Introducing Photography for SDV by Ashley Therese Photography Part I

by Sammy in Comment — Updated November 9, 2019

I’ve been talking about this photoshoot for days, maybe even weeks now. I hyped it up with lots of talk on my facebook fanpage and SDV twitter. I added some video immediately after the shoot to give you a tantalizing preview of just exactly what we were doing at this “mansion/plantation/random old house in rural Lancaster, PA.” I gave so many sneak peeks because I was just SO excited to share [and overshare] what this photoshoot was all about. It wasn’t just about promoting SDV [although I like to do that, too!] It was about returning to my hometown — where the Sammy D you know came to be who she is today — and embracing the beauty and tranquility that this area represents. When I come “home” to spend time with my friends and family, I find myself refreshed, rejuvenated … reinvigorated [because I’m pretty much always invigorated to begin with] and just feeling solid in spirit, body and mind.

I wanted this shoot to be just that for SDV — to use the inspiration of where I was born and bred to add some “re” to the energy that already exists with my company and its message. I wanted to reconnect with what I know and love, and to introduce some new people to the meaning of SDV, too.

So now, I’m proud to introduce the bounty of our creation. The beautiful photos that photographer Ashley Therese Poisella took of the latest SDV creative, editorially-driven photoshoot. Because I’m a journalist at heart, and because I want to give you the REAL behind-the-scenes glimpse [or full throttle view] of what this photoshoot is about, read-on for the answers to some of the questions you may have [or didn’t realize you actually have] about my goals for this photoshoot and what it means for SDV moving forward.

What was your inspiration for this shoot?

When I leave New York, all I want is earth. I know that sounds strange — I could say “nature” or “green grass” or just … “wide open spaces.” But I think what’s different between those adjectives and the noun “earth” is that enjoying earth is enjoying comfort. So, maybe comfort IS being in the city — and that’s cool. I remember leaving Philadelphia as a college student to seek refuge and inspiration in New York City. Now, it’s sort of the opposite — read on to understand why.

I wanted to return to the little things that represent simplicity to me — rustic barns, cobblestone brick, stone paths. Sun, trees and tall green grass. History. Nature. Balance. Friends. Smiles. Laughter. Those are the things in life that drive us to feel good everyday — we reflect on the history of us, embrace the world around us and seek balance with friends & family and the pleasure they give us.

And in a nutshell, those thoughts inspired how I wanted to create this shoot.

What will these photos be used for?

I’m excited to use these photos for future newsletters and promotional materials for SDV. I will also be rebranding the facebook fanpage, hooking myself up with some fresh business cards, and maybe even making some fliers for distribution around the city. Oh, and we can’t forget opportunities for press and digital advertisement. The opps are limitless!

I will, of course, be using all photos with proper, very much deserved credit to the talented photographer Ashley! Check out her other work to see how she amazingly can shoot your all activities related to your wedding!

What purpose did these photos serve beyond just being really pretty and showcasing the collection?

These photos illustrate what I want SDV to mean to the girl who wears her: Fashion is her fun.

You’ll notice that a lot of the photography focused on the girls as a group. They are walking together, eating ice cream together, sitting on a piano bench together [those last two references are in part 2 of the shoot — coming next week!]

While we did capture many solo shots of the models, the true representation of the SDV brand comes alive in the group shots. You see how the ladies are interacting with one another and just having fun and feeling fabulous as a result of those feel-good moments.

I often feel isolated from marketing and advertising materials because the photograph will focus on one person. And that one person has nothing in common with me. If she/he can’t open their mouth to speak from the page of the magazine or on the billboard/whatever print material I’m engaging with, and all they are doing is looking at me behind a hyped-up branding … why do I have reason to relate?

I asked Ashley to shoot group shots of models enjoying themselves [and have fun they did!] because I never want a SDV customer to feel like she can’t relate to fashion — especially mine. I’ve met many women — and maybe one of you right now feels this way — that claim they don’t have a “fashion eye.”

Fashion isn’t about the eye. It’s about the heart. And that’s exactly what I hope these images inspire in you — a feel-good sense of pride and pleasure from the clothes and style that you wear everyday.

How does this photography give fresh meaning to the “style & substance” mantra of SDV?

This is a photoshoot of real women. I say “real” only because that is the association of language with “non models.” But, I would consider “real” women models too. Who says what defines model? We model our style and our substance everyday through what we wear and the actions we take. YOU are a model of yourself in every second that you are present on this planet.

If you read on through this post, you can learn more about the substance that creates the style of each of my models for this shoot. They are women with passions and big hearts that hold them. They define success not by what society expects, but by what makes them feel most happy and fulfilled. They are women with missions to live each day with meaning and substance — to be true to themselves and to the people who surround them.

I hope that you enjoy soaking in the beauty of these photos as much as I enjoyed directing this shoot and helping Ashley to abandon tradition and allow our creative, crazy-awesome juices to flow. Not only do I owe Ashley a huge THANK YOU, but I also owe the lovely models Emily, Kelly, Danielle & Becca a ridiculously huge THANK YOU! as well.

