Oh, hello blog.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been a little afraid of you, to be honest.  Too much on my calendar?  check.  Not enough sleep?  check.  Overextending myself as usual.  check.  A ridiculous period of severe burnout after returning from WPPIYes, ma’am! (Yes, my blog is apparently a chick.)  I’m actively working on the burnout.  By “actively” I mean working my tush off to change my quality of life and ability to step. away. from. my. Mac.  Post to follow.

So, amidst my recent travels from Vegas to Denver to Los Angeles to Raleigh to New York to DC and back to NC again this past Sunday, I’ve been working diligently with my lovely team to produce Southern Weddings Volume 3… aka awesomesauce.  It has not been easy.  The more I grow and learn, the pickier I get and the harder it is to please my eye.  I’ve said “no” much more than usual on this issue.  I think Emily has started to fear showing me submissions.  Kidding.  She’s incredible and refining her eye as well.  I want great imagery, moving love stories, epic details, the best products, a ton of surprises and inspiring submissions that make me dream big. I’ve filled my desk with clippings, covers that make me swoon, and loads of inspiration.  (recent contents of my carry-on seen here)

In an effort to help you help me (hello, Jerry McGuire), I started a Twitter series last week called #GetPublished.  I want you to do well and “wow” me.  In my opinion, the more we all teach each other, the more we raise our collective level of success as an industry.  I don’t believe in competition.  I’ll tell you if a great wedding is better for another magazine or if I think you should advertise with them instead of me.  I do it all the time because I’d want the same.  So, I’m vowing to try to give as much knowledge and help away as possible in the months to come.  Anyway, I digress.

I’ve been wracking my brain over our next cover.  The stakes are set pretty high considering our last two stellar cover photographers.  (Thank you, Jose and Jeremy)

The photographer I had in mind doesn’t shoot bridal anything anymore, according to her agents.  Swoon…

Soooo… I asked a magical question that opened up the floodgates: who wants to shoot our next cover? Seconds after I asked the question and my phone buzzed and beeped so much that I had to turn it off.  It died within 30 minutes from all the activity!

So, you want to shoot our cover? The following is part exercise for you (it’s imperative that you learn to present shoot ideas with a clear vision and direction to editors/commercial clients) and a lot of help for me to get to know you as an artist.  Even if you don’t end up shooting my next cover, I’ll get to know your passion and vision for future projects.

To be considered, show me what you’ve got!

1. Put together a very short “creative”: 1 part story that you want to tell through the image, 1 part what fashion and accessories you would use, 2 parts location, and 5 parts visual storyboard for what you envision.  Pull images from various sources that paint the visual picture for me of the fashion, styling, location and atmosphere.  Wrap it all up in a nice little low-res pdf and send it on over. (Please put “V3 COVER” in the subject of your email) Nothing fancy.  If you have a vision, this should take you all of 20 minutes.  Keep the text minimal.  This is all about imagery and my gut reaction to your vision.

2. Here’s what I want out of this cover and I’m going to be vague on purpose: summer, blonde model, aqua/teal, hints of orange and gold, very fresh.  (If another magazine steals my scheme, you can see the time stamp on this post, y’all!)

3. This issue drops at the end of July.  You have to have time to do this shoot.  I prefer it is shot in the South, but that’s not necessarily a requirement.

UPDATED: We’ve decided to take the top submissions and help each photographer/stylist produce each shoot.  We’ll give you all the inside secrets on exactly what we want so you can execute the vision.  More details to come, but essentially you are guaranteed publication in either print or online if we pick you for production… and no matter what you’ll have great new material for your portfolio. So, team up with stylists, makeup artists and bridal salons to bring this cover shoot vision to life!  Please include your list of preferred vendors in your creative. If we choose you, we’ll help you get pull-letters for models if needed, guide the styling so it’s exactly what we are looking for, and help you blow it out of the water.

