It’s WTWW…and this week Ali Johnson Photography is joining us to continue our studio theme for the month of September. She’s going to share about Studio THEMES. When she threw her pitch to me, I was totally down. LOVE her vision and the way she created these images!
“I LOVE dramatic, creatively stylized studio photos shoots so today’s “What to Wear Wednesday” is all about creating a themed studio session using outfits and accessories.
Since most of my sessions are outside, I rarely get the chance to be creative in the studio. This year I wanted to change that! I decided to do a color themed session with my 2016 senior reps. Each one picked a different color and together we came up with outfits and accessories to represent the color.
Our first one was green and we used a wood nymph/fairy kind of look. We started with a dress from Goodwill, added TONS of ivy from my yard and a few silk flowers from Michael’s. A little cutting and pinning and a bunch of hot glue gun burns later, and we had our dress and crown! (Please excuse the cell phone shots!)
I wanted to have the session in my studio so I could be 100% in control of the lighting, but I still wanted the background to have an outdoorsy feel to it. I cut a bunch of pine tree branches down from the woods on my property and secured them to my background stand with clamps, string, thread, rubber bands…anything I could get my hands on!
To add to the wood fairy theme, Morgan styled her hair in tiny ringlets and my MUA took care of the fantastically dramatic makeup. We wrapped ivy around her arms and I used some of the silk flowers as a necklace. Everything came together perfectly!
The next color inspired session was gold and we decided to go with a Greek goddess theme. Again I went to Goodwill for a plain dress as the base but this time we headed to Joanne Fabrics for material…including the gold sparkly fabric I used as the background.
We had a basic idea of how we wanted the top and bottom to look, but the skirt on the outside went through a few different changes. Keeping with the Greek theme I made a belt from some gold material and used a lacy fabric to create the top. For the skirt, I wrapped the fabric around her and pinned it in the back. One of these days I need to learn how to sew! I will say that I sewed the pleats in the outer skirt myself so I’m not a total lost cause.
For the accessories, I wanted the jewelry to tie in with the gold goddess theme but not over power the outfit. I used hanging leaf earrings and gold rings and bracelets. Sarah did a fabulous job with her hair and even made the awesome headband herself! My MUA kept with the gold theme and added some amazing jewels to play up the eye make-up.
I also incorporated a gold antique chair into a few of the photos to add to the Greek Goddess feel. I love how regal Sarah looks in that photo!
As the session went on, we got a little more dramatic with the make-up and at the very end I pulled out an old belly dancer hip scarf I had and took one of my absolute favorite images from the whole day!
Light blue came next. After checking out Joanne Fabric, we decided on an Egyptian-ish theme. We bought some blue chiffon to make a long scarf and used several different upholstery trims for the belt, scarf accents and even used a little as a head piece!
For the first part of the session, we used a blue backdrop and left the dress and scarf as I’d designed it. Emily’s make-up was also a little on the lighter side. We put her hair in a French twist and paired chandelier earrings with a matching ring.
Half way through the session, I wanted to change things up and get a little more dramatic. I added sparkly curtains to the background and adjusted my lighting. My MUA changed the make-up and Emily began to play around with the dress. I also used the upholstery trim as an awesome headpiece.
It’s amazing how a few small changes can have a huge impact on a photo! Adding a red lip and darker eye shadow really made an enormous difference!
The next rep I photographed chose royal blue. With her long, light blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes, I immediately thought of a mermaid! When I found this gorgeous sequined dress at a thrift store (for $4.00 I might add!) I knew it would be perfect.
We started out in my studio for the first part of the session. Working with one of my makeup artists, we came up with the concept that in the studio, Maddie’s makeup would be elegant, but not overly Mermaid-ish…not that that’s a word. 🙂 She wore starfish earrings which was a nice subtle nod toward the general session theme.
While I was loading up my van, my MUA altered Maddie’s make up to look over-the-top dramatic! I had the idea that when she stepped into the water, (which was my neighbor’s pool) her full mermaid-ness…again, not a real word 🙂 …would come out!
I used my background stand and actually hung backdrop in the water…it worked so perfectly! I put one light by the edge of the pool, with a sandbag on it and another light over the backdrop pointing toward the water.
As she got farther into the water, her hair obviously got pretty wet so we gave her a super cute side braid. At the very end I took a few shots of Maddie floating on her back in the water. It really showcased her amazing eyes!
The last color session I’ve done (so far) is pink. Not just any pink though–hot pink!!
We started out thinking we’d use a long flowy dress and tons of flowers, but then I read a tutorial on how to make a tulle circle skirt. It was so cute I couldn’t resist changing the whole vibe of the session! We decided to go for a slightly 80’s theme and wanted to show two different sides to the look: one fun and playful and the other a little more edgy .
We started out with a polka-dot shirt ($6.00 at a thrift store) and a pair of striped flats that I bought years ago. We paired black button earrings along with some pearls and gave her a high ponytail. This skirt was made for twirling and Mariah was absolutely adorable in front of the camera! Twisting and turning with her ponytail swinging about…it was like playing with a life-sized Barbie!
For the edgy look, I had a few different tops that I wanted Mariah to try out. Whenever I’m shopping at Goodwill (which happens more frequently than I’d like to admit) I’m on the lookout for sequined clothing. I’d found a sparkly shirt that I thought might work (not to mention some fabulous shoes) but I also had this amazing vest that my mother wore back in 70’s. I coupled that with some earrings that I wore back in high school and my grandmother’s necklace; she looked absolutely fantastic and so elegant!
I loved the way Mariah looked but felt like something wasn’t quite right. The sequined vest, while lovely, didn’t quite have the fun youthful feel that I wanted. Mariah changed into one of my Goodwill finds, we braided her hair and my MUA added more dramatic make-up.
At the very end of the session, I pulled out a pack of Hubba Bubble bubble gum and loaded Mariah up! I wanted a shot of her blowing a huge bubble and though we didn’t get it on the first try, it ended up being one of my favorite shots. I LOVE how it showcases her beautiful eyes!
From the planning to the execution, I have had an absolute blast during these sessions! I have red, turquoise, black & purple coming up and I can not wait!”
Wow, just WOW! I am loving each idea…from the beautiful imagery to your thrift store finds, each one is SO well done! I know that each girl has had a blast doing these…like, I can’t really pick a top fave, but the green and navy blue are def in the very top. SO much work was put in, but gosh, what amazing images resulted! Thank you so much, Ali, for joining us and sharing your tips, tricks, and vision with us!