Bohemian Summer

Another day, another Muse Boutique photo shoot! Although I am no longer with them as a stylist, it is a ton of fun to work with the girls on the shoots!! We were lucky to have so many beautiful, boho-chic pieces to play with!! It’s not quite my dream boho shoot (it’s hard to be fully creative when you have to make sure the clothes are always the center of every photo), thankfully when I am choosing for my blog, I have more freedom!

My nomad queen

Nomad Princess

Outdoor shoots are my bread and butter. I detest studio photography and will only shoot indoors if ABSOLUTELY necessary. Nothing is more gorgeous than natural lighting!! Although golden hour is the best, any time can be amazing as long as you pay close attention to where your sun is. I try to avoid direct, harsh sunlight on the face to avoid sheen and over exposure.

Unless of course the sun is being used for artistic purposes!!

Unless of course the sun is being used for artistic purposes!!

It is wonderful to have the help of a stylist on site! It is a FANTASTIC help to not have to worry about how the clothes look while I’m shooting. In the past I’ve worked with a make-up/clothing stylist on site and that was unbelievably amazing. Although it is a ton of fun to put my own outfits and looks together for my own shoots, I can appreciate only having to focus on one aspect of the photo shoot. If you have a friend that would be willing to come along and focus on those little details (hair, make-up, clothing and jewelry placement) take them! Have them help you! You will notice a huge difference.

High-waisted Hippie

High-waisted Hippie

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Climbing out of a river bed, Marissa is a trooper!

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Boho date night anyone??

Marissa (my model) has come so far from our first awkward photo shoot almost two years ago! I’ve so enjoyed watching her talent grow and learning right along with her. It’s an amazing gift to be able to work with people I enjoy! I love meeting new people and getting to know them while I photograph them, but it’s just a whole different level to spend the day laughing with people you are close to.

Flirty summer prints make me drool!

Flirty summer prints make me drool!

Finding locations can be stressful if you think too hard about it. Most of the time you aren’t going to want the background to overpower the people in the photograph. A shallow depth of field (low f stop) is important to making your modle stand out. Because of that, any area can easily become an ideal photo shoot area. It’s always nice to have some greenery or solid background; a park, back yard, attractive wall or fence, really anything can make a fantastic back drop! Be creative!

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A passive background

When the opportunity presents itself and you are given a gorgeous background, USE IT! These local caves are to die for and I can’t seem to get enough of them lately. In this case, the background obviously matters and it is important to make sure it doesn’t outshine the subject!!

A more active background

A more active background

I want to live in this cave.

I want to live in this cave.

Flash would have been greatly appreciated in the cave. Right now I only have my built in flash and I HATE it! It is over powering and I never, ever use it! I need to invest in an external flash and learn to use it, right now I am so anti flash; I just love that natural light! Avoiding a whole type of photography because I am uncomfortable with the equipment is silly and my goal this fall is to become comfortable with flash!!

A black and white for the road :)

A black and white for the road 🙂

It was a lovely day, filled with laughter and joy, a perfect day. As always I am grateful and cannot wait to do it again!!!

What makes a perfect day for you?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

xo

Hil

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Bohemian Shoot Inspiration

I have been DYYYING to do a boho/hippie photo shoot. Messy hair, piled on jewelry, layers of clothing and accessories, really just that over the top feel. For inspiration, I am turning to a few of my favorite bloggers/photographers and as always a little bit of pinterest.

A fairly popular photo floating around pinterest.

Photo via Charcoal Alley, click the pick for the link 🙂

I don’t know where I am going to get pounds of jewelry, I will have to borrow from a few girlfriends. I think this shoot will definitely require soft golden hour lighting (golden hour is the last 30 to 45 minutes of the day when the lighting is PERRRFECT).

Photo via pinterst from some random tumbler.

Photo via pinterst from some random tumbler.

A dark smokey eye is a must!! I’m also loving the all black (not something I normally do). I also love the light airiness of all white with chunky bling and maybe a hair accessory and some braids.

This one is from a hair website. If anyone knows the origins of any of these photos, please share!!

This one is from a hair website. If anyone knows the origins of any of these photos, please share!!

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I wish I had a horde of models to dress up and pose, along with an old station wagon or hippie van. I know it’s cliche and over the top, but that is what the idea behind this shoot is. There is a time and a place for subtlety as well as crazy, wicked, over the top.

