Hipcamp Assignment: Girl Scout's Cabin

I planned my latest Hipcamp Assignment around my mom's birthday and we turned it into a full-fledged girl's trip. My mom, sister, and I packed up the car and hit the road for a Girl Scout's Camp in Spicewood, Texas!

The property was just beautiful and I immediately fell in love with how peaceful it was. The cabins sat just a few hundred yards from the Colorado river and we were lucky enough to be the only guests staying those days. We had the entire 400 acres to ourselves! 

And here's the part where you aren't technically supposed to swim..

But seriously, how do you say no to the Colorado River? 


BEST OF THE TRIP:

Cooking, swimming, and being immersed in nature

WORST OF THE TRIP: 

Blowing up the air rafts and fighting on the way home (family, amiright?) 


The next morning we woke up early and started making coffee. One of my favorite things on earth is cooking over an open fire – there's just something about it that is so rewarding. We made coffee, toast, and scrambled eggs in the leftover hamburger grease (mmmm too delicious). 

One of the best parts of the whole trip was eating our breakfast on the rocks looking out over the river. We even saw a porcupine! TRIP. MADE. 

After a very exciting breakfast with our new friend ^^^ we trekked back to the river, this time with our tubes. They were the type that you couldn't blow up with your mouth, so we had to find a gas station to fill them with air and it literally took hours. And like, a thousand quarters. 

TOTALLY WAS WORTH IT

I love being a Field Scout for Hipcamp. It leads me to the coolest places and allows me to get outdoors and explore areas I wouldn't typically think to go. It's also free camping.. so that's pretty awesome too ;) 

If you think this looks fun, learn more about it / apply here: 
https://www.hipcamp.com/journal/guides/photography-guide-how-to-field-scout-for-hipcamp


MARIE CHARLOTTE

Sunrise shoots are never a bad idea. 
Especially with a team of dedicated ladies ready to kill it. 

Model: Marie Charlotte Clark
Agency: Meraki Talent
Stylist: Erin Endres
Photographer: Kelly Sparks

Working with a stylist is such an important part of test shoots. Finding a stylist you can trust is even more important, though. 

I love working with Erin (the stylist) because she always brings such fun and brightly colored pieces. Pulling from the recent Zara release, she paired a thick white belt over that gorgeous mustard yellow dress. The fishnets brought the entire outfit together and I loved that it could be a soft or fierce look depending on the pose / attitude. 

HAYLEY RUDOLPH

Hayley is a talented fashion designer and the owner of HAYRUD – a beautiful online shop showcasing her pieces. I recently found her on Instagram and fell in love with her style. We decided to shoot together last weekend and I'm SO excited about what we got. 

Model: Hayley Rudolph
Clothing: HAYRUD
Location: Dallas Botanical Gardens
Photography: Kelly Sparks

Hayley texted me the day before our shoot saying she had to dye her hair pink for a show. She asked if I'd prefer to reschedule since it was different than I originally expected – LOL girl you're crazy if you think I don't want to shoot a pink haired model! It was such a beautiful pastel pink and look perfect next to the flowers! 

The Dallas Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite places to shoot because of all the versatility and nature – however, it's $16/person + parking + the hour drive – so I don't shoot here often. This month, though, the entry fee is only $1 per person!! I was so happy when I found this out, so you will be seeing more Botanical Garden shoots from me this August ;) 

And finally our last outfit. All blue everything and her dad's vintage jacket? Yes please! 

The scorching heat forced us to take multiple breaks and sit in the shade, which really allowed us to get to know one another. I had so much fun shooting with Hayley – she is so sweet and you should definitely check her out on Instagram! >> @hayleyrudolph <<

MCKENNA NEWELL

McKenna is a model with First Models Houston and I couldn't be more excited to share our shoot with all of you! 

We met at Texas Women's University around 4:00pm and were able to create some stunning images despite this intense summer heat! It was 100º during our shoot but McKenna somehow managed to look flawless until the end (while I become a sweaty mess lolol) 

Model: McKenna Newell
Agency: First Models and Talent Houston
Photography + Styling: Me
Location: TWU Gardens

One of my favorite things about the TWU Gardens is how versatile they are for their size. It's a relatively small garden but it is full of new and exciting photo spots at every turn. 

If you're a photographer around the Denton area, you should definitely go check it out. It's gorgeous around this time of year and makes a great location for any type of shoot! 

Seriously this greenhouse was everything. I loveeee the overgrown flowers. 

ELIZABETH MAJORS

Elizabeth is a model with Wallflower Management in Dallas and I am so excited I had the opportunity to work with her. I styled this shoot with simple, carefree clothing to encourage a youthful and playful vibe. I really wanted to focus on Elizabeth's features and show off her natural beauty.

We met at McKinney Square in Dallas on Friday morning. I already knew I wanted to use Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie's porch for the first few shots, but wasn't sure where else I wanted to go in that area. That's one of my favorite parts of shooting in a new place - just walking around aimlessly until I spot good light or a visually appealing background. I also knew that a cute lil' trolley came through that area.. but that's a story for later. 

There was a parking garage next door to Bisous Bisous and the lower deck had surprisingly cool light. I played around with the light from my phone to create some of the shots below and actually really loved the way they turned out! 

