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 ;) 

SHEA HOLLAR

I am so excited to share my newest shoot with Shea.

She is signed to Rock Agency in Wisconsin and was only in Dallas for a week to train with John Benton (if you're a model looking for an amazing trainer, he's your guy!). I'm thrilled that her agency found me and asked her to shoot with me while in town. We met at my studio in Denton and put. in. work. 

Hair and makeup by the incredibly talented Heather Fitzgerald. 

I like to start with some basic beauty shots because it allows me to chat with the model and get both of us more comfortable working together. From there, we are able to get more creative with posing and wardrobe. 

We worked on getting more expression shots and smiling images for Shea's book. 

One of my favorite (and most awkward) things to do is ask the model to laugh out loud - like, actually LOL - as loud as they can. This allows me to capture real, authentic smiles. I always laugh with them, and Heather even laughed along with us.

It's typically so uncomfortable that everyone starts laughing authentically, and it creates the cutest images. See below :) 

For our next look, Heather switched it up with baby buns and starry eyes. I'm so in love with her work and how creative she gets with it. 

After shooting in the studio for a while (typically about an hour), I like to go outside and get full body, natural light portraits. My brain needs a change of pace after shooting indoors anyways, so it's a great way to switch things up and capture more movement. 

I love this next look that Shea brought – it's adorable and it reminds me of Wet Hot American Summer – so it's a win-win. 

FINAL LOOK

Model: Shea Hollar
Agency: Rock Agency
Beauty: Heather Fitzgerald
Location: Denton, Texas
 

MICHAEL SPERO

GET IT MIKE SPERO

Freshly signed to Dragonfly Agency, Mike was in town for just one week before heading back to his mother agency in Kansas City. We met at a location on Harry Hines that I had driven by last year and always hoped to use.

I wanted to play around with the shadows and structural lines, so I asked Mike to meet me at 11:00am when the sun would be really high in the sky. My assistant, Michelle Khan, helped by directing the light with a reflector (on the gold side). I simply used it as a fill light since everything was so bright already. 

The next three images were taken beneath the pedestrian bridge, where we were shaded completely. I had Mike sit against the handrail so I could shoot down on him, bringing out his eyes and increasing the reflections in his glasses. The street behind the railing was harshly lit by the sun, which I further brightened in post.

Having your subject sit in the shade, but allowing the background to remain sunny, is a great way to purposefully overexpose the background and draw focus to the foreground AKA your subject's face. 

To switch it up, we drove to Bachman Lake Park and shot our final outfit in a more natural setting.

I didn't realize it was so close to Dallas Love Field and was so excited to get a photo of one of their planes landing behind Mike! Talk about good timing. 

SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS SHOOT

Model: Mike Spero
Agencies: Dragonfly, Arizona Model Management, Moda Models Cape Town SA
Assistant: Michelle Khan @michellekhxn
Gear: Canon 5D Mark ii / 50mm 1.2L