Every once in awhile, magic happens during our Dallas senior pictures. Like literal, actual, honest-to-goodness magic. But only after lots of failure & deciding to never give up. I’ve been trying to use this gown for years. It has more miles on it than I do. I first purchased it from a Chinese store on eBay way back in 2014 as I was planning a fashion editorial in the snow (I was focusing on fashion photography back then) while I was in Denver, Colorado for Christmas, but I couldn’t line up a model. When I returned to my home at the time, Savannah, Georgia, I tried to use it in an avant garde editorial, but couldn’t line up the only hairstylist who could do that type of hair. Another year or so later, I found another hairstylist, but couldn’t find a blonde model that had “the look” I was going for. Meanwhile, I had also discovered that the dress fit literally no one; it was supposed to be a size 6 so I could get double use out of it by wearing it myself, but it was much too small for me & to my surprise, every model that tried it on, couldn’t fit it either. Finally, I found a size 0 model that could get it over her hips, but the chest was cut much too large for her small frame & I really wanted to be able to get some shots from the back. My thought then was that the dress was deformed, because not only did it not fit anyone, it didn’t look like the picture (it had had rhinestones hot glue-gunned all over the dress which I’d painstakingly removed one by one), and off it went to sit in the closet & collect dust.
September 2017, I was packing to move across country to Dallas, Texas, for a change of pace & a job as an associate photographer at a boudoir studio here. I strongly considered throwing the gown out as I was taking only what I could fit into my car & wouldn’t have time to shoot fashion anyway. For whatever reason, instead I chose to get rid of some personal clothing. The studio job didn’t work out (they didn’t have enough business to keep me) so I got a job doing marketing at an ad agency and 6 months later, finally decided to get back into photography. My first mission was to begin getting website traffic through blogging, so I decided to start doing “What to Wear Wednesday” posts. I stumbled across Selena Gomez’ music video “Come n Get It” and was awestruck by the beautiful blue flowers in it…and then somehow I found out that Texas’ state flower is the bluebonnet. Wanting to encourage people to hire me to do a shoot with bluebonnets, I created a Polyvore set featuring pieces inspired by the video & shared it on my Instagram. Crickets ensued.
Around April, I realized I was running out of time to shoot the bluebonnets before they were gone and decided that whether it was a paid shoot or strictly for portfolio, I was going to shoot me some bluebonnets this spring, gosh darn it. With less than a week to find a high school aged model, I was frantically posting casting calls in various Facebook groups. More crickets…then a couple responses from girls that didn’t quite have the right look for the shoot. That was it. More panicking. Then I remembered that a local prom gown boutique was running an Instagram contest & girls were tagging themselves to win. I found Giselle Guerra in her IG contest post, DM’d her immediately, and waited. As I was waiting, I decided to check out this girl’s feed…and was shocked to discover she was a YouTube star with 45,000 followers…and what are her videos about? High school life. I just about fainted when I realized that, and then started panicking as I now had only 3 days left before shoot date and surely someone that huge would be busy. Fortunately, she wasn’t & said yes!! And then began the stressful location scouting process. I had found a Facebook page with a map to all bluebonnet fields on it, but I wasn’t able to see them in person until the day of the shoot due to my day job. Fortunately, I found my bluebonnet field quickly. Wanting to make sure it was THE BEST one in the area, I started driving to another on the map, and then – MAGIC HAPPENED. I passed a yellow field of flowers so beautiful that when I got out of my car, I was literally hopping up & down, clapping my hands, and squealing in childish delight at this picturesque field I had randomly discovered.
I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for my cross-country move. I was so nervous about starting my business over in a new city, but it has been the best decision ever. Though Savannah is beautiful, I was tired of shooting the same locations over and over. This yellow field felt like what I imagine HEAVEN will be like when I walked up to it.
Oh and I didn’t even tell you the best part – because of distance & time constraints, I hadn’t gotten to do a gown fitting with Giselle before the shoot and had just told her to bring an extra black dress incase mine didn’t fit her, as she’d told me she was a size 2, and to my knowledge, the gown only fit a size 0. The one she brought was short, plain, and not very prom-esque, which was the feel I wanted this shoot to have. So with fingers crossed and held breath, I waited as she tried my gown on…and it FIT. Like a GLOVE. Like it was literally made for her. And after 3 long years of trying to shoot this dress, MAGIC FINALLY HAPPENED.