advice on how to do a styled shoot. She has planned and participated in over 14 styled bridal photo shoots since 2016. All of her styled bridal photo shoots to date have been published, both in print and online. If you have plans of doing your first styled shoot soon, this article is a great place to start.
HOW TO DO A STYLED SHOOT
Styled photo shoots are not a new concept. Photography has long been a huge medium for commercial business advertising, as well as creating aesthetic artwork. Newer photographers are highly encouraged to participate in and host photo shoots, as a way to develop their skills, and create content for their portfolios and social media outlets. Not every photo shoot has to be elaborate in subject matter and style.
WHAT IS A STYLED SHOOT?
A photo shoot could be as simple as a pretty little girl, twirling in a princess dress, in a park setting. Or, one may shoot a romantic picnic setting with an attractive couple. Often, a single female model is the subject, clad in a stunning outfit, with hair and makeup professionally done. The model might carry an oversized picture hat, or a lush bouquet of flowers, or an adorable puppy. The options for choosing what, where, and when to shoot photos are endless. Our world is a continually evolving source of inspiration for photographers, and videographers, to capture and create appealing images. In turn, the need for appealing images especially applies to the event, entertainment, and hospitality industries, who in turn use those images to attract customers.
As a wedding planner with more than twenty years of experience, I have a sincere appreciation for amazing photographs of a beautiful wedding or event. I love to look at magazines and books, as well as online at blogs and social media sites that feature gorgeous weddings, styled photo shoots and parties. Having worked with numerous talented photographers over the years, I have learned about different styles of photography, such as moody, vibrant, and light and airy.
I understand the differences between candid photography, portraiture, and photojournalism. I know that shooting photos in natural light is vastly different from shooting in a studio, or indoors in a venue that might require additional lighting methods. Also, that editing photos correctly, and consistently, takes considerable time and effort. I love it when I receive galleries full of stunning photos from a photographer, from a recent wedding or styled photo shoot, that we worked on together. I greatly appreciate photographers, and their hard work. This is not only a job or career for them, it is a passion, and a labor of love.
Photographers are obviously key players when planning a styled photo shoot. But what about the other vendors? What roles do they play in the process? In all honesty, planning a styled wedding photo shoot is much like planning an actual wedding, just on a smaller scale, that involves other creative professionals. As a wedding planner, when I am organizing a styled photo shoot, I come up with a game plan.
HAVING A GOAL
First, I determine what my goals are for producing a styled photo shoot. Usually, the goal is to submit the professional photos for national publication, both in print and online. When the photos are published, this creates exposure, not only for myself, and my planning business, but for all of the creative entrepreneurs that contributed their time and talents to the event. Exposure, in turn, will drive traffic to the websites of the vendors and models involved, and will generate inquiries and bookings for their services.
Another, secondary, goal is to create something unique and beautiful, just for my own personal creative aesthetic. I have to admit, once one has planned a styled shoot, it becomes quite addictive. Especially if you love to see your work published, as I do, being shared with thousands of people.
CHOOSING YOUR DESIGN
The next step in my planning process is to create the overall aesthetic for the styled photo shoot. I take into consideration several factors, such as the time of year for the shoot, whether I want to hold it indoors or outside, potential locations, theme, and colors. I think about the potential available models and creative professionals, and any special elements I might wish to incorporate, like a vintage vehicle, or certain types of flowers.
Then I start looking online for photos that might work well together to reflect the overall theme. Pinterest is a great resource for putting ideas together, as well as Canva, and sometimes I use Google Images for additional inspiration. Then I compile all of the images I really like into one inspiration board, and that becomes my reference for the styled photo shoot. I share the inspiration board with my models and vendors, so that they have a clear idea of the overall look I am trying to achieve.
PICK A LOCATION
Setting the scene is the next step. Everyone always says, “location, location, location”. It is very true. The location selected for a styled photo shoot, can, in part, determine if a submission will be accepted for publication. That is not to say that you cannot take a “blank canvas” of a venue, such as a plain party hall, or a warehouse space, and absolutely transform it. It is done by professionals, every day, in the event industry.