And just so you know, I don’t need a huge name for this cover.  That’s why I’m opening this opportunity to anyone.  I just need an epic image.  Anyone can apply.  Deadline to send me your creative brief is Monday April 12th. Bring it, y’all!  A little reminder…

If you are applying to shoot the cover, leave a comment below letting me know you’ll be submitting (tell me a little bit about what you envision while you’re at it!)  Have a question?  Put it in the comment box below so everyone can benefit.

As a bonus, I’ll choose one random comment as the winner of one of my favorite new books: It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The World’s Best-Selling Book (thank you, Jory, for the recommendation!) Winner will be chosen on April 15th.

Be sure to follow along with my How to #GetPublished series and stay tuned for my #GetBranded series coming next.



PS – Today is our 2 year blogaversary.  Thank you for two joyful years, friends.

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  1. Tweets that mention SO, YOU WANT TO SHOOT OUR NEXT COVER? « Lara Casey -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lara Casey, Mary Lallande, Janice Carnevale, Janice Carnevale, Southern Weddings and others. Southern Weddings said: Apply to shoot our next cover! RT @LaraCasey: NEW on the LC Blog :: So, you want to shoot our next cover? https://bit.ly/9c0fBi […]

  2. Leslee Mitchell

    Beauty. That drips with class. Volume 3.

  3. nancy ray

    of course i will be submitting! my vision involves a naturally beautiful blonde + lake house + field + minimal makeup + hair flower + barefoot + mason jars + twine + quilts + white peonies + inflorescences + blue sash + laughter… i could go on and on but you’ll have to wait for the pdf! thanks for the opportunity! xo nancy

  4. Josh

    It’s on the way!

  5. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by LaraCasey: NEW on the LC Blog :: So, you want to shoot our next cover? https://bit.ly/9c0fBi…

  6. Ulmer Studios

    Ok…got ideas that have been burning in my head for the past week before you mentioned this! Just sent an email to Emily to get a little more info! All I can say is white canvas tent & southern woods, well and of course a blonde since that’s already a requirement but I think we could work with that!

  7. Chantz Hough

    Heck yea! MY vision an air plane hanger + vintage airplane + vera wang vintage gown, simple hair down with the wavy curles + maybe a birdcage vail… or no vail at all+ bright red lipstick + soooo much more 😉

  8. Tab Mccausland

    WOW! I have had this idea in my head and now I get to put it together…..Sunny Florida, barefoot on the sand, long blonde hair….oh geez I can’t wait to make this story board. Email coming soon!

  9. Tara K.

    Lord, your timing is perfect. Abandoned Civil War home on the Holsten River in Appalachia. Custom gown & accessories by a local designer . . . working on sending you soon.

  10. Ulmer Studios

    A follow-up to my last comment to update it b/c it had the wrong twitter name, but a question.

    When will the deadline be for the shoot? Is there an approximate date already on the books for the shoot?

    This way Emily can ignore my email I sent 🙂

  11. Stacey Doyle

    I adore that this has been opened up to so many, thank you for this great opportunity Lara & SWMag Fam!!

    I’m thinking the colors should be used in unexpected ways, so that those viewing will think ‘whoa I want to do that, too!’
    And Summer, oh Summer. It’s still chilly here in New England, so I would want to smell the warmth & fun & freedom from these images.
    Looking forward to working on this!

    Happy Anniversary, enjoy some cake 🙂

  12. Melissa Schollaert

    WOW! I’ve been following your #getpublished tweets and have been brainstorming. I had already started pulling together an image board and just came across your blogpost today. This is awesome! Definitely expect a submission from me. Thanks Lara for sharing your knowledge and great info! 🙂

  13. Elizabeth Hafner

    Ok, here goes nothing! I’ll be submitting.
    The idea is a different kind of ‘south’, vibrant colors against a muted backdrop, bold details.

  14. Paul

    aqua blue pool, blue skies, clean white architecture, tea length southern gown, tangerine shoes & sweet peas, petite blonde model, lively expression but with a soft editorial feel.

