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Episode 120: Francoise Weeks                                

Behind The Scenes On A Floral Photo Shoot

I’ve received many letters from floral designers over the years asking how to go about planning and executing a photo shoot. While some designers thrive on the creativity necessary to dream up and execute a shoot, others seem to be intimidated by the process and find themselves too overwhelmed to take the steps needed to begin. I was thrilled when Becky of Florae Foray and photographer Sarah Brookes wrote me and shared this photo shoot. Incredibly, they turned a vision they had while drinking coffee at a local venue into reality in less than 24 hours! I was drawn to the lesson of their story…sometimes you just have to move on an idea. Conditions may not be perfect, but conditions will never be perfect.  I asked them to share with us how they took a sudden spark of inspiration to an official photo shoot in just one day. Hope it inspires those of you who are hesitating out of fear to go ahead and give it a try.

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

From Sarah of Sarah Brookes Photography:

Whilst having  an impromptu coffee at the local farm shop, come pub, come bistro, my florist friend Becky and I noticed one heck of a stunning milk churn. Not just any milk churn but a vintage copper milk churn sitting innocently and unobtrusively as part of the décor of the venue.

After speaking to the owner, we discovered that the churn was a much beloved family heirloom and had been passed down through generations. This only fuelled our interest! All the while, Becky, owner of Florae Foray, was visualizing the churn filled with flowers and chandeliers fashioned from foliage hanging from the gorgeous wooden beams overhead.

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

Following further enquiry, we discovered that this venue regularly holds weddings, so together, we hatched a plan to organise a wedding styled shoot, all around this milk churn! Having compared diaries, we realised that our busy schedules meant that we had less than 24 hours to turn this vision into a reality! Gordon kindly gave us permission to shoot at the venue and the following day we returned with flowers, cameras, a hula-hoop, two models, a vintage wedding dress and a hair stylist and we were away!

What we love most about this experience, is what can happen as a result of passion! When two heads are better than one and a plan comes together, all in the name of creativity! For anyone out there who has started his or her own creative business, it can turn out to be an isolated existence so getting together with someone with a similar style to you can be priceless. For me as the photographer, I felt utterly privileged to see the floral creations unfold with Becky. We met back in 2012 when she designed a floral bouquet for an autumn wedding styled shoot and I have not yet seen a more impressive floral designer. She is a true artist and I just adore working with her, it’s magic.

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

What I adore about this shoot is the boho look, thanks to Bespoke wedding hairstyling by Kate Atalay who used flowers to add to the boho plait. Helen from Sweetness and Delight wedding cakes allowed us to feature her beautiful crisp white three tier wedding cake with lace detailing.

Thanks to shooting in the gorgeous Cambridgeshire countryside, I was able to play upon the mottled light, which adds a real delicacy to the images of the bride.

As a wedding photographer, my mission is to be the silent story teller by capturing all of the precious moments that you were too excited to take in and to capture in time, all of those little details that you spent hours choosing.  As you can see from the images, it is important to me that the place settings are recorded, the twine used around the napkin, that stuff was important to you, so it is important to me!”

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

From Becky of Florae Foray:

“My mind never stops, whether driving past hedgerows on the look out for ivy trails or Queen Anne’s Lace to be foraged to finding weird and wonderful objects which would lend themselves as the perfect container. I met with Sarah on a lovely sunny afternoon after a usually busy  morning with my lovely but lively 4 year old in tow.  I’d never been to The Racehorse but I have to say it was a pleasant and relaxing venue and I was particularly captivated by the copper milk churn they had on display.

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

I’ve been after some vintage milk churns myself to use in place of urns and pedestals for more rustic venues but I have never seen one in copper and I fell instantly in lust with it, especially knowing metallics are looking to be an ongoing trend for 2016. So we hatched a plan to organise a photoshoot for the very next day which was a mission and a half (I personally think our lattes may have been laced!). I have to say that if I had had time to order flowers for the shoot in advance it is likely that I would have chosen a beautiful deep purple delphinium and hydrangea with which to fill the churn but we arrived at the wholesalers early the following day at their mercy as to what was ready available from stock.

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

Sarah actually picked out the peony which became the main focus of the bouquet and then it was a simple task of selecting flowers and foliage to compliment the bloom including the most beautiful in colour and texture Lupins, Astrantia, a tiny Companula, Clematis, nigella and Pistache foliage. To this I added garden roses, herbs and ferns from my own garden and I couldn’t resist picking up some beautiful ribbons and a strawberry plant so as to add the unripe berries into the mix….

I managed to get Delphiniumns and Hydrangea arranged into the churn (we could have done with a bigger budget as I would have loved to double the amount of flowers) and make up a bridal bouquet and a bridesmaid posy (for my daughter/ model, as ever in tow!). A round posy for the table was in turn framed by the ring of flowers (fashioned on a child’s hula hoop base!) and hung low above the styled table. As Sarah got snapping I worked a few minutes ahead!

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

All this before dashing off to my daughter’s karate class! It was a hectic but lovely experience, I think we both learnt lessons to take forward but above all it cemented our belief that it’s great to have the support of someone you respect in their field who believes in you and vice versa. If you can achieve what we did in such a limited time and budget just think of the possibilities!”

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

Florae Foray | Sarah Brookes Photography

Photography | Sarah Brookes Photography 

Flowers | Florae Foray

Hair Styling | Kate Atalay

Cake | Sweetness and Delight 

Venue | The Racehorse Catworth



  1. Candice says:

    How do you typically split costs for a shoot? 50/50 between the photographer and the florist?

    • Amy McGee says:

      Hi Candace!

      Your question is a great one and I bet there are other designers wondering the same thing. Watch BB this month for a post answering your question. And thanks for reading and chiming in!



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