If, however, you select a location with historical value, interesting architectural details, or simply gorgeous landscaping and scenery, you increase your chances of having your submission accepted. I try to create a list of potential venues that would work with the theme of my styled photo shoot. Then I contact those venues, and give them a range of calendar dates, to see what might be available. Once an agreement has been made with a venue to use their location for the styled photo shoot, I will begin to contact vendors and models to feature in the photo shoot.
FINDING THE RIGHT VENDORS
Finding the right vendors and models to participate in a styled photo shoot can be a challenge, sometimes. Everyone has busy lives and crazy schedules. Many vendors have families, or other careers, that will take precedence over my request for collaboration on my current project. As I have been involved in the wedding and event industry for over twenty years, I have built an extensive list of vendors that I love to work with and refer.
I am also always open to meeting and working with new vendors, both established, and those that are just starting out. This is where networking skills come in handy, to connect and collaborate with vendors. Sometimes I have trouble finding an available vendor or two to complete my team for the styled shoot, like a florist or baker. I will reach out to my other contacts, for referrals and suggestions. Most of the time, people are happy to help, even at the last moment. Even if we do not have a team member available for every category, like hairstyling or specialty linens, many of my vendors are talented in other areas, and will pitch in to fill the gaps.
My team always comes together to produce an amazing styled shoot. It is often recommended that contracts are to be used when working with vendors and models. My team members work with me on a voluntary basis, and I am upfront with my expectations from each vendor, what their role is in the styled shoot, and what they will receive in return, which is professional photos of the styled shoot to use in marketing and social media. They will also receive credit and promotion when a styled photo shoot is published and shared through print and online media sources. I strongly believe in “community over competition”. I want my vendors and models to enjoy working with me and want to continue to assist me in producing beautiful, inspiring content for everyone to enjoy.
PLANNING OUT THE DETAILS
Once I have my creative team in place, the next step is planning out the details. The details are the elements of the styled shoot that reflect your vision of the event. The big elements will include the cake, the flowers, the models and their attire, and of course the venue or outdoor setting. As important as it is to have those components in your styled shoot, for me, it’s the little details that tell the story of the event.
I will start sourcing small items like jewelry, décor, tableware, vintage greeting cards, fabrics, and accessories. Sometimes I will purchase clothing items specifically for a shoot. I will also look for unique items on websites like Ebay, Etsy, and Facebook resale groups. Local thrift stores are my favorite spots for great deals. As I have planned out my styled shoots, I have discovered that I have a personal style that I deem “vintage with a twist”. I absolutely adore vintage items, and I try to use some in each shoot. Vintage items could be a pretty handkerchief, or a pair of cufflinks for the gentleman.
Sometimes the items are personal to me and my family. I have used my grandmother’s wedding rings and vintage fur stole, my mother’s artwork and hand painted keepsake box, and even my own china and glassware that were given to me as wedding gifts. I often use the same items in different styled shoots. For example, I have used different sets of charger plates in several shoots, my own personal tableware, and linens. Votive candles, jewelry, accessories and attire have also made multiple appearances in my shoots. I try to carry at least one decorative element over from one styled shoot to the next. It creates a consistency in my overall style and branding, and collective body of work.
LEARN TO BE FLEXIBLE
When I have decided on and collected all of my detail items for the particular styled shoot, it is time to plan out the schedule for the day. This is very much like the way I create an itinerary for a wedding or event for my clients. The only difference is that for a wedding weekend, certain events must happen in a particular order: rehearsal, ceremony, social hour, reception, etc. Within a styled photo shoot event, I have more flexibility in the schedule.
