Once Upon a Summer – {Tricia Toker Photography}

September 25, 2013

Conceptual shoots give photographers a chance to use their imagination, think outside the box and create photo shoots that are different from a typical senior session.  Using things like movies or fairy tales as inspiration, give photographers a theme or concept to use for the shoot.  I have seen the Wizard of Oz used, as well as The Great Gatsby.  Seniorologie is actually using a fairy tale as inspiration for the Seniorologie Shoot Out this weekend and I can’t wait to show off what we have planned.

A Fairy Tale was used for today’s featured session by Tricia Toker Photography.  She says she wanted to “incorporate the element of storytelling into this shoot.”  Using props that were inspired by stories such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, Tricia created a dreamy session that definitely tells a story!

Check out this beautiful session below and read how Tricia and her makeup artist, Laura worked together to create their vision.  And make sure to check out more of Tricia’s beautiful work here.  Thanks for sharing Tricia!!

What was the concept or theme for this photo shoot?  
A year ago, when we first started planning, we thought it was going to be “Twisted Fairy Tales.”  As we really got into the planning though, we realized, nothing we envisioned was “Twisted,” so we needed to change that.  If nothing else, I knew that I wanted it to be moody.  I think, our Makeup Artist, Laura’s take on it definitely had more to do with color. 
What was your inspiration for this photo shoot?
My inspiration for this shoot was Grimms’ Fairy Tales.  I also am a huge fan of Amanda Diaz’s work and her visual storytelling.  I really wanted to try to incorporate the element of storytelling into this shoot.  I don’t know if I accomplished that or not, but it was definitely in the back of my mind the whole time.
How did you come up with the clothing and props to help illustrate your concept or theme?  We ended up working on this at the same time that I was wrapping up Class of 2013.  As a result, I had so little time that I could devote to this shoot.  With all of our previous styled shoots, I created a lot of the props myself.  I just couldn’t do that this time though and Laura stepped in and really took the lead.  And thank goodness she did!  She went to lots of thrift stores and asked friends for any dresses they no longer wanted.  She also enlisted the help of her aunt to make the tulle skirts, which turned out beautifully I might add!  The biggest prop of all though, the spinning wheel, was handmade by her husband.  To see it in person is just amazing.  I only wish we could use it over and over again.  Laura and I joke that it needs to be like “Where’s Waldo” and have it randomly appear in the background of every shoot.  😉  Mostly, we drew inspiration from the fairy tales on which props to use, like Cinderella talking to the birds or the cupcakes for Little Red Riding Hood.  The big story books were a last minute addition that I love!  
Who all worked on this shoot with you?  Laura Briscoe did makeup for all three girls.  Staci Gibbs did hair for both Cinderella looks and for the Miller’s Daughter.  Our lovely models: Kathryn Dickerson, Devan Heyburn, & Casey DeArmon.  And I have to include Laura’s little brother Parker.  He helped carry props and hold reflectors and lots of other little things that were a tremendous help!
What did you look for in a location for this shoot?  When we first planned on shooting in February, we had a total different vision.  With trees being dead, we really thought it would have a dead forest feel.  But as the trees came to life and the grass got greener, plans had to change.  For Little Red Riding Hood, we knew we needed a path and woods, so we chose a park that we already knew kind of fit the part.  I’ll be honest, I was struggling with Cinderella and the Miller’s Daughter.  We thought we were going to use that same park but different parts and then literally, I think 2 days before the shoot, I changed my mind and completely changed locations for Cinderella.  It had a mill and stairs and just really suited the Cinderella story much more than the original park.
Was this shoot for your portfolio or another purpose?  The very first shoot Laura and I ever worked on together was a styled shoot.  We do them for ourselves, because it gives me a chance to do something that I don’t normally do for my seniors.  For Laura it’s an opportunity to try out makeup looks or techniques that she typically wouldn’t do for a client.  My favorite makeup look of hers to date is from this shoot and it’s the Miller’s Daughters gold makeup.  I absolutely love it!!  I wish that we could “gold” up everyone like that!  😀  
How do you feel this shoot helped you grow as a photographer?  Oh my goodness – that’s a tough one.  I think the biggest challenge for me was to try to recreate well known stories, but still give them my own spin without making them look silly.  Another thing, shooting in parks.  I’m not a fan of shooting in parks.  I don’t like a whole lot of green.  I had to make it work though and I think I did.  
What tips would you give to other photographers who are wanting to create a theme or concept shoot for their photography business?  Don’t give up.  As cheesy as that sounds.  😉  We had so many obstacles with this shoot.  Date changes, casting changes, last minute wardrobe and location changes.  Anything that could go wrong, almost did.  I can’t tell you the number of times that Laura and I said to each other, “if we hadn’t put so much into this already, we might say forget it.”  We didn’t though.  If those obstacles hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have had the shoot we did and in the end, I think all of us involved are very proud are the parts we played in making it a success.