Year of Creativity, Vol. 1 – Monterey Fashion Photographer

At the end of 2016, I looked back on a busy year packed with photo shoots, great people, and productivity. It was a successful year, but in the end, I was tired. When November rolled around, I thought it would be a slower month. It wasn’t. So December started and I thought for sure I’d have some extra time. But I didn’t. The time was flying by! I went back to count how many sessions I did last year, and the number amazed me. One-hundred and fifteen. What?! No wonder I was so tired!

Twenty-sixteen was successful beyond my wildest dreams, but something was missing. When it came time to set new goals for 2017, I realized I had done very little personal work the previous year. I forgot to shoot for myself! To make art for art’s sake. To use creativity for fun and exploration of my craft.

I keep a notebook full of ideas for concepts I’d like to shoot someday, and I’m constantly adding to it. I have random pieces of clothing and props tucked into random corners of my apartment with the idea of using them for a shoot. But time kept passing and these things were gathering dust. Why couldn’t I find the time to use them?!

I realized that for a personal project, you have to MAKE time. So in 2017, it’s time for some of these ideas to come to life!

I’ve set out to do 12 creative shoots. There will be one per month. I have a feeling some months will be easier than others. During busy season it will be easier to just let this goal slip by… but I need to remember why I gave myself this challenge in the first place and now I have all of you to hold me accountable. 🙂

For January, I wanted to start with a concept I’ve had on my mind for a very long time. Even from my earliest days of photography, it has always been my favorite to photograph a girl in a pretty dress in the forest (I really need to dig up some of these photos for you, there’s proof). I think this will always be a theme of mine.

I made this gold crown sometime last summer, and it was just sitting on my desk waiting to be worn. For the twig crown, my good friend and makeup artist Madison took a trip to the craft store and put it together ourselves. We’re pretty darn proud of how it turned out!

I’m so excited to share this project with you throughout the year! I’ll be posting behind-the-scenes and sneak peeks over on my Instagram, so if you don’t follow me there you should!

And here’s my quote for the year to inspire me when I’m not feeling so creative…

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton

Monterey Editorial Fashion PhotographerCreative Fashion Photography20170127_Cassandra_166046Holly Farm wedding dress Carmel CaliforniaCarmel Valley Wedding Photographer Folktale WineryGardener Ranch Carmel Valley Wedding Photographer Rachel ZeeBride wedding dress princess photographer Pacific Grove Carmel Wedding photographer Rachel Zee PhotographyPebble Beach Wedding Photographer Rachel Zee Photography

I am so lucky to have collaborated with incredibly talented ladies to bring this vision to life. This was the first time I had worked with Cassandra, and she’s just as wonderful of a person on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside. Thank you to Madison for doing her amazing makeup and for working with me on the concept for this shoot. And thank you to Stacia for working her hair magic to give Cassandra those royal waves!

And can we take a moment to appreciate these dresses from Epiphany Bridal Boutique? I mean WOW. The pieces on the lavender gown are such a fun detail. And that blush gown looks as if it was borrowed straight from a Disney princess. If anyone is looking for a dress for any special occasion, head to Epiphany for sure!

Model: Cassandra Hanson

Makeup: Madison McDowell

Hair: Stacia Nicole

Dresses: Epiphany Bridal Boutique

January 31, 2017

  1. David Causon says:

    Great photos Rachel, I love how you’ve used smoke to add drama to the scene, fantastic.

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