I don't do many styled shoots, simply because I adore the authenticity of real weddings. However, when the opportunity to shoot a promo video with Happy Kamper Films for Studio 22 arose, it was absolutely a no-brainer. Getting to work with Mike & Alison, who are some of the best wedding videographers in the game, was an absolute blast. Even better was the fact that Mike & Ashlea, a current wedding couple who will tie the knot in October, were game to be the bride and groom of the shoot! Add in having the opportunity to collaborate with Lillian's Bridal, Salon EXP and Sherwood Florist, and you have the makings of something extremely special. And man, this was fantastic!
Now, let me admit something: having the chance to collaborate with Lillian's and pick out the wedding dress that Ashlea would wear for the shoot was one of the most fun things I've done. I'm a closet sap. And the moment I laid eyes on the gorgeous blush, lace, and sequin gown, I knew it was the one. Lillian's was absolutely fantastic and allowed us to feature it in the shoot, and seriously, ladies...this gown. It just gives me the feels. :) Then, having the opportunity to set Jessie from Sherwood Florist loose with a concept, and to see her create one of the most beautiful wedding bouquets I've ever seen...oh man. This was shaping up to be one heck of an opportunity! I couldn't wait to see everything come together.
Coming off of attending the Two Mann Balls Out! Workshop, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to put the skills they'd taught to the test. Thankfully, Mike & Ashlea were absolutely down for anything I threw at them, which included Mike donning swim trunks and hopping in the shower for some groom getting ready photos! Ashlea was a blast as Erin & Elyse from Salon EXP prepped her, and we arrived at our location with the two of them looking amazing.
With a stunning couple, a gorgeous gown, and a bouquet to die for, I knew we needed something special for a location. I wanted a location that would highlight the fearless, adventurous style that my couples are known for, and at first we'd planned to head to Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky. However, as we watched the weather and the day loomed ever closer, we realized it was going to be a wet, cold, dreary, windy day...definitely not fun to run around in when you don't have to, and not fantastic for a promo! I went back to the drawing board, thinking of different possibilities, when I discovered it. The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of out-of-the-box wedding venues. The Ohio State Reformatory -- once called Mansfield Reformatory -- and the location they filmed Shawshank Redemption, featuring Morgan Freeman. I swooned. I died. And I prayed they would allow us to shoot there with two days notice.
Wonderfully, the staff was truly a dream to work with, and they allowed us to create what I think is going to be an absolutely killer promo video. It was a creative lighting wonderland, allowing me to really highlight that regardless of the location, we can create some amazing photos! The peeling paint, the inmate cells stacked on top of one another for six levels, the decades old chapel, and gorgeous light from sun setting behind a blanket of clouds created the perfect moody, dynamic look for Mike & Ashlea's images, and I can't wait to see what Happy Kamper creates with the footage!
Below you'll find some of the stills from the day, and believe me, when the promo video is ready, I'll be sharing that as well! It was a huge honor to get to collaborate with some of Dayton's best wedding vendors, as well as the utterly fantastic staff of Ohio State Reformatory, and I can't wait to team up again in the future.
Last but not least...Mike & Ashlea, thank you so very much for taking the time to come out with us and make this promo video a reality. You two are such fantastic people inside and out, and I can't wait to capture your official wedding day in October!