As a newer photographer to the wedding industry, I really didn’t want to waste any time working to attract the right kind of I clients I want to work with. Styled shoots were something I’d seen and heard about – they can be used as a great tool to show what you’re capable of, they’re a great learning experience, and you can stage your dream shoot. With that knowledge, I didn’t really waste any time planning my own. It did not go at all according to my expectations – and I’m totally ok with it. I knew I wanted to shoot an adventure elopement styled shoot in Hawaii. So, first thing first, I booked a ticket to Hawaii for 6 months out. Then the real work began…

First I wanted to find a couple who was comfortable hiking on steeper/narrower trails at not so small heights so we could reach Crouching Lion, which I had been to before. I joined a few Hawaii wedding facebook pages and started posting. I got shot down hard by one of the group moderators who commented on my post 8 times, telling people to “beware of me.” In his own words, “to go on this photoshoot with her, you are risking your life,” and then began to post articles of people who had died on the trails I was looking to hike. I was a bit annoyed, but hey, I get it. Some people wouldn’t be ok on the trails I was looking to go, BUT, the matter of the fact was, those aren’t the kind of people I was trying to attract. I’m looking for those adventure seekers who find fullness of life on these trails, the risk takers…I vibe with you all. In all honestly, this trail is truly not dangerous at all as long as you keep your eyes open. After about 2 months, I found the perfect couple through a friend of a friend of a friend who saw my post on facebook. Boom – location and couple locked down.

Next I wanted to find a dress. I called/emailed so many different vendors asking for rentals in exchange for the full gallery of photos. I received zero responses from any dress vendor. Hey, I get it…I don’t have a huge instagram following and not much in the line of a wedding portfolio. I wasn’t worried about it. I ended up buying a dress from Lulu’s online and prayed the dress would fit her and stopped worrying about it.

Hair and make up was the same story. I couldn’t find a single vendor who wanted to collaborate with me. Guess what? I didn’t stress about it or give up. I was going to get these pictures no matter what. In all honesty, by the time we reached the top of Crouching Lion we were so soaked in sweat that I doubt make-up or hair would have held perfectly anyway. The model, Brittany, did her own hair and make up and looked beautiful + natural…I love natural. This was a win.

I found a florist who was willing to donate the labor and sell me flowers at wholesale price, but cancelled on me last minute. It was kind of a bummer, but also I found a different florist last minute who put together a BEAUTIFUL bouquet for me. Sure, I paid for it, but who cares. It fit perfectly.

I bought some BEAUTIFUL donuts to use as a prop instead of a cake. I set them on the counter before we went to bed the night before. When I woke up, they were covered in ants…hundreds of ants. No prop…oh well.

The day of the shoot came and we started early in the morning and hiked the trail with our headlamps. The dress got dirty fast trudging through the red mud, and I was ecstatic. At the end of the day, the dress has a story to tell about your day – and this dress’s story was loud and clear. We hiked, we played, we tripped, we stumbled through the mud, we sweat hard as we boogied up the mountain to catch the sunrise, we laughed a ton, we enjoyed a beautiful morning admiring Earth. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of creating my dream shoot with very little, I learned some things, built some confidence, and am stoked I didn’t give up.

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