  15. Melissa Ragan

    What a fabulous idea to open this up to so many…just the comments thus far have me inspired! I’m thinking a nautical theme of sorts. Bride on a sailboat, beautiful harbor and/or historic backdrop (ie: Charleston), sapphire and aquamarine jewelry accents, raw cotton bouquet, groom in nautical jacket and khakis…and much, much more as my brain explodes, haha!

  16. Jeremie Barlow

    So excited to submit this – I’ve been dying to shoot this for so long and to shoot it as a SW cover??? YES PLEASE!! Talk about Making Things Happen! 🙂
    Thanks for opening it up Lara!
    My inspiration is from one of my favorite movies… The Notebook… Cypress Swamp… on a boat out on the water 😉 Southern Gentleman… old school romance! AND/ OR Orange poppies fresh pretty blonde haired bride in maybe a black vera wang amidst the ruins in the swamp with the Spanish moss all around? Or both and MORE! 🙂

  17. Briana Elledge

    Ok Lara Casey, here it goes, we are so ready to take your advice, and a boatload of ideas, and run with them. Thank you for the opportunity!
    – Briana

  18. julie comfort

    Very cool. I’m thinking freckles and lots of laughter. Happy blogaversary.

  19. V3 Cover Photog, AKA (anas)

    I am 100% going to miss on this opportunity if I don’t take it right :). First idea that comes to mind : Citrus crop field, baskets of oranges, old ladders, Jcrew dress and accesories and a teal VW Old bug…bring it.

  20. Melissa Hayes

    Hi Lara! I’m sending mine over tonight! Delicate/Romantic with bright, colorful accents.

  21. Sarah Rhoads

    miss casey… ideas have been a brewin’ all afternoon. look in your inbox 🙂 excited about this potential!

  22. Lace Dagerath

    That color story is going to be FABULOUS! LOVE where you’re going with this!

  23. shanni

    ooooohhhh yummy. it should be summer year long in my mind. bright blues, clean whites, laughter, and sun kissed skin.

  24. faythe mesic

    I’m a pro makeup artist and stylist that is hopeful romantic. Born in the south and raised watching gone with the wind. I envision Southern Bell with a gold and orange play on peaches and cream. Bold strokes of teal woven into accessories, and a designer gown that dances on its own to the beat of the summer breeze. The model I have in mind is young with creamy milk skin and a mane of blonde ringlets that always carries a hint of lilac. She’s stunning!! Of course us bells love our dark tall and handsome gents so the groom with be coupled with the bride and the bride will be shot solo for you to decide which is creatively better. All wrapped up at a location with a vintage inspired note but that I won’t give away on here. Meeting with photographer tomorrow and will submit this week!!!
    Xo faythe.

  25. Michael Howard

    This is a lot of fun Lara! I’m teaming up with an art director that I work closely with to come up with a beautiful concept. We will be submitting 1-2 storyboards. For sure we’ll be submitting a concept involving an underwater photo shoot and another idea we are still tweaking. Overall we want to keep things clean, crisp and vibrant!

  26. Hannah Taylor

    Ms Casey thank you for opening this up.

  27. Josh Moates

    hey guys… Ill be submitting a storyboard to you soon this is totally southern… born and raised in Montgomery alabama… and love bluegrass music…. I will be incorporating the beauty of bluegrass instruments in my shoot… keep an eye out.. thanks for letting everyone give the cover a shot…

  28. [email protected]

    Believe me, you don’t want me to shoot your next cover. I just want to applaud you for such a fresh approach to business. I share your philosophy of helping one another. Yeah we’re in business, but when we help each other, we all do better. Bravo!

  29. s h e r r y

    🙂 I just e-mailed mine to you! A little preview: long strands of teal/aqua/silver ribbon hanging like a curtain from a branch. Orange nail polish. Rockin’ bridal portrait (no groom). Slightly undone hair.

  30. Kim Box

    New Orleans, French Quarter, Jazz Band, Great Food, I could go on and on.

