This March saw a landmark photo shoot in my henna journey – the fruition of a henna photo shoot that has been in the planning (in my mind) for well over a year. Inspired by an amazing ‘Trash the Dress’ style shoot from Bridgette Bartlett of Maple Mehndi, I have long since been dreaming of my own water based shoot around some epic henna.
My loyal foot model had long been prepared, with her consistently strong henna stains (previous photos here), Helen was always going to be my first choice! Being such a loyal friend, I also made her the promise that she would not be alone in the [potentially freezing cold] river shoot and pledged that I would also ensure I had henna’d myself to join her.
The photographer was the second piece of the puzzle to fall into place in November 2015. Regular readers of my blog will have seen the two previous photo shoots with Louise with wonderful results. I don’t think I had prepared for our third shoot to be the beautiful charm that it turned out to be…
Having left the choice of location up to Louise, we arranged to shoot the foot henna on a Friday morning, which meant that I would henna my own feet on Monday night, then Helen’s feet on Tuesday night to allow at least 3 days for the henna stains to fully bloom and mature. I set out with no particular design in mind. The only direction I knew was that I wanted the two designs to be contrasting – very different in flow and design – to allow us some variety in the resulting photos. For myself, I opted for a very symmetrical and almost linear design. For Helen, I decided to go for a flowing, asymmetric layout with a heavy floral theme. Some behind the scenes shots here:
I left Helen after a long evening of henna, meticulously wrapped up with strict aftercare instructions. Diligent as ever, Helen followed them to a “T” and it ended up that we both left our henna on for well over 10 hours in dry warm conditions. With deep, dark optimum henna stains, we were both feeling super excited about the shoot.
Friday morning came, and as we all met and trundled off to the River Wharf in Ilkley, we lamented that the previous day’s warm, spring sunshine had not made an appearance for our shoot. Some concerns were voiced about the potential cold temperature of the river water, and promises were made that we would not need to submerge feet since we were not expecting the water to be of a clear enough quality for photographing.
We had dressed for the shoot in our floatiest, white summer skirts with an aim to achieve some bohemian, gypsy inspired shots. So we looked quite the sight as we strolled along the pathway by the river banks in our winter coats and boots, coupled with floaty, summery outfits. On arrival, it was very clear why Louise had chosen the spot for the shoot. The banks are pebbled, full of texture and colour – with shallow waters. And as it turned out, the water was clear enough for photographing too. We picked our spot, unloaded our gear and prepared for shooting.
I perhaps should have noted that my model is a very much warm-blooded person. It goes a long way towards explaining why she consistently stains so beautifully with henna. I was reminded of this within seconds as she boldly approached the water’s edge for the first photos and promptly gasped in sheer horror at the very, very cold temperatures and lost sensation in her toes soon after.
(Yes, it was quite hilarious)
It became the theme of the day actually – the test of how long we could continue to shoot in the waters before our feet and toes began to turn red/purple from the cold. Thankfully with two people to shoot we were able to tag team, allowing us time to warm up in between shots with hot water bottles and towels. It turned out that pebbled river banks are extremely tricky to walk barefoot on, and rocks are also tricky to stand still on. This is something to note, people, for your future trips to a beautiful river bank!
Thankfully, the skills of Louise’s photography were wonderfully on point. The shoot took no longer than 90 minutes – which included outfit changes – and it was not long before we were all wrapped, bundled up and on our way back, buzzing with excitement at what the edited photos would reveal. Though cold, the shoot was incredible fun and we all knew (we just KNEW) that something great had happened.
Louise did not disappoint. See for yourself some of the truly wonderful photos from our Cold Feet shoot at the River Wharf in Ilkley: