This is the first installment of a series that I've entitled "Lost in the Woods." The inspiration comes a bit from fairy tales and a bit from Renaissance Festival fashion. I made the cape in this series of images. Disappointed in the cheap quality in costumes, I set about making my own cape. I wanted a cape that had heft and character. This cape is made from crushed velvet. I loved the colors in it and I knew it would be perfect for a Fall shoot.
Leslie wanted some images with the Fall colors. She is from Indiana so we met in the Irish Hills area of Michigan. However, we met late in the season and the winds had picked up the day before and the day of our shoot, knocking what remained of the leaves to the ground. That still didn't stop us. We took advantage of the areas where we did find color and even used the leaves on the ground.
The following image is special to me. Leslie was kind enough to trek from the state park to the run down old amusement park that my parents used to take me when I was a kid. It is no longer operational, but I was fortunate to see the owners at the park. They gave me permission to create some images on the property. It was bittersweet. It was good to see the park still standing, but sad to see they were in the process of deconstructing some of the attractions.
Stacey recently finished fitness competitions and wanted to create some images that weren't fitness related. The word she used to describe the images she wanted was "Fun." After we met in Sterling Heights, Michigan, we decided to create some artistic and commercial looks, throwing in a few dynamic poses here and there. Stacey was very open to ideas and willing to experiment. She is very sweet and easy going. We worked well together and produced some lovely images.
Behind the Scenes - Mother and Daughter
Craig wanted to get some fitness and commercial images. He is a marathon runner and biker so he has a very, lithe build. His look is more sinewy with long, lean muscles.
We met at the St. John in Plymouth, Michigan. The grounds are very beautiful. We started with commercial looks to take advantage of the golden hour light, then moved to the fitness looks. Craig had a great sense of humor and an easy manner.
For the commercial looks, I wanted to showcase his stunning green eyes. His purple shirt complements his green eyes and the Fall colors in the background help to amplify their color.
For fitness images, I love contrasty black and white so I shot with that in mind.
It's great to meet with a group of local photographers. I'm fortunate to belong to a group where everyone is helpful and kind. The organizer, Amy Claeys, set up a pinup model shoot. I'd say the entire team did a great job with makeup, styling, and organization. The shoot went great. Everyone had a good time. And I walked away with some fabulous looks to add to my portfolio.
The pros and cons of group shoots and workshops are:
For the most part, everyone is courteous of each other. However, things happen and sometimes others get caught up in the moment and forget themselves. I post these points to be honest. However, I have had great fun at group shoots. Most of the people I have met are kind, generous, and incredibly talented. So don't be afraid to get out there and meet others. The pros far outweigh the cons. The best way to learn is to use your camera.
Note: Back in August, Kelsey, Michelle, and I came together to create one of my concepts. It was my first foray into my broken doll theme. I was thrilled with all the hard work and brainstorming with this team! I had hoped to get at least one image published, but I haven't heard a thing back. So, being an impatient woman and thinking this great team needs to see their hard work, I'm going ahead and republishing this blogpost.
I have always wanted to shoot a creative concept. So, I mustered up the courage and put out a casting call. Kelsey was perfect for the role. Little did I know how perfect she was, though! More on that later. I asked Michelle to do the makeup and I really think I found a kindred creative! She was completely on board with the look and concept. She and I brainstormed and raided our closets for pieces that would fit the look.
After a month or so of planning, I received the bad news that the studio I was going to shoot at was closing its doors. I was disappointed about the studio closing, but I also had to scramble to find a new location. Sometimes, better opportunities come from forced changes in plans. Michigan is known for its Victorian homes. I knew of a historical house not far from where I live. I looked up its history and found it is a Victorian farm house. So, I called the city and was told I could shoot on the property. Voila! We had a location that fit the concept perfectly!
Michelle, Kelsey, and I met at the location. Michelle was spot on with the makeup. She knew exactly what I wanted for the looks we had assembled. And Kelsey...well...what can I say? She knocked the poses out. All I had to do was tell her to act like a broken doll and she hit the pose and expression dead on!
I look forward to collaborating with both Michelle and Kelsey again on future concepts. I want to give a big thank you to both of them for helping me bring my vision to life.
Model: Kelsey Knickerbocker
MUAH: Michelle Busch
Stylists: Donna Macauley and Michelle Busch
Photographer: Donna Macauley
Well, if anyone is actually reading these, you've probably picked up a theme in some of my concepts. I like to call this look the "broken doll." It is inspired by Emilie Autumn's music and fashion sense and my love for marionettes.
Anyway, I placed a casting call many months ago and a sweet friend volunteered for it. She used to model and her daughter is very much into the same looks that fit my theme. As a delightful bonus, she has a friend who also used to model, is a makeup artist, and has a daughter who wants to start modeling. We set a date and planned for months.
We were planning on using clothing that we had or made, but on our path to this shoot, I had run across a wardrobe shop.Mariposa's, and borrowed some items from her. We combined our items with those and came up with a few other looks. I must state a disclaimer here. After receiving some harsh feedback about the wardrobe from those trying to break into the fashion industry, I deliberated on whether or not to post all images from this shoot. I decided to post them because the people who really count are the clients. Hiring a professional stylist was not in the budget, plus this is a personal client session, not a model/fashion session. I am willing to work within client budgets. We may experiment a bit and poke around before we get the look we like, but that's part of the fun. We are all engaged and involved with the outcome. We are all a part of something and together we made some artistic images. The clients love the images. So, if the styles are quirky, so be it. We like them and we like quirky.
I do not work exclusively with models. As a matter of fact, I enjoy working with everyday people. Your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, moms, dads, children. The images on this site are a combination of models and the rest of us. We are all beautiful and sometimes we need a day of pampering and feeling like a star. Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to schedule some time for pampering and feeling special. Because you are special.
As you can see from the different looks, I am versatile with styles. I can go from traditional portraiture to fashion inspired to fine art, to quirky. What ever you want, we can make it happen.
From what these mother/daughter teams have been telling me, they had a lot of fun. In the end, that's what it's all about. Enjoy yourselves and feel special! You deserve it.
This look was completely experimental. I wanted to portray and enchantress in the middle of conjuring magic. Fortunately, my client was willing to humor me. I have mixed feelings about the results. I think she's far too beautiful and the gown way to frumpy. However, I'm posting because it's the start of an idea and so she can at least see one of the results.
I am a Warren, MI based headshot, fashion, fantasy, fine art, senior, and portrait photographer. I have photographed the Detroit area and Southeastern Michigan for over 25 years.