The Dress Session is a favorite of mine. Over the years it has evolved into a what I think larger than life session. What started with a senior wanting to wear her dress one more time and me getting a chance to work with studio lighting has turned into an epic event and it’s only going to get better!
This year I wanted to do something so out of the box with the 2017 Seniors with their prom dresses. I really wanted it to be special for them and for myself. Pushing myself out of the box and giving them something so different from anything they have done. I also wanted a group setting, more of a styled session that would look straight out of a magazine. I’m getting better at that part but I think for what we did for a first time, we hit this one out of the ball park.
The set up:
2017 Seniors Emilie, Alex and Haley were selected as my models. Alex and Emilie were already 2017 Models and asked specifically for the Dress Session, I wanted a few more seniors so I selected Haley and one other who couldn’t attend. I picked a location that I have wanted to photograph at forever but hadn’t had the chance yet – the Highlands Ranch Mansion. If you have not been there, go. It’s beautiful and they have tours there. The place is just stunning and I had read stories (Murder at the Brown Palace) about the place, and I had seen other photographers work there I knew this had to be the place where The Dress Session would happen. We picked a day in early May, that worked with my busy schedule and their soon to be finished school work. They were to bring their dress that they just wore to Prom. The one that was probably searched and tried on as early as January. The big she-bang. The last formal dress, probably right up there next to the wedding dress… ‘the one’.
I then threw something that just made the session a whole lot sweeter.
A parachute. Pink. Parachute.
Something that I have seen with some senior specialty photographers in photography forums across the world is the parachute dress. A real working parachute converted into a dress. It’s big, bulky (and a bit smelly) but it’s stylish. I was seeing different colors in a variety of poses. (Google Parachute Dress and look at the images) I knew I wanted to try something like this. I searched ebay, found a company that sells them and within days I had a 25 pound box at my door with a notice to make sure I get an inspection on the parachute if I ever decided to use it for jumping. No thanks. Pass!
Our stage is set. Dresses, Check. Location, Check. Parachute (Pink), Check. Snow. NO! No! NO! Thanks to Denver weather and not quite Mother’s Day yet we were getting another round of snow. As usual, I had the “wait till the hour before the session – before we cancel” rule in place. You never know what the weather will be like an hour before the session and sure enough, just as I had bit off the last finger-nail, the snow stopped and the sun came out and we were back in business! It was a bit chilly that evening but there was no signs of any snow at the Mansion except wet grass which we avoided and a few puddles of water.
We started off in the prom dresses. Grouping all the girls together and giving each girl ‘top billing’ in each pose. Then I got a few different areas of each girl with just them and their dress making sure I covered the grounds of the mansion. Once we got all the prom dresses photos, each girl who wore some shorts and brought a nice white top, got into the parachute and again I went through a variety of different poses with each girl. Thanks to Haley who brought her sister Ashley – I put her to work on one set of the poses where she would pick up a piece of the parachute, throw it in the air and I would photograph it. Did this about 4-5 times per girl so in Photoshop I did a lot of editing of Ashley out! Alex’s parents were there so dad helped me with getting the girls into the parachute and moving the parachute around (25 pounds…)
For the first time out doing something like this – I’m beyond excited about it that The Dress Session 2018 will be just as amazing. So if you are reading this far, a senior for 2018 and want this, this is a special session. I won’t be at the Mansion this coming year as I want to go somewhere different and I’m already looking at the Sand Dunes in south Colorado (ROAD TRIP) or the Painted Mines (an hour south of Denver). More details will be provided at the senior’s review of their session and requirements to be part of “The Dress Session 2018”.
What about the guys? You’re right. They don’t wear a dress and probably have no desire to wear the parachute either. But I think they should be equally a part of this major session going forward. There will be guys included this coming year and I haven’t got a name for it yet but they will have their own special session tied in with The Dress.
Ready to see the images after my rambling?