Fashion Models and Texas Bluebonnets
You have to look pretty good if you’re going to compete with a field of Texas bluebonnets. Two of ITP’s favorite models – Tayler Campbell and Savannah O’Hara – are more than up to the challenge.
I took Tayler and Savannah to a beautiful property near Belleville, Texas. About 50 miles east of Houston, it’s nestled in the rolling hills that miraculously emerge from the rice prairies north of I-10. I discovered this little ranch in 2007, a banner year for Texas wildflowers that has seldom been equaled. In succeeding years, it was always pretty, but the drought that parched so much of Texas between 2011 and 2013 didn’t spare this spot. The amazing flower show withered to just a ghost of its former glory. In the last few years, though, the rains have begun to renew the wildflowers, and this year they were gorgeous, again. The glorious blankets of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, firewheel, phlox, and flowers I can’t name, are back.
Great Models to Shoot With
These ladies have their own distinctive styles and personalities. A natural blond with luminous good looks and symmetry that is perfect for beauty work, Savannah, can strike any pose you want. But she’s at her best when she’s “on stage.” Tayler, a brunette, is equally beautiful, but quite different. Statuesque, athletic, and regal, she is strikingly pretty from the front. From the side, she shows the classic profile reminiscent of face on ancient Greek relief. Her style is more reserved.
The girls chose their own wardrobe, and Image Theory Photowork’s superb makeup artist, Sarah Kate Harrison, did their makeup. Her work was, as usual, spot on.
Tayler – The Wind, a Dog, and an L.O.U.S.
During Tayler’s shoot, we fought 15 to 20 mile an hour winds and rapidly fluctuating light conditions. A good breeze can give you that “fashion model hair” look, but it also blows light clothes in unpredictable ways. We wasted lots of pretty poses where the wind blew hair across Tayler’s face, or ballooned her dress out of shape. But we still wound up with lots of great results. Posing with her pet German shepherd, she reminds me of a painting of Diana, goddess of the hunt. She is stunning in a series standing by a fence post in a wave of gold flowers. A series of shots with her reclining on a tree limb, well off the ground are striking for their contrasts and Tayler’s graceful, languid pose. We even managed to do a few shots in a wedding dress, something we’ve been trying to do for a while. The conditions weren’t ideal for a bridal shoot, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to try that with bluebonnets as a backdrop.
On top of all that, my good friend, Gary Wilhide, himself an accomplished shooter, brought his L.O.U.S., i.e., “Lens of Unusual Size” (apologies to Rob Reiner and William Goldman, director and author of The Princess Bride). This 600mm f/4.0 monster yielded amazing bokeh at large apertures.
Savannah -- Center Stage
We had only a light breeze the next day with Savannah. And we had more predictable light. A good thing, too, because we had lots less time. But Savannah doesn’t waste many poses, and the results were terrific. To start, Savannah chose a form-fitting, blue denim jumper that not only competed with the flowers, but was enough to make you ignore them altogether. Knowing you might be tempted to do that, we also asked Savannah to sit shoulder-deep in them for a few shots. If you object to Savannah being eclipsed by bluebonnets (which, metaphorically speaking, is absurd), there are lots of unobstructed photos of her elsewhere on this site. For her second outfit, Savannah chose a loose, white smock dress that seemed too plain at first. But then she donned a floppy, brown hat, and transformed into vision of a country girl strolling down a dusty road.
Then she had to leave. Bummer. But the images she left? Well worth the drive.
Savannah O'Harah's Gallery
Tayler and Savannah: Future Stars? Could be!
Savannah seems destined for an acting career, and is already making inroads in TV and advertising. Savannah is featured in the Image Theory Models’ Galleries. You can also follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/savannahohara_/
Tayler is bound for L.A. this August, to advance a serious fashion modeling career. You can follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/taylercampbell/