I am so excited about my sweet friend Emily Ley‘s newest Simplified Planner launch this past month! As many of you know, I have done styling and product photography for Emily for the past few years and I always love getting to work with her gorgeous products. I don’t know about you, but I think that these newest planner covers are her prettiest yet! We did three key banner images, one for each of her newest covers and each with a theme that would mirror the gorgeous individuality of each cover design.
A fun fact about this shoot is that I had to ask my husband to fire the shutter for me so that I could get my own hands in the shot. I am no hand model, but I love how the styling of these turned out! They really needed that human element to bring them to life. It took some finagling but it was worth it right?!
These gorgeous pineapple accessories that we found from Hattan Home fit so perfectly with the EL brand and I was thrilled to style them in. Also, I couldn’t resist sneaking in photos of Emily’s youngest little ones for a personal touch! The layering of the sleeves has to be my most favorite. Inspired by an image that Emily texted over to me one day, it was fun to pull in bit of wardrobe that would match Emily’s sweet preppy style.
We are so thrilled for your new launch Emily! Thank you for asking me to style and photograph these gorgeous new planners. Be sure to catch the new Simplified Planner launch on May 6th!
Some of you might remember the brand board contest that we ran on Instagram a few months back. To refresh your memory, two winners were chosen to have a new styled stock collection created for the SC Stockshop based on their branding. One of our winners was the oh so sweet Oh Deer Creative, and we loved working with her to create a navy and peach collection that we hope speaks to many of your brands!
I even snuck in a little bit of fuchsia which I think is the perfect touch. I love how it pops!
This gorgeous collection will only be offered in limited downloads before it is pulled out of the shop! If you are loving peach and navy as much as we are, shop now before these beauties are gone for good!
This little one…some days I wonder why God made me her momma. She’s five years old now, almost six, and most days I still feel like I don’t love her in ways that are meaningful to her. She loves to craft and lets be honest, I am more of a BIY (Buy It Yourself) momma then a DIY momma. I express love through cuddling and kisses and she is Ms. Independent and wants space…without you in it. We still laugh about a time when she was about two and I was giving her a big hug and she immediately panicked and yelled “I’m trapped!!” (Its called a HUG Chloe!) I look at mommas who sit and play better, who don’t run businesses (that compete for their attention), who make thoughtful crafts with their kids and go all out decorating for the holidays (I swear, decorating for celebrations is probably her love language!), all things that she loves and that I am just the worst at, and to be honest some days I feel like God made a mistake in choosing me. That she would be better off with a million other mommas other then me.
And so when I opened up the new Naptime Diaries Naptime devotional for mommas this caught me of guard and I instantly burst into tears…
“I want to tell you one thing right off the bat: I think you are the best possible choice for your children. I don’t say that lightly and I don’t say it blindly. I know we’re all sinful and I know full well that we’ll hurt our kids in some way, either today or surely before they are 18. But I genuinely believe that you’re the best possible choice for your kids.
You’re the best case scenario.
You know how I know? Because God choose you. And He doesn’t make mistakes and His Word tells us that He is making ALL THINGS work together for the good of those who Him.”
I have a hard time even writing that without a big giant lump in my throat. So, this little Naptime Diary is already blessing me. It is blessing me to hear from another momma who loves Jesus and her kids and whose words are like a big hug from God just for me. It blesses (and challenges) me with all of its blank pages and open ended opportunities to pour my heart out to God instead of easily hiding myself behind lots of reading and ingesting good information without ever really responding to God. Its blessing me. And if you are a momma feeling in the weeds just like me with a brain that is going in a million directions and a hearts that longs for closeness with God in the midst of the chaos of this season of life then maybe you should check this little book out for yourself.
The ladies behind the Naptime Diaries have given me discount code “shaycochrane30” that is good for 30% off anything in the shop from today 4/28 through 5/5. You can buy the devotional individually or in sets to do with other mommas. Thank you Jess for for pouring yourself out for this ministry to moms like me.
By far, the most helpful styling & photography specific workshops that I have found are food photography workshops. Specifically, anything put on by the incredibly talented and humble Helene Dujardin. As most of you know, I am self taught both with the technical side of photography as well as, more recently, the styling side of the commercial photography industry. Heck, I am pretty much figuring it out as I go with commercial photography in general and product styling specifically. It’s proven very difficult to find great hands-on styling training as well as any kind of wisdom about how to navigate the industry and so, food photography, while different, has really helped me to connect the dots and grow in my knowledge and styling in ways that have easily carried over to products. Not to mention, I just really love and admire everything about food photography. Check out my Pinterest styling inspiration boards and you will find lots of food styling images that I use as inspiration for my product styling. Food styling (as opposed to just food photography) really is a whole ‘nother beast – one that I don’t really have any interest in wrangling right now BUT I will take any bit of styling advice that I can and so when I heard that Helene was going to be putting on a workshop in Birmingham with her favorite food stylist Tami, who is phenomenal in her own right, I just could not possibly miss it.
So, over the course of day 1 we had two assignments, the first was breakfast and the second was a pasta dish.
I was able to select my surfaces and props and then pull what I wanted from the large spread of food and ingredients provided to create my own images. Overall, I’m really happy with the results and can see how I have grown since attending her workshop last year. I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing but each time I learn to trust my gut a bit more.
For example, my gut tells me that glitter tipped nails are not a great fit for this image…but hey.
One thing that I love love love about this workshop is that everyone is able to create their own images with the large spread of ingredients, surfaces and props provided. No vying for position or all attendees coming away with “different” versions of the same image (that they really should not be taking any credit for anyway) and the best part – no two images look alike – AT ALL! You are taught some principles, watch it put into practice and then (gulp) let loose on your own under their watchful eye – ready to lend a hand when you get stuck.
I had a lot of fun getting some practice with styling the pasta for this second set of images. For the above image I had a color story in mind but it took a lot of playing around and not liking anything to figure out the best way to execute it without defaulting to my comfort zone of shooting overhead. In the end I really love the angle that I ended up with thanks to Helen’s suggestions.
For this last image I had about 10 minutes left to execute because of how long I took developing the first image so it really didn’t get the time and attention that it deserved. There are elements that I like about it…the curve of the props leading through the image, the contrast of white on the dark background, the simplified color palette and the pops of green. I’m still not great at “editing ” my own image visually and so I have a hard time choosing between two similar images like these last two – probably because neither is really a winner. I like the completed thought of the S curve in the top one but I like the closer feel of the second one and not having the bread, which I never did conquer, in the first image. If I were going to develop this image more it looks a little too clean to me. I would mess it up a bit with salt, stray peas etc on the table and would love to have added a dark rich texture like a bowl of a beautiful kale salad peeking in. My noodles were also going a bit flat but hey, not bad for a non food photog!
Day two we learned how to make a Galette and then were each given a unique assignment with specific criteria. The assignment that I drew read “Girly, bright happy light, incorporation of florals, pattern and multiples.” Um…yes please. Here are my two favorite images from this assignment…
Obviously, out of all of the images this felt the most like “me” haha and at one point I had to just stop trying to create an image that wasn’t me and got the helpful push I needed to make this one my own. Such a wonderful and helpful experience on so many levels. Now I just need to find someone who enjoys cooking all of this amazing food so that I can get more practice!