• Noelle Davis

Shine the Tops

Updated: Oct 28

Stylized photo shoots! The photos are so beautiful. Do you know the BTS (Behind the Scenes) though?


While researching the Roaring Twenties for our Art Deco themed stylized shoot, I came across many influential figures of music, stage, and screen. One of those characters was Earl "Fatha" Hines, a jazz musician who had his share of ups and downs in the music industry. Earl Hines said,


“You may have holes in your shoes, but don’t let the people out front know it. Shine the tops.”.


I feel like much of the twenties can be described in this quote. At the height of consumerism, prohibition, and organized crime many Americans were trying to find their way in a new era of glitz and glamour. When everyone around you appears to be bathed in gold you fake it until you make it. Or in the case of Earl Hines, you shine the tops!


Our photo shoot was a testament to this saying. Nothing went to plan and the day rolled slowly downhill. To say that things went "to hell in a hand basket" would be to err on the side of understatement. So even though we do not normally let people out front see that we have holes in our shoes, I am going to let you in on what happens behind the scenes that our photos never show...

Visions of my style for this event were still floating around my head when I picked up my backdrop curtains from the cleaners. What were supposed to be 20 yards of curtains had been reduced to a mere 20 feet of fabric. I was given no explanation to this catastrophe and there seemed to be nothing to do in the moment so, I sat on the floor of the Englewood Row Art Gallery and breathed very deeply while trying to decide how this fiasco was going to be remedied. My entire altar had to be altered.


While I was having this crisis thrown at me, our photographer, Kara Shelley with Life Expressions Photography, was dealing with major property concerns from a contractor that she had hired. She was two hours away from the property and was trying to deal with the excavation of the land while also dealing with the crazy neighbor who stopped the contractors by insisting that the property was hers. But in the midst of this, Kara found gorgeous fabric that we used to replace my shrunken satin. One crisis averted. But then...

  • Our videographer got food poisoning.

  • Our rental company was running behind because the owner fell down the stairs.

  • Our cake decorator had her shop broken into and was cleaning up broken glass from her storefront.

  • Our cloth backdrop would not stay on the wall and would not lay flat no matter what we did to adhere it.

  • And, our timeline for the day was shot to hell.

We had some holes in our day, but we shined the tops and moved on.

We improvised and things that seemed terrible turned out to be blessings we never saw coming. We absolutely loved working with Matthew Deltoro from Eclicktik Films. He jumped in to replace our videographer with food poisoning and brought his A game. Even though he had front row seats to the day of crazy, he produced a beautiful video, not just of our shoot but of the entire Englewood Art District, showcasing even the new mural on the Englewood Arts building that is currently under renovation.

Not only was Matthew a godsend for the day, but all of our vendors stepped up. Even though her bakery had been broken into, Jaresha with Cake-A-Boo did not cancel. She swept up the glass and brought in her cake in time for photos.




Rosemary Kocher (Rustic Elegance Event and Wedding Rentals) did NOT cancel her rental truck, but her wonderful husband jumped in to rescue the day. While she iced her knee, he got all of the items we needed for the shoot and stayed so much later than we intended him to so we could get this shot...

My very favorite photo from this shoot!

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that the wedding industry is nothing, if not resilient. Things will always go awry, no matter how well you have your day planned. Your wedding staff, however, know how to make your day look like it went off without a hitch.

“You may have holes in your shoes, but don’t let the people out front know it. Shine the tops.”. -Earl Hines

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