I want to talk about community for a minute.
I know- it can be sort of a “buzzword-bandaid” in this creative industry. We’ve romanticized it a bit I’ll admit, but I want to genuinely level with you about why this idea has become such an industry cliche. Cliches are cliche for a reason- often times its because they are rooted in truth.
Friends, community is cliche because there is simply NO substitute for it in the creative world.
That’s right- there’s no going without it. It’s irreplaceable to your business, morale and overall creativity. I bring this up because this festive and classy shoot represents just that for me: community. I find it funny that I came all the way to sunny SoCal and the first photoshoot I did was a Christmas one! But, there’s a reason for that.
After I moved to SoCal this past June, I was fresh out of grad school and itching for my first “real world” creative project. Trying to establish yourself in a brand new demographic after having moved across the country is super difficult. I had no leads, no inquiries, and no network. The gap where community had been for me was absent and therefore noticeably lonely. So, I decided to do what I knew best and organize an editorial shoot! I knew I had to get out there and meet people in order to move towards establishing myself in this new place. Bottom line: I knew I couldn’t pursue my photography rebrand alone.
PRO-TIP: One of the best ways to attract your ideal client, publisher, vendor or brand is to make what they are looking for. What is their style, mission, target audience? Do your research and BE THAT. Obviously be true to yourself and your work- always lol but you catch my drift! If you want to work with someone, be what they would want! Ask yourself if you have allowed your art to be something they would be attracted to. Sometimes that means you’ll have to make your own opportunities. Nothing wrong with that! It teaches you strategy, planning, ingenuity and yes, you guessed it- community!
It wasn’t long before I came across Jennifer Garcia from Spark Studios. A photographer gone boss-lady, she saw a gap in her community and created the solution. As a photographer herself, she realized that there were no natural light studios in her county, so- she did the darn thing and made one! Getting to be the first styled shoot hosted in Spark Studios was an absolute honor and working with Jennifer directly showed me the impact that reaching out and collaborating can have on your work as an artist.
Through Jennifer, I met her in-house florist Leelina Martin, who just blew me away with her lush green garlands and organic floral work. She immediately caught my vision and was the one who actually suggested a Christmas theme! Now, Leelina and her husband are sweet friends of mine. Through Leelina I met Shea, who is a custom DIYer and letterer, so she provided the adorable gift wrapping stations and tags. Picking up on a pattern? Community begets community, begets community, begets community. This stunning shoot would not have been possible without having stepped out of my comfort zone to find those creatives who were likeminded with me!
My good friend Taryn modeled and you would think the girl did it for a living amirite?! (Still the best smolder I have ever seen- phew!) We got her dress from a Marine Ball Gown Blitz (military base perks!) and viola! I used trusty old Amazon and designed my tablescape and installation pieces. Without much cost to myself or others, our modern minimal Christmas was just a dashing success!
See? Anyone can do it! Whatever you have- small as it may seem- truly is only limited by your fear.
My inspiration behind the shoot was a classic Hollywood glamour, mixed with a sleek modern style and minimalist execution. I wanted it to be a more refined version of the typical Christmas elements which was carried out nicely by the cool greens, blacks, grays and whites. Taryn’s bold red lip gave the perfect pop of contrast to compliment the lush greens. Just lovely!
We made new friendships, danced to Christmas music in October, ate loads of chocolate, and of course- shot lots of film!
Enjoy the best of this gorgeous shoot and look out for it in publication next Christmas! Keep making your art for the process, not the result, and find people to join you. I promise it’ll be so so worth it 🙂 Thanks for tuning in and of course- Merry merry Christmas!
Check out the full gallery at the link below!