SDV is only as strong as her supports. Thank you all! xx

See the Setting

FYI: This is part one of the SDV & Ashley Therese Photography shoot. And for part one of this two-day shoot, we chose the beautiful scenery of the Rock Ford Mansion in Lancaster, PA. I never knew this mansion existed until my mother suggested it to me. It was honestly just a passing suggestion as I was getting ready for the shoot in my home. She made mention of it, I Googled Rock Ford and moments later was emailing Ashley excitedly about the idea. After Ashley and I scouted the location and found ourselves witnessing literal families of DEER frolicking about as the sun set on this multi-acre farm, fields, apple trees, garden and 18th century mansion … can you tell where this is going? Our hearts [and the lens] were sold on the idea.

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Meet the Models

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Emily and I knew each other … but didn’t really KNOW each other growing up in Lancaster. She is the younger sister of an older graduate from my high school. Emily graduated from a nearby school, but because we weren’t technically in the educational system together, we weren’t true-blue friends pre age 21 years — that is, until vintage brought us together.

Somehow, somewhere, I met Emily during college at the Punk Rock Flea Market in Lancaster at local bar/band haunt the Chameleon Club. She was selling vintage so I was obviously attracted to her and what her energy was all about. We now have an inside joke about how I asked for jumpsuits [it’s a little obsession of mine to add new jumpsuits to my personal collection].

I didn’t end up buying anything from her, but I grabbed a card and dropped her a line on Myspace [yes, I’m for serious … this WAS 2006]. I think Facebook [now we’re flashing forward] suggested her to me last year as a friend, and voila! We were official digital friends with a seriously official common bond. When I started planning this shoot, I thought of Emily INSTANTLY. She has the perfect aesthetic for vintage [hence why she sells it so well] and just that bright, optimistic, life-always-rocks-even-when-things-are-down attitude. After contacting her through to get involved with the shoot, she gave an enthusiastic YES and we were off to make beautiful pictures together.

Scroll on down to get a glimpse of just how genuinely beautiful those photos are.

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Kelly is a friend of Emily’s — actually, to make this friend of a friend story more interesting, Kelly is the sister of Emily’s boyfriend. All in the family!

I loved that Kelly volunteered to model because I knew that chemistry on set would be high thanks to Emily and Kelly’s relationship. You can see in this picture below just how much fun the ladies are having. I love Kelly’s eyes here — they’re looking at Emily with an affection that you can only capture through true friendship.

A little more on Kelly: it just so happens that through the small circles of life, she works with some former classmates of mine [small town, small world!]. She plans on enrolling in nursing school to get her degree [you go girl!] and to see where that career can take her [be a nurse just about anywhere in the world, anyone]

Three words to describe Kelly: gregarious, open-minded and a truly charming lady. Her catchphrase is “Alright grrrlllll.” I can almost hear her say it now!

And can you catch a glimpse of those full lips? This lady is blessed with some serious smoochers. Loves it!

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As if the small town, small world stories above weren’t enough — hold on to your seats, because this one is about to get even better.

I grew up watching BECCA grow up. That’s right. When I was 7, this youngin’ was brought into the world by one of my best friend’s mother. Every summer, I spent my time running around like a mad child at the pool with Rebecca’s older sister, Liz. Liz and I went to kindergarten through 12th grade together — sharing teachers, sports, makeup, boy stories, cars, clothes, first sips of alcohol [ha!] dance parties and the like. We were growing up as hormone-filled, boy-crazy teens as I witnessed the younger Rebecca grow into her pubescent years before heading off to college.

Fast forward, and now Rebecca is a senior in high school and the proud recipient of a full ride for field hockey to Drexel University. Yup, the little girl I last saw in 2004 is all grown up — and now modeling for SDV.

Rebecca’s fit athletic frame was perfect for long, lean skirts and tailored tops. I loved playing dress up with her and seeing just how beautiful this younger sister of my childhood friend has become. Thanks, Becca, for all of your support to SDV!

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Like Emily recruited Kelly, Becca recruited her friend Danielle for the shoot. I loved that in the end, I had two pairs of friends engaging with one another for the camera. The models as a quartet weren’t strangers for long, thanks to the chemistry that already existed between them as pairs.

Danielle is also a field hockey star and a senior at my alma mater. I could tell that Rebecca and Danielle had become close thanks to field hockey [have you ever done summer pre-season for a sport? it’s almost cruel!] and the kinship they shared through solid sweat and serious sports.

I loved dressing Danielle to accentuate her eyes. You can tell in the picture above that her steel blue eyes are real street-stoppers — and they came in handy when shooting her against the white and green of fields and grass.

Danielle recently started her senior year of high school and heads to University of Ohio [I think — correct me if I’m wrong Danielle!] to play division I hockey. Good luck, congrats, and thank you for adding your bright blue eyes [and a bright, beautiful YOU!] to SDV!

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