Wednesday, May 18

Our Enchanted Picnic - Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Well those of you who know me would know that I am a huge fan of Sheye Rosemeyer as a person and as a photographer... I have followed her for a few years and I love the beautiful, open and honest way she writes about her life... I love the way she works the light, I love her creativity, I love her style... I'm beginning to sound like I have a girl crush on her... Maybe I do... :)? So when Phan set the wheels in motion by contacting her around the time of my birthday last year to organise a family photoshoot with her, I was *excited*. Like *REALLY EXCITED*. I had dreamed of having a family shoot with Sheye for (literally) years... And it appeared all the stars and planets were aligned and the universe was in sync to make it happen for us... This was our opportunity and the timing was perfect seeing as this is our last year in Brisbane before we go back to Adelaide at the end of the year and my girls are at a perfectly lovely, adorable age that I want to freeze for a moment in time forever.

Once we set a date for a weekend in March, Sheye asked what kind of styling/shoot I had in mind. My first thought was "Anything..." Knowing her style, I knew I would just love any photos Sheye took, just as long as it was of our family and I was actually in some of them. You see, that's the thing about being the "photographer" in the family... you're never actually *in* the photos... And as much as I love taking photos, and as much as I consider myself a rather non-photogenic person, I do actually want to be in some of the photos and I want the girls to be able to look back and see all us together... I really wish there were more photos of my mum and I together... it's one of my biggest regrets that there are only a handful of photos of us together as I was growing up... and even less of me as an adult with her... Oh, if I could turn back time and get more photos with her before she left us... So that is why this shoot meant so much to me... I wanted something beautiful to remember the Here and the Now.

A few weeks later, I started to seriously think about how I wanted the shoot to look and I came up with the idea of an afternoon picnic... Something light-hearted... Something that captured some gorgeous afternoon light... Ultimately, something timeless and classic that we could look back on for many years to come and remember a beautiful moment in time.

I sent that idea through to Sheye and then in a manic moment of inspiration, I decided go through all our wardrobes and style what we were going to wear. And then I decided to photograph what we were going to wear/use as props and I emailed through this storyboard. I wanted the shoot to feel casual, but I wanted us to look classic and I wanted myself and girls all in dresses to make us all look sweet and feminine... :) In the end I did change some of the things, but on the whole we stuck to the colour scheme of light blue, pink and white -

Photoshoot Styling-Ideas

Sheye pondered whether we might be open to a row boat theme... and I interpreted that to mean being *in* a row boat, so I completely shot that idea down 'cos while we are boatpeople (in a refugee sense), none of us actually like being in boats ... I would rather be in labour than be in a boat... (yes really! We did whale watching a few years back and it was the longest 5 hours of my life! The only time I have been more ill is when I had gastro!)... I did find out later that Sheye had actually meant more of a row boat in the distance on a lake type thing (which would have been fine!), but my inital reaction to the idea was enough to put Sheye off that whole concept... LOL...

Then I stumbled across this photoshoot and fell in love with the gorgeous huge tree in these images and sent it through to Sheye for a bit of inspiration -

Vintage Picnic Shoot

Some more conversation and Sheye was on a mission to find us a big willow-y tree...

And then she came up with the vision of hanging paper lanterns off a tree... *sigh*... As soon as she mentioned that, I knew we were on the same wavelength and this was going to be something wonderful...

The weeks passed... and all of a sudden the weekend of the shoot was almost upon us... and the weather gods were forecasting grey skies and thunderstorms... a rather major glitch in our plans!!!

So we had to postpone... I was a bit disappointed, but figured a few more days of waiting when I'd been waiting years for this was not going to matter in the grand scheme of things... and I really had my heart set on capturing some gorgeous light in these images, so it was going to be worth waiting for the right moment...

In a way, the delay in our plans was kind of good, 'cos I had the random idea strike me a couple of days later to make a homemade kite to use as a prop in the shoot... :)
I made a practise one and got Elizabeth to try it around in the backyard... and let's say while it was pretty, it wasn't exactly aerodynamic... When I showed Phan that night I believe his first comment to me was "That thing is not going to fly."... Pffft.... a practical man he is... when I asked for his suggestion on what would make it fly, he said "You need some plastic..."... at which point, I tuned out because that was really not the look I was going for! So I made the actual kite that night from some lovely pink paper, some long bamboo skewers and a roll of cotton twine, and just prepared myself for it to not fly and to be purely used as a prop.

A couple of days later, and suddenly we had the perfect weather conditions... not too hot (I had fears we were going to be melting and sweating in the afternoon heat! Despite living here 4 years, we have not adapted to the Brisbane humidity!)... not too cloudy... and while Sheye had initially found us a perfect tree spot somewhere, she had to abort that idea when a snake casually wandered past her! So a last minute change of plans and instead we shot in this small secluded forest-y area a stones throw from Sheye's place...

