My bestie, Lauren, and I co-founded Opal and June
in the summer of 2018. Based on a mutual love of photography, insanely beautiful dresses and, most of all, a love of shooting for creative fulfillment, Lauren and I have brought together our two totally different styles to create a styled shoot rental shop for photographers and creatives alike. It's been so fun!!
And to introduce ourselves and Opal and June? I thought we'd answer a few of these FAQs!
Why styled shoots?
When I first got serious about photography in 2011, I didn't understand what styled shoots entailed and, for a long time, I just wasn't into them. What I didn't realize, though, was that I had been shooting them all along. Every time I photographed a model with my own idea, every time I DIY'ed a project for a shoot and every time I scoured thrift stores for props or grabbed a dozen balloons or flowers from the store, I was already embarking on my own styled shoots
. And when I realized this? A light bulb totally went off!
For me, styled shoots are all about creating. I love coming up with an abstract idea, pulling all the loose strings, and tying them together in beautiful photographs. Sometimes, I feel creatively fulfilled by coming up with props or locations for my client work. Other times, I feel fulfilled by brainstorming large scale shoots with my creative friends and fellow wedding vendors. Often, though, I just need to let my creativity flow by constructing a shoot idea from start to finish. These shoots can range wildly in size - sometimes all I want to shoot is a pretty model in a pretty dress in a pretty field - and other times they are much more complicated and include a lot more planning. All of these things are part of my creative process and, the more I create, the better all of my photographs become. Creating is, hands down, my favorite part of photography and this light bulb moment was life changing for me! Shooting for creative fulfillment is so important in my work and it's so necessary in so many of my photographer friends' work, too. It's amazing!
The more I strove to shoot for creative fulfillment, however, the more it became apparent to me that, while there are many resources and workshops where photographers can jump in on pre-planned photoshoots, there are very few (if any) styled shoot resources for photographs to bring their own ideas to life. Lauren and I had both acquired a ton of photoshoot props + clothing items over the years and, in the summer of 2018, we decided to gather them all together for Opal and June! Our goal is to provide affordable rentals for photographers and we have loved seeing what other photographers create with our inventory!
What's your background in photography?
Lauren: My answer definitely won't be as poetic as Lissa's answer, haha.
My dad was always interested in photography and was the documenter of all of our trips and daily lives growing up. He would always let me borrow his cameras (film, which I'm sure ages me a bit) and burn off a few rolls that he would send off to develop. On my 18th birthday, he bought me my first SLR while we were living in Alaska. I spent that whole first summer photographing everyone and everything. I bought my first dSLR after I got married and started to photograph my friends and their children for practice. I opened up my senior portrait business shortly after moving to Arkansas in 2011 and ran a successful boutique portrait business for 6 years.
Lissa: Photography is my whole entire heart.
I like to say say that I grew up with a camera in my back pocket before camera phones were even a thing. Photography is my jam! My portrait work began shortly after graduating high school - I've photographed at least one high school senior in every class since the class of 2006! - and, in the summer of 2011, I officially opened my business. I've been shooting weddings and portraits ever since! Additionally, I've been involved in photography education and mentorships since 2014 and currently teach a rad editing workshop, The Hue of You
, over at Click Photo School
. It's the best!
How will styled shoots help my work?
While every photographer is different I have found that, when I shoot for myself, my entire photographic voice becomes stronger. As photographers, we are taught so often to not shoot for free that, sometimes, we can take this to an extreme level and only shoot client work. Photography is an art and all art takes practice, dedication, and hard work. By shooting styled shoots, photographers can create opportunities to make their creative voices shine. I love styled shoots so much because they let me meet new people, shoot in new locations, and gather new experiences. They're also amazing because, for every styled shoot I create, I have ten or fifteen ideas on the back burner. This helps our work so much!
Think of it this way: if I wanted to photograph bridals in a greenhouse, it could take me years to find the right bride for the shoot. Even then, I could have the right bride but her wedding could be in the wrong season. Then, on top of that, I could have the right bride in the right season but the time of day you're both available isn't quite right. Waiting for the perfect session is definitely a gamble so I say we create that session instead!
By creating the shoot, we've create a win-win: A styled shoot will give us the experience, creative fulfillment and portfolio images we've been dreaming of. And when the perfect bride comes along? There will be images to show her!
How is Opal and June different than a dress shop?
This one's super easy for me to answer!
When we created this shop, I wanted to create a space where photographers could plan a shoot in a one stop shop. Lauren and I have picked every item in our inventory with photography in mind and, while we have some classic wedding dresses, the majority of our rental shop is full of unique, non-traditional bridal looks and vintage finds. We've built our collections so that photographers all of the US will have affordable options for bridal looks, prop rentals, and even affordable access to unique ring boxes for wedding day flat lays. We are so happy to offer so many fun rentals to photographers and can't wait to share more with y'all in the coming months!
Have another question for us? See our FAQs page here
or shoot us an email at opalandjuneshop (at) gmail.com!