In the Studio: Taryn St. Michele

Ya’ll I have been SO excited to share these images with you!!  Earlier this month I had the pleasure of styling and shooting for Taryn St. Michele, owner and designer behind the Taryn St. Michelle shop on Etsy.  Taryn is in the process of expanding and having a website created and contacted me to style and shoot a few gorgeous home page banner images and themed styled headers before the launch of her new site.  Taryn sells gorgeous gold foil prints and travel themed photographic prints with a feminine high fashion fashion feel .  When a client has a clear vision for their brand it makes my job so much easier (and more fun!) Taking cues from her brand inspiration Pinterest board I created a cohesive set of images that all carry the specific aesthetic theme that would be representative of her brand and would connect with her ideal client.

I am SO happy with every single image that we created.  Maybe because they all appeal to my own bright minimalist feminine  aesthetic.  Regardless, I am so proud of these images and am happy to share them with the world.  Go check out Taryn’s shop and show her some love. You know you want that gold foil lip print ;) Have a beautiful week friends!

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All of my secrets

 (Image by Cheyenne Shultze)

If you handed me a .97 cent paintbrush from Michaels craft store and asked me to paint a cat the result is going to be pretty pathetic.  If you handed me a $97 professional grade paint brush from Michaels crafts store the results are going to be…equally horrendous.  Its not that a professional paint brush isn’t 100% better than a cheap kids paintbrush, it’s that the key element necessarily to get a good final product is still lacking…the skill of being an excellent painter.

It’s for this reason that I don’t get caught up in “having the right gear” for the job and instead push myself, an encourage others, to work with what they have.  In reality, I am working with the exact same gear that I used during my 8 years as a wedding photographer with the exception of a new more functional tripod (pictured here).  But, for the sake of hopefully keeping you from going out and wasting money on a bunch of gear that you don’t need, I wanted to share the basic gear that I use for natural light product photography with you. My hope is that you will be unimpressed and subsequently encouraged that you can go out and create with what YOU have. I’ve divided it up into what I consider to be “essential gear” and then additional helpful items.  Keep in mind that the exact type or quality of the camera, lenses and flash are not the most important element so much as that you have a camera, a lens, a tripod etc to start with.  You can create amazing work with almost any gear if you apply yourself to learning about lighting and exposure and the basic photography principles of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance.  Its not that the expensive gear is not better, its that, like the paintbrush analogy, it does not compensate for lack of technical and creative skill.


  • CANON MK III (I shot my first two years as a “professional” with a Canon Rebel and high quality lenses and have upgraded slowly over many years.)

  • 24-70MM 2.8 L SERIES (I invested in good lenses early on and have had the same lenses for 8-10 years.)

  • 50MM 1.2 L SERIES (Yes, I only own two lenses.)

  • MANFROTTO 055X PRO B TRIPOD (Makes all the difference for overhead shots.)

  • MANFROTTO 498RC4 BALL JOINT HEAD (I don’t know anything about ball joint heads – Can’t say if I love this one but it gets the job done.)

  • FOTODIOX 5 WAY REFLECTOR/BOUNCE (Generally use the silver side and position it opposite my light source.)




  • FOAM BOARDS (white and colored)

  • OVERSIZED ART PAPER OR MATTE BOARD (I have shot on a number of surfaces and it has taken me a long time to figure out what works best for me.)




For more training on product photography visit




In the shop: Shea Hopely Florals

At Cultivate Retreat last week I had the pleasure of meeting an incredibly talented florist who just happens to share my name! Shea Hopely was one of two florists who contributed gorgeous arrangements to the event and was kind enough to let me photograph a custom arrangement for the Stockshop!  This floral arrangement is full of vibrant pinks and peaches with garden roses and a touch of wild flower whimsey that will make you melt!  Each of the stock images created can be purchased individually or as one of our newest Brand Builder Sets!  These image can powerfully transform the aesthethic of a brand in the same way that some of our other floral stock has done already!  I cannot wait to see them turned into shop headers, home page banners, FB headers, Twitter backgrounds, custom website buttons and even used on print collateral pieces like business cards!  For more inspiration on how to use SC Stockshop styled stock images check out the #scstockshop hashtag to see how other people are using them!  As always friends, I hope that this newest collection helps you to do business beautifully!

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The talented Ashlee Proffitt created a gorgeous sample set of Brand Builder Image uses created with our white floral Brand Builder Set to get you thinking about how you can use your Brand Builder images!

Blog Headers…

Blog Header

Business cards…

Business Card2

Custom blog, newsletter and website buttons…


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Etsy headers…

Etsy Header

And my favorite, custom social media icons!  We can’t wait to see how you will use yours!


Social Media Buttons Social Media Buttons2

(All images and designs within this post are copyrighted and for display here only and may not be used or reposted without permission and/or purchase)





In the Studio: Kate & Moose

From the moment she began to describe her colorful handmade jewelry, my mind was racing with ideas…this shoot was going to be AMAZING.