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I’m excited to put my own spin on something like this. I think I’ll title it something expected like Young, Wild and Free. I won’t know until it’s done. This isn’t any kind of concrete thing, just a vague idea/guideline to inspire me for the shoot. It’s always best to go in with some kind of idea and not just wing it; it’s very difficult to direct a model/models if you are trying to come up with your plan on the spot.

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Ahhh backlighting, you are my true love.

xo

Hil

Yoga Space Inspiration

Cozy in and get ready for a long one!! I have wanted a yoga space for a long time now. I have been avoiding throwing it together because I had convinced myself that I needed to BUY a bunch of stuff first.   On a side note, this last weekend was the start of my Yogi Training Program through CorePower Yoga!! It was an amazing beginning to the eight week program, and during the second day, I found myself with the strongest urge to make a space of my own inside my home. A place to relax, meditate and of course practice yoga!!

My feet, on my turkish towel, on my yoga mat.

My feet, on my turkish towel, on my yoga mat.

So I scoured my home for all of my favorite inspirational and meditative items (I basically raped every other room in my house). Decided to finally make use of my “craft room” that I hardly ever enter, why not have a half craft room half yoga space?! At first I was a little worried that splitting the space would defeat the purpose of a space away from everything, however I only do things I enjoy in this space and if anything I think that will make me enjoy being in here more!!

Do I know how to split a space or what?!

Do I know how to split a space or what?!

I don’t need a whole lot of room to practice yoga, as long as I can spread my arms and stretch my legs, I am a haaappy camper!! I hung some motivational quotes in pretty frames above a collection of my favorite and most calming items (I also threw in a bamboo plant from down stairs because why the hell not?!).

How nice is it to have a little green plant in any space?!

How nice is it to have a little green plant in any space?!

Some of my favorite quotes and sayings.

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I will admit that I do not yet have much knowledge on what each of these figures mean or what they represent, however that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their presence in my space, I also included some of my favorite healing and calming stones, some sage, my mala beads and of course TONS of candles!!

I love amethyst because it facilitates inner peace, click here to find out more about gemstones and their uses.

I love amethyst because it facilitates inner peace, click here to find out more about gemstones and their uses.

I tried to fill the space with things that both inspire and relax me. Things from my past that make me happy, gifts from loved ones that put a smile on my face, mostly just things that will make me want to come to this space and enjoy the time I do spend here.

My little mini brass Buddha from Thailand. My Mom had it blessed by the Monks and brought it home to me :)

My little mini brass Buddha from Thailand. My Mom had it blessed by the Monks and brought it home to me 🙂

We cannot forget about the craft/blog area, it is JUST as important, well not really but for the sake of the post, let’s pretend!! I wanted to have only the necessities on my desk to keep with that calm and serene feeling. Having a closet (fully mirrored by the way) has definitely been a blessing!! A little bit of storage on the “desk” (actually my old kitchen table), a mouse pad (actually just a piece of cork board), ikea lamp for projects and a magnetic board for some photos of friends and family!!

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Most of my goodies (chair and card file drawer) are craigslist finds.

On the wall next to the “desk” I hung a shelf to hold old and new journals, as well as some other knick knacky things (fake succulents and a painting from a trip to china when I young). The basket from Hawaii holds towels for yoga sweat!!

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My all time favorite journal (both for its looks and the years it contains) is this one that I covered with clippings from a two month trip all over Europe. This room ended up being a memoir to my travels because that is what makes me happy. I absolutely love to reminisce about where I’ve been and dream of all the beautiful places I will go!!

vintage camera from craigslist

vintage camera from flea market

This space is already very special to me and I can tell that I will enjoy my time spent here. It is wonderful to be able to devote a room to things I love. A place that makes me feel inspired, a place to relax and a place to enjoy my own company 🙂

Goofin' around

Goofin’ around

Do you have a place that makes you feel inspired? If not, what is your dream space??

xo

Hil

Inspiring Your Model/Client

Another vague class project. My final: DIY, is just that, a start to finish do it yourself. I find these projects to be the most difficult because a lot of my ideas are similar and coming up with something fresh and interesting gets challenging with little to no direction. For this project I wanted to portray femininity and softness. Originally I had wanted to add a dark underside of vulnerability, however I accidentally did that with my last shoot so I decided to go without it.

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This photo is a little soft in focus, but I like the effect.

To add that feminine touch, I styled her in a sheer lace dress with a chunky necklace and curled her hair. The sun was a little overbearing, but we tried to achieve soft posses.

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a flowing lace dress with layers of necklaces.

