Tag Archives: Spooky

Ghostly Penitentiary Bridal Shoot

Happy Black Friday to my American readers! Well in lieu of actually having a shopping discount to share with you, I instead thought I’d share a bridal shoot with a slightly macabre edge (black - macabre .. see my tenuous link?) OK forget it… but either way, this shoot is friggin’ ace and I’m thrilled to have it on my blog today.

The shoot was set up for the filming of “the FILM SHOW” on the Framed network, by amazing photographer Tanja Lippert. “The shoot was inspired by the chilling true story of the black widow bride serial killer, Lydia Trueblood,” writes Tanja. “We chose to shoot in the same old penitentiary that she served some time in. She was from Pocatello, Idaho and earned her seat on the list of female serial killers for poisoning five of her husbands, her brother-in-law and her baby girl.”

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Modern Miss Havisham at The Photography Farm

Last week saw the third Photography Farm organised and hosted by wedding photographer Lisa Devlin. I was super excited to be invited along again to talk about blogging, to help style the shoot which we asked Roo to model for.

Lisa, stylists Hannah and Jayne and myself have been planning this spooky Miss Havisham-esque shoot for a few months now so it was seriously exciting too see it all come together! Hannah and Jayne did an amazing job of creating a indoor/outdoor sets in the woods behind the farm. Roo also had a lot of input into the feel of the shoot as one of the great things about The Farm is that we try to make each theme relevant to the models. It would be a bit ridiculous plonking Roo in a vintage picnic set with cupcakes and balloons for example as that just isn’t her!

I was tasked with the fashion styling and as soon as we’d decided on the brief, I knew there was only one woman for the job of creating the perfect wedding dress – Jo (& her assistant Sally) from The Couture Company. These girls are masters of corsets and are well known for their gorgeous and huge tulle skirts. I just knew with Jo’s flair for design and Sally’s genius and intricate eye for detail that we’d have the perfect dress. Jo didn’t flinch when I told her we wanted the dress to look ‘kinda decayed and covered in, you know, fungi and stuff…’ and she created this beauty for us from scratch. She added antique lace to the dress and my veil (yes from my own wedding) to complete the look. We even borrowed a crown from Elisabeth Armstrong. Isn’t it amazing?!

Lisa called me a few days before The Farm to ask if I’d like some diamonds to go with the outfit…erm, like she needed to ask me twice! Especially when she texted me a photo of the ridiculous (in a good way!) necklace below…

And yes those are real multi-coloured sapphires and diamonds. I dared not ask how much it was worth. We sure don’t do things by half at The Farm!

“Our collective Farm plotting had begun some time ago, when the six of us decided to take to our latest addictive medium, Pinterest, and brainstorm our ideas for the shoot,” Roo explains. “Lisa and Kat had already concocted the idea of a Miss Havisham (á la Great Expectations) theme, and from the word go I felt like everything everybody wanted and expected from the shoot was of a mutual understanding. We were all absolutely on the same page, and when it came to the morning of the shoot I didn’t feel nervous at all. More than anything I was excited to see all our collaborative creativity come together – I was both thrilled to see some familiar faces and honoured to be working with a few new ones. The whole day didn’t disappoint (aside from it being over, that is!)”

“I do wonder whether it was because I’d already experienced being professionally photographed before; I felt more at ease with hearing the trademark click-click-click-click-click every couple of seconds, I was certainly less shy at meeting all the wonderful photographers, and I was able to relax throughout the whole two-hour shoot at the full direction of everybody, because I knew I could trust them to get my “best side”. After all, they were trusting me to give them my best side, too. Match that with an other-worldly dress, outrageous jewellery and stunning hair and make-up, and you’re good to go. The results all speak for themselves – I don’t know if anyone was nervous that day or if anybody needed a confidence boost, but I think we all earned one anyway! Pats on the back all ’round.”

“The shoot itself was wonderful. Sitting in a nook not-so deep in the woods of the Farm, I immediately felt like we’d been transported somewhere else, somewhen else. I felt so detached from my real life and standing there alone in shot, I really thought I was alone, just like I was supposed to. It was odd – I don’t want to say that I felt abandoned but I certainly felt like I was in some kind of bubble, like everything about the costume and the set and the natural surroundings all helped to pertain to this idea of Miss Havisham’s life literally stopping and freezing, and becoming a snapshot. It was creepy, and ethereal, and a little sad. It was wonderful.”

“P.S. Lisa Devlin is a marvel. There is something in her that you only ever find in very few people, let alone photographers. In a parallel universe somewhere I reckon she’s probably my dream man, because she kept telling me I was nailing it and rocking it and that I looked like a stone cold fox – and you know what? I believed her. If you ever get the opportunity to work with her, hire her, or even buy her a cuppa then I highly recommend you do, because she’s one of those little diamonds that I’m realising are rare in the wedding industry – and life in general.”

Seriously…what a pro.

It was actually nice to not be the one modeling for once. I even got to have a play with my camera and learnt some tricks myself. I’m certainly no professional photographer but I’m pretty proud of what I managed to snap under Lisa’s tuition! Roo’s getting pretty good at the old posing thing too right?

Yes, I took this photo (and the last 5 in the gallery below!)

One of my favourite things about The Photography Farm is that we have a whole three (OK well 2 and a half) days together. Sometimes at photography workshops there is SO MUCH to take in in just one day, but being there for an extended time not only allows us to all really get to know each other, but it gives us all more time to take things in and ask questions. Dinner is one of my favourite times, not just because of the yummy food (!), but because we can all ask questions, learn and grow together without a daunting classroom environment!