Some of the things that struck me while listening to Kate describe her business was her love of color and the intentionality and attention to detail with which she creates her beautiful earrings and necklaces.  Kate & Moose (read what she has to say about her name below!) was already a very successful Etsy shop but with plans to give the brand its own dedicated website, images were a priority to her.

We talked about her personality and the personality of the brand and I listened to her thoughts on what it is that makes Kate & Moose unique and so well loved by her clients.  From these conversations I knew that the images that we created for her needed to showcase the color, variety and detail of the jewelry designs that she is known for as well as communicate the fun, colorful, playful personality of the brand.

For the first banner image concept I immediately though of how fun it would be to do a little play on one of my favorite candies as a little kid – candy button!  Anybody remember those?!  The color variety and size of her earrings would be perfect to substitute in place of actual candy buttons communicating the playfulness of the brand while charming you into taking a closer look at the image!  We decided to go with a party favor bag image concept that would allow us to feature the earrings as well as her fun packaging and necklace charms.

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In her own words…

“A life without color is dull, dare I say – BORING! Who wants to live that way? Not me and neither should you.

“The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.” – Coco Chanel

I designed Kate & Moose to be a classic, simple jewelry line. Mother of pearl serves as the base for all Kate & Moose jewelry pieces. Why? Because it’s gorgeous, strong, and resilient. Exactly how I want you to feel when accessorizing with Kate & Moose. Selecting authentic, colorful, and handmade papers from around the world, I pay close attention to color and design. The more colorful, the better. Throw in some glitter, day made!

“You mustn’t be afraid to sparkle a little brighter, darling.” ― Kirsten Kuehn

Resin enhances the vibrant and often bold colors while magnifying the intricate details of the papers. Nearly every jewelry piece is unique, just like you, because paper designs varies. All Kate & Moose items are individually handcrafted in Arlington, VA by yours truly – Kate. All jewelry is made to order.

And the name, Kate & Moose? Moose is my adorable dog, my forever puppy, my reason to rise and shine. Moose is my Chief Assistant. He makes all of my hard decisions – chardonnay or merlot? Yoga or running? Yes, life changing decisions, I know!”

Don’t you just lover her already!?

For her second home page styled banner image I wanted to highlight the incredible color and variety of her earring designs. Seriously.  If you like options she is your girl!  What immediately came to mind during our first consultation was how fun it would be to do a big ombre “swoosh” of some sort. We used hundreds of her earrings and showing just the tops of the earrings so that it takes you a moment to figure out what it was made from.  Kate is amazing for going along with my crazy request and sending me hundreds of earrings to play with.  Amazing!  It took hours of playing with the earrings to get the shape right but it was all worth it in the end.  From this styling alone she has a variety of different image compositions to use and I could not be any happier with how it turned out.

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For her last banner image concept we went with a playful cupcakes and champagne theme where we used the earrings as sprinkles. I begged local cupcake queen  Cupcakes By Dusty to provide us with the perfect cupcakes and we had too much fun decorating them with our earring “sprinkles” to create a few fun shots!

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I don’t get to shoot jewelry very often and it was just outrageously fun for me to get to experiment with such unusual image concepts.  I love that all of them capture the fun colorful unique personality of the Kate & Moose brand and how each of the charming image concepts draws you in and forces you to take a closer look.  That alone is a win for me all day long.  Congrats on the launch of your new site Kate and I am SO excited to see your business grow!

In the Studio: Five Dot Design

Phew, I am WAY behind on sharing the work that I have been up to the past few months but I wanted to use a recent wonderful client shoot to share a bit about story telling and how I come up with concepts for a shoot!  When Kristen and I first chatted about creating custom styled images for her design boutique Five Dot Design I asked her what she feels sets her apart from her competition.  This is an important question to me because it helps me to get a vision for what the shop owner has identified as their unique offering – why exactly people choose them over someone else! I always try to take into consideration what it is that sets a business apart from the rest so that I can really try to capture that detail and tell that story in their images.  Kristin told me all about her design process and how everything that she does is entirely custom. She shared with me a bit about how she approaches a project and what goes into building a gorgeous and completely unique wedding invitation design for each of her brides.  I knew immediately that this would make the perfect storyline for the two images that I would create for her!

We decided that the first image would tell the story of her design process and invite you into her office to peak over her should at a custom design in it’s early stages.  Sketches, pantone color swatches, and paper samples tell a story of a designer who is meticulous about getting it right for her clients.

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The second image that would rotate in her home page banner would show the beautiful finished product.  A gorgeous custom wedding invitation suite that just happens to also be what Kristen sends out to new clients inviting them to work with her. How cute is that!?

2014 Shay CochraneWe went with soft beautiful natural light to give this image an inviting editorial feel.  Everything selected for this image was chosen to intentionally tell the story not only of her process and attention to detail as a designer but also to accurately capture the aesthetic of the Five Dot brand. I could not be happier with the results of these two styled desktops.  I think that they connect with her client, communicate her personal aesthetic and brand personality and communicate the value of what she has to offer brides looking for a custom experience! Thank you for the pleasure of working with you Kristen!


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