Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bethany: A True Natural Beauty {California Portrait Photographer}


A time when waterfront sunsets paint up the sky - warming spirits and restoring souls.

A time when children play happily outdoors late into the night - enjoying the lingering light.

A time when neighbors and friends gather for picnics and games - fostering friendships and fellowship.

A time when families vacation together - making memories and creating bonds that last a lifetime.

A time when local parks host musical festivals on lush green lawns - celebrating music and the arts.

I could go on...

I love this time of year!

Perhaps no one enjoys that last item on my list more than my dear friend Bethany.  As I mentioned in my last post, Bethany is a passionate supporter of Shakespeare in a Week.  So much so that she has been actively involved in the program for many years - even writing materials designed to instruct others in how to establish their own Shakespeare in a Week programs.

It is no surprise then, that her portrait session with me a few weeks ago took on a Shakespearean theme. When we first discussed the creative direction for her session, Bethany had given me permission to use her as my muse.  Whatever creative ideas I had.  She was game to try them!

Oh, Happy Day!!!

Now, what I REALLY wanted to do (which actually coincided with several images Bethany had shared with me on Pinterest) was this: I wanted to build a low dock in the water to create an ethereal "walking on water" type portrait.

But, alas, my handy-man husband was thousands of miles away in another state and time simply did not allow for the five of us women to construct it on our own amidst our full schedule of gourmet dining, makeovers, relaxing girl-time, and sight seeing.

Perhaps next time...

So, it was back to the original plan - the Creative Assignment I had given each of my sweet friends several weeks before our time together.

Each lady was to provide me with one word for each of the following categories:


I would then use those words to create a unique concept for each of their portrait sessions.

My main goal was to use their ideas while finding a way to capture the essence of each of their unique personalities.  I wanted their portraits to highlight both their inner and outer beauty and to give a glimpse into what makes them special.  Their portraits needed to reflect who they are.

I wasn't interested in your run-of-the-mill glamour photography.

I wanted more!

For Bethany, I felt it was important to incorporate her natural beauty, her love for poetry, her refreshing intellect, and her steadfast strength and character.  There is a peace about her.  A confident calm. She is very grounded.  I wanted her portraits to reflect that.

And, though I did not have a list of words from Bethany (She preferred to allow my creative juices to flow freely without any limitations.), I was able to gain insight into what would speak to her personally through several emails.  (The creative insight of our other friends was invaluable in this process as well.  What fun we had bouncing ideas off one another!)

With the following props in hand, Bethany as my willing muse, and a beautiful setting, I believe we accomplished our goal.

Long flowing, jewel embellished dress.  Check!

Beautiful cloth bound Shakespearean novel.  Check!

Vintage, velvet heirloom chair.  Check!

Lakeside, sun-kissed hilltop setting.  Check!

Lovely, feminine and confident muse.  Check!

According to Wikipedia (My research is profound, isn't it!), early criticism of female characters in Shakespeare's drama focused on the positive attributes the dramatist bestows on them and often claimed that Shakespeare realistically captures the "essence of femininity"...

My session with Bethany does much the same.   Bethany, to me, embodies the "essence of femininity". As I was editing her pictures, two actresses kept coming to mind.  Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore.  Both, like Bethany, are natural, classic, effortless beauties.  

Meet, Bethany!  My lovely friend!

I see Bethany in each and every one of these images.  To me...that is where it's at!

Not including the invasion of ants in places I'd rather not mention, her session went off beautifully without a hitch!

And what about the ants?

You can't see them now (because I edited them out of the image), but nasty, biting ants are covering the tree that Bethany is laying on.  She took one for the team, that's for sure.  (Wendy is very persuasive!) Ants were crawling all over her dress, up her legs, and throughout her hair.

Thankfully, she has devoted friends who are watching out for her!  Thanks girls!

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