Feb 28, 2017

Behind the Scenes of a Styled Shoot: City of Rocks Copper Wedding

Looking at photos of styled shoots is so mesmerizing! What started as a marketing strategy has turned into a movement of collaboration, community, artistic expression, and creativity.
What is a styled shoot? Think of it as a mock wedding! Vendors (bakers, hair and makeup artists, florists, photographers, stylists, calligraphers, dress boutiques, etc) all come together to create a shoot in a specific style. It gives them each a chance to show the amazing things they can do, build relationships with others in the wedding industry, expand their clientele reach, and really to just have a whole heck a lot of fun!!
The photos all end up looking so beautiful and often so effortless. But let me tell you…there is so much effort put into a styled shoot! At the end of September I co-hosted a styled shoot with Trisha Shelley Photography. The footwork before the shoot surprised both of us I think! However, it all came together with minor hiccups!
Do you want to see what goes on behind the scenes of a Styled Shoot? Well follow along friends!
I should probably start you at the beginning! This all started with Ezmia. Ezmia and Trisha are real life friends and up until the shoot when we finally got to meet in person she and I were online friends (I love getting to turn online friends into real life friends). Ezmia is a talented Younique distributor and contacted us about hosting a Facebook party for the makeup.
I was honest with Ezmia and I’ll be honest here. I don’t usually participate in the Facebook parties as a host or a customer. It’s just not my preferred method of shopping. But, I do love supporting my friends in their ventures and wanted to find a way to support Ezmia. Suddenly I had an idea! Why not do a styled shoot and have her do the makeup for it and then she could use those photos to market with. She was all aboard! I reached out to Trisha to see if she was interested in collaborating and the planning began.
The next two months were full of messages back and forth, finding and contacting vendors to participate, lists, store runs, and freak-out-can-we-do-this messages (because we’re girls…it happens, lol). But it all came together and on the appointed day we all met up in Silver City for the party.
I should have taken a picture of the three carloads of stuff we brought for this. No joke…three carloads! And that didn’t even include the models, the cake, the florals, the makeup, and they only contained three people! Trisha brought her friend Nicole to help with set up and together the three of us got busy preparing for the vendors to come, then the models, then the photographers. The next few hours were a whirlwind!
That weekend was a popular one at the City of Rocks State Park, but lucky for us the perfect spot was open. We pulled in, staked out spot, and started unloading the mounds of stuff. It was fun to work as the three of us at first, getting the table hauled up the hill (very very carefully!! Furniture Gallery was so kind to let us borrow a table from their sales floor, and we didn’t want to put a single ding in it at all), and putting as much of the table together as we could.
The adrenaline and excitement ramped up as each new vendor arrived and as the models showed up to finish getting ready. It was all coming together! (Links to all vendors are given at the bottom of the post).



Michele at Curl Up and Dye Salon did Sasha’s hair before she came out and we loved the do! It was perfect! As soon as Sasha got here, Ezmia went to work doing her magic with the makeup.



Joining us from Alamagordo for the florals was Ashlee Baird. She and Trisha worked together to plan the look and feel for the florals and Ashlee made them absolutely stunning! I love the wilder look that is popular right now!

The cake was provided by Melanie Rodriguez and it was beautiful! This was her first attempt at hand painting a cake and she nailed it! The combo of her cake and Ashlee’s florals was stunning.


While all that hustle and bustle and work was going on down below, Trisha, Nicole, and I worked to finish the table up top. This included figuring out how to hang the geometric ornaments from the rock. I volunteered to climb up the rock and got half way and realized that this rock was way higher than it looked from the bottom, and that I’m a sissy with high rocks. So Trisha climbed up and I relayed supplies. She’s a braver woman than I am!




And then our photographer guests arrived! We had Erin Richins with Sunshine Picture Project and Meagan Brogan with Shutter Force Photography. Meagan drove all the way down from Rio Rancho for this, and drove all the way back as soon as we were done! Long day, but we LOVED having both her and Erin with us!



And finally, just a little late (we learned what to change with the timeline next time so we could start shooting on time), we were ready to start! The light was glowing and soft, and each individual element melded together so nicely! We divided up into teams and rotated through the stations.  It was fun to shoot with Nicole! I loved seeing her ideas, and what she did to set up her shots. It’s always fun to get to observe and work with another photographer!









The dress loaned for the shoot from Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique was gorgeous and fit the theme perfectly. One gamble with bringing a dress and having the model put it on for the first time at the shoot is that it won’t fit quite right. This one ended up being slightly too big on Sasha, so we had to carefully clamp it. This changed up the posing flow a little (as we always had to be mindful of which side the clamps were on), but it worked out well and if you didn’t know, you’d never guess in any of the photographer’s photos! There’s a secret to this industry…dress clamps! Great for when you’re hanging the dress during the getting ready photos, or to size a dress down during styled shoots.







