Develop model Haley and her mother Kelly made an impromptu trip to Chicago for a college visit and I just had to fit in shoot with Haley for her book. Not to mention grab some bomb Korean food, doughnuts, and do a little shopping with these ladies afterwords!

We met at my studio apartment to pick out outfits, pack up gear, and let Caitlin (@caitlincaresforhair) work her hair and makeup magic on Haley before we ventured out to shoot around my neighborhood here in Lincoln Park. For on-location shoots I’ve been packing my gear, clips, clothes, reflectors etc. into the grocery cart my parents got me for Christmas from Amazon. It makes it so much easier to tote things around long distances and for me to have everything that I could possibly need with me on location.

I was glad to have Haley’s mom Kelly on location with us! She helped us to tote around the cart and was a pro reflector holder throughout the shoot as well! You can NEVER have enough hands on deck at a shoot. 

Weather has definitely been warmer here in Chicago lately but it was still a pretty chilly, although beautiful, day so I tried to base the shoot vibe around heavier garments that wouldn’t force Haley to completely freeze to death. 

Our first look was on this cute rustic apartment staircase a few blocks away from my place. It was in the shade and we used a reflector to bounce a little more sunlight on Haley. 


A few steps away was another perfect staircase for our next outfit, an epic coat Jaida (@jaidabentley) and I had scored at a thirft shop last month. We used a reflector to block sunlight that was falling on the left side of Haley.

Our last look was shot in the shade of a nearby alley. We shot quickly as it was about 10 degrees colder in the shade and without a jacket Haley was freezing. She nailed it in just a few shots though so 3 minutes was about all we needed. The images ended up being striking in black and white.


I also recorded video on my iPhone 6 at the shoot and edited them into two shorts on my phone afterwords.



Besides using my iPhone for timelapes, videos, and BTS photos at shoots, my iPhone is one of my biggest tools when it comes to my photography. I’m all about sharing knowledge, tools, and tips in the photography community so I’ve been wanting to write a blog about the apps and accessories I use that I can’t live without and that make my job as a photographer so much easier.

1. Release Me - This is my go-to app for model releases. It’s always with me so I never forget to have a release on hand. It can also keep releases organized by project, which comes in handy for shoots with extras like music video shoots. It allows you to take a photo of the model signing the release for reference, and keeps you from changing the contract after the model has signed without gaining their signature again to protect both parties and keep things legal. It’s $4.99 but well worth it.

2. The Weather Channel App - Before downloading this app I’d been using the weather app that comes with my iPhone. This app is SO MUCH more helpful for on-location shooting. Not only does it tell me the current temperature but what it FEELS LIKE outside which is so much more important when figuring what to wear and pack for outdoor shoots. It also tells you when the sun is rising and setting everyday, tracking its placement in the sky. It gives you a Humidity % which is helpful for your hair and makeup artist and it will also update you to what people in your area are reporting is happening, like rain or snow and you can personalize what notifications you receive. This app is free and definitely worth the download. 

3. Map-A-Pic - This is a location scouting app for photographer and filmmakers. And I cannot rave about it enough. When I’m traveling or exploring around outdoors and stumble across a location perfect for photos, I can easily snap a picture of it (or multiple pictures for one location), save the GPS coordinates, and easily pull it open later in the app and get GPS directions right back to the location. You can also add notes about the location like the name and contact information for the property owner so you don’t have to keep track of papers and business cards. The pro version of the app even tells you sunset, sunrise, and golden hour times for your saved locations on a specific date which helps so much for planning. Even better if you take a photo you can add it as a location after the fact and the app with recognize the GPS data in the photo to pinpoint the location where the photo was taken. The app is worth every ounce of the $3.99 they ask for it.

