Senior Portrait Session: The Tucker Twins

Hey guys! Happy Friday! This week on the Blog, we are highlighting the Tucker Twins Portrait Session at Beaver’s Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing one half of this duo, Raina, back in the spring. You can view that session with her puppy dog, Pumpkin, here. Since then, I have been itching to get this sweet girl in front of the camera. Luckily for me, Raina and Brooklyn found themselves in need of Senior Portraits and knew just who to call! I was over the moon when Raina reached out to ask about having their photos done in the fall. As the summer months went by, Raina and I kept in contact discussing their vision for the shoot while impatiently waiting for the leaves to change in Hochatown.

Overall, the girls were pretty laissez-faire about what they had envisioned though they did throw a few curveballs at me. Their requests were simple, they were both hoping for rain and they wanted to incorporate smoke bombs and smores! All of which was going to be a challenge but I was up to it and so were they. When we started shooting, I was sure that the girl’s dreams of a rainy shoot were out the window. It was a beautiful fall day. It had been all week. Russ and I even managed to get a kayak trip down the Lower Mountain Fork the day before. After scoping out a few different areas with good light, the girls threw me one last request. “Any chance we could take a few pictures in a canoe?”, they asked. Insert me jumping for joy! I was stoked. I love water shots. I love the way the water plays with the light and how the prisms bounce color and flare  highlighting the golden arch of fall in the Ouachita Mountains.

Once the girls finished up with hair and makeup, we headed to Beavers Bend Paddle Floats to jump in the canoe. I was totally blown away when they got out of the car. Both of them looked so great. Brooklyn was wearing a sheer maxi dress, black booties and her ombre made the oranges and reds in her dress pop every so beautifully. Raina showed up in an olive green mini, black knee high boots and a black and white striped top. I was so surprised by how different they both were but how comfortably they complimented one another. As the girls paddled around the cove and swim beach, I got in chest deep to capture the magic that was unfolding before me. As the sunset over the Ouachita Mountains, we made our way to the second shoot location.

We stopped by a dirt road for a few good lines and eventually made our way down to a pavilion area so my hubby could get to work on building us a fire for our smores shot. We decided to try our luck with the smoke bombs before we lost the light. This was soooo fun! Raina and Brooklyn brought white, blue and orange bombs and stated that they preferred the shot to be in a wooded area. These girls were specific about their vision and it was much appreciated. We scoped out an empty creek bed and decided it would be the perfect place to set off the bombs. We tried the white first and after we put out a small fire, we had gotten the hang of how to set up the second one. The colors were so vibrant and the girls had posed in juxtaposition which made the shots that much more dramatic. Though we scared half the park with the smell of sulphur, the images turned out beautifully. Word to the wise when it comes to using smoke bombs, read the instructions, have water available and be ready to think fast. Before you know it, the smoke dissipates so make sure to have your models ready and willing to move on a clear path.

We blew up the last bomb and made our way to the pavilion to change outfits. As we began our way back to the campfire, the first crackle of thunder made its debut. Turns out, the girls’ dreams were coming true. We were going to get rain! I quickly turned my reflector into an impromptu umbrella and we made our way to the firepit. Both of them showed up in carefully worded t-shirts, flannel and jeans. Even with the rain dampening their perfectly coifed hair, these girls braved the lightning to get a few cuddly campfire photos. We burnt a few marshmallows and then closed up shop.

At one point, Raina kept asking me about her makeup and I couldn’t quite understand why. She looked great. It wasn’t until after the shoot that I realized that my makeup was ruined, mascara running down my cheeks and my hair was a mess. What can I say? To get these shots, I had to be willing to swim in a river, run from the flames of a smoke bomb and get soaked to the bone in a full blown Oklahoma thunderstorm. All in all, this was seriously the most fun I have had on a shoot. I love that these girls provided such a heavy-duty challenge and I am grateful that they trusted me to capture these images. They say you should put your dreams out into the universe and that they will come back to you in greater folds. This shoot is proof that no matter the obstacle, one can always rise to the occasion and sometimes, even surpass it!

Blog Spotlight: Carolyn Anderson Photography

Hey guys! As you all may know, we here at The Rustie Nail have adopted the mantra of The Rising Tide Society when it comes to community over competition. The idea is that we embrace other creatives in an effort to build of network of like minded creativepreneurs. It’s a concept that has pushed me into building such amazing relationships with creatives both here in Dallas-Fort Worth and back home in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Each and every individual I have met has taught me so many little tips and tricks on how to build this brand and I am so grateful. As a thank you, I have  the opportunity to shine a light on what some of my new friends have been up to.

In our last Top 5 Blog, we highlighted some of the state parks in the area that double as recreation areas and portrait session backdrops. You may have noticed the ridiculously beautiful landscape shots that we featured in that Blog. My new friend, Carolyn Anderson, a self-taught photographer out of New Alexandria, PA, was gracious enough to provide all of those awe-inspiring photos. Today, we’re gonna shine a light on Carolyn, her journey in photography and what’s next on the horizon!

Where do I even begin? I found Carolyn through social media. Her photos kept popping up on my Newsfeed and I couldn’t help but fall in love with all her images. Every one of her photos highlights some of the favorite places to have spent my time as a child growing up in the wilderness of PA. She has this brilliant talent of capturing the color quality of her subjects. Honestly, her photos kind of give me the feels. I grew up in her neck of the woods and find myself seeing so many familiar places in her galleries.

Carolyn is a mom to 2 gorgeous young ladies and a wife to her highschool sweetheart, Dan. She was born and raised in New Alexandria, PA. She specializes in landscape photography but admits having done it all, from proms to weddings for friends and family who have asked. She’s an outdoorsy gal who began taking photos in 2006. By 2007, she had purchased her first DSLR, a Canon Rebel. After years of practice, Carolyn held her first solo Photography Exhibition on Nov. 7th, 2015 at the New Growth Gallery in her hometown. To date, she is a member of the New Alexandria Art Alliance and has had photos accepted into the West Penn Trail Juried Art Show and the Westmoreland Art Nationals. She’s been featured in the Latrobe Bulletin and in a heavily-followed Facebook page entitled “Only In Pennsylvania“. Though she considers photography more of a hobby, she is totally open to the idea of expanding into a profession. Now wouldn’t you all love to see that? I know I would.

For more information on how to purchase Carolyn’s art, head to her Etsy shop. To check out what she has going on in the everyday, head to her Facebook page or to chat with Carolyn just shoot her an email. I loved having the chance to get to know this sweet gal over the last couple of weeks and look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with her in the future. Keep the good work Carolyn! We love your work and can’t wait to see more!

To learn about the other creatives we have featured on our blog or to nominate someone to be featured, shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com or check out our last Blog Spotlight: Whitney Bowman Photography.