intuitive designer, floral alchemist, mama, music lover, foodie

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Hi,I'm Summer

Modern Whimsy- A Styled Shoot

Jun 3, 2019

When photographer Tony Gambino and I ran into each other at Backporch Coffee a few months ago, we talked about putting together a styled shoot, but neither of us had any idea of what we were getting ourselves into.  I’m sure he was imagining that maybe we borrow a dress and a suit from a local shop and I make a bouquet and then he takes our models out into the desert and takes incredible photos of them, like he always does.  I kind of thought that too.  It would have been easy for me to go that route.  Tony’s photos are INSANE no matter what the flowers or the couple or the clothes look like, but I don’t do styled shoots anymore unless I get to be super creative and do something that I normally don’t get a chance to do in my normal everyday life.  Because in my normal everyday life, the weddings I get paid to do are insanely beautiful.  So, why invest my time and money into something that I’m not getting paid for unless it’s something super fun for me.  And so, my creative juices started flowing.

I thought, with Tony being a photographer that creates such editorial imagery, I should take advantage of this opportunity and find a super gorgeous couple, some killer duds, and ask a few of my favorite wedding pros to join us.  And so it began.

Enter Kaitlyn & Grant, newlyweds who I know because (gasp!) I did their wedding flowers.  I fell in love with these two the minute I met them about a year and a half ago in the audience at the Wedventure Magazine Live event.  They were sitting in front of me and when we were introduced, Kaitlyn told Grant that I was “the one” she had been hoping would do their flowers for their upcoming wedding.  And 7 months later, I had the honor of doing just that.  😉

Okay, so where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Enter Kaitlyn & Grant, one of the most beautiful married couples I know, and luckily they agreed to be a part of this, even though they had never done anything like model before.  I had a feeling that they would be naturals, and oh yeah, as you can see, they were.

Next the clothing…  Did I mention I used to be a fashion designer and a personal stylist (ad nauseam), so this is kind of in my wheel house.  I decided that instead of a white dress I wanted to find something saturated that would pop in photos against the dusty desert landscape so, I turned to one of my favorite designers, Ulla Johnson, for Kaitlyn’s playful fuchsia mini-dress.  And for Grant, I wanted to find a modern, fashion-forward suit that was just as fresh as Kaitlyn’s dress, so I mixed pieces from French Connection and Gianni Feraud and in a last minute stroke of “genius” (aka I forgot the velvet bowtie I was planning on having Grant wear), I fashioned a small, masculine floral collar accent in place of a tie, which ended up adding the perfect tiny colorful nod to the rest of all of the crazy color in the shoot.

Yes, I said cRAzY CoLoR because that’s what I was dreaming about, because that’s what I don’t have the opportunity to do a lot of in my normal everyday life, and I ADORE color.  I found some graphic, vintage-inspired colorful linens to compliment the flowers I was planning on making, added some whimsical china and flatware and then reached out to my good friend Curated Event Rentals to see if she had any fun accessories, vases, or other tabletop accessories and she added some incredible vintage glassware, vases, and cake stand.  For our couple to sit, I chose a vintage mustard velvet settee from Curated’s archive that added the perfect pop of yellow.

Nickol of Foxtail Bakeshop is a true artist.  In real life, she and I like to play off of each other when we work together, so I thought it would be fun to feature her cake and desserts in the sweetheart tablescape along with my flowers because her cakes should ALWAYS be prominent at every event.  I passed on my inspiration and she dug right in, creating a cake like I have never seen before with tiny little donuts (my personal faves) attached with all kinds of other pastry and some of the died dried flowers that I had made.

Cassidy Elise is one of my favorite hair & makeup artists in town because not only is she super passionate about makeup but she loves to experiment with current beauty trends while still creating timeless looks for her brides.  I knew she would be the perfect partner for this shoot because I didn’t want Kaitlyn’s natural beauty to feel overdone, rather I wanted her makeup and hair to feel modern and sleek to balance out the rest of her already colorful and fashion-forward look.  Cassidy chose to style Kaitlyn’s hair pulled back with the flower tiara I created to show off the floral earrings.  She gave Kaitlyn strong eyebrows, pale lips, and a touch of yellow on her eyelids to compliment the color palette.  It was perfectly FLAWLESS.

For my part, I wanted to create strikingly bold florals out of dried and bleached elements that I dyed and then mixed with a select number of live blooms in each one of the floral pieces I created.  I made an editorial (read as: larger than usual) floral tiara along with asymmetrical floral earrings that balanced out the shape of the tiara.  Kaitlyn’s bouquet was a clutch of blooms and color with a simple ribbon wrap at the handle, which feels more modern to me than all of the enormous and wild bouquets of late.  Grant’s only masculine floral element was his collar accent, which he wore in place of a tie.  The tablescape was created with large and small gestural arrangements atop the table.  The space was enhanced with colorfully-dyed pampas grass inspired by Dr. Seuss’s truffula trees in The Lorax.  The overall effect was a little dreamlike and on the very edge of bad taste, which made it SOOOO, soooooooo GOOD.

I hope you love it as much as we all did.


photographer- Tony Gambino// rentals- Curated Event Rentals //hair & makeup- Cassidy Elise // desserts- Foxtail Bakeshop //  models & real life married couple- Kaitlyn & Grant // styling & coordination & wardrobe & flowers- Summer Robbins Flowers

Until next time.



styled shoot

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