More Categories




find us elsewhere

Welcome to the blog, a journal about my work, my clients, and their stories. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi there!
I'm Shillawna


Earnest Hemingway Wedding Inspiration Photography

Styled Photography

Last year I was asked to photograph one of my all-time favorite styled shoots that I have ever participated in! It was hosted by my long time friends and colleagues, Engaged! River Valley magazine, who pulled together a dream team of vendors to pull this beauty off.

The inspiration behind the shoot was marrying Ernest Hemingway, The Notebook, and oil paintings together to create the dreamiest outdoor elopement I have ever seen!

The Ceremony

One of the most unique installments created was a DIY backdrop for the elopement set. JoElle and Nikki, co-editors of the magazine, suspended loose book pages and blossoms from a copper pipe frame. Set against the dreamy lake with the late afternoon sunshine streaming though, this little wedding ceremony backdrop was so inspirational!

The Models

I pulled models from my local circle of friends and contacts and the chemistry these two had was electrifying! You would never know by looking at the images that Hunter and Lydia had never met before showing up for hair and makeup! It was truly a pleasure to work with these two beauties and they were literal muses for me that evening!

Hair and Makeup

Speaking of hair and makeup, it couldn’t have been any more ideal for this styled shoot! Leslie Smith with The Hair Traveler wrote, “I struggled with this look because I felt like I needed more to really showcase the hair. But seeing the vision of¬†Engaged! River Valley, JoElle Elise Design, and Shillawna Ruffner Photography come to life, I realized that (the style I chose) was just enough. Soft and romantic hair for the win.” I couldn’t agree more! Lush Esthetics chose to pair Leslie’s ‘do with soft, natural brows, a heavy top line for the eyes, and a kissable, berry stained pout. Superb.

The Picnic

The second set was a romantic lakeside picnic set up for our “new Mr. and Mrs.” The floral centerpiece was so full and was accented with blue tapirs cradled in bronze candlesticks. The scene was set for two with blue and white floral china and rustic flatware.

The Cake Table

I don’t even have words to express how much I love the cake that Laura Hatfield with Paradise Cakes created! The detail work on the “oil painting” flowers was breathtaking! I especially loved the gold leafing on the edges of the cake. It was a true masterpiece! I would give my right arm to have the opportunity to photograph more cakes like this one. Laura’s cake was the anchor point for the cake table, which JoElle embellished with blue glassware, fresh flowers, billowing linens, and even vintage printing press stamps spelling out ‘love’. *sigh*

The Calligraphy

Another truly lovely element that was incorporated was a few custom calligraphy pieces. My favorite was a quote by Ernest Hemingway as well as a love letter that the calligrapher, Katherine of Blume Design Co., wrote to her husband. The script was the perfect touch to add a bit of extra vintage flare to the shoot.

The Boat

The crown jewel, at least for me, was the row boat adorned with eucalyptus garland and flowers. Zeidler’s supplied the most luscious blooms in the most alluring shades of peaches and blues and attached them, with the garland, to the bow of the little mint green boat. Once the models settled into it, I knew we would be creating some photo magic! After capturing a few captivating photos of Lydia and Hunter banked on the sandy beach, the three of us rowed out to the middle of the lake where I put my brave face on and balanced in some precarious situations to get several of my all time favorite shots! It doesn’t get any more romantic than this!

I had an incredible time photographing this styled shoot and I hope it provides more than a spark of inspiration for all of the brides out there planning their weddings! And congratulations to all of the exceptionally talented vendors who worked tirelessly to create such an amorously whimsical set.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ALWAYS Classic. Always true.

Follow along