  31. kim Box

    One more idea, Lake House, Small Chapel, Antique Teak Boat, Very Ralph Lauren, All American

  32. Aubrie Lemon Moates

    MODERN VINTAGE! Who’s to say vintage has to be literal and pastels? How about fresh, vibrant, kitschy! An old vespa, antique turqoise jewelry, backlit blue Alabama skies!!! L.O.V.E.!

  33. VUE photography

    Is there even a way to put into words how insanely excited we are about this?! Ok, so grab a glass of sweet tea and imagine: lush green grass | huge old Oak Tree with tree swing | vintage Cream Packard | soft, sweet, natural blonde bride with hair and gown to match | groom in khakis and bowtie | peach, cream and coral flourishes | Nest + blue robin eggs |{anthropologie feel} accessories of gold and teal | Fresh and full of laughter!

    The vendors on board are uber fab and just as inspired and excited {Two Fishes Artistry, Nouveau Flowers, A Brides Ride, etc.}

    EEEEKKK…on to the inspiration board!!

  34. Evan Vanderwall

    Hey Lara! You can definitely expect a submission from me! stunningly sweet blonde bride, white peonies with golden yellow billy balls. Lots of fun but still very simple, sweet, and southern!

  35. Christopher Confero

    what phototag shall I prey on? I need visions brought to life. GAME ON!

  36. Feuza

    what a great opportunity, crazy to miss out on, will NJ be ok since it is not southern?

  37. Jake

    Brilliant Lara. Seriously. I think a lot of the people who are crying about the state of magazine publishing could learn a lot from the way you innovate.

    Aaaaand, you can look out for something from me on this soon.

  38. annette thurmon

    I think an amazing cover, shot by an amazing photographer, deserves an amazing one of a kind gown on it’s cover. It could be a teamwork effort to design what that dress would be. But I’m envisioning something that moves beautifully in the wind. The back of the dress is just as fabulous as the front. It is whimsical and breathtaking at the same time. It is somewhat simple, yet it’s detail is impeccable. It is a gown deserving of the cover. But wait, it’s not just a gown, it’s a gown that can be auctioned afterwards to one lucky bride/or reader. The proceeds would go towards a certain cause/charity. Oh, the possibilities!!

  39. Robert

    Thanks for this opportunity! Love following you guys…and love the magazine!

  40. Laura Reaux

    Yes, I’m submitting! I’m seeing FUN & playful!, pool-side + beach-side, lots of white with pops of color, and… well, you’ll have to wait and see!

  41. Stephanie Ascari

    I am thinking a lake with an old boat… take a classic setting and accenting it with whimsical and fresh. think Vinyard vines, a boat parade! I could go on and on!

  42. Lauren @ Every Last Detail

    Oh I’m on it! Haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! I’m about to make the board now but here’s a little “peek” into my vision: secluded Florida beach, orange, and vintage everything!

  43. tiffany

    Oh, Lara Casey…you’re making my head spin. So, chickadee, I think that it would be fabulous to use the MTH Atlanta Class. I will have to tackle Whitney, but I can take him I do believe. When I think southern, I think New Orleans…where I just happen to be traveling to in 3 days and where I just happened to get married. EEEPP. Wrought iron, old wooden doors. A fabulous wedding party parade down Bourbon (minus the drunks unless they’re wearing aqua and I could find a way to use them). OH….I can’t wait.

  44. Catie Ronquillo

    I think the fortune says it all, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” So I’m taking it. A shot. 🙂

    Summer golden hour. Rooftop or Outdoor party. Short dress. Bright and fun accessories in aqua/teal and orange/gold.

  45. Kristin Vining

    Can’t wait!! Clean + fashion forward. xoxo

  46. Kristen Weaver

    I’m entering 🙂 I don’t want to leak all the juicy details – but I seem to be going a completely different direction than everyone else. Woohoo! If nothing else, you’ll certainly remember me 😉

  47. Brandon Perron

    I am humbly throwing my hat into this amazing opportunity! I do not have much to share of what I am going to do as I am still in the pulling and sticking in the folder stage…but wanted to make sure I got my name in here. Im from Oregon, but hoping I can put something together, where that will not matter…fingers crossed.