I spent the whole day preparing for the shoot... Making sure the girls were well rested and fed so they would be in a good mood... Finding time to do my hair and make up... Getting together all our props and things... I even took a photo -

Stuff for the Photoshoot

A couple of missed phonescalls on my phone (thank goodness Phan is reliable with his mobile), a short drive and we were there. We wandered past a hedge... down a grassy embankment... and the scene that greeted us was absolutely magical... The paper lanterns were so pretty and so perfect hanging over a great big pink picnic blanket... The afternoon light was divine... It was just gorgeous and even better than what I had envisaged in my mind... Fran and Sheye had a done a superb job of setting up for our enchanted picnic... we added a few of our own little props (an extra picnic rug, a picnic basket, some pink paper cups and some throw cushions) which just complimented Sheye's pink picnic blanket, pink bottle of lemonade and her little sweet bird cage delightfully... Our scene was set.

So what was it like meeting Miss Sheye? Well she is just as lovely in person as she comes across in her blog... Beautiful, warm and friendly... She set me at ease the moment we met... (And here I was thinking I was going to be so nervous being in the presence of my celebrity photographer!) She was awesome to watch in action... and the amazing Miss Fran was there assisting her and is just as lovely too... they make a great team... :)

The shoot went splendidly... The girls were sooo well behaved... Elizabeth kept saying "I like having a picnic in the woods"... and Catherine was all refreshed and happy from an afternoon nap... the girls were interacting sooo adorably... They were just perfect... I couldn't have asked for anything more from them...

The time flew by... and we were having such a good time, we completely forgot about using the kite as a prop until Elizabeth remembered... And she was soooo excited about playing with the kite... She sang this funny little song that went "I'm flying a kite in the sky..." and danced and frolicked around so joyfully... it was hilarious to watch... and I felt a little sorry for Sheye, because Elizabeth was moving around like crazy and wouldn't stay still and I just wasn't sure how she was going to capture anything decent... but credit to her... she did captured some of the most stunning moments of Elizabeth with her kite...

Then just as we thought we were done, I remember the parasols which I had bought specifically for the shoot... So we quickly grabbed a few more shots with the parasols and just as we finished, as if on cue, the afternoon light faded... It had been the perfect afternoon...

2 weeks later (2 very *long* weeks might I add!) I got an email from Fran saying the finishing touches to our gallery were being added and we would get a link the following day to the gallery. The anticipation could not have been greater! I refreshed my email all afternoon waiting for that link... and then early evening... that little window I had been waiting for popped up... I had mail... :)

Phan, Elizabeth and I sat down to look at the photos together... and... WOW! It was breathtaking... Absolutely beautiful... a wonderful compilation of candid family moments combined with absolutely magical enchanting art... I know I had quite high expectations of our shoot from the very beginning... I even tried to consciously tone down my expectations a little in that small chance that I might be a little disappointed, not because I didn't think Sheye wouldn't be able to deliver our vision, but because I felt like my expectations might almost be unrealistically high because I had been anticipating it for so long and my expectations might have been ridiculous. And because I'd been dreaming of this shoot for what feels like forever, I just didn't want to feel disappointed in anyway... Does that make any sense? It probably doesn't... But ultimately, I really need not have worried. The images surpassed my expecations.... They truly are perfect in every way...

Thanks for reading this rather verbose post from me... There was just so much that went on in the planning and preparing that I wanted to write about... I just loved every aspect of planning and preparing and then the actual shoot experience was just perfect.... Now let me show you exactly why I am more than overjoyed, thrilled, and excited (how many more adjectives can I use to describe this?) with how the whole experience turned out -

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer
Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

Photoshoot with Sheye Rosemeyer

There are really just so many beautiful images I can't possibly share them all in this blog post... but if you're interested in seeing all the images from our shoot, head on over to Sheye's website which has had a gorgeous makeover -, wait for the absolutely enchanting animation to load and then click on "just a moment" which will divert to her photography site and you'll see us featured as the opening image! (I'm still uber excited about that!) If you click into her photography website and select "Recent", our entire gallery is under "Clara & Phan".

Our canvas and prints were delivered today and the 30x40" canvas (which is the very first image of the whole picnic scene) looks absolutely magnificient in real life... I keep looking at it (Yes, conceited huh? But it's so gorgeous!) I will have to take a photo once it's on the wall (Phan started to put the hooks in the wall, but we had a hook casualty when it got stuck in a screw that was stuck in the wall... he's picking up a new one tomorrow... can't wait to have it hanging up!)

To the wonderful Miss Sheye... thank you again! Thank you for being the beautiful you and for using your amazing talent to give me these priceless memories. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And thanks to those reading for letting me share my joy and excitement... xoxo


Emilia said...

Oh amazing photos! I just read the whole post and I'm very happy for you. Cute girls too :)

Sharon said...

Love Sheye and love what she did for your beautiful family! That doll? Where did you get it?

Suzy said...

They are amazing and what a beautiful family you have. It's so nice to see everyone smiling - I was reading this and smiling with you!

Definitely worth the wait!!

Samantha Pearce said...

Divine Divine! I loved reading your story about the whole experience! I can just feel your breathless excitement :) They are truly beautiful, just like you and your family xx and great job on the styling!