The Head That Wears the Crown

Right after our big trip I attended a workshop on how to make flower crowns with a well-known local artist & florist, Alaska KnitNat.  I’ve seen her work in many photographer’s images and it always looks stunning, so I was interested to learn a bit about how to create something similar for my styled shoots and special projects.  It was a “make & take” workshop I arranged to do a quick photo shoot for a friend a few hours after the workshop so we could use the crown and get some images of it, which is where the image above came from.  It’s a little different posing with a crown since it’s not something most people wear every day, but we had lots of fun with it.  Here’s the basics on how it went together.

The instructor had several flower options available to choose from and these little pink flowers, which I believe are was flowers immediately spoke to me.  I decided to use those and dusty miller that her landscaper friend had given her for experimenting along with some thistles (a nod to our recent trip to Scotland) and lavender.

The starting point is this coated florist wire.  It’s available at both JoAnn Fabrics & Micheals.  Using your own head as a measuring tool, wrap the wire around where you want it to sit and cut leaving 1-2″ extra on each end to create the tie in the back.

We opted to do a ribbon tie at this workshop because it was a bit prettier and allowed for different sizing if it was to be worn by different models.  The alternate is to leave excess room to weave or twist the two ends together.  To create attachment points for our ribbon ties we created a small loop on either end of the wire.

These loops were secured with floral tape wrapped around the wire.  From there, the pieces of ribbon were double-knotted through the ‘eye’ created by the tape on each side.   Now it’s time to start using the florals.

I got so engrossed in the creative process I apparently didn’t take any pictures of this stage, so I’ll try to describe it the best I can.  Using small sections of your selected florals (2-3 small stems or pieces arranged together), you begin to form the arrangement.  Tape the stems of each section down to the wire, working in one direction so each batch covers the stems of the previous batch.  Alternate the direction each batch points off the wire (right or left) in a cross-hatch style so that you keep things full and all the connections on the wire covered.  You also want to make sure your florals are all on the top side of the wire, so that the back side remains flat to sit against the head.

The process does take a bit of planning before you dive in since once each section goes down it’s nearly impossible to add to it because you layer each section with the sticky floral tape.  I forgot to include a thistle early on in the design of mine and had to work it back in trying to secure it without disturbing the other sections around it.  I made it work, but it wasn’t the best option.  I highly recommend just playing with a design or arrangement before you commit to the tape, or make a few practice crowns until you get it just the way you want.

I chose to make an asymmetric design rather than a full crown that goes all the way around the head, so I started my sections about a third of the way down my wire from the ribbon eye loop and stopped about a third of the distance to the other side’s ribbon tie.  If you were doing a full crown you would start closer to the eye loop and continue all the way down the wire.

Here’s me modeling the finished piece after the class.  The Dusty Miller really gave it a unique look and made it easy to transition from fall to winter.  One of the other participants in the class was a local cake maker I’ve met several times.  She also chose to do an asymmetric design with eucalyptus, lavender, thistle and statice.  It had a wonderful woodland fairy vibe and because of the flowers she chose the instructor was fairly certain she’d be able to let it air dry and keep it for years.

I enjoyed wearing my handiwork the rest of the day until my friend’s shoot, where we took turns wearing it.  I even wore it to do some shopping and got several compliments on it – although some didn’t even notice it since it was the same day as a big costume marathon in town!  Here’s one of my favorite shots with the crown from my friend’s session.  It certainly creates a whimsical look.  You can see the ribbon tie sticking out a bit in the back due to the angle.  I left it here so you could get a sense of where it tied, but I’ll probably photoshop it out in the final edit.

Because I also chose florals that kept well I was able to store it in the refrigerator and use it on a senior photo shoot the following week!  It had just started to snow and we were surrounded by evergreen trees rather than colorful leaves so it has a completely different look in this shoot.  I let the senior keep it after her shoot so she could enjoy it and feel like a princess for a few more days.

