Each year, The Barn Team puts together an amazing, over-the-top, creative, super detailed styled shoot. Lesleigh and the design team put their hearts and souls and a whole lotta elbow grease into these shoots, and they always turn out just mind-blowing. This past Saturday was our yearly styled shoot, and boy, was it FANTASTIC.
The theme for this year's shoot was Fall Feathers. Ken Gehring was our photographer, and the sneak peeks we've seen so far have been seriously ahhh-maaa-zinggggg. There were teepees, headdresses, lots of feathers, beautiful greenery, some sassfab face paint, and a lot of other gorgeous Native American-inspired details. I took a lot of detail photos, so here are some sneak peeks!
How did the team come up with this theme? The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch is in Dardanelle, Arkansas, which is in Yell County. Our town and county have such a rich Native American history! We have found many arrowheads and other artifacts at The Barn, and it's amazing to think of the thousands of people who have walked all these acres before us.
Let me give ya a little history lesson! Since European travelers began their written histories a long, long time ago, there have been three powerful tribes to inhabit our neck of the woods: the Osage, Quapaw and Cherokee. They settled near the Arkansas River, where the soil was rich enough to grow an abundance of crops. They were peaceful tribes; they used stones to identify their family boundaries, and they never engaged in any wars with their European neighbors. The Quapaw gave up their land in Yell County in 1808, and the Osage gave up all of theirs in 1818. The Cherokee were the last to leave Yell County, and they gave up their land in what is called the Treaty of Council Oaks. The Council Oaks were a group of oak trees along the Arkansas River in what is now downtown Dardanelle. In April of 1820, Chief Black Fox, spokesman for the Cherokee tribe, and Robert Crittenden, the acting governer of Arkansas, met underneath these oak trees. They made a treaty that gave all the Cherokee land south of the Arkansas River to the state of Arkansas. And the Cherokee, like the tribes before them, headed west. One of the Council Oaks is left, and it's one of the most famous landmarks in our area!
Next year is Yell County's 175th birthday and Dardanelle's 160th birthday, so what better way to celebrate such huge milestones than with a fancy photo shoot?! We acknowledge that these tribes being forced out of our area is horrible and tragic, but we also think it's very important to honor those who lived and traveled on these lands before us. November also just so happens to be Native American Heritage Month, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate our town's history.
This was my first time being a part of anything like this, so I didn't really know what to expect. There is a lot more to photo shoots than I ever imagined, and it takes a whole army of people to pull one off! Just about every detail was finished and ready to go the morning of the shoot, so I can't imagine how much work the design team put in beforehand.
On the day of the shoot, The Barn Team met at 6 a.m. Our models started showing up at 6:30, and each of them spent about an hour getting their hair and makeup done. Beginning at around 8, Ken (our photographer) began shooting. It was cold and damp, and I was really feeling bad for our models... they must have been freezing! Each model wore a few different dresses, so it took a while to shoot them in each of their dresses. We also shot a few prom dresses! We wrapped up around 2, and by then, we were all exhausted and our feet were killing us! But honestly, we all had a great time and everything turned out incredible, so it was absolutely worth it.
While parts of a styled shoot are glamorous (models! crazy hair styles! fun makeup!), some parts are totally the opposite. I spent a lot of the morning covering up the models with blankets in between photos and carrying around a heavy (but amazing) bouquet. I also got to make a whole bunch of cute cocktails for the shoot! It was seriously fun, and I'm so thankful for the experience!