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Photo shoots are exciting for many reasons, especially because they are collaborative and creative projects. Yet they also represent hours of labour (and can present unexpected challenges). Weather can turn, lighting changes rapidly and don’t get started on mosquitoes, uneven terrain and stray dogs rampaging through! The greatest joy though is joining with others at the end of a shoot, marveling at the beauty of images that are produced. And when you find your work featured on the cover of a bridal magazine, that’s not so bad either!

Earlier this month, I had the honor of joining a group of vendors in Kelowna, staging and designing a bridal themed shoot. ‘Beauty and the Bed’ was a spectacular success. Our shoot took place atop Knox Mountain on one of those glorious Okanagan evenings. The moment the lovely Kelsey Wise, from DVM – Deja Vu Model Management, strode up the path in a lace confection gown from Lillian Wild Bridal, with upswept hair and makeup to die for, I held my breath. Ethereal, heavenly, gorgeous.  Her delicate, lace headpiece, handcrafted by Snazzy Designs, framed Kelsey’s porcelain features. Her eyes, accented in smoky liner,  and lips painted in bold lipstick, were expertly applied by Amana Beauty.

Alisha Khan, from Alisha Khan Photography brought out her magic, leaning on a step stool, bustling around the props, and framing images that turned out to be astounding. With the golden light of the fading sun slipping behind the mountain, Alisha took shots of the ‘bride’, setting up the shots, moving about, ever energetic and gracious. Her warmth certainly put me at ease, and her ability to navigate difficult terrain, all with a smile on her face, showed her professionalism.

So much goes into preparation, for everyone. Kelsey first had to be fitted in the dress before spending hours in a chair under the expertise of Amana Beauty, and later had to brace the chill of the evening wind. Alisha ensured we had a theme, location, gown, model and props well ahead of time. Alisha ensured the backdrop, model, lighting and props all worked together in harmony. The end result was breathtaking, but hours of work went toward the final presentation.

For myself, along with helpers, I lugged a wrought-iron bed, steamer trunk, chair and mantel, down a sandy trail, traipsing over tumbleweeds, sage brush and sloping terrain, searching for the perfect spot to set up my furniture and props. My husband came along, uncomplainingly moving the bed another 10 feet this way, then that way, nope, over here . . . Trying to find a level spot to place an iron bed on the side of a mountain is . . . groan inducing and kind of comical. We managed in the end to locate a fairly flat spot in a clearing of pine trees and sage brush, with the water of Okanagan lake glimmering in the distance. The iron bed served as the main prop for our ‘bride’ along with our white, shabby chic mantel surround. Nestled amongst the tall grass were Blushing Pear’s white bird cage and large, vintage steamer trunk. Nearby, I hung our iron chandelier from a pine tree branch. Our chandelier was filled with a topiary green ball and adorned with roses. Beneath the chandelier, I placed an  antique chair and vintage pedestal ‘pie’ table.

Now came the task of arranging props and furniture into something resembling a Victorian bedroom in the outdoors. I wanted the bigger props to be the foundation upon which the smaller props would serve as the accents. Too much or too little can be ineffective. Angles, terrain and bushes had to be confronted but eventually the creative process kicked in and I slid, lifted, and rearranged everything until I achieved a scene exactly as I had envisioned.

Working diligently, we ignored the bear warning, curious onlookers and the possibility of ticks hiding in trees, and thought only of the shoot. Ah, the joys of working in public places. We carried on, with brilliant rays of the sun changing from yellow to gold, then slipping away, leaving a pale, soft evening light. The model, reclining on the bed, looked like a sleeping beauty and we high-fived and smiled at the results of a hard day’s work.

It was a magnificent day, from beginning to end, but now the task of packing up bed linens, birdcages, beds and chairs awaited. My helpers and I began lifting, carrying, and transporting everything back to the parking lot, piece by piece, step by step. The mosquitoes were by now out in full force, and the chill in the air increased.

As we loaded the vehicles, fitting and organizing props into every available space, we drove away, leaving the site as it was when we arrived.

Planning, preparation, delivery and shooting was a momentous task, requiring several professionals who did a stellar job bringing our bridal vision to life. Thanks go to: Alisha Khan Photography, Amana Beauty, Lillian Wild Bridal, Kelsey Wise/Deja Vu Model Management, Snazzy Designs, and Blushing Pear Vintage Rentals. And finally, thank you to Bellissima Bride Magazine, for not only featuring our photo shoot on the cover, but for including a wonderful feature of our work inside your magazine.

kim@blushingpear.com