It was fun learning a new skill and I plan to put that knowledge to work for future sessions to spice up my portfolio.  Have you ever worn a flower crown or have a favorite ‘look’ that used one?  I’d love to see a picture of it for inspiration!  Alaska KnitNat also has a more in-depth, step-by-step tutorial with a video on how to create these crowns on her site, so be sure to check it out along with her other DIY tutorials for fun projects like a Modern Hoop wreath and even how to make grocery store flowers look like a professional floral arrangement!

 

Advertisements

Top 10 Wedding Photography Tips

With wedding season upon us and many in planning mode for late summer and fall events, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the best tips I’ve acquired as a wedding photographer.  I’ll be sharing these tips with my nephew and his fiance as I prepare to photograph their nuptials near D.C. this fall!

1. Make photography a priority!
Of course a photographer would say that, but it’s not a sales gimmick – it’s because photographs are one of the few elements of your wedding that you will continue to enjoy and share years later. Those images are how you will remember all the little moments of your big day so make sure you have someone you trust to capture those memories.  Your venue and attire are the other two things that should be considered carefully as they will be in all of your images too.

2. Do your research when choosing a photographer and other wedding vendors.
Each photographer has their own unique style and pricing. Find one that fits your vision and BUDGET!  The same is true for other wedding vendors – DJ’s, florists, cake makers and even wedding planners – which leads me to my next tip…

3. Don’t wing it. Have a plan and someone designated to help you make it happen.
Prepare a schedule and have someone in charge – either a wedding planner or friend/family member – who will not only keep everyone on schedule, but handle any problems that arise.  Your photographer and other vendors are there to provide the service you’ve contracted from them, not make decisions on how things will run because that’s up to what you want.  However, most wedding vendors are usually happy to offer suggestions if you want expert advice on particular aspects of your planning.

4. There will be hiccups to your plan. Be flexible when they happen.
If something doesn’t go as planned and it can’t be fixed, just smile and roll with it because no one but you and your planner will know that’s not how you intended it to be. By not making a big deal of it no one else will even notice the issue, instead all they will remember how enjoyable your wedding was and how happy you looked.

5. Think about how what you’ve planned will photograph.
Will the sun make you squinty in all your pictures or the will the wind blow your veil like a sail?   Will your photographer have a clear shot of you at the altar?  Will where you stand during the ceremony look awkward? These are things to consider and discuss with your vendors ahead of time so everything is the best it can be and you’re not stressed.

6. Schedule some alone time for portraits of just the two of you.
It’s tough to be romantic in front of a crowd. Give yourselves at least a few minutes alone with your photographer.  You’ll be much more relaxed and it will show in your photos, plus you’ll be glad to have a few minutes alone with your beloved after all the hectic activities!

7. Communicate with your photographer so they are ready to capture the special details you have planned.
This allows your photographer to be positioned in the best spot to capture each of those details, rather than trying to catch it as they realize it’s happening.

8. Minimize family/friends competing with the photographer.
Most photographers are used to friends and family also wanting to snag a shot, but it’s distracting for those being photographed and it can eat up precious time in your schedule if it’s allowed too much. Plus no one wants a shot where half of the group is looking at one camera and the others are looking at another.

9. If you’re uncomfortable, it will show in your expressions.
Choosing garments and shoes that fit your style and comfort level will ensure that you’re not fussing with pinching wardrobe items or forcing a smile through a blister. And you’ll be in a much better mood at the end of the night too!

10. Get comfortable with your photographer ahead of time.
Having someone show up on one of the most stressful days of your life and point a camera at you to document every little expression will only make you self-conscious. I offer my wedding clients a free engagement session so they can meet me well in advance and get a sense of how I work so they know what to expect.  This makes them much more comfortable in front of the lens on their wedding day and allows me to blend in with their friends and family to catch those candid moments they would otherwise miss because they are too aware of being photographed.

These tips also translate to other events you might be planning – graduations, family reunions, etc. so they’re good to keep handy! 🙂  For more tips on things to consider as you prepare to work with your photographer visit my photography website.