The Lady In Red
Model: Jessica Alicia Bertrand
Hair: Maria Celene Ventura
Make Up: Xochilt Stoke
Wardrobe: Wonderland Corsets
Recently on a trip to our home away from home at Wonderland Studios in Orange County California, Jessica Bertrand came across a new head piece that they had just finished designing, and knew she just had to shoot in it. While visiting with our friends in the studio we were discussing about how the local Almond Orchards in our area were about to come into bloom. When the Almond Orchards bloom it creates a magical, mythical looking land full of colors and ground covered in the soft white petals from the blossoms as they fall from the trees. If you are lucky and the weather cooperates with you, then you may get a solid 2 week window from the blooming of these beautiful tress, till they have all fallen and become a distant memory for the next year.
During this time of year all the local orchards become flooded with photographers from near and far, everyone from the amateur hobbyist to the seasoned professionals. While this leads to many people getting some amazing images, it also leads to many farmers orchards being trampled, damaged, and left full of trash. It is not uncommon to find the most accessible orchards lined with cars, with families down every isle. Some of the families keep it basic, while others tend to bring out props ranging from stools to full on couches and tables. Being that we had not had family photos done in awhile, we decided to join in the tradition and throw my camera on the tripod and capture our little family in the orchards as well.
Back to the idea for the main shoot, Jessica knew she wanted to nail this shoot the moment she saw the head piece. She then asked the amazing Cheri Wilson Chagollan at Wonderland Corsets if she had the perfect wardrobe to go with the head piece. Needless to say we were soon on our way back to Bakersfield with the perfect wardrobe for the shoot that we had envisioned. While driving back Jessica then began to assemble the team which we would need to make this shoot happen. Make up for this shoot was going to have to be on point, and needed to have a little extra touch to it. Far more than Jessica knew she would want to attempt on her own. For this the amazing Xochilt Stoke was contacted and presented with the project. After hearing what we were going for she jumped on board and began thinking of the perfect look that would pop for this shoot. Next on the agenda was hair. The hair offered two challenges, first one being that it had to look amazing to match the rest of the wardrobe and make up, but second it had to incorporate and support the head piece which inspired the shoot. For this task, Maria Celene Ventura was contacted to see if she would be interested in bringing her skills to the table. This put the full team in place and everything was lined up for the shoot.
Now with the team in place, the final piece of the puzzle would come down to the perfect location. We were already pushing it towards the end of the bloom with the date set to shoot, so we knew the exact location would be critical. As luck would have it I had a friend who just so happened to be an Almond farmer, and his private orchards were at my disposal to make this shoot happen. The week prior to the shoot I took a trip out to the property and drove around scouting the perfect rows to make this shoot happen. The pickings were already thin, and then to make matters worse a large wind storm came through the areas 2 days prior to the shoot. This storm managed to not only blow a majority of the blossoms from the trees, but also left a muddy location to contend with. One of the first priorities was to ensure the wardrobe was not dirtied or damaged in the process of this shoot. The morning of the shoot, once hair and make up was done, we packed up all our gear and headed out to the location. Once there we were able to find a spot that worked, and the mud was minimal, so we began!
While shooting, a couple things kept going through my head regarding the location. First off was that while we were getting some good shots, the blooms just were not quiet where I wanted them and the shots seem to be lacking just a little bit because of this. The second thought was that we had some amazing storm clouds overhead, and we really could not capture them through the orchards. With a little brain storming we decided to step away from the orchards and move to a field next to us, in an effort to maybe catch the clouds. What happened next was an amazing collision of color and contrast that was not planned at all. There are times when things just fall into place, and this was one of those. The red of the dress managed to flow and pop while resting in the bright green field. Drop the blue of the sky with contrasting storm clouds in the back ground, and everything just seemed to work. In the end we were able to put together an idea, a team, and come out with a great shoot that the whole team could be proud to be a part of.