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Charleston Color Photography Style

How to Prepare For and Execute a Photoshoot

April 3, 2018

Hi!    One of my many goals with this website is to help you learn how to execute your vision.    I really would love to be a resource for you to turn to when you’re learning photography and developing your eye and brand.    Originally, Will and I had just planned to go out and shoot all of the beautiful flowers around town as it looks so incredible right now  (“Charleston in Bloom”)  but, as I spent the morning clarifying the mood I wanted to set this spring/summer by creating inspiration boards, I saw a direct influence on what we photographed and thought it might be more beneficial to break down that thought process instead.  Here we go (and you can still enjoy some beautiful flowers, too):

Pre-determine the mood.  I grab a lot of inspiration from what’s around us in our daily lives but, when I am feeling stuck or creatively drained, I scour coffee table books, iconic images on Pinterest, and I love Mark Sikes’ blog, too — in my view, he does a great job of combing through great old magazine spreads and pulling out the best images.   Most of the shoots that we do are designed to feel dreamy/light-filled but I think I am developing an eye for moodier images, too.

Gather color inspiration.  I often pull colors from an image as well as a few photographs/items which I feel set a similar or complimentary mood.   I try not to go into a shoot totally oblivious to the colors that we’re trying to capture.   I would rather pre-determine what I think goes well together and then try to find it/create it.

Oftentimes what I execute is totally different but infused with a feeling which I feel is inspired by these images and colors.  Here is an example of a board that I had created earlier, with the thumbnail from our afternoon shoot which I think demonstrates a similarity:

I love the pale blue, deep tropical green and magenta red in combination.   Since I picked up this skirt last week, I realized that I already had a piece which could help execute this vision, particularly as that blue and those greens are readily available in town.    I often send my mood board to my phone so that I can reference it while we’re working.

I have said this time and time again but do make sure that you’re heading out in flattering conditions!  I really love sunny days and try to shoot in the late afternoon/early evening (I start the day slowly!).    My favorite is early evening/dusky light but because we also like to be home for dinner and chill time with the baby, this isn’t always our priority so we head out around 4 or as late as we can for favorable light.

I’m not a natural in front of the camera but being in front of it has really helped me direct our wedding and other clients.    It’s particularly challenging right now with my mouth full of braces (and missing teeth no less) because I find that it gives me my version of RBF but, I find that the best shots are always when you’re laughing or more relaxed (so brace yourself for LOTS of laughs once these bad boys are off…) … Perhaps that’s why you see me with so many glasses of wine …. 😉    In all seriousness, movement seems to draw out a more natural feel and the more you do it, the easier it is.     I find that walking, shifting weight from one foot to the other, and working with someone you really trust seems to help!  xxx


Color Fine Art Flowers Home Style

Hydrangea Series:  Behind the Scenes

April 26, 2017

As the wedding season heats up and I have found myself surrounded by flowers every weekend, I have been so looking forward to shooting the next flower series for our Fine Art Print collection. I have often been asked to do a Hydrangea series, a flower so well loved because of its astonishing color hues, large generous blooms and its longevity both in fresh and dried arrangements.  I particularly love the variated shades of blue, which range from a delicate lilac to duck egg that fades into soft cream, as well as the cabbage patch lime green shades that are tinged with pink fading into soft brown as the blooms age.  So, I decided to shoot these favorites for the first if the Hydrangea series and am excited to see how beautifully the prints will enhance most color schemes, from blues to neutrals to whites, and will add both beauty and warmth to any room.

girl with hydrangeas Lucy Cuneo previewing hydrangeas for her fine art flower series

Before launching the prints I thought it would be fun to show you a little of the process.   Here you can see the colors I was working with and, because of their large size, I needed only hundreds rather than thousands of blooms to film the prints.  Happily, therefore, I could work at home, taking over my porch for a couple of days, rather than in a huge warehouse shooting thousands of the smaller roses and peonies from a 10′ ladder.  This time, I only tottered dangerously off a 5′ ladder!

Hydrangeas in blue and white on a chairLucy Cuneo previewing hydrangeas for her fine art flower series

The Queen Anne’s Lace, in a variety of colors, are not for the prints — I use them so much in flower arrangements for the house that I almost always have a few waving from buckets waiting to be dressed for the table.  In the final picture, you can see a simple arrangement I made for the dining room table — I love the mass of hydrangea blooms overlaid with the delicate fronds of Chocolate Lace.

Lucy Cuneo previewing hydrangeas for her fine art flower seriesTight shot of a floral arrangement including and Queen Anne's Lace


Color Garden Style Travel

In the Land of Jasmine: J.Crew Challenge

April 25, 2017
girl with red top

Julia generously tagged me in the “J.Crew Challenge,” and sent me this lovely top to style.  Amidst the beauty of Charleston’s spring, where white Confederate Jasmine is in full bloom, it was easy to show off the fun pop of color and graceful swing of this off-the-shoulder top in front of these fragrant blooms, spilling over the walls and gateways of my city’s historic downtown.   I also love JCrew’s rattan straw clutch (inspired by Julia’s love of wicker bags) and found it the perfect match for this spring top and their white ruffled cotton shorts.  Hats off to J.Crew for infusing a simple “shorts and top” combination with an easy elegance that I can wear in the most sublime surroundings!

blue doorway in charleston with jasmineconfederate jasmine

The beautiful jasmine scented driveway above leads into one of my all-time favorite houses in Charleston.  Church street is the perfect avenue of jasmine walls, gates, and driveways and is a must-see for any visitor to Charleston.

