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Spellbound: The Fine Art of a Styled Shoot

Dec 18, 2017
I like to compare a wedding day to a free fall. As a photographer, who's done more than three-hundred weddings, I know I will step off the preverbal cliff the second I enter bride prep. There is nothing for me to hold on to; no one who can stop me; no safety net to catch me. It's intense and that's why I love it! 
A styled shoot however, gives me the opportunity to keep my feet on the ground. I can relax, wait for the light and explore different moods and angles. All of this is done collaboratively with knowing and trusted colleagues. I rely on them to contribute in a way that makes us all better; And they do.  
They know the kind of dress that will express the mood; They discuss locations and make educated and refined choices; Each move made-each pose, the way the dress lays, the color palette, and on and on-is a conscious team effort.  
During this styled shoot I had the help of Wedding Coordinator Marian Braccia. She is the owner of Philadelphia based Porch & Pearls. Marian combed through wedding gown shops, vintage markets, and even a closet of a great aunt, to curate dresses and accessories. 
She brought in Hair and Make-Up artist Dayna Venneri DeFazio. Using more than ten years of expertise, Dayna created skin that was dewey and reflective. The hairstyle was swept high to keep the focus on the neckline of the gown and the bold flower crown.  
The model was the stunning Samantha Sjostedt. The goal was to have a woman who could show strength and independence-Samantha did just that. She donned sheer dresses in temperatures dipping into the 20s, wore three inch heals on top of boulders and looked right through the camera-landing the perfect look over and over again. 
The month of November matched the dark, velvet-like mood we were trying to create. November is that in-between time of year when the fall color is gone and we are left with luxurious browns-beautiful, gorgeous, intoxicating browns. No other place presents itself more beautifully than the Binky Lee Preserve. 
Great thanks to Marian, Dayna and Samantha for their substantial contributions. Styled shoots are a group effort-each of us would be lost in free fall without the other. 
Photography: Douglas Benedict Photography | Planning: Porch & Pearls | Hair and Make-Up: Dayna Venneri DeFazio | Model: Samantha Sjostedt | Dress: L'amour by Calla Blance | Dress Shop: Sposabella Bridal | Location: Binky Lee Preserve