Once a year now, I call up my buddy and amazing photographer Sarah Beaty of Eyeris Photography, and she and I hash out a plan for a Freshie & Zero photo shoot. I used to photograph everything myself and use my friends as models, but as the business evolved I had to step up my game! Some of my photos I took of my friend Kelley in my mom's backyard are still some of my favorites, but my photography skills were just not as professional as I needed them to be:


She's adorable, but my photography left a lot to be desired (mostly my inability to focus on the model and the jewelry at the same time). This one is from 2008 - my friend Kelley was the face of Freshie & Zero! She had an exuberance that really came through in the photos, but my photos needed to portray a more polished image. Here are some tips I learned to have a successful photo shoot:

1. Define Your Goal 

My goal was to have really fabulous professional photos. Often in the past, the hair and makeup (and wardrobe) was an afterthought, so this time I needed to make that a priority.

2. Hire Talented People

I needed a pro for every aspect of the shoot. Fortunately for me, there are loads of talented people in Nashville I can turn to for help to! I used an agency to find the right model. Sarah's friend Sharla Pruitt Higgins just so happens to do hair and makeup for the stars and was available the day of our shoot. I now had a team of creative pros!

3. Make a Mood Board

Next I made a Pinterest mood board to develop the theme of the shoot - can I say that this is my new favorite use of Pinterest? I pinned the hair, makeup, outfits, and overall attitude that I wanted to portray - which evolved into casual and simple beauty. I sent this board to everyone involved with the shoot, and that was pretty much all I had to do! Everyone "got it".


4. Gather Props and Wardrobe

Making a mood board also helped me figure out what our model would wear. She brought some of her own clothes and looked to this board for inspiration. I used the board as inspiration to play stylist and get the wardrobe we needed on approval. Why I had never thought of that before? Since I knew the clothes were just on approval (pretty much what real stylists do), I had an unlimited budget, and I was free to pick exactly what I thought would look great!

I also liked the way some of my inspiration photos utilized props like drinks and hats to draw attention to bracelets and earrings, so I collected similar items as well.

5. Find the right location

We held the shoot at my house because it was free, there are a lot of blank walls since I just moved in, and I live in proximity to lots of green space and even some wheat fields which would be perfect for outdoor shots. It was also ideal because if it rained, we could stay inside and shoot there, which is exactly what happened!

The talented team!
You can see how I shoved my kid's play area to the side to make room for our set. Mommy needs to work, kids.

6. Be organized on the day of the shoot

I cleared a table near an outlet so there was plenty of room for Sharla to lay out her makeup and curling irons (she's no joke - she had three cases full of stuff!). I laid all of the jewelry out in sets, so at any given time I could make a decision about what pieces I wanted with which outfits. The wardrobe was hung up neatly in a nearby bathroom. My friend Krista came as an extra set of hands, because you never know! Staying organized and having a friend ready to assist me really helped the shoot be more successful.

Sharla did her hair and makeup beautifully.

Primping

7. Have Snacks

Seriously - you can never go wrong with offering people a little bit of food to keep the energy up. I laid out a little snack bar with cheese, crackers, trail mix, and grapes, which was much appreciated by all. I also had sparkling pink grapefruit juice. Yum.

8. Be Flexible

The day of the shoot, the weather sucked! It was overcast and drizzling and not what we were hoping for, but we made it work. Sarah (the photographer) brought fancy lights and backgrounds and the shoot took a direction that was more fashion-y than I had expected, but in a good way.

Act like there's coffee in that cup! Sell that bracelet!

By the end of the day the rain cleared up, so we hightailed it outside and got some beautiful shots in the afternoon sun. Instead of being bummed that we couldn't shoot outside, we focused on getting great shots inside and when the opportunity came to go out, we took it! We didn't go to the awesome nearby wheat field, but there's always a next time.

Catching that pretty afternoon sun!
Working the light in my driveway.
That pretty much sums it up! On a side note, our model Tiffany was fierce! Her (natural) red hair is GAWgeous and the jewelry looked fabulous on her. She was also pretty nice, too, and it turned out that she and the photographer sort of knew each other as did the stylist. Oh Nashville, I love how small of a town you can be! By the end of the shoot, they were all exchanging numbers and planning on working and hanging out together in the future.

Tiffany, me, Sharla, and Sarah