I’m learning to step into the spotlight more. Believe it or not, I prefer to be behind the lens but it is time to step out of the shadows! What better way to do than to have a photo shoot. I honestly did not know how I was going to pull this off but in true FunWithZs fashion I made it happen! I don’t have all of the images yet but I wanted to share the process and some of my favorite images!
The Concept – As with most things in life, it helps to have a guiding star. A consistent reference to let you know that you are heading in the right direction. For my photo shoot, the concept served this purpose. I failed to gain momentum until I knew what I was seeking to create. One day it finally hit me, the photo shoot was about me and I KNOW ME!! I’ve been ME ALL MY LIFE! I stopped to ask myself what I wanted the world to see and my concept was born: the juxtaposition of hard and soft because I have a tough exterior but if I let you in, you will find that I am really a softy on the inside.
The Mood – Once I nailed my concept, I could not hold back the creative process. The mood board formed in my head as I saw images of brick buildings & tulle, graffiti & lace, leather & ice cream, corset & fringe. Instagram was a great resource for me to study poses and body positioning. I saved my favorite images to serve as inspiration (looking back I should have practiced in the mirror!!! I often found myself wondering what I looked like which made me second guess myself le sigh).
You gon’ piss a lot of people off simply by doing you and getting yours. Welp 🤷🏽♀️ #WatchMeWork Cause they gon’ get all this #BlackGirlMagic whether they like it or not. #KélaVie KUTIES!!! I just got my hands on the images from my trip to Paris last year ( don’t ask) and LAWD!! They’re so damn GAWGEOUS! I swear they gone make me go blog something and y’all know I ain’t did that in a whole heap of months. Ugh. They’re so fu*cking good. ERIK, baybee, that eye… IMPECCABLE. I’m SICK! PC: @erik_carter Creative Direction: @iamjustinjoseph and @mychaelchinn Beauty: @camaraaunique Style: Me (vintage dress, @zara jacket, @charlotteolympia heels) Video: @photosbyrome
The Photographer – I have several friends that have photo shoots annually, if not more frequently, so I started by asking for their recommendations. After reviewing each photographer’s portfolio and pricing, I was crippled. I could not believe the investment that was required to make it happen so I did nothing for several months (procrastination is my worse flaw at times). I was traveling with one of my great friends and she happened to mentioned that she was updating her head shots and taking her annual family pictures. She was so complementary of her photographer that I asked her to connect us. I was so excited to FINALLY make progress that I got ahead of myself. I set a date/time with the photographer without asking key questions about the cost structure (i.e. locations/wardrobe changes, coverage hours, photo editing, number of images, etc.), photography style and without reviewing his portfolio. I quickly realized that I went from standing still to running and neither were the right approach. So I pumped the brakes to do some real research, during that time I learned my most valuable lesson GO WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW (a deal popped up from Boston to Atlanta, it reminded me that my cousin is BLOWING UP on the photography scene so I opted to fly him down and trust him with my vision)!! While I fretted over the details, ultimately my photographer, Byron Ebanks, had it figured out. I was all in on the mood boards he sent over; entitled Grace and Walk the Line and perfectly aligned to my hard and soft concept without me sharing a single detail (it helps that he is hands down my favorite cousin and raised with me like a big brother. Shhh! Don’t tell my other cousins!). Byron knew exactly how to best capture me and given that I was nervous, he was able to easily put me at ease.
The Looks – This was by far the funnest part (I love styling me so I opted to go it alone but highly recommend that you check out Morgan Wider or Nikki Woolfolk. My friends have worked with both of these ladies and they are extremely talented)! I made a commitment to shop my closet for this shoot and fortunately I had already unknowingly acquired some great pieces to feature. I pulled key pieces (a mix of dresses, skirts, shorts and pants), played dress up to find the right looks (including shoes and accessories) and they evolved over time. I didn’t end up using all of the looks (I was far too ambitious in terms of the number of locations – 5 – and outfits changes – 7 – that I planned) and a 2 day shoot quickly became a 1 day shoot because I was TIRED (modeling is hard work y’all and there was no way that I could beat my face to the same level of perfection)!!! The positive side is that I already have some looks planned for my next shoot (now I just need to get Byron to agree to come back again)!!!
Hard & Soft Collection:
Rocks, Feathers & Tulle Studs, Sequins & Lace Leather, Corset & Fringe The Full Collection
The Location – I had several locations in my head and my girl Dominique gave me SO MANY GREAT IDEAS! I scouted the locations with my photographer which saved time the day of the shoot. The spots we landed on were: the Bridge at Westside Provisions District, Krog Street Tunnel, Ponce City Market and Marietta Square
The Beauty Team – I did not want to stress about my hair or make-up so I opted to outsource those tasks. I am so glad that I did, I in NO WAY could have made myself look as good! I can’t say enough great things about Robin at Southern Curl Atlanta!!! She is stuck with me (more to come in an upcoming process on my full submission to team natural)!!! My girl Alexis got her make-up done for the Mayor’s Ball and she looked SO AMAZING that I knew I had to hire Brittany Allen! This is the first time that I have EVER liked my make-up, she was incredible and I still looked like ME!
The Committee – I realized early on that if I was going to pull this off, I was going to need help. So I want to thank my style review board: Dominique, Dethra, Noelle and Libryia. Also, given that my goal was to NOT buy anything (although I did end up buying the leather jacket, it was so critical to the mood that Dominique made me do it!!) I had to lean on Alexis. Alexis and I share an extended closet, which means that what’s mine is for her use and vice versa (thank you so much for letting me borrow your black tulle skirt and your new with tags silver dress, you are the absolute best!!!). If it had not been for my crew, there is just no way that the results would have been the same!