This perfect sized clutch will be a favorite bag of mine this summer.  It is just the right size to squeeze in my iPhone 7+, a lipstick and sunglasses.   I’m also very enthusiastic about my pink version that I can’t wait to take to the beach.

jcrew clutch in front of jasminecharleston gate covered in jasminejasmine downtown charleston girl in red top downtown charleston jasmine in charleston

Where does it all come from?  The abundance of the Jasmine makes it hard to see whether it grows from the ground or seems to explode effortlessly from the air… surrounding a lamppost, spilling through the gates, or creating a huge hug around a front door.  It is truly spectacular!

girl in red top in front of jasminejasmine in charleston

One of the most beautiful and happy making sights of all blooms — the scent is intoxicating!  If you are visiting Charleston, this is an easy find and it is right along the battery.



Color Fine Art Flowers Home Style Travel

English Countryside Inspiration

April 24, 2017

Will & I just returned from the most lovely wedding in Virginia with Rebecca Rose Events.   We drove up to Virginia from our home in Charleston, and while we were looking forward to some time together in the car to brainstorm business ideas, I had not anticipated how stunning and inspiring our drive would be.  As though passing through the English Countryside, we passed meadow after meadow of bountiful gold and lavender wild flowers, horses roaming free, and even our two lane highway was covered by the most amazing shades of green.   It took all my strength not to make us pull over every ten minutes (on very busy roads) just to take i-phone photos!

English Countryside by Lucy Cuneo English Countryside by Lucy Cuneo

It reminded me so much of the English Countryside in spring.  This is so fitting because, for the past three years, that is where we have kicked off our wedding season.  I am sharing these film images from those weddings in England (they are better than my in motion iphone images from Virginia) to give you an idea of those shades of green which make my heart sing. I am already plotting our return to Virginia, so I will show you how similar they are soon!

English Countryside by Lucy Cuneo English Countryside by Lucy Cuneo

Color Flowers Style Travel

Tea Party in Hampton Park

April 21, 2017

We feel so lucky that Hampton Park is only a short walk from our home; we visit nearly every day.  The park is so quiet, well-maintained, and is constantly bursting with new color and floral inspiration. We enjoyed spectacular camellias throughout the winter months, and spring brought on a wonderful display of azaleas. It might be my favorite spot to shoot in Charleston — the light never disappoints.  I am always looking for good shade and radiant backlight, and the oak trees provide favorable conditions somewhere in the park, no matter the time of day.

Lucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton ParkLucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton Park

This year, the azaleas bloomed early and lasted for weeks. With so much pink lighting up Hampton Park,  it was a no-brainer to invite our friends Julia and Thomas to come shoot with us.  We thought there would be no better way to enjoy the great weather than with a tea party!  I remember the first time Julia came to our house, within five minutes she had spotted my little collection of tea pots from my Grandmother — Julia has such an eye for beautiful, girly things. We both love beautiful china and textures, and it was fun to combine our collections.  I love these tea cups Julia had just found, and her new table cloth from Lindroth that she picked up in Palm Beach with Carly.

Tea Party Hampton ParkLucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton ParkLucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton ParkAzaleas in Hampton Park, Charleston

My husband Will is from England and neither of us is a stranger to a nice cup of tea.   We all giggled our way through the afternoon with Will providing etiquette oversight and Julia very bravely trying a Kumquat whole. We still haven’t figured out whether that’s how they should be eaten — they were extremely sour.  Thomas and I enjoyed shooting a bit on film. All in all it was a lovely way to enjoy some of the beauty Charleston has to offer.

Lucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton ParkLucy Cuneo Hampton Park, CharlestonLucy Cuneo Julia Engel Hampton Park


Color Flowers Garden Home Style

Tutorial: Moss-lined Hanging Baskets

April 18, 2017

We were so excited to bring home some hanging baskets of bougainvillea last week.  I am really drawn to their sprawling nature and fantastic colors (I think we all are!). We decided to place the retention pot that they came in inside a more traditional hanging basket, and to soften the “new” feel of the basket with moss, all purchased at the same garden center. They were so simple and easy to install on the porch and we could not be happier with the results.

Lucy Cuneo With Hanging Baskets MaterialsBougainvillea Hanging Baskets

First, we broke up the moss and lined the wire section of the hanging baskets (which I will spray paint white next time); it was surprisingly tricky to place the liner inside without the moss getting squished to the bottom of the planter but, with a little bit of teasing and supplementing, it ended up looking a bit more intentional.

Bougainvillea Hanging Basket TutorialBougainvillea Hanging Basket TutorialBougainvillea Hanging Basket Tutorial

After placing the bougainvillea in the hanging baskets, we tucked more moss between the edge of the plastic and the liner to make sure the plastic was completely hidden.  I used scissors to tidy up each basket before hanging it up.

Lucy Cuneo Hanging her Baskets of BougainvilleaBougainvillea Hanging Baskets The Finished Items

Will was actually a lot better at it than I was, he has more patience than I do!   I can therefore say (without bragging) that I think they look pretty good! At least a bit more organic than the plain planter.  We know that we will be enjoying lots of evenings on the porch — either on the daybed, or in the rocking chairs — and that it will be so nice to admire the beautiful colors of the bougainvillea.

Lucy Cuneo With Her Hanging BasketsClose Up Of Bougainvillea Hanging BasketsLucy Cuneo In Repose Under Her Hanging BasketsLucy Cuneo Enjoying Her Bougainvillea Hanging Baskets

In our next garden post, we will be showing you how the colorful flowers on our steps are doing and I will be quizzing Will about plant care — he is becoming quite the expert! Thank you for tuning in! xx

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