It was pretty dark by the time we got back to the table to cut the delicious cake. We used up every single bit of light the sun gave us that day and then borrowed a little from candles to finish up with.


After it was all over came cleanup in the dark! That was fun! But it went pretty fast, we each were sent with some cake, the glassware was wrapped back up, the flowers divvied up, and everyone headed out. We learned a lot. More than a lot. A plethora of new information entered our experience bucket. There are things we’d do the same, things we’d do different, and things we’d add in next time.

So why has it taken from September to now to get these posted?! Because Trisha has been getting this published, and it went live yesterday! You can check out her pictures and her story on 100 Layer Cake and tomorrow you will get to see my photos and my take on it here on the blog!

Vendor and Participant Information: 

Design and Head Photographer: Trisha Shelley
Facebook: Trisha Shelley Photography
Instagram: @trishashelleyphoto

Organizer and Photographer: Marquette Mower
Facebook: Marquette LaRee
Instagram: @marquettelaree

Models: Sasha Utz and Stephen Sandoval

Make Up Artist: Ezmia Bascom (Younique)
Instagram: @ezmialove

Florals: Ashlee Shrader Baird (Flowers by Ashlee)
Instagram: @flowersbyashlee

Cake: Melanie Rodriguez
Facebook: Melanie’s Sweets and Treats
Instagram: @melanies_sweetsandtreats

Hair: Michelle at Curl Up and Dye Salon
Facebook: Curl Up & Dye Salon

Tables and Chairs: Jamie and Jeremy Lewis from The Furniture Gallery
Facebook: Furniture Gallery

Truffles and Fudge: The Hester House

Dress: Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique
Facebook: Suzanne’s Bridal Boutique
Instagram: @suzannesbridal

Dress Design: “Maui” by Sottero and Midgley
Facebook: Maggie Sottero Designs
Instagram: @maggiesotterodesigns

Namecard Lockets: The Glass Connection
Facebook: The Glass Connection

Venue: City of Rocks State Park
Instagram: #cityofrocksstatepark

Photographer and Setup: Nicole Burrup
Facebook: Nicole Burrup Photography
Instagram: @nicoleburrupphoto

Photographer: Erin Richins
Facebook: Sunshine Picture Project
Instagram: @sunshinepictureproject

Photographer: Meagan Brogan
Facebook: Shutter Force Photography
Instagram: @shutterforcephoto


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  1. Ashley Durham

    February 28th, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Looks like you had a great time!!

  2. Marquette LaRee

    February 28th, 2017 at 9:14 am

    It was all quite the experience! The state park always reminds me of the rocks at Joshua Tree that you guys shot at often!

  3. Lashelle

    February 28th, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Love this! What a beautiful place! How fun!

  4. Marquette LaRee

    February 28th, 2017 at 9:15 am

    City of Rocks really is quite the place! We love it!

  5. Jessica Peterson

    February 28th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    So beautiful!! I love stylized shoots! They are my dream come true every time!

  6. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I think my favorite part about styled shoots truly is the networking! I love working with other creatives. I was born for group projects!

  7. Joanna

    February 28th, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing I love behind the scenes!

  8. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I do too! Behind the scenes shots are always some of my favorite!

  9. Holly

    February 28th, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Aww I love styled shoots – how fun! This location and whole setup is to.die.for!! Great job!!

  10. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Thank you! I love southern NM, it really is so diverse and beautiful!

  11. Stefani

    February 28th, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    This was so much fun to read through!! Always cool to see how much effort actually goes into putting something like this together.

  12. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:07 am

    So much effort! It’s really crazy and amazing!

  13. Dedra

    March 1st, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Three carloads?? Your pictures, the light, the background…absolutely gorgeous! Perfection!!

  14. Karen

    March 1st, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    This is so dreamy!

  15. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you! It was fun to get all the behind the scenes shots!

  16. Mindy

    March 1st, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Love it, looks like a gorgeous shoot! Beautiful location.

  17. Marquette LaRee

    March 1st, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you! I LOVE this spot in NM!

  18. Stella Throop

    March 1st, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Styled shoots are a ton of work but so much fun! This one looks gorgeous, the location is stunning!!

  19. D @ Be You and Thrive

    March 2nd, 2017 at 7:00 am

    OH the gorgeous details!!!! The hard work developed a magnificent shoot!

  20. Misty

    March 2nd, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I love these behind the scenes shots!! I can’t wait to see the real thing!

  21. Marquette LaRee

    March 3rd, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Behind the scenes shots are my very favorite!

  22. Brittani

    March 3rd, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Oh my gosh I can’t wait to see the real photos! This behind the scenes is amazing and I love getting a little glimpse into what went in to such a beautiful shoot!!

  23. Jill

    March 6th, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    What a FUN bts post!!! Gorgeous!