As told to by Taylor Scheibe
Get a behind the scenes look at how Frill Seekers was brought to life from the artists who made it happen.
I’ve been dreaming about shooting at a carnival for years. Though, as excited as I was, I knew I’d have a few challenges to work through–the first of which was that none of us had seen this carnival. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have three rides to work with, or a whole mile of rides. So, I needed to find ways to make the same area work in multiple ways, and do it on the spot. Looking at each location with my lens, rather than with just my eyes, helped give me a new perspective on how to photograph the space.
Another challenge was making sure the images had a fun, candid and real carnival feel. Our model Gaby was incredible to work with, so this ended up being very easy! I also used a trick I’d been wanting to try for a while. I brought along a few pieces of cellophane I had from another shoot, and wrapped it around my camera lens to give each image a blurry, colorful foreground. This added the feel of carnival lights and also added some dimension to the images.
Finally, our biggest challenge was the fleeting sunlight. We started shooting around 6 p.m., so as the sun set, every outfit got a different lighting scenario. This created diversity for each look. We were able to use natural light for the first three looks. The last look was shot once the sun had completely set. I brought my flash (speedlight) with me, which I powered down to a super low setting (meaning the flash wouldn’t be as bright), and aimed it directly at Gaby. This gives a cool, snap shot feeling to the images, as if it were two friends at a carnival just taking pictures, being silly and sassy and having fun!
Producer & creative director —
Towards the end of our shoot, a young girl named Mikaila, 12, approached our huddle around the camera and asked our model, Gaby, if she was famous. When Gaby said no, Mikaila made a face as though she didn’t quite believe her. “I mean, look at you!” she said and asked to take a picture with her anyway.
Our little troupe received no shortage of strange looks that night. Carnival-goers even dared to yell at us to go home and shoot our pictures somewhere else, despite that we were in no one’s way. Some of them were grown adults. I couldn’t help but wonder what were we doing that caused such a reaction. If you took away the photographer, the makeup artist, the stylist and the producer (all hauling makeup bags, camera equipment, clothing and stuffing their faces with cotton candy) and left Gaby at the carnival in these gorgeous looks, would people still glare?
The world shows us every day how it loves to shut down confident and happy women. Not only is Gaby tall, stunning and full of pure joy, she exudes the kind of confidence I wish on everyone. Because when your identity is no longer based in what other people think of you, you are free. I created Between The Liner to chase that freedom. I created it for Mikaila. To all the women and girls who love their sparkle, and who have been made to feel like they can’t be themselves because they might be too much for the world, this one’s for you.
hair & makeup—
Just the thought of doing a photo shoot with a carnival theme was super exciting to me. In choosing a makeup look for this shoot I took all my inspiration from the colors and the fun vibes surrounding us. I did two looks on Gabriela; for the first look, I was inspired cotton candy. The most important part of this look is the skin. I used a lot of moisturizer and a shimmering cream highlighter to accentuate the high points of the face for more of a radiant glow and sheer pink powder blush. On the eyes, I used a deep blush toned shadow and topped it off with a crème glitter shadow (using fingertips to press into place) and finished it off with tons of mascara, using the tip of the wand for maximum coverage to achieve an almost “clumpy” looking separation. The brows were left natural and combed thru and the lips were a candy popping blue pink! The second look was more of a nighttime summer lovin’ look, so I deepened things up a bit. I changed up the eyes to a deeper bronze crème shimmer (brushing some under the bottom lash line, brightening the eyes) and a deep red on Gabriela’s lips. With so much shimmer everywhere else, a nice matte bold lip was the way to go. Pro tip: Use a liquid lipstick for your carnival look; it stays on no matter how much cotton candy, ice cream and funnel cakes your beautiful self wants to eat!
This was one of my favorite shoots of everything that I’ve ever done. I had so much fun riding the Ferris wheel, running through the funhouse with our photographer, Sara, and playing the different carnival games. It felt more like hanging out with friends than work! And the styling was for this shoot was so amazing—I loved every outfit!
MICHA VARGAS CARO
The looks in this series were mainly inspired by two decades: the 50s and 70s.
When I think of carnivals, I think of summer camp, traditional family outings and dates! The 70s has such nostalgic camp feel to me. The first look we shot was really down to earth, while also so glamorous. I paired a simple stripe rib knit shirt with some blue, 70s style track shorts and striped tube socks, to give it that camp vibe. I considered gym shoes for this look, but thought, why not glam it up a bit and do something a little unusual? Taylor suggested a mock silver rhinestone tiara, which was a great addition to give it that extra glam.
This TopShop lavender skirt with silver polkadots reminded me of a modern poodle skirt, and it completely brought the look to life. The faux leather baby pink jacket was just the right addition to fuse together those cotton candy hues. Although initially there was some difficulty finding the right shirt to match, this green bodysuit served as a great contrasting color to tie the outfit together. The converse shoes also contrasted the 50s style neck scarf, and made the look feel more relatable.
The ability that sequins have to reflect light was so amazing to play with against the bright carnival lights at the location. Lo and behold we came across the perfect pink sequin dress at H&M. On its own, the dress was a bit much for a carnival, so I added a jean jacket and a blue and white strip crop-tie shirt (it reminded me of a concession stand uniform) to tone it down it down. Can we coin concession-glam?
Of course, the carnival evoked childhood memories of the beloved 50s era musical “Grease.” When I found these amazing TopShop skinny black vinyl pants, I thought, what better way to celebrate being at a carnival than to pay homage to that iconic final scene! The neon green jewelry gave the look a 70s punk twist, while the red striped body suit and matching red lether jacket, gave it that fresh take. *Cue* (You’re the one I want! Oo-oo-ooo honey!)
It takes a village! Follow Between The Liner on Instagram @taylorjlaidley, and get more sneak peeks from our shoots! Here’s a few extras for the road: