A stylized photoshoot for our senior models
Who wouldn’t want to be a princess?! The fairytale ending. The kind, beautiful, and humble girl. The life of sadness and hardship overcome in the end by love. It’s these stories, that we all know and can relate to, that make these characters so identifiable and timeless. I think we’re drawn to princesses not only because they possess a talent or super natural gift in some way, or because of their physical, outward beauty, but rather because of their constant kind heartedness that makes them just as beautiful on the inside. This is why we wanted to capture some of their stories in our senior model photo shoot this year. Plus, how fun is it for our models to portray a favorite princess?! Just being in Disney World a year ago with our family was enough to get me inspired and drawn into their lovely, magical world. 🙂
Now when we say princesses, you might instantly think of Cinderella’s dress, the ballgowns, the glitz and sparkles! Though this is nice, and certainly a part of the princess life, we wanted to take a different approach to our concept. Rather than focus on just the outward beauty of each princess in her show stopping moment, we wanted to focus on the story and the feeling, the princesses as they are in their normal state, before they had it all. Because, they are MORE than just the gown, right? Just like all women – our sisters, our mothers, and our daughters – are MORE than just their outward appearance. That being said, our girls, of course, we’re given the full “royal” treatment of being pampered with professional hair and makeup as well as personal costume styling. We love bringing fun and pampering to our models!
The Visual Concept
We went for a combination of traditional fairytale and bohemian styling. As our hair stylist, Heather Kirk, had jokingly written in an email, “Disney meets Coachella!” Well we didn’t go full on hippie 60s, but we wanted a good marriage of the two looks presented in one. Jacci, our costumer, was especially good at bringing these concepts together in clothing. While she kept the traditional coloring of each princess, she had the freedom to play with the bohemian styling such as bell sleeves, delicate details, and light weight cotton fabrics. The feel and look of the lighting was also quite important to the styling of the shoot. We went with soft, pretty light, and our background, simple. Almost like you were viewing an old Renaissance painting. We didn’t create each princess’s world in one scene, but rather brought a few elements into the photos that give you a hint to who each character is. We created each princess’s portrait.
Making it happen!
Our supremely talented styling crew, Heather Kirk on hair, Kelly Clark our makeup artist, and Jaclyn Kaschak our costumer, props master, and magic maker, ALL did an AMAZING job! Literally, we can’t brag enough about them! They all had a good understanding of our concept, but were able to add their own creative touches to the project! Please visit their pages for any business inquires. We couldn’t have done this without them!
…Onto The Princesses…
How would you describe Cinderella? As stated in the latest live action movie, “Have courage and be kind,” Cinderella is Disney’s truest example of the kind and humble servant. Despite her own suffering, she always remains happy, hopeful, and humble. I should take note and remember these when I’m scrubbing my own kitchen floor! Miss Joie Knouse, who is a State High soon-to-be senior, captured Cinderella’s kind soul and sweetness in every frame. We were very drawn to Joie as an applicant for this project because of her own kindness, sense of adventure, and love of photography. We knew that she would be committed to the idea, the look, and really become the character. Joie not only portrays Cinderella’s outward beauty, but captures her inner beauty as well. On a comedic side note, before we got started with her styling, Joie texted me that she accidentally forgot her shoes and was going to be a couple minutes late…I guess she really was Cinderella at heart! We love you, Joie, and you did an awesome job!
Belle, is a bit odd, but a beauty. She’s a dreamer, a book lover, an adventurer, and doesn’t settle for what is considered to be the “normal” life for herself. The lovely Kiara VonGunden, from Bellefonte High School, depicted Belle for our photo shoot. What we love about Belle’s character is mix of her passion and her vulnerability. She wasn’t just singing about her mediocre life on top of a grassy hill. She was searching for what more life has to offer! Kiara was the perfect fit as she seemed to have a lot of Belle’s qualities. She’s a beauty, she’s spirited, but yet vulnerable. She’s gentle and likes to look to life in a positive way. Not only did Kiara capture the physical aspects of Belle, but definitely gave a heartfelt portrayal of the character. And we love photos that make you FEEL something! Though she was a bit nervous before starting (as most people are before getting professionally photographed) she gave it her all and nailed it! Kiara, we think Belle would have been as proud of you as we are!
