Young Women’s Modest Fashion Photo Shoot

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This has been one of my favorite young women’s activities ever! I have been wanting to do a Young Women’s activity on modesty, but I wanted something that was a little different than the typical fashion show. Then it hit me! A modest fashion photo shoot!

I have a tendency to dream big and could see the girls reaching out to a much larger audience through social media. I have seen so many modest fashion bloggers make an impact on others and I figured that there was no reason my girls couldn’t do something similar.

It was like the whole fashion shoot was meant to be because once I started to plan it, all the pieces just magically fell into my lap. It actually made me nervous because I kept thinking that an activity this big should surely require more effort than this. But it was crazy easy to do.

The impact was also huge. There are so many things that I loved about this activity that it is hard to list them all, but here are some of the things that really stood out to me.

  1. The girls were so excited about the clothes. It was a great way to show that you can look fabulous in modest clothes. Modest doesn’t mean matronly.
  2. It let us talk about modesty in a fun way that wasn’t just a lecture. It made modesty exciting!
  3. For some girls going out and doing the cat walk in a modesty fashion show is terrifying. The photo shoot gave them a chance to warm up a bit.
  4. A few of the girls told me it was a huge boost for their self-esteem. They all looked and felt gorgeous. Their self-confidence absolutely shines from the photos. I told the girls later, “As I look through my photos from today I was struck by the wonderful spirit you each have. It positively makes you shine. This glow cannot be purchased, applied like makeup, or be obtained through plastic surgery. It only comes through having a relationship with your Heavenly Father.”
  5. We are currently working with the girls to make this part of a larger social media outreach that can be part of a 10-hour project. We will be using the photos to make look books, Polyvores, Pinterest boards, Instagram hashtag campaigns, etc. We want the girls to know that they can be part of the change they want to see in the world and that they can also inspire others to be modest. Given the reach of social media, there is no telling what their impact can be. Many of them have already posted their photos and shared them with friends on Facebook and Instagram.One of my amazing young women has already made a video!
  6. Many of the girls needed to have senior photos taken. This let them get some amazing photos without the expense of hiring a professional photographer.

I have included a couple of the photos at the end of the post if you want to sneak down and check them out!

Planning a Young Women’s Modest Fashion Photo Shoot

The Date: The hardest part was setting a date that everybody could do it. Nobody wanted to be left out. I don’t think I have ever seen girls more passionate about making sure they were able to go to an activity.

The Location: I wanted a place that had lots of different options for photos that was also close enough to a place where the girls could get ready and change. I didn’t want to have to shuttle the girls back and forth too much. We finally settled on Brianne’s house (our Young Women’s President) because it was close to a pretty park, an elementary school, and a wilderness area. This let us get natural shots and then some fun industrial looking ones by the school. It was nice to be close to a home where we could leave things and get to quickly if we needed to.

The day was also pretty sunny which makes for some harsh shadows, so the trees and buildings helped provide some much needed shade. You want to time things that so it is late enough in the day so that the sun isn’t full blaze, but also not so late that it gets dark too fast. We did the activity on a Saturday to give us more flexibility with the time.

The Clothes: My friend Camille owns modestpop.com, an online modest clothing store. All her clothes are absolutely modest and crazy cute. She offered to let us borrow her inventory for the photo shoot and even let the girls go “shopping” for their own outfits on her website. The day of the photo shoot she had all the clothes labeled and ready to go for the girls. Afterwards she even put photos of the girls modeling her clothes up on her website! Ekk!!! It was every girl’s dream! They were all models!

Although getting to use the clothes from modestpop.com was amazing, it would be easy to do this activity just using clothes the girls already own. You could also let them do some borrowing amongst themselves or have them come in an outfit that they had altered to make it more modest.

We had almost twenty girls sign up to do the activity, so we decided to do just one outfit each, but you could do more if you wanted to. We had talked about setting up a tent on location if we needed to make any quick changes.

The Photographers: While you might not be able to find a professional photographer to donate their time, you can usually find a few amateur photographers or somebody looking to build their portfolio. There are also some great blogs out there with tips on how to take natural light portraits. Thanks to digital photography, you can get some fairly professional looking results even if you are not a professional.

We had about twenty girls and two other photographers besides myself. It took us just under two hours for the photography and we took over 2,000 photos! A special thanks to Judy Cook and Briette Peterson for helping!

If you haven’t heard of Briette Peterson, you are missing out. She is a professional photographer, writer, and singer — and so nice that it is impossible to hate her for being so stinking talented. You can check out some of her work at briettepeterson.com

The Prep: I originally thought it would be fun to have all the girls help each other get ready, but there was just too many of us. So we had the girls come with their hair and make up all ready. However, the fabulous Chelsea Meeks came to help some of the girls with their hair. We are so lucky!

The Mindset: I told the girls that I wanted this activity to be about them. I didn’t want them worrying about who else was or wasn’t dressing modestly, but to focus on what changes they could make in their own lives to be more modest. In preparing for this activity I looked at a lot of articles online about modesty. I was surprised how snarky people got in the comments. It made me wish that we were less judgmental and more supportive of one another. I wanted to foster a loving and supportive atmosphere among my girls. The world does enough to try to tear us down, we don’t need to do it to each other.

I also told my girls that so often we are so focused on our imperfections that we totally miss the most stunning things about ourselves. I told them that as they looked at the photos, that they should pick out all the things they love about this wonderful body their Heavenly Father has given them. We would never dream of opening a Christmas present and then sit there and whine about all the things we don’t like about it. But so often we do that with the gift Heavenly Father has given us. I believe it makes him feel as crummy as it makes us feel. This body is one of the most personal and intimate gifts anybody has ever given us. It was designed especially for us. We should never let our insecurities poison that gift or the pressure to be immodest tempt us to cheapen it.

The Photos: We posted the photos on Picasa afterwards so that the girls could see them all and download what they wanted. We also told them that they could pick two or three of their favorites and we could do the post production work on them.

I was really amazed by how everybody chipped in with their talents to help. It made the whole day seem pretty effortless and the photos we got turned out amazing! I am so grateful to everybody who shared their time and talents!

Here are a few of the photos and I am so excited to share with you the projects the girls come up with later!

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