Southern Weddings V3 hits newsstands tomorrow and I am thrilled to finally, after months of bursting at the seams, reveal our cover! One little tweet lead to 200+ submissions lead to 15 gorgeous shoots and finally produced this stunning photograph from Joey + Jessica that stole our hearts!
I will admit, having 15 teams of wedding pros vying for our cover was a huge risk. I am frequently fueled by my gut instinct and there were many moments I thought, I think my gut needs some Tums! We had no idea what these shoots would produce. A great cover isn’t something that can be forced or perfectly calculated. It just has a magic about it. Our V2 cover, shot by genius Jeremy Cowart, was not at all what we had planned and turned out more stunning than we could have dreamed. Jeremy found that rich warm barn wall and Adair kicked up her skirt… voila! It’s like finding the perfect wedding dress. You just know when it’s The One.
So, a major office dance party ensued the moment Joey + Jessica’s images came across my desk. It was like a high-speed domino effect: I saw the shot, did a happy dance (really, I did), instantly got on the iMac and mocked up the cover, texted it to Emily, Whitney, Marissa, Katharine, my husband and my mom. This was IT!!!
What we wanted: real, approachable, effortless, authentic and attainable. You can read all about the inspiration here and grab a copy of V3 on newsstands or online for exclusive behind-the-scenes info. We want to feature real brides and women who look like your best friend or the girl next door. We steer clear from anyone too “model-y” or high fashion. I want brides to genuinely connect with every page and for each image to make them feel more confident. Paulina, our cover girl, was the perfect fit. Her natural braid, barely-there make-up and genuine smile made me melt. To FINALLY get to show this to you makes me nervous, grateful, excited and want to yell a huge YEEEHAAAW in the middle of this conference room! As we say in the South, she’s a pretty as a red wagon full of speckled pups.
I had to just take a big leap of faith and trust that we were going to find the perfect face for V3. The results, as you will see in the pages of the magazine, are phenomenal. Not only did we get a gorgeous cover, but 15 stunning shoots packed to the brim with gorgeous goodness. Wait till you see them all! WOW! Huge thanks to all of the photographers and wedding pros who worked so hard to make this our biggest and best issue yet! We are so grateful for the gift of the amazing photographs that brides all over the world will drink in. Thank you!
From Joey + Jessica: Our original inspiration for the Southern Weddings V3 cover shoot was to create a bride that was real and obtainable to viewers. There are so many lovely brides on the covers of numerous wedding magazines, but they don’t seem real or seem to speak to the modern, savvy, unique and often DIY bride. A lot of “real life” brides that we encounter want to be themselves on their wedding day, only a little bit more dressy. If a woman never wears her hair in an up-do, then she more then likely will not want to on her wedding day. We kept all of these things in mind, and created a summer bride that is casual, sexy and unique. For the overall look and feel of the shoot, we wanted to depict the classic Southern Summer, think Fried Green Tomatoes and The Notebook. Romantic summer picnic and sweet, flirty moments.
On the day of the photo shoot, the temperature was about 98 degrees without a cloud in sight. We set up a tent beside the wheat field for shade and styling and began shooting. Everything went smoothly! We had great assistants, models and a fabulous stylist we have worked with several times. We were shooting in a tall wheat field that was full of grasshoppers, beetles and worst of all, wolf spiders! There was no way of getting around seeing them, but they didn’t seem to be attracted to us, so we went about our business. The day was winding down, the sun was setting and we were shooting the last few frames on our lovely bride. After we had finished, we all were heading back through the tall wheat field we had been shooting in the entire day. Joey and I looked down to see that 6 wolf spiders the size of clementines underneath the top layer of organza on the Melissa Sweet gown! If this wasn’t bad enough, one of the spiders had a nasty looking egg sac attached to its back. Yuck….yuck yuck yuck! Thank goodness our lovely bride, Paulina, is a country girl at heart and didn’t freak out as we slowly flicked each spider out of the dress. Needless to say, we checked the dress about a thousand times before sending it back to the boutique. Hey, even wolf spiders can’t deny the allure of a Melissa Sweet gown. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Southern Weddings for giving us this awesome opportunity to create beautiful photographs for one lovely, uniquely Southern magazine!
A peek at the final product:
Tell me a little bit about you, what you shoot, where you are based, how long you have been shooting, etc? We are located in the great state of North Carolina. We love Southern culture and are proud to be from the South, so we try to bring that to our photography. We have the pleasure of working with various editorial/commercial clients and unique wedding clients around the country. We have been working together for about six years now, but have only been in business with each other as Joey + Jessica since the beginning of 2010.
How did you two meet? We actually met each other in high school and shared art classes together. We were both voted most artistic by our Senior class and began dating shortly after in college. The rest is history!