  48. Marnee

    Can’t wait for you to see our ideas!

  49. Astrid and Rene Photography

    I’m already done with my creative but I’m sitting on it for a day or two to make sure it reflects what I see in my artsy head!

    Cool breezes, powder sand, the sound of waves and classic elegance…headed your way soon!

  50. Skip Hopkins

    Working on my submission! Charming, playful and organic…on the beach/water.

  51. Gina

    Whole. Crisp. Fruitful. Effortless.

    My heart is so behind this one. Thank you so much for the opportunity. It’s coming….

    Sheer Excitement.

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  53. Evelyn Laws

    This is so fun. Expect a submission from me as well. You miss 100% of the shots you never take…..so why not try, right? Yippee….going to shoot a wedding in New Orleans tomorrow….the ideas are overflowing. This is such a fabulous idea for your publication, Lara. Crazy cool.

  54. Jessica @ Cocoa Blue

    What a great opportunity! Charming lakeside cherry orchard, quirky Anthropologie dress, poppies, and hints of gold. Can’t wait to send my submission to ya’ll.

  55. yan palmer

    hi miss casey. i’m excited to give this a whirl. summer campout–makeshift tents, orange wildflowers in the models hair. the model is sunkissed and effortlessly beautiful. something to do with paint and teal–still pondering on the dress.

  56. Joe Hendricks

    Hi Lara,
    I’ve started to work on my submission for your cover. My idea: I would love to see 5 girls, all drinking Mimosas which have a huge orange slice hanging on the side of a Cabernet glass. The girls would be holding pictures of their single days and laughing out loud about all the fun they have had together. The Bride could wear a teal summer dress and her Bridesmaids in a soft brown maybe. The setting I have in mind is a old wooden deck on the back end of a restaurant with a canopy of some sort. Hope you like it… I’ll try to get it done soon for you.


  57. simplybloom

    lara, what an amazing opportunity you are giving! we will seize it and participate 🙂

  58. Marie Labbancz

    Bohemian Chic with Claire Pettibone gown, teal Maypole and wildflower wreath all at a historic riverfront estate.

  59. Vania -SimplyBloom Photography, LLC

    Hey Lara,
    we sent you an email full of inspirational goodness 🙂

  60. Erin Leigh

    I’m sending it out right now! MTH woohoo! I’ll give you a hint. It involves an old, ruined mansion and wild horses.

  61. Tiffani Helms

    Hey Lara, Yes I will be submitting. I have some great ideas for your next cover.

  62. Laura Brooks

    Dear Lara, I have been brainstorming away with my cover idea since the day you announced the contest. It’s defiantly a spoof on a southern cliche but it’s a good one. I feel like this idea is like my child so I hope you love and adore it as much as I do. Thank you for opening up a contest that sparked my creativity into hyper drive! Cant wait to share my idea with you!

  63. ajja

    taking chance on this as well as i can hear you speaking into my fears. hope my ideas are as fresh as your own lara! maybe a bit on the wild side but i am thinking a homemade wooden raft and birds of paradise.

  64. Drea Cunningham

    Consider us entered! It would definitely be amazing and so freakin fun to produce! Our location is in florida and most definitely has some blue going on. Modern and joyous!

  65. Anna Kim

    You’ve got mail! Summer fun!

  66. Courtney Navey

    Lara, I’m really excited that you’ve opened up such a great opportunity to so many talented photographers. After a crazy week of shooting I’ve finally placed all the pieces of my idea together and will be happily submitting it tomorrow. I’m thinking, naturally beautiful blonde southern girl, teal suitcase, chandelier, pecan grove, 200 yr old house…and many other great details but I’ll leave it at that for now!

  67. Cameron Powell

    Well, I ran with “epic.” If VOUGE/Vanity Fair were to do a wedding/fashion shoot, it would be this. So here goes, shot in the dark.

  68. Gracci Pelaez

    Hi Lara! Thanks so much for this awesome opportunity! You continue to inspire us and we hope our entry will inspire your next cover! Check for our entry in your inbox!

