Beauty session with Ashleigh Burnette


Ever since I started in photography I have been drawn to beauty and fashion photography. They way it’s lit, styled, shaped, posed, etc. It is one thing that I will never get tired of looking at. In college, I did my internship under NYC  beauty and fashion photographer, Joseph Cartright. From that moment, I knew I wanted to learn all I could about fashion and beauty photography.

I have been so fortunate to have met some incredible makeup artists along my journey, as well as STUNNING models. This shoot was no exception.

I met Natasha earlier this year and the passion she has about her craft and the makeup industry is contagious. I knew that I wanted to work with her and it was only a matter of time when our schedule would align.

A couple months ago through a slew of emails we challenged each other to a creative shoot once a month. How can we push ourselves to create and shoot the stuff that we are so passionate about? How can I keep pushing myself to learn all the in’s and out’s of beauty and fashion photography? It’s a never ending learning cycle and the more I practice it and surround myself by it, the more I will understand it and create beautiful images.

Our schedules finally allowed us to get into studio and get to work. Natasha also found 16 year old model, Ashleigh Burnette. Yes, I said 16! She has been acting for a while and wanted to get more modeling gigs and expand her portfolio. Enter Leah and Natasha : )

We got into studio and chatted about some of the looks we are inspired by and some things that we wanted to try. I knew that I wanted to do 2 high key and 2 low key looks. Into hair and makeup we go.

The first look we did was a gel shoot. I was completely inspired by NYC based photographer Lindsay Adler. I am a HUGE fan of her work and I am always looking her way for inspiration and how can I make it have the ‘Leah’ flare. I set up a beauty dish (silver inside) facing the model and hitting her a little bit above the nose. Natasha then held some gels over her face to get the colored look that you see. We wanted to keep the eye makeup super simple to not take away from the colors of the gels and just add a little kick of color on the lips.  I love how this image turned out but I would love to shoot this concept again and try  a different technique to see different results.

The second look we tried with warmer gels and the yellow makeup, but I really didn’t like the way the gels were taking spotlight over the fun yellow makeup Natasha did. So I decided to go with a clean standard beauty shot for this to capture her beautiful face and the fun yellow makeup. Beauty dish stayed the same and we added in a silver reflector right under Ashleigh’s bust. I am not a very good hand poser so I am excited to research ways to pose the hands, wrists, arms, etc. This shot just stood out to me with her direct connection with my lens. So beautiful!

The third look was one of my favorites. High key on white with bronze makeup. I showed Natasha a photo I saw online and she put her own spin on it. I think Ashleigh really liked this look at well. She went straight into Wonder Woman mode. It was awesome. I took away the black background and put another strobe to pop the background to make it bright white. I kept the beauty dish where it was for the other shots as well as the silver reflector from below her bust.

The fourth and final look is what we called our ‘unicorn’ look. It is the featured image above. Natasha found this beautiful 4 color palette at the makeup store and asked if she could do a look with it. Of course!!!!!!!!!!! She slayed it! It is such a fun look and for the hair we just did a braid across the front of her head for something a bit more fun and different than the others. Everything lighting stayed the same for this but I added a light right underneath my camera w a purple gel to fill in the shadows with some color. It’s hardly noticeable, but you can see it a little bit under the chin and in the eyes.

I learned so much during this session! After looking back through the images there are some things I would change, but I am super happy with how they turned out. I had a great team on set and Ashleigh and her mother, Lana, were extremely happy to have these photos as part of her portfolio. I am constantly learning and pushing myself and I am so happy that Natasha is pushing right there with me! We are doing another shoot together in December so stay tuned!

Let’s keep growing and encouraging one another to be better. Love yourself and each other.



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