Did you ever think you’d be on the cover of a national magazine? It has always been in our goals along with other editorial projects. When the opportunity to create a cover for Southern Weddings V3 arose, we were more than excited to jump on board. So, thank you Lara Casey!!
What was your reaction when you found out? We were really excited, and really proud of our team. Although we were confident we would get the cover ( the power of positive thinking y’all! ), it was still a great, rewarding moment when the Southern Weddings ladies sent over a mock up of the cover. From Lara: We devised a very sneaky plan and did a live Skype call with them. We had the whole office there to reveal the big news. Too fun!
What were the models reactions? Our models for the shoot were Paulina and Rocky. Paulina is new to modeling and was excited that she had already landed the cover of a national magazine. Rocky was happy because his job was to hang out with a pretty girl all afternoon and now he’s in a national magazine… not a bad job if you ask us.
Who did you tell first? I think the first people we told were our parents. They were really happy for us and proud to see all of the hard work payed off.
Do you shoot all film? Yes, we shoot predominantly on film. For the tech geeks out there, we shoot with Nikon (35mm), Mamiya ( 120/220 ) and Calumet ( 4×5 ). We shoot with Kodak, Fuji and Ilford films.
How did you feel about the shoot when you saw the images? We were very proud of ourselves and our team. The photographs were exactly what we had in mind in our initial concept board and it was rewarding to see it all come to life. Paulina made for the perfect V3 cover girl!
Which image from your shoot, besides the cover, do you love the most? The close up shot of Paulina with the peony in her hair. Love that image and it was one of the last shots taken that day. It was such a real moment and has such a fresh, romantic quality to it.
How did you celebrate? We celebrated by going out to dinner with our family. This is one of the many goals we have, so we wanted to acknowledge we obtained it and then use the excitement to tackle the next project.
What is your advice to other photographers when faced with opportunities like this? Ie take a risk or live in fear? Definitely take the risk. Anyone who is successful didn’t get there by playing it safe. This industry is unbelievably competitive. We are so young in the game, but we are hungry to crush our goals, make new goals and crush those too. Some of the biggest, most important decisions in your life are often the scariest and most difficult to go after. If it isn’t a little scary, it probably isn’t that important to you. : )
Here’s a few questions for you Lara….
What was it like giving up the control of the cover image of Southern Weddings V3? This is your baby here, and an incredible risk to take by giving this opportunity to photographers you’d never worked with. I am extremely very a lot so much buckets full wildly passionate about helping young artists develop their unique voice and realize their value. So many people gave me huge opportunities when I just started – I still feel like I’m just starting – that changed me forever. If I can give that gift to someone through my consulting work, Making Things Happen, publishing them, encouraging them, a simple conversation, or just by giving them the courtesy of an email reply, I am all IN! I replied to every single cover submission and image submission that came to my desk for V3. Worth all 1000-something emails. I may be super busy at times, but if I’m given the chance to help someone harness their innate gifts, I’d work 24/7 and not get tired. So, yes, it was a risk. And, yes, 100% worth it!
Did you have a back up plan in the chance you didn’t receive a cover image that suited V3? A back-up plan usually becomes a full-time plan. Don’t quote me on that in every situation, but when you really want something, you have to have faith that it is already taken care of and focus on making active steps to make it happen.
What’s next for you, what can we expect to see in 2011? I actually have very little confirmed on my calendar for 2011 (partly on purpose after the crazy schedule I’m about to endure till Christmas), which just means there’s something big I’m supposed to fill it with. I pray to be open to whatever God wants for me and I am just happy right here in this moment. It has been a crazy year. If you’ve been reading my Tumblr, you’ve gotten a small peek into my daily life and the creation of this issue. I’m so grateful for every blessing. Thank you, Joey + Jessica, all of the cover finalists, my radtastic team, all of the incredible friends I am celebrating with at Engage 10 today, and to everyone who has supported this magazine. We’re small, y’all. We don’t have a parent company or a high-rise office of a staff of more than I can count on my hand. We’re just a few young Southern gals with a big dream. Today, I’m reminded that anything is possible if your heart is in it. Our hearts are definitely in V3. There is love between every page.
What’s your favorite thing about V3? Well, besides the cover of course, I just cannot pick one favorite. There really was so much love put into this issue. So, I will share a clipping of one favorite page… our gratitude section. Today, I am very thankful.
A BIG day deserves a BIG GIVEAWAY! I’m giving away 10 copies of V3 (give them to your friends, brides or someone who just needs some pretty on their desk!) with love notes from all of us and $50 iTunes! To win one of these prizes, tweet a link to this post with the phrase “I love the @iloveswmag cover!” and/or leave a comment here with your twitter name and what makes you happiest in life! Easy! It’s time to celebrate y’all!!! So, what do y’all think of the cover?!