I met Jennifer on bar stools over a latte for her, an Americano for me. Our conversation was supposed to be a consultation; an opportunity for Jennifer and I to get to know one another, to find out if my skills were well suited for her needs. Any formality that comes with a consultation was not present; all canned, surface level questions were evaded. We talked about much more important things: Jennifer’s way of life, her story, her passion; what it means to live a life led by wellness; travel, silent retreats, family, food, love - the good elements of life. I explained my process, my passions and my mission. Jennifer described her new app (which she developed last Fall) called ‘The Shift’, a platform dedicated to mindfulness. The clean, sophisticated, effortless, beautifully designed screen reflected Jennifer’s aura entirely. And as soon as I got home later that day, I downloaded it.
The app seamlessly takes you through an airy, abundant journey filled with options to suit your present needs. Do you need love? Clarification? Grounding? How do you want to achieve that? With food? Meditation? Movement? The Shift is a wonderful tool for those of us who want a little more structure to our self care. And it’s founder, Jennifer, is a great example of what it looks like to give oneself ultimate attention.
After we decided to move forward with a photoshoot, I began to prepare. Since we initially dove deep into conversation; our visual collaboration emerged with ease. While making the mood board, I could easily imagine her essence and aesthetic. Visuals were just pouring out of my mind. My imagination was delighted. I thought of all earthly elements but especially the sky, water, desert and wide open spaces. When it came to wardrobe I recalled what Jennifer had worn when we met: white linen pants and a white cotton t-shirt; elegant, casual, organic and easy. When sending her wardrobe ideas, I gave her descriptive words such as ‘classy’, ‘earthy’, ‘whimsical’, ‘free-spirited’. I provided her with color concepts and general thoughts on appropriate pieces.
Ultimately, I would not have been able to pick a more perfect wardrobe. Jennifer’s choices were stunning and totally complimented the mission of our shoot. And still, the clothing she wore merely complimented the raw beauty she already possessed. It simply emanated. She didn’t wear an ounce of makeup (and if she did, it wasn’t noticeable). She didn’t need anything to look beautiful because she simply was!
We had planned on a few location spots; her home, Jo’s Coffee and Barton Springs (my number one outdoor studio). When I arrived at her house, she had already begun playing a sweet, relaxing (yet rejuvenating) playlist. Fresh produce was laid out across her dining room table letting me know this was going to be a great day. Her space was thoughtfully decorated, sparkling clean; giving off loving, warm, spacious, airy vibes. It was intimate and pleasant; delicate and personal. I felt honored to stand present in its company.
Our time shooting in Jennifer’s home really set the tone for the rest of the day. We were able to take our time, discuss our mission, take a gander at her clothing options and eat some peaches. At Jo’s Coffee, a public space, the mayhem fell away while we focused on headshots and expressive postures. The heat of summer was not a factor for either of us and if it was, we didn’t show it. Time flexibility allowed us to take a break over coffee (perks of booking a half day session) while checking in and talking more about each other’s backgrounds.
This all rolled into Barton Springs where we caught magic hour which perfectly reflected her feminine, dreamy Beatrice Valenzuela dress. We played in the bath house and toyed with yoga postures (while still in the dress). Eventually, a more practical look emerged allowing for more space to flow and grow and breathe and rest before we were finished and Jennifer joined her partner, Jacob (also, an amazing human) to take a dip in the springs.
Gosh, what an experience. One of my favorite shoots to date. We couldn’t have gotten any more from our time together. And that’s when you know it’s perfectly imperfect. Jennifer’s spiritual evolution was simply undeniable and it led us through frame by frame - the resulting images a forever stamp. I’ll stop gushing but one more thing - I feel beyond blessed to have met someone that inspires me to be more spiritual, more connected and more purposeful with my life choices. It’s not everyday you meet a woman who makes you want to be a better you.
OH. By the way. My images of Jennifer were featured in a Parisian magazine (inspiring female empowerment through community, creativity and movement) called Inside Out. You can check that out here.