HAVE A TIMELINE
I always state that the schedule is a proposed timeline of events, subject to changes as needed. If a vendor happens to be running late, or if one of models cannot be at the venue at the same time as the other, I can rearrange certain parts of the setup and shooting schedule to accommodate those needs. As with any event that I plan, I am working with multiple vendors and moving parts. It pays to be open minded, and flexible. My goals on the day of the styled shoot are to make sure all of the people and items are in the places they need to be, to do whatever is necessary to keep things going smoothly, and to try to stay on schedule as much as possible. All of my vendors and models understand this concept, and graciously work together to produce amazing results.
SHOOT DAY PROVISIONS
On the day of the styled shoot, I am always the first person on site, besides the venue owner or designated representative. I make sure I have all relevant paperwork, like contracts, contact and social media information for vendors and models, and lists of items and services being provided for the event. I also have a copy of the schedule, and sometimes a list of specific shots that I would like the photographer to take during the shoot. Depending on the location, and time of the styled shoot, I do try to provide bottled water and some snacks for my team. Sometimes the venue will provide those items for us, and that is always a blessing. There are also times that I will mention before the shoot that each person attending will need to be responsible for their own meals.
I usually have my personal supply kit handy at each styled shoot, the same as I do for weddings and events. I include basic toiletries, tape, scissors, pens, lighter, paper products, and trash bags.
Pro Tip: I often bring extra items for styling, like different kinds of ribbon, scarves, silk flowers, candles, and small printed signs. Photographers usually like to pair these items with stationery suites and wedding rings for detail shots. I have seen so many gorgeous layouts, or “flat lays”. These types of photos really help to tell the story of the styled shoot.
DAY OF SHOOT
Finally, we get to work on the day of the styled shoot, setting up décor and putting the models in gorgeous gowns and stylish suits. The shutters of the cameras start clicking, and the models are posed in endless ways, pausing only briefly to change outfits, or to touch up hair and makeup. For as much time and planning that goes into a styled photo shoot, the actual day of the event goes by quickly, and it’s over before you know it. The anticipation of receiving the finished gallery of images from the photographer is sometimes overwhelming.
When I receive the images, I am always blown away from the depth and excellent quality of the stunning photos, and the talent of the photographer that took them. I love working with my talented team members and praise them for all of the help they so lovingly and freely give of themselves to bring my visions to life. I know that I cannot do this alone, and I am exceedingly grateful for everyone that has contributed to my projects, and I love to return the favors by helping others with their projects. Community over competition is a wonderful concept. Please share it with others in our industry. Keep on dreaming and creating!
Kimberly Lehman is the founder of Love, Laughter & Elegance: Wedding & Event Planning in Canton, Ohio. She has been enthusiastically planning weddings and special events for over 20 years. Her personal experience and extensive knowledge make her a resourceful expert within the wedding and special events industry.
We have been blessed to have our Audrey Hepburn – Funny Face Movie Inspired styled bridal photo shoot featured on the Southern Celebrations Magazine website! This feature was also recently published in Vol. 8 of the print edition.
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire are Hollywood Icons. Funny Face has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember. The fashions (House of Givenchy), the music, the scenery (Paris and New York) are just incredible. I highly recommend watching this classic film! Here is my tribute to them. Enjoy!
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn
Featured in Volume 8.
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognized as a film and fashion icon, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood, and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
How to Stop Being Indecisive About Wedding Planning
By Jenn Sinrich –
Is indecisiveness causing you some wedding-planning drama? Here’s how to stop being indecisive and move forward in your planning journey.
Although wedding planning is most definitely fun and exciting, it can also be quite overwhelming, especially considering the myriad of decisions, both big and small, you’ll have to make in a relatively short period of time. As a result, couples planning their big day might come across a few situations where they just can’t choose and will need to just stop being indecisive.
This can happen for many reasons. According to Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York, the most common reason for indecisiveness over planning your wedding is that the experience is entirely brand new. “All of the different options to choose from can sometimes lead to decision paralysis, not to mention the fact that the couple is likely spending more money than they even imagined on their big day,” she says. “While you can’t necessarily take all the time in the world to make decisions during the wedding planning process, you should make sure that the decisions you do make are informed and thought out.”
