“The Wild Bunch” – Painted Hills Shoot

A photographer from Washington that I was friends with on social media liked first one photo, than another, and than another. They were all photos that were higher end, more glamorous and I just had a feeling.. so much so that I literally refreshed my messenger and wasn’t at all surprised to see a message directly in my inbox.

Katie, I am gathering some people to shoot in the Mitchell,OR area (PaintedHills) July 7/8. I thought I had sent you a message about it before, but realized I did not! If by chance you are free that weekend, we are going to be shooting “Western Lifestyle” images using the area as the backdrop. There are at this point 6 or so models coming, (I am sure you know them all) a few clothing companies and boutiques are sending stuff to shoot with…Super friendly, light, easy going weekend of shooting content for everyone’s pages, and companies. If by chance you are free for a day or two, or a part, let me know, as we would love to have you!
~ Gary

Well this was strange – I have received messages like this quite often. A boutique is doing a shoot, a photographer wants to work on their portfolio and the list goes on and on. This would all be fine and dandy except for one thing: I am terrified to have my photo taken!

It always catches me off guard when people don’t realize this, in fact, the hardest thing I had to overcome when it came to pageantry was having my pictures taken. I would actually cry! Not just that, but it was always so rough for me! I don’t know if it’s because my sister is stunning and is an internationally experienced model, I don’t know if it’s because the only time I’ve had a picture in the yearbook everyone made fun of me for being “ugly,” or if it’s quite simply that most of my photos growing up were action photos playing sports or riding horses. Whatever the reason, I am terrified of them. My friend Lauren told me that she had the same issue (which blew my mind, she’s gorgeous!) and that she overcame it by not looking at the photos. Literally she doesn’t look.

I texted with Mel from the Turner area and we made plans to drive to Mitchell, Oregon together, home of the Painted Hills. We got there a little before noon on Saturday where we both got to meet Gary for the first time. Charming and fun, you couldn’t ask for better people than him and his wife! They were so kind and hospitable!

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This entire outfit is from Giddy Up Clothing Company in Prineville, Oregon, except the boots are the Star Spangled from Bodacious Boots Company. 

In a strange twist of events, the small town of Mitchell, Oregon was absolutely HOPPING. If you have EVER been to Mitchell you would know that this not a “norm.” The entire business loop of Mitchell was shut down for “Crawfest” and my internal wanna-be Cajun rejoiced at this wickedly fun turn of events…. only to be told by the hotel front desk lady that it was not, in fact, a Crawdad festival but, instead, a party hosted by a man with the last name “Crawford.” Ironically, we did find crawfish though!

Our hotel was a neat, could use a cleaning, little hotel where each room was decorated to a theme. Sharing a room with two other fellow former rodeo queens Emy and Mikaela, we got the excitement of the “Jungle Room” or, as the place got creepier the darker it got outside, the “Jumanji Room” as I had re-named it. Poor Mel and Katie from Krooked K got the short end of the stick with the “Doll Room.” Yeah, imagine that – being stuck in a creepy ghost town in a doll room.

Emy and Mikaela were super nervous in the ghost town so I had to explain the process of “transitioning the fear,” meaning that we were scared so, by transitioning our fear to someone else we would be “okay.” I then couldn’t help but mess with Katie and Mel even more by placing Emy’s Alexa in the top drawer under the doll on the night stand which we promptly played creepy laughter after our mock “team meeting” to discuss the game plan for the next day. The amount of screaming that ensued from their room I seriously thought was going to get us kicked out of the hotel!

Our photos from the shoot turned out so cool! More than that though, it was a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and see what I could do for personal growth. We always challenge our mind, our body and our soul with what is uncomfortable in an attempt to push the boundaries of what our mental and physical fortitude can uphold – this was just another situation of this for me. Plus, I got some PRETTY sweet new friends out of the deal that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

Even more exciting, we decided to make this a “thing” and we are excited to announce that we are doing another weekend Collaboration in the first full weekend of September in Molalla, Oregon.

If you are interested in building your portfolio whether it be photography, influencer or as a creative/boutique owner – reach out to see how you or your items can be in the shoot! 

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