May 23, 2015


I worked at ModCloth as a Creative Merchandising Photographer and had photographed Grace in our merch studio. Since our ModCloth days together I always knew that I wanted to work with her again, but I was just waiting for the perfect shoot and concept to roll around. Carmel of Mt. Lebanon Floral reached out to collaborate on a fashion themed floral shoot, and right away I knew that would be the perfect opportunity to shoot with Grace. She has a very refined elegant, timeless, and exotic look which inspired my floral fashion series “Exotic Elegance”.

My first thoughts were that I wanted this shoot to be shot in the studio, have a high fashion vibe, and also highlight Carmel’s immaculate floral arrangements. As I dug deeper into the the concept for the shoot I found an element that I just had to add into the mix: dry ice. I have never shot with dry ice before and I was in love with the dreamy fog like effect that it gives off. I did some research, pinned a few of my favorite dry ice inspiration looks, and started the search to find a local dry ice supplier. Low and behold I was able to purchase 15 pounds of it. Unaware of how the dry ice would react to studio lights and how long it would stay fresh in an insulated container in my garage, I was willing to take the risk and experiment (with safety precautions enforced of course). We saved the dry ice looks for last and I am so glad we did. At the end of the shoot the set was completely drenched in water! All worth it though. Grace was a trooper for working with the dry ice. The fog clouds only last a few seconds so posing quickly was very important. She nailed it.

Due to some tight scheduling, I wasn’t able to see the floral arrangements before I gathered the wardrobe.  I did mention to Carmel that I wanted to use grasses or plants that had pops of bright greens, so that is the only color I pre-planned for. I picked clothing that was earthy and had subtle hints of floral. I couldn’t have been happier with how everything turned out. It all fell into place and I was in LOVE with the touches of metallic gold that Carmel painted added in. This lady is seriously a floral magician and I am so honored to do this shoot with her.

“Exotic Elegance” was featured on the popular floral blog, Botanical Brouhaha. Special thanks to Amy McGee for kindly featuring our shoot and being so supportive of me and Carmel’s collaborations. We had the honor of being featured in Botanical Brouhaha last year as well, which features our first collaboration fashion shoot with model Steph DeFelice. That shoot can be viewed here: I have found that one of the most rewarding parts of this industry is crossing paths with amazing people like Carmel and Amy throughout the journey. The post can be viewed here:

Floral Design: Mt. Lebanon Floral 

Photography, Retouching, Wardrobe: Kaela Speicher

Retouching Assistance: Leah Schonauer 

Hair: Natosha Durr

Makeup: Shana Lohr