The worst advice I’ve ever received as a photographer was that you should never shoot for free. The theory being, I guess, that you have sunk an enormous amount of money, time and energy into learning your craft, and you shouldn’t share it without being compensated. This theory has always puzzled me. I’m a professional photographer, which means I rely on my art to make a living, primarily photographing weddings. There are often new techniques or ideas I want to try, and I don’t believe that someone’s wedding is an appropriate place to “try” something I’m not a hundred percent sure of. The secret to making unpaid shoots worth everyone’s while, is choosing a team carefully. My shoots with my partner in life and art, Paul Cofield, have a ton of moving parts, and we only use professionals who are really dedicated to the shoot and to making it work. Some of our closest friends are models or industry professionals who we have worked on creative shoots with. We’ve gone on to shoot their weddings, and babies and growing families. Creative shoots are more than something we do just for fun, they are key to who we are as members of the Philadelphia art community. It is not only crucial to practice and keep our skills sharp during our wedding photography off-season, but to make our shoots a true collaboration of local artists and businesses who we like to be able to promote as well as giving them beautiful photos to use for their own self-promotion. It’s a little way that we try to give back to the community and create artwork we can be proud of.
This one started off simple enough. A facebook post from good friend and local makeup artist Wendie Hetherington of Wendie Hetherington Makeup Artistry asking if anyone would be interested in shooting a Winter concept she wanted to try based on Jadis, the White Witch. It’s not easy to plan an outdoor shoot that’s based on the weather, especially as global warming takes over and winter becomes less predictable every year, but I loved the challenge of shooting someone else’s concept. We once again called on our friends at Philly Aids Thrift where Stephen Quick (also known as performer Ann Archy Artist) found us a perfect dress for our White Witch. We ran the idea by Kelly Robin of Batcakes Couture, who had the idea to custom make a crown out of hand cut lace. I felt like our white witch needed a little more edge, so our buddy Psydde at Delicious Boutique provided the fur cape, hunter’s bag and jewelry that made our witch a little more readable (and a whole lot cooler) than a dress alone would have done.
We lost our original model the day before the shoot and had to postpone for almost a full month, making winter even less of a possibility than ever before. I was determined to not have all of our hours of planning go to waste, and Kelly’s stunning crown was sitting on my dining room table. I was not about to let her kindness or beautiful work go unphotographed. I was beyond thrilled when Brittany Ann (@fragilebebe) bravely stepped up at the last minute to be our lovely White Witch. I’d wanted to work with Brittany for quite some time, and although I never really envisioned her in a fantasy shoot, her delicate, exotic features, and porcelin skin made her the perfect, and an enormously interesting choice. Jessica Saint not only jumped on board for hair, but was able to quickly reassess what we had planned with our first model, and come up with another idea for Brittany Ann’s character.
I felt like the lack of winter we were dealt needed a really unique location, and Columcile Megalith Park, a celtic spirituality park was absolutely magical and perfect in every way. I also wanted some drama to make up for the dull winter, so we added white smoke bombs to the mix, putting them in a lantern to create an illusion that our White Witch was creating winter. I’m thrilled I didn’t attempt the smoke bombs at some one’s wedding or engagement shoot, but now that I’ve experimented with them, I know I can, for the right client. We’re more interesting wedding photographers because of shoots like this. We’ve made deeper connections with people by creating art with them, and I hope we’ve provided everyone who helped with images that they can be just as proud of as we are.
no images were foundPhotography: Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield of Black, White and Raw Photography
Model: Brittany Ann
Makeup: Wendie Hetherington Makeup Artistry
Wardrobe: Stephen Quick of Philly Aids Thrift
Custom Made Crown: Batcakes Couture
Accessories: Delicious Boutique
Hair: Jessica Saint Makeup and Hair