4. Light Setup - This app is a little bit more on the expensive end, but its definitely an insanely useful and cohesive tool for creating and saving diagrams of your light setups. I definitely wish I’d been using it sooner to remember exactly how I had set things up times I got creative with lighting. It has a vast amount backgrounds, modifiers, and model settings to chose from for creating your diagram like selecting specific colors of your seamless background etc. You can even toggle on and off the Information/Title/Notes for the objects in your export, so that you can save the information but maybe not export it in a diagram. You can also attach a reference image of your final shot so you can easily identify the setups you’re looking for when browsing saved setups. You can save your diagram to your phone or email a PDF. It’s also super helpful when sharing or posting your diagrams. Definitely worth the $6.99 I paid for it. 

5. Pinterest - I know this one is probably obvious and goes without saying, but it’s been essential for me making inspiration boards and sharing them with my teams. Also I save lighting diagrams I find on blogs, photos that inspire me, and model poses to reference on set. It’s helpful to have visuals when coaching models, and communicating inspiration to your hair and makeup team as it leaves less room for miscommunication. You can also add your team members as collaborators to a board so they can pin ideas to it as well. It’s free to download to access all your boards easily from your phone. 

6. Paypal Here - If you’ve got a business Paypal that you use to accept payments for photo shoots, Paypal Here and the Paypal Here reader are so handy. It makes it easy for me to accept credit card payments on the go from clients. Free to download.

7.  iExit - If you are someone who drives long distances or to other cities for shoots or maybe just the occasional long road trip to a specific shoot location, then this app is totally for you. It’s helpful to know what pit stops, gas stations, and restaurants are coming up, especially if those traveling with you on your team have specific diet restrictions because it will show you what restaurants are off exits even if they’re not on the exit sign, and you can find out what restaurants are exits ahead so you could easily place and order and have it ready for pickup when you arrive to save you time on the road. It uses your GPS location to find what interstate you are on and what direction you are traveling to show you upcoming exits in the order you’ll pass them. This app is only $2.99 in is a vegetarians best friend. 

8. Simple Transfer Pro - Not only does this app make wireless transfers between your iPhone and any computer so much easier, but it also allows you to transfer photos and videos you’ve previously taken on your phone and moved off of it back into your Camera Roll, which is essential for using editing features for slow motion videos and such.

9. iBooks - This one isn’t the app specifically but what I use it for… I download PDF versions of the user manuals for all of my cameras and equipment and save them in iBooks so that I always have them with me. It’s handy when I need to figure out a setting I’ve never used before or when I’m using older film cameras I’m still getting used to controlling settings on. I also make mood boards for bigger shoots with my team which I save to iBooks as well to be able to reference easily on set. 

Hope you find some of these apps helpful, if there are any apps you guys can’t live without I’d love to hear about them!



This is my first test shoot here in Chicago and I was so excited to work with Spencer from FACTOR | CHOSEN.

Jaida (my awesome roommate and friend @jaidabentley) and I set out a few days before to do some thrifting to find garments for the shoot. We found an cute black and white short sleeved sweater dress that ended up being killer among other items we’ll use for future shoots. I also got the chance to finally use a vintage blue 70’s style dress which was the first thing I thrifted here in Chicago after I moved. We paired it with some other sweaters, pants and shoes from our ever-growing thrifted styling collection. 

I live for thrifting. Most of the shoots you see on my site have styled from garments I’ve thrifted or rented from local vintage places (Omaha loves, CHECK OUT WALLFLOWER). Fashion trends are always repeating, so its easy to look at what’s currently trending in fashion and go back and find the original clothes from the decade they’re borrowing from. Your cash gets you a lot more when you’re paying $1-3 per item instead of $30 + for one shirt especially when you’re just using it for one shoot and may not use it again.

Here was the lighting setup I used for the first few looks:

An octobox is lighting the model from above, with a strip box closer to
the floor below it to fill in where the light drops off closer to the
models feet.

Resulting Images:

For the last two looks I set the octobox more to the side of the model, and used a white V flap to reflect light back onto Spencer.

HUGE THANK YOU to Jaida (@jaidabentley) for all your help assisting with this shoot! Also, love my girl Caitlin Krenz (@caitlincaresforhair), who’s always killing it with hair and makeup!

Hopefully you guys are digging these shoot breakdowns. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see me touch on!


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