Real Butterfly Photoshoot| Orlando, FL

Humans are not given the same capabilities of butterflies. We cannot wrap ourselves up in a cacoon and miraculously transform from an underrated caterpillar into a beautifully majestic butterfly. But although our transformations are different, humans will under go the very complicated and confusing transition from childhood to adulthood. 

We start out like caterpillars. We stock our body full of protein to prepare for our yearly transitions. We slug around and stay in the safety of our homes where our parents will protect us. Although many kids think they have the world figured out and can flourish without any transformation, it is childhood that prepares us for what our future has in store. Many kids will try to fly just like caterpillars will fall out of trees. But just like the caterpillar quickly learns as it crawls it’s way back up the tree.. we cannot fly with no wings. 

Eventually we get to this obscured state in life where we discover we have two long beautiful objects projecting from our back. As time goes on, every lesson learned slowly adds length and depth to these weird things protruding out of our skin. We try to understand the mysterious powers these things called wings hold, through trial and error. The transition takes time as we begin to conduct painful experiments to figure out what these wings are supposed to do. We slowly transition from not knowing how to operate these wings, to be able to gracefully float through the air. 

The butterfly is a symbolism of life and all the transitions we encounter. I thought about this one day while I watched a butterfly gently land upon a bouquet of flowers at Le Bouquet Fleurs. I thought to myself how amazing it would be to capture a person learning to use their wings. I learned later in the day, a butterfly can also represent the anticipation of joy about to enter someone’s life. At this moment I knew the perfect person to symbolize all I wanted to capture... I wanted the astonishing Ashley BeLoat. 

Not only was the grace and beauty of Ashley perfect for this shoot. But Ashley was preparing for a very big transition in her life. She was planning and preparing for a wedding. The butterfly that Ashley was about to become was portrayed by make-up artist Nicki Marie and hairstylist Gretchen Gramlich. Beauty is attracted to beauty. So it wasn’t long before the butterflies swarmed to the sweet scent of Ashley’s skin. Of course Ashley’s transition was only going to be possible due to the love she had found. I needed the love that was transitioning Ashley’s soul to be present at this shoot. This way we could truly capture the beauty of Ashley’s wings. Her fiancé Will Cook came not only to support his future wife, but he also worked as the videographer. 

The live butterflies were the perfect final touch. Without the gorgeous butterflies from CloverLawn Butterflies’s charming farm, this shoot would not have been possible. There were many challenges that were encounter throughout this shoot. The patience and persistence of the team made it possible for us to find ways around all the obstacles we faced! 

Photographer: Yuliya Panchenko

Model: Ashley BeLoat

Makeup Artist: Nikki Marie

Hair Stylist: Gretchen Gramlich

Videographer: William P Cook

Blogger: Amber Bennett at Layla’s Song