More images and info about booking on to the next Photography Farm after the ‘jump’!

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A Dia De Los Muertos Wedding Shoot

This scary Day of the Dead/Dia de la Boda de Los Muertos themed shoot won’t be for everyone but I think it’s pretty rad…For alternative make up inspo alone I think it’s worth a feature!

“This is a concept I’ve been pulling together for about six months,” photographer Gina told me. “Originally I had planned this shoot for October, but because I had no location to shoot it, I put it the back burner. Emily (the Bride in this shoot) was planning her wedding and showed me where she was planning to have her reception. The Harmony Club of Selma is an old Jewish Gentleman’s Club, and I fell in love with its decayed and macabre elements immediately. I rebuilt my concept around this venue and found friends, vendors, and models to come be a part of my dark make-believe wedding.”

“A lot of the group shots look more like a new twist on the Adams Family than anything that may be considered bridal, but the concept as it played out my mind was that since this is the wedding day of the dead, they would perform the normal ‘ceremonies’ backwards. The dancing and revelry of the occasion is mixed with the fear and excitement of the couple.”

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Strange Spirits in the Mist: A Lithuanian Styled Shoot

When I first looked through this shoot by Lithuanian photographer Saulės Pieva I was honestly a bit chilled. It’s definitely got that creepy-spooky vibe going on.

“The shoot was about mist and about the strange spirits who are protecting dying nature,” Saulės told me. ” It’s about the mystery of the rain, the forest, little creatures and secret life of nature spirits.”

Prepare to be a little freaked out looking at these photos, but you know what, I do really really love them.

…but the photos with the weird little cloaked characters are terrifying!

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An Undead Steampunk Wedding: Renee & Ian

So where do I begin trying to explain the awesomeness of Renee & Ian’s undead steampunk wedding? I think maybe the title gives away just how amazing this wedding is going to be doesn’t it?

The couple were married at Catalyst, a private live/work artist community in Chicago. “We actually had to ‘audition’ for the space,” Renee told me. “The members have a delicate relationship with the community and can’t risk any trouble. We had to prove to them over several months that we talented and responsible enough to be able to use their space. We had to foster a personal relationship with them before they would even consider us. It was tedious, but worth it in the end.”

“We gained some more wonderful friends for our already stellar collection, and the space allowed us freedom that traditional venues could not (like staying until 6am and coming back later in the week to help clean up).”

The bride made her dress herself from a 1880′s corset pattern. She tea stained dupioni silk and lace and designed the skirt and blouse herself. Her headpiece was a pair of vintage goggles that she bought from a flea market which Ian ‘steampunked’ by using random pieces including a magnifying glass that belonged to his Grandmother.

“We love Halloween and costumes!” the bride continued. “It’s truly the only time of year that we have any pictures together. We plan all year for it! We’re not really big on the institution of marriage. We partly decided to ‘make it official’ (though our love and commitment was official enough for us) because Ian’s dad was diagnosed with cancer, and the outlook was grim. We knew he would love to see us married. On a lighter note, Greg is doing very well these days in remission.”

“Our choice of theme started a bit of an uproar in our families. We were made fun of, called sacrilegious, and many of our family from WI didn’t show up (some for financial reasons, but I assume many of our very catholic family members just didn’t approve). We were asked to have a separate ‘family wedding’ in WI, but refused. Our wedding was going to be a celebration of our love, our way and a way for us to show our families that we are proud of who we are. We didn’t WANT to dis-include or hurt them, but we didn’t want to compromise ourselves on our day! In the end, the family that did show up really seemed to enjoy themselves.”

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Giant Nests, Smoke Machines & A Bath of Feathers – An Advanced Flash Workshop at The Photography Farm

The second Photography Farm (remember the first one which I took part in?) took place earlier this month. The subject was advanced flash techniques and using off-camera flash. Organiser Lisa Devlin invited Adam Bronkhorst of Viva Photography, an expert in the field, to teach the latest ‘farmers’ all about using it in their own work.

As part of the experience the students were treated to another amazing styled shoot set up by Hannah of The Tea Set. The inspiration for the shoot was a dark gothic winter vibe, as Lisa explained, “We always knew this Farm was going to have a very different feel to the last one. This time we were exploring advanced flash techniques as opposed to working with available light and it would be a night shoot in the winter. So I got to thinking gothic and got to pinning.”

“The look also started with our couple, the beautiful Martina and Leslie. Martina has great strong features and hair the colour of swan feathers. Once we found the right dresses from the amazing Hope and Harlequin the direction started to be winter/gothic/nordic/gypsy/feathers.”

“We went to The Farm with our awesome stylist Hannah from The Tea Set and after discussing shooting down with the couple laying on the floor, the idea of a big giant nest out in the woods was born. When I saw the Bird of Paradise Hat from Jane Taylor Millinery it was the perfect finishing touch, it is a work of art. Hannah and Jayne once again worked their magic and came up with sets that translated the theme through antique taxidermy, fire, food and a brace of pheasants.”

Isn’t the vibe of these shots just incredible? If you are interested in taking part in the next Advanced Flash workshop at The Photography Farm, it will be taking place between 3st January and 2nd February 2012 and the next Engagement & Wedding farm will be taking place between the 13th-15th March (which I’ll be speaking at).

The price for both two & a half day workshops is just £950 and accommodation and all meals are included. For further info or to book your place, Lisa can be contacted via email or by phone on 01273 231047.

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