Bold Beauty

Last Sunday was a delightfully fun day in the studio. I had the dynamic duo from Simply Me (a Bow Valley bridal beauty/hair & makeup team) in the house and they created a soft, romantic look for our model, fully completed by a crown of fresh flowers (sooo pretty, and pinterest-worthy!)

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Simply Me Bridal Beauty

To see more images from this morning sesh with Simply Me, check out this collection of their work.


The afternoon that day was a blast as well. Michaela Howie changed up the hair & makeup to create something a bit more bold, moody, and let’s be honest – dropdeadgorgeous.  Helena, our model for the day, is a friend and a force in front of the lens. I felt like I was photographing a goddess.

I planned a few little ‘outside-the-box’ components for myself that day. One of my goals for this year is to be more brave, and to push myself creatively within my portrait work. This shoot solidified the realization that although I have some lofty artistic aspirations, it will take a lot more work to achieve them than I had originally thought. Actually, it will probably be an on-going and unending process, but I’m cool with that.

It’s amazing how difficult it can be to step outside your own ‘norm’ while working! I have worked hard to create ‘good habits’ in a way, so that I can be sure to provide consistent service to my amazing clients. Trying to push beyond the outline that I have established for myself seemed like it would be simple – I had a vision of what I wanted to create, and a little bit of a plan of how I would go about doing so. But, like first attempts often go, I didn’t achieve exactly what I had envisioned.  That’s ok, though, because I did attempt to add a few new ‘ingredients’ to the work, and I got to collaborate with two beautiful souls for an afternoon, so really, I’m a happy girl.

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0117_web

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0111_web

In case you are behind-the-scenes-curious, the first of the new ‘ingredients’ I tried to work in was an acute corner, a la Irving Penn, in the images above. It was not nearly as simple as it seems, and I think I’ll be attempting this type of thing again, but in different ways. Something about that corner speaks to me… I’m just not really sure why yet.

The next two ‘ingredients’ were used as filters, placed between my lens and Helena.  The first image below has none, but the 2nd and 4th images below were shot through scrunched up saran wrap around the sides of my lens. The 3rd image below was shot through a crystal glass (a fancy dessert glass that the Hubz often uses as a champagne glass, to be specific.)

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0141_web

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0152_web

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0147_web

I was inspired to start putting stuff in front of my lens after watching Lara Jade teach a Creative Live workshop, where she shot through a scratched up piece of plexiglas. The results were subtle but awesome. I love the process of getting these effects in camera, rather than adding them in later on, in Photoshop. (Not that there’s anything wrong with jazzin’ things up a bit in Photoshop!)

Alexis McKeown Portrait_Helena_0164_web

Anyhoo, all in all it was a super fun day, and a big eye-opener for me. It’s so important to always be challenging yourself! Let me know what you are challenging yourself with these days 🙂 I always love to hear stories of other people’s creative processes, whether they are in art or in life!


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