Ashley Tyler Tolisano
Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth and I love doing photoshoots there. I have been to Hawaii five times, and every time it’s just as good or even better than the last. My first time visiting Hawaii, I went to the island of Oahu, then it was Kauai, Maui, Big Island, and now, back to Oahu. I’ve had photoshoots on every single island, and one thing I can always count on, is that i will always find an absolutely magical location to photograph; anywhere on the islands.
All of my previous trips were for leisure, this was my first Hawaii trip for work. I was hired to photograph a wedding, an obvi job to take right!!? One of my favorite couples from back home were getting married! They had already hired a photographer but after rescheduling a few times for Covid, things worked out in my favor. I took the job and I also got to celebrate my friends wedding in paradise. It was sentimental, beautiful, and so much fun. I know I have dedicated my page to my MODEL creations, but check out my Facebook, there’s a new beautiful gallery of their wedding day.
Being that my suitcase was going to be chocked full of equipment, this was a perfect opportunity for me to work. Not just work on a project for a client, but to creative a project for my brand. I wanted to create an exotic photoshoot with mystery, beauty, culture and creativity.
It all started one evening, when I was browsing Instagram for models in Hawaii to work with.
I had already been looking for about an hour, and saved about five models. Then I came across Lauren‘s page, and I immediately fell in love- she was the MODEL I was looking for.
Unlike the other models, there was no saving her page for later. I wrote her right away. It was about 1:30 AM, and probably poorly written. I went to bed in complete tranquility. I knew I was taking a gamble, (with no risk) but also very little chance of reward. That morning I woke up to a reply followed by my very girly fist pumps.
In order to plan the shoot properly, figure out locations, and wardrobe, there was going to be a lot of planning needed. Being that we were literally across the world from each other, it was a little bit complicated to communicate during our opposite waking hours. So consequently, I asked Lauren if I could completely style the photoshoot, she said yes. Most models like to have full control of their wardrobe, locations, hair- makeup ect, so when I discovered Lauren’s lackadaisical demeanor I knew I could get real grand with things. I wanted to do two looks, one glamorous and simple. We went with a red satin needle stitched bodysuit with 25 yards of luxurious chiffon fabric. The second, a culturally exotic look featuring a vintage hand beaded indi tassel coin bikini and the most curious matching jewelry I could find.
Figuring out the location was my next huge hurdle. Aside from trekking around on Google maps, trending hashtags on Instagram, and yelp visitor center photos. I had my online location scouting badge on fleek. Then it was coordinating her location, my location, and of course transportation.
On location, in a beach park on the bay of Oahu’s Jurassic Park leaned a palm tree. It stretched over the water to catch the morning sun, my perfect location. We shot our looks, bonded over our boys who became best friends in 5min and got some really magical photos. We created something so grand and yet so simple. That’s always my vibe tho, am I right!!
Lauren brought so much life to these photos. Her movements, expressions and pure grace flooded my screen. Editing was almost inexistent, her beautiful natural skin could not be touched by my photoshop. These photos were raw and expressive- and they needed to be seen. I submitted to three magazines, all of which featured us. The first, a big blow to the ego, and only got the back cover. The second, more attainable but got the front cover! Yet, I couldn’t stop there. Then the last, front- back and centerfold feature with the most prestigious, Intra Magazine. If you’re reading this I’m sure you saw my TickTock. I’m proud of us and what we created and I can’t wait to create again.
As some of you know, I am working on another huge project, a tea house. We are set to open in November, where we will serve botanical teas with euphoric benefits along with simple loose leaf teas and coffees. The brand is a total vibe for sure and the product is trailblazing. We will also be featuring Lauren‘s iconic neck ring photos as part of our cultural art and selling her custom body oil brand. We will have a huge outdoor oasis with fountains and games, along with a roomy zen den. We are so close to opening (dang permitting department) but our house is ready to lighten the load, our imports have overtured our living room, office, guest room, bedroom, garage, lanai… I think u get the idea. This next step in our lives with be so enlightening, Fort Myers will finally have a place of harmony for our herbaphoria community.