  69. Sammy Tavarez

    How awesome would it be JUST to get to put together a concept shoot for the cover!? The floodgates have definitely opened. I’ll be sending something in by tomorrow! Hot summer in the bayou, a wooden dock, orange-raspberry ice tea, Cajun seafood boil, icy aqua-blue hurricanes … Makin’ myself hungry (& thirsty) here.

  70. Amy Rae

    Hey girl!! I sent you my thoughts on a cover shoot for SW Mag!! I really want to pull in the southern feel, warm, romantic, sweet, old-fashioned! I am planning for either outside or in a rustic building with stars and lights. Ribbons of orange and teal. A sweet southern couple relaxed and in LOVE!

  71. daniel usenko

    yes this is super late, but I am going to be submitting an idea on the day it’s due 🙂

  72. Amelia Hall

    We just submitted our concept, Summer of love, for your viewing pleasure 🙂

  73. annie

    I have been scouring magazines and the internet to find details that work with my ideas and sense (or lack thereof-ha!) style. Any quirky, modern vintage, simple designers out there? Yes, I am an oxymoron. Something coming your way…!

  74. Joy

    Last day! Oh but I’ll be submitting before deadline. Nervous? Yes… but as Miss Lara noted “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”… I’m thinking old general store backdrop, playful bride/groom in shabby chic vintage attire on a hot summer day in the NC moutains sipping on Orange Crush!..

  75. Tammy

    Lara — we had so much fun working through our proposal! Thank you so much for being an INCREDIBLE inspiration to us — this is the coolest thing ever! Proposal coming in under the deadline and we are super excited about what we put together!

  76. Joel Flory

    Just got around to checking reader and saw this post. Can’t wait to submit a concept. Going with a Napa Valley + resort + fine living + warm summer night feel.

  77. Katie Snyder

    Last but not least! Sending it now… get ready for Southern Vintage Lace goodness coming at ya!

  78. Sharon Campbell

    Our vision will hit your inbox shortly! we can’t wait to share!


    HELLO Laura!
    David Bean and I will be submitting a concept to you…..oh this is so much fun! Thanks for the consideration!


  80. Jen Kroll

    I just saw this a few minutes ago! Finishing up my proposal now… concept: Global Minded. 🙂

  81. Amanda Wilcher

    How’s 22 minutes ’til the deadline for last minute submissions! Benjamin Button has my heart this year… 🙂

  82. mariana herrera mosli

    WOW, what an opportunity for FUN in the SUN!! Love this! I just ran across this blog post 30 minutes ago (where have I been?!) Will be submitting the quickest (yet funnest) creative ever!! Think Caribbean & Southern fusiion with a twist! 😉 Our idea will be hitting your inbox in minutes Lara, enjoy & thanks for the consideration! Mariana-Kismis Ink Photography

  83. Spindle Photography

    Hi Lara! I just submitted a Marie Antoinette in Roman Ruins version of the south, with a fainting couch and petit fours. What a fabulous contest!

  84. Veta Bateham


    I have submitted our concept last week – it is a romantic tale of a girl who sees her dreams come true inspired by the “coming of age” story I grew up with. It has an epic feel to it, the frame elements are ingeniously simple, but the message is deeply rooted emotionally. One color element of orange will represent the girl’s dreams realized.

    Please give us your feedback on the concept. This is our first submission ever, and it would be great to have some objective and fair opinion.

    P.S. We are still working on our branding. The website is in the technical support works right now. Explanation that we understand it is important, but no excuses for not having our look polished yet.

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  86. Tonhya Kae

    Hey Lara!! Just wanted to thank you for opening this up to anyone and everyone! It definitely gives the little people like me a chance 🙂 My concept is a whimsical setting in a forest/open field with soft hints of teal and orange, mixed with bold gold jewelry. Beautiful blonde model with natural makeup/hair, strapless ivory gown…Ahhh dreamyyy! 🙂

  87. Janelle Vano

    Thank you so much for this opportunity, Lara!

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