There is nothing more feminine than seeing a womanly silhouette; I achieved that by backlighting her sheer dress. You can see her curves through the material, giving an almost innocent sex appeal to the photo.

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Underneath the dress she is wearing lace biker shorts and pasties only, I wanted the full effect of the back of the dress.

If you scroll down through my blog, you’ll notice that Hayley has modeled for me before. Sometimes (especially for friends/models) it can be difficult to get more than one type of look from a girl. To achieve this I like to include my models in the planning process of the shoot. Letting them know what the feel and the scene of the shoot is going to be ahead of time, allows them to prepare as well.

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She looks a bit scared here :O

The most difficult task when on a shoot is directing the model. Sometimes I get so caught up in camera settings, lighting, scouting new spots, imagining what I want the photo to look like, that I forget to coax my model into position. There is a very fine line between bossing someone around and helping them into position. It is especially important in the beginning of the shoot to be supportive; it builds confidence and helps make your model comfortable. One thing that I love to do is take short breaks to show the model the pictures I have already taken. Not only can I can SHOW her what I want her to tweak, it also enforces that what she is doing looks good.

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As always, the most important thing is having fun and making the model/client comfortable. You want them to look at the pictures with fond memories and tell their friends! 😉

xo

Hilary

Muse

I’ve always had a love for fashion, as a kid I wanted to be a clothing designer (until I realized I couldn’t draw to save my life), but it wasn’t until my job at Muse Boutique in Laguna Beach that I thought to combine my love of fashion with my love of photography. When I first started working as a stylist there, I had fallen out of love with photography; I no longer had the inspiration to carry around my camera and I was going nowhere fast. I couldn’t find a direction I wanted to take my photography and I was trying my hardest to move on without looking back, until I noticed that my manager was taking our store photos on her iphone. I volunteered to bring my camera and snap a few photos for her (thinking that it would be nice to dust the thing off and anything would be better than iphone photos!). Immediately I knew that I had found my passion!

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It wasn’t easy, my models were my co-workers, some were more comfortable in front of the camera, others were downright awkward.

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Slowly, together, we figured it out; as I became more skilled with my camera the girls became more relaxed and confident.

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At some point I realized I had no idea what I was doing, although I was enjoying every second of it. I signed up for some photography classes at the local junior college and finally learned how to use my light meter and other manual functions. I am lucky because I have been allowed almost complete creative freedom on the shoots (and also because we have such cute clothing).

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Last week I gave my two weeks at Muse as a stylist (I could never tear myself away from doing the photo shoots!) As difficult and heartbreaking as it was, I know that my time there and the people I’ve worked with have made a drastic change in my life. I’m leaving to focus on my photography, but without Muse, I might have never picked up the camera again.

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I am so grateful for the time that I have spent at Muse. The girls have become my second family and the clothing fills my closet! If you are ever in the Laguna Beach area, make sure you come by and check them out! Also they just launched their new website! Exciting stuff!!

I wanted to give a special thank you to my manager, who has been the most amazing inspiration and has been patient every step of the way!!

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I couldn’t have done any of this without you!

xo

Hilary

Finding Inspiration for a Shoot

It can be really difficult to plan a shoot from scratch. Most of the time someone will approach you with an idea and you do your best to bring that idea to life, but when you are doing your own shoot it can be surprisingly difficult to give it any kind of direction. Especially after a while, you find that you no longer have the inspiration to make your shoots unique. At this point it is easy to fall into a rut, or just walk away from photography in frustration. When I find myself in this place, I look everywhere for inspiration; magazines, blogs, pinterest, even just a nice walk out and about can refresh your point of view. I try to come up with an idea and then jot down a few descriptive words to base the photoshoot around. Right now I am working on a photography project for school; my idea or inspiration is femininity, vulnerability, fragility, innocence and nakedness. From there I look for photos that evoke that feeling in me.

None of the following images are mine, they were pulled from other blogs, pinterest and other areas of inspiration.

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These images above will inspire me to make the shoot my own vision. Now note that I am not going to copy these poses and ideas, just take the feeling that they give me and put that into my own work. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration in other people’s work. That’s the whole reason that artist create, to inspire others.

Where do you look for inspiration?

xo

Hilary

Inspiration, Light vs. Dark

Have you heard Plato’s Allegory of the Cave? Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. All they can see are the shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to any kind of reality. The philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners. This story was the inspiration for my shoot yesterday.

I started with dark clothing and poses, as deep into the cave as I could get.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this shoot from start to finish. I hope you did too! If you could make any story come to life, what would you choose?
xo
Hilary