Oh princess Aurora! She was always one of my favorite princesses! I so loved her story! Amelia Walker, another Bellefonte gonna be senior, was our lovely Sleeping Beauty. Princess Aurora was gifted in beauty, song, and grace. She was gentle and alluring in both her outward beauty and spirit. I love the scenes in the old Disney classic of her frolicking through the woods, in her own world. Amelia, who has a background in gymnastics, definitely had her own grace and a natural ease in posing. She really captured the elegance, beauty, and grace of Sleeping Beauty. Before selecting characters for our models the big discussion was, do we stay true to Disney and have a blonde Sleeping Beauty or is it ok if she’s a brunette? We decided that since this is an “inspired by” photo shoot and not a strict portrayal, rules can be broken. In the end, Amelia’s character really spoke Sleeping Beauty. Might I add the flower crown just adds to the bohemian hint and I absolutely love her pink eye shadow! And that magical elf, our costumer Jacci, REALLY pulled some strings to get us an actual authentic spinning wheel! To Amelia and the CREW, amazing!
Oh snap! Jasmine is fierce! Like the other princesses, she too is spirited, kind, and an adventurer, but there is much more to her than just a pretty face. As she declares in the movie, she is “not a prize to be won!” Sierra Pletcher, our third Bellefonte student, instantly won us over! We saw Sierra and thought, “she has to be Jasmine.” She takes this Jasmine job seriously too, stating in her application to us, “My dream job is to be Jasmine in Disney World.” Yes! With Sierra, we had her moving a little more than the other girls during photo time. Almost like she was an enchanting belly dancer. It was intriguing to photograph her, not only because she has modeling experience, but also because Jasmine’s character is culturally different from the other princesses that we are featuring. Sierra’s hair was done true to Jasmine’s signature style, but Kelly, the makeup artist, really played up her eyes! It’s very “Arabian Nights!” Sierra rocked the look and the shoot! She was true to character and gave us some really stunning beauty shots! Awesome job, Sierra! You ARE Jasmine!
And last, but not least, is Snow White. As we were all researching, we discovered that Snow White is actually Disney’s first princess. Snow White’s story is another goodie. Claire Ryan, from State High, is our first/last princess of our shoot. Snow White is the fairest maiden in all the land both inward and outward. She’s the type of girl that you know that you would be jealous over, but you can’t hate her because she’s so nice. Not only is she kind, but she is loving, gentle, and one with nature. But there’s a darkness in her story. A story of death! We knew Claire would be into it because she’s a lover of the show “Walking Dead.” Okay, we didn’t go THAT dead with Snow White, but we knew Claire could bring it and be committed!
Now let me tell you about her commitment. To the locals, do you remember that crazy storm that we had on May 1st? Trees were down all over the road, severe wind damage, and power outages everywhere. (Apparently a tree just about landed on top of Jasmine’s house). Well, Claire was all ready to go, in makeup, hair, and wardrobe, and boom we lost power. Yes, we just finished up with Jasmine, and Claire’s turn came and it was almost as if she was denied! We all waited, hoping for the power to come on, but no dice. We did manage to get a photo of her with a couple of random kids (ahem…our kids), and Jasmine was willing to babysit (that would have been the talk of the first grade class the next day), but in the end we had to reschedule for another day. For round two, the second attempt at Claire’s shoot, it was ALL about her! Claire, true to Snow White, looked beautiful. Many of us said she has the perfect heart shaped face and smile that remind you of Snow White. Though Claire is not naturally a “skin as white as snow” kind of girl (Kelly had to powder down Claire’s olive complexion), she did capture her beauty and sweetness as well as the darker Grimm Brothers story of Snow White. Thank you Claire, as well as our wonderful stylists, for sticking it out and getting dressed up not once, but twice! You did an amazing job and we’re so thankful for your commitment!
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Snow White (Claire) with our kids, waiting for the power to come back on.
In the end…
We are so pleased with how the photos turned out! Despite the power outage, we couldn’t be happier with this year’s J&A senior models, our styling crew, and the beautiful photos to show for it. These shoots can be long, but they’re fun! When we all get involved with those creative juices flowing, we really inspire each other.
We try to do these stylized shoots yearly for our local high school juniors (will be seniors) so be on the lookout for more next year. And if you want to be a part of the model team, look for application time around March/April! I can’t wait to see what we all create next time around! Amazing thanks and blessings to everyone involved! 🙂