Planning a White Witch Shoot When There is No Winter

Winter White Witch Photoshoot
Photoshoot based on Jadis the White Witch

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.

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Photography: 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




8 thoughts on “Planning a White Witch Shoot When There is No Winter”

  1. Jennifer Lincoln

    What I appreciate about this blog entry is how Black White & Raw had to do some very creative problem solving to get the shoot they wanted. I liked hearing what they learned, and look forward to seeing how they incorporate new elements, like smoke bombs. I love the concept of the White Witch, and Columcile Megalith Park couldn’t have been more perfect!
    The photos are a perfect mix of stunning and haunting. They bring together BW&R’s softness that is seen in some of their wedding shots, and their brave, bold, edginess that puts the RAW in Black, White, and Raw! Congratulations on another incredible shoot!

  2. I love this White Witch Winter Shoot! You did a great job with this fantasy photo shoot and all the little wintry details. I totally agree with you on collaborating! I feel like it helps stretch us and push our creativity forward.

  3. This might be one of my favorite creative photo sessions by Black White and Raw Photography! I kept making the photos larger just to see how epic the smoke and effects made each image. I am so happy you ignored the advice. Sometimes putting together a unique artful portrait sessions to try out professional photography techniques is EXACTLY what we all need! Incredible work with this fantasy white witch photo shoot.

  4. This is seriously such a beautiful white witch styled shoot done by Black, White & Raw. Columcile Megalith Park was the perfect backdrop and I loved the ones with the smoke bombs and lanterns.

  5. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS SERIES OF IMAGES!!!!! Seriously Lori you, and your amazing team, NAILED it! What I love the most is looking at this conceptual shoot and seeing images that are beautiful, but I never would have thought to take! Certain angles and poses that I would have never combined that look so good! Keep up the good work, and I agree – there is a time and a place for “free” shoots. For me it’s not just about trying new techniques, but sometimes I just need to get some non-wedding work into my life and refresh my creativity! Beautiful photography, as always.

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