Each February the Cal High Leadership team puts on the Formal Faire: it's a lunch-time fashion show that takes place at the quad. A prom dress boutique loans out dresses, Men's Warehouse loans tuxes, a salon donates their time doing full hair and makeup, and for the past two years I've been invited as the paparazzi. Now, I'm not typically an event photographer but I make an exception for the Formal Faire; it's always a ton of fun.
If you are in leadership and would like to bring this event to your school, here are a couple of tips to get you started.
1. Start planning early. Definitely get in touch with all the vendors *before winter break*! November is not too early to start reaching out to explain your concept to local businesses!
2. Make sure you've got a greenroom available the day of the event where the salon can set up and work on at least 6 people at once.
3. Find a good centralized location for the catwalk: hopefully outside.
4. Have people available from leadership to help the vendors set up tables near the catwalk.
5. Find a charismatic person to be the M.C. Make sure that they have accurate information about the outfits that each couple is wearing so that they can announce everything correctly.
6. Pick a fun sound track to play leading up to the event and for background music during.
7. Promote, promote, promote! Signage, IG posts, do your thing!
8. Finally, DM me if you'd like more info! Like I said, this event is so much fun-- I'm happy to help you make it happen at your school!
When planning Maddy's photoshoot we talked about sparkle and shine and a 1940s glamour vibe. Maddy happened to have a short sequined dress that she had picked up at the Free People store in Walnut Creek and a long shimmery skirt that her aunt had given her so she built her looks around those two pieces.
I normally recommend wearing a neutral nail polish color for photoshoots. But I have to admit that this shade of grey/blue that Maddy chose actually compliments both of her looks really well.
It's important, when choosing your outfits, to make sure that they won't become see-through if they are backlit. This comes up a lot with white tops & dresses. I *love* shooting white tops and dresses, so don't rule them out! Just make sure to check this before your shoot. Isn't it beautiful how the outer layer of Maddy's skirt looks with the sun shining through...
Also, give yourself permission to go with makeup that might be a touch more dramatic than your normal wear. I wouldn't consider Maddy's lipstick "dark" but it really does pop in the pictures, as compared to, say, just a tinted lip gloss.
Now this next section is a complete departure from my normal work, and was just for fun. After Maddy's shoot we were losing light fast but I asked her if she'd be willing to wade into the water and she was totally game for it. Most of my sessions I shoot with natural light but because this was basically at night I got out my lighting equipment and we played around for a bit.
Something about those ripples in the water...
For Alex's stylized shoot we went with a 90s theme. Hence the crop top & denim mini, neither of which are particularly hard to come across these days as "90s" is a pretty big trend. She didn't bring any scrunchies, but that's out there.
Yellow is also having a bit of a moment right now. It's hard to see here but Alex is actually sporting yellow nails. When I asked her about them she said, "Why not yellow? I've done every other color."
And I have to mention the glasses. She brought those along and I'm so glad she did; I really think they complete the look. Accessories, I'm telling you, can make or break a photoshoot. So if you are ever on the fence about whether you want to include something, throw it in the bag and bring it along!
Guest blog post by Taisa; fashion enthusiast.
Go out on any given Saturday night and you can't help but notice strapless off-the-shoulder blouses all over the place. They are light, filled with bright energy and are so easy to style during the summer. I have more than I can count; how can I stop myself? They are both the key to making your shoulders look killer and making you feel like a summer goddess.
There are two basic styles of these tops. The style I'm wearing here, from Brandy Melville ($19) is the more flowy, romantic peasant style top. Even though we all have our body hang-ups, these tops really look great on everyone.
My favorite off-the-shoulder tops come from a variety of stores and the prices are all over the map.
I like Free People's “Darling off the Shoulder Top” ($48) in pale yellow because it has a relaxed 70s hippie vibe.
These tops can be styled with any type of jeans. I like to wear high waisted denim shorts or jeans when it’s a bit cooler out. Skirts look great with them too. If you want to mix things up for a more bohemian vibe pair the top with a flowy skirt and some gladiator sandals.
This maroon top is from American Eagle ($23). I just love the bell sleeves-- another trend to keep an eye on.
For jewlery I recommend toning things down with a small necklace and some studs. Simplicity works best considering the gentle, romantic look of this type of blouse. The necklace I'm wearing here with the tiny elephant charm is from a line called Dogeared. You can find it at Nordstrom for around $50.
Stay tuned for Part II, where I cover the other style of off-the-shoulder blouses; those that are form fitting.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.