If this sounds like you and your soon-to-be-spouse at the moment, don’t fret! Consider putting these expert-approved solutions to help you stop being indecisive about wedding planning.
Make a list of non-negotiables.
Early on in the planning process, Deb Erb of Simply Events Inc. in Lititz, Pennsylvania, suggests that couples make a concrete list of what is most important to them. “If flowers and pictures are a big deal to you, know that you should spend more time selecting your photographer and florist than perhaps your DJ or band,” she says. “Thinking through the most important aspects of a wedding day early on will also make it easier to stay within a budget.”
Block out the chatter.
Everyone is going to have opinions on your big day, from your best friend to your boss. While it’s fine to lend an ear to their dos and don’ts, you have to be careful when soliciting too much of their advice in order to stop being indecisive. “The more people you involve, the more opinions you are going to get,” warns Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, New Jersey. “Without a doubt, those opinions will eventually conflict and you’ll be confused with whom to believe and not wanting to offend anyone.” She suggests keeping your circle small and making a pact with your partner that you two have to agree before deciding on anything.
Trust your vendors.
“Professionals know how to guide couples because they have the experience needed to know what works and how to cater toward the couple’s likes and dislikes and things they have dreamed about,” says Deb. “Vendors who only want the best for their clients will steer them in the right direction and help them stay on budget.”
Set social media limits.
While Instagram and wedding websites are amazing resources to plan out your big day, Deb warns that they can also make a couple feel pressured to keep up with what other couples are doing. “When a bride feels like she needs to include every décor idea and Pinterest suggestion into her day, it becomes very hard to make simple decisions, let alone difficult ones,” she adds.
Create a timeline—and stick to it.
Just as you would for your job, it’s helpful to create a checklist for when you should ideally have a wedding to-do crossed off your list. “Any accountability coach will tell you that the only way to truly get something done is to see it, formalize it, plan it and then tackle it,” says Jenny Orsini of Jenny Orsini Events in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.” “Can’t figure out if you want your color palette to be blush and white or lavender and cream? Give yourself a limited amount of time to ponder the options and assign a due date by which you must decide.”
Ask for help when you need it.
This can include your mom, aunt, sister, grandma, BFFs—essentially anyone who is close to you and whose opinion you value and trust, advises Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. “A few positive opinions will reinforce your decisions and help you stop being indecisive, which will help you to go on to the next step in the planning process,” she adds.
Keep things in perspective.
At the end of the day, wedding planning is a huge endeavor, so of course some of the decisions are going to be met with a little hesitation to say the least. However, while it’s one of the most amazing days of your life, you do need to keep things in perspective. “You’re marrying your best friend, while surrounded by dear friends and family,” says Jenny. “Your guests will only remember the amazing energy of the party and how you glowed when you walked down the aisle, not whether the roses were purple or pink.”
We have been blessed to have our Gorgeous Baby Shower styled photo shoot featured on the Southern Celebrations Magazine blog! This feature was also recently published in their print magazine, Vol. 8. We had such an awesome team of creative vendors that collaborated on this project! Enjoy!!
This styled bridal shoot was based on Edward Lear’s classic poem, “The Owl and The Pussycat”. The walls of the cafe are decorated in fantastic chalk art, and there is such a whimsical woodland vibe throughout the entire establishment. Enjoy this Poem Inspired Styled Shoot! Xoxo, Jessica
I have always loved the classic story of “The Owl & The Pussycat”, by Edward Lear. I recently came across a beautifully illustrated children’s version of the story, and I knew that I had to bring this story to life. In the neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, where I work, there is the most charming cafe. The decor is very eclectic and whimsical, and owls are a prominent feature. There are fantastic chalk murals on the walls and a handcrafted tree in the very center of the cafe. I knew this was the perfect location for this styled shoot. There is also a wonderfully casual patio outside of the cafe, that beckons you to sit and stay a while. I also wanted to incorporate the literary aspect of the project, so we wandered across the street to the library, and took some shots in the reading garden, and inside among the book stacks.
