Fashion Photography of a Sea Goddess holding a lantern on a rocky beach

When it comes to a fashion photo shoot with Tawny Horton, head photographer at New Face Model Magazine and event coordinator at So Cal Fashion Photoshoots, there is never a dull moment.

Photographer, Tawny HortonWhenever, I’m on a shoot with her it’s like being on an adventurous field trip. Recently, we had a fashion photoshoot at Dana Point Harbor and Tawny, wanting to create something bold, brought a $10,000 Canon lens. She looked like a sniper aiming for the kill.


“I was given the opportunity to try out the 400mm 2.8 lens from Canon. Before when a friend let me use it, I had shot with this lens one other time. Remembering how incredible the compression and depth of field was, made me super excited to be able to shoot with this lens again!”

Fashion model wearing a black dress and tulle hat, standing on a rocky beach.WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THE LOCATION?

“I decided I wanted to shoot in a location with a lot of texture and depth that would make an incredible background with the compression of 400mm lens and use the 2.8 aperture to make my model stand out. I chose to shoot on a rocky beach to get the look I was going for.”

“Since its a 400mm lens, my subject had to be at about 200 feet away from me which made it hard to communicate with my model with the waves crashing loudly, but we managed, because Susie was the go-to girl. She went back and forth to hear what I had to say and then tell the model! Susie is such a great sport at shoots! She will help in anyway she can to nail the shots!”

Fashion photo shoot with a sea goddess on a rocky coastDID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CHALLENGES WITH THE LENS?

“The shoot was going well, but I stepped away from my camera (which was on a tripod), just for a moment to show the model what I wanted her to do and BOOM! The borrowed $10,000 lens and my $2,000 camera fell to the ground of the rocky beach. Yup, it broke. We had to end the shoot early and I had to rush to the Canon center before they closed to get this taken care of. Luckily, I have insurance! But I did learn a valuable lesson. Do not put a $10,000 lens on a $20 tripod! Yes—I can be an airhead sometimes but the combination of my passion for photography and being broke make me do dumb things. At least the photos turned out beautifully!”

This fashion photo shoot was a blast. Tawny has extraordinary conceptions for what she wants to create and knows how to put it all together. The theme and props for this shoot created beauty, mystery and enchantment.

Model: Madison, Photographer: Tawny, Hair and Makeup: SusieWe all had fun joking that Madison Hopkins, our beautiful model, had to nearly stand on Catalina Island so she could be far enough away from the lens! We also talked about tying a rope around her waist so she wouldn’t be swept out to sea incase she fell into the ocean from the waves crashing around her. Madison is a badass fashion model!


“Modeling far from the camera was the most interesting experience because their was no communication. The waves were just too loud to hear anything. I was truly running off the feel of the shoot which made it challenging but so fun! Working with Tawny and Susie is always such a pleasure. They have incredible visions and its a kick making that come alive.”

Tawny made the captivating headpiece out of black tulle. It was so windy that the headpiece kept growing—getting bigger and bigger on Madison’s head. So, I walked out to the water and started stapling the headpiece to contain it and make it smaller. I was determined not to let the wind win. However, I got carried away with the stapler because when I stood at a distance, it looked like a 1960’s afro. So, I started ripping areas of the head peace apart to create the right balance.


Prepping fashion model, Madison, for today's photo shoot.I prepped Madison for hair and makeup in the morning at my studio. I was so excited to use my new Chanel creme eyeshadows and blush (burnt coral).

For length and fullness, I added clip-in extensions to Madison’s hair.

A fashion photo shoot can be a wild ride with environmental conditions and other elements that suddenly surprise us. Comment below if you are ready to use a Canon $10,000 lens or what your experience was like if you’ve already shot with this dynamic lens.

Learn more about Tawny Horton’s fashion photo shoots here:


Photographer: Tawny Horton
Model: Madison Hopkins
Hair and Makeup: Susie Lauri
Crew: Michael Saurwein

Embrace Life,
Susie Lauri
Follow me @susie_lauri_hmua

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