Favorite photo everrrr ^^^

After the parking garage, we walked around the shopping center until we found a sidewalk with this cool row of plants that I knew I could mask with.

Masking (or natural masking) is when you take something from the surroundings and cover part of your lens with it. When you take an image in this way, the object you're holding in the foreground blurs and can add interesting textures and visuals to your image. You can use your fingers, leaves, flowers, fabric, part of the model's clothing, etc. Anything your heart desires! 

And back to the trolley I mentioned earlier...

I had seen online that part of the trolley's route was McKinney Ave. where we were shooting, but I had no idea when it would come or where it went for that matter. Elizabeth had just changed into her final look and then, all of the sudden, THE TROLLEY ROLLED UP! 

We ran and hopped on right in the knick of time. What followed was a short ride in which some of my favorite portraits were created. 

Model: Elizabeth Majors
Agency: Wallflower Management + Explosion Model Management
Location: Dallas, Texas
Styling + Photography: Kelly Sparks

MELONY GIPSON

Melony is an up-and-coming style blogger who recently decided to revamp her entire portfolio. She just graduate from high school and is working on developing her styling portfolio before moving to San Fransisco for college in the fall (so exciting!). 

She contacted me a while back and we put together some ideas to showcase multiple wardrobe pieces and locations. We met at Tandy Hills Natural Area in Fort Worth and took advantage of the beautiful greenery, trails, and even a park that was next door (which are actually some of my favorite images).

Take a look below and be sure to follow her on Instagram for more of her styling tips (@melgstyle__)! 

One of my favorite things about Tandy Hills in Fort Worth is how versatile it can be as a location. We were able to get more of a street style with the first look (above) – and then with the next, we were transported to that little rocky trail in the midst of a gorgeous field (below). 

And this last outfit was soooo cute oh my gosh

I've been really into plaid lately, and Melony pulled it off so well! 

Thanks for reading! Use my contact page to set up a shoot of your own! 
www.kellysparks.co/contact

NEELIE BROWNE

Neelie recently signed with The Dragonfly Agency and they set up a shoot for us while she was in town from Kansas City. After looking through her book, I really wanted to show a softer side to her. Most of the work she had in her portfolio was edgy and a little darker / more editorial. 

My style is more feminine and soft, so I really wanted to push that with Neelie. I styled the majority of her looks from Anthropologie and J-Crew, with a few accent pieces from everyone's favorite place to waste time, Target. 

The plan was to meet at Sam Houston Trails in Irving, but it turned out to be impossible to find. Google Maps kept telling us we were there even though we were on a bridge over the highway.. Soo we quickly made a new plan and I actually think it turned out better!

We rerouted to a nearby neighborhood, and walked to the park through the neighborhood's trail. It brought us out in a spot I never would have noticed before – this gorgeous, sprawling field of green grass. 

I saved my favorite dress for the final look. Neelie looked absolutely gorgeous in this all white, lace dress from Anthro. 

This was such a fun shoot. I loved every minute of it. Plus, Anthropologie has been reposting some of out pictures from it, so that's pretty freaking awesome!! 

KENADEA JACKSON

I'm so happy that Kenadea and I had the opportunity to work together while she was in town. She's signed in Nashville and OKC and was only in the DFW area for a couple days.

We met in Denton for a quick 1.5 hour, 4 look shoot.. because when it's 100+ degrees, you learn to move quick.

Model: Kenadea Jackson
Agency: Brink Models / Eye Management
Assistant: Michalle Khan

Annnd let's change things up for the last outfit.

Pantsuits are a big hell yes in my book. 

OLIVIA WHITTAKER

Whew. It's been a minute since i've blogged, and I think this shoot is the perfect one to come back on. 

I found Olivia's Instagram a couple weeks ago and immediately DMed her. She sent over her agent's email at Kim Dawson, and we set up a date. Everything fell into place so easily and I couldn't be more excited to share our shoot. 

Model: Olivia Whittaker
Agency: Kim Dawson
Styling: Me
Time: Noon (yes I know this isn't typically ideal, but I love it)

I had arrived early to drive around and find some additional spots, and ended up finding the most amazing, fairy tale, secret-garden-home ever. I'm glad I did, because our original meeting place ended up having a lot of construction going on and I wasn't keen on using it anymore (..benefits of always arriving early!). 

The stairway / vine wall outside this home were all completely shaded by trees. Since we met at noon to begin shooting, I needed to find locations that had full shade coverage (or embrace the direct sun like we did a little later). Shooting at noon has gotten a really bad rap because it's so intensely bright – but i've recently fell in love with it. You can really take advantage of the lighting options that come with direct sun. We shot in the shade for most of our shoot, but you can also play with harsh shadows, use the direct sun to your advantage (for a muscle defining, rigid look), and so much more.

CHALLENGE: Shoot at noon on your next personal shoot. Just try it out and see what you can get. Being well rounded and able to adjust to people's schedules will help you out immensely in the long run. 

All of these locations were just walking around a neighborhood in Dallas. I use Google Maps to locate a visually appealing area and just run with it!  Don't be scared to shoot somewhere "boring" like a housing division – It will pay off ;)