Describe your flowers.
Since the cafe is so colorful and whimsical, I wanted to keep our floral look soft, with muted pastel colors. The bridal bouquet is comprised of lavender, blue, and pink silk hydrangeas, and pastel silk roses. The boutonniere is a large pastel silk bloom that looked wonderful against Conner’s dark blue suit. I created a rounded centerpiece of the same silk hydrangeas and roses as the bridal bouquet. For a little depth and contrast, I also added large blush silk peonies. This arrangement was placed in my grandmother’s antique soup tureen, and then placed on top of my vintage white cake stand, with a decorative floral edge. We also used some of the natural greenery and wood elements found in the cafe as decor.
Describe your cake.
The cake, created by Debbie Wright of Cake Wasted, was a magnificent three-tiered confection! The three round tiers were each decorated in a shade of blue or green, to represent the ocean in the story. She added several beautiful handcrafted flowers to accentuate the gorgeous cake. The cake topper, created by Katie Meek of Meekly Yours, was a charming rendition of the owl and the pussycat sailing away for a year and a day in their little boat.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Our male model, Conner, wore a slim fitting blue suit of his own. I added a bright yellow silk tie that had little sailboats embroidered on it to go with the theme of the shoot. He also donned adorable owl-framed glasses, that looked so cute on him!
For Sammy Kay, we had 4 different looks. The first was a lovely flowing bridesmaid gown in a color called “desert rose”. This gown set off Sammy’s neckline and beautiful creamy skin. The bridal gown was an ivory lace sheath dress with an embellished empire waist, cap sleeves, sweetheart neckline, and sweep train. She looked amazing in it! The second bridal dress was a tea-length vintage design from the 1940s, sheer with an overall lace design. The final dress was also a vintage design from the 1950s. It was a day dress, deep rose in color, and had an overall lace pattern. The neckline was trimmed with matching satin piping. Sammy Kay added vintage gloves, hats and jewelry to complete the overall look for each outfit.
Please describe any handmade, DIY, or personal items.
There were several handmade items provided by vendors for this amazing photoshoot! Michal Elaine Johnston created a beautiful painting with colors featured in the original inspiration board. Katie Meek of Meekly Yours, created the cake topper, round wooden sign, and table number. Jodi Kennedy of Pink Tomato Creative hand made several of the decorative items, like the large banners, and paper goods.
We used my grandmother’s antique soup tureen as the display container for the floral centerpiece, as well as other sentimental items from my personal collection like vintage books, gloves, and figurines. We also displayed a poster of The Owl & The Pussycat, which had been mounted on a multicolored backdrop, and framed.
Describe the tablescape elements.
We had two tablescapes, one for the cake, and one for the dining table. The cake table was covered in delicate pink table linen, and the gorgeous wedding cake was placed on an ornate antique gold pedestal cake stand. We added gold mercury and small blue glass jar votive candles, and the children’s book of “The Owl & The Pussycat.”
The dining table was covered in a gorgeous blush pink petal tablecloth. Behind the table, we had our bride and groom models seated in magnificent high backed chairs, covered in white leather. The place settings were layered with gold beaded clear glass charger plates and ivory bone china with gold rims. We also used vintage floral china, and gold flatware. The stemware included cut crystal glasses with gold rims and smaller amber aperitif glasses. White and pastel linen napkins completed the look. The place cards were handmade paper boats with sails, as a nod to the boat in the story. I created a rounded centerpiece of the same silk hydrangeas and roses as the bridal bouquet. For a little depth and contrast, I also added large blush silk peonies. This arrangement was placed in my grandmother’s antique soup tureen, and then placed on top of my vintage white cake stand, with a decorative floral edge. We also added a few small owl and cat figurines, and gold mercury votive candles.