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Bittersweet Studios 2015

In October of last year, we embarked upon our very first photoshoot tour. Ever. Up to this point, we'd been shooting almost exclusively in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, building our business and creating a shoot method that we could easily take on the road. In 2015, we felt like our "brand" was strong enough to book out a shoots in a decent string of studios - enough to pay for the cost of flights, gear transportation, a place to sleep, and our time.

Taking a photoshoot on the road is a whole thing. Bringing a black backdrop, which is folded and crammed into overstuffed luggage on top of our clothes, without maxing out the weight limit, plus traveling with uber delicate lighting equipment, arriving to unfamiliar studios with shoots already booked... it can be stressful! We never want our travel shoots to look less awesome than our home shoots. But each studio has a different floor, and space between poles, and height, and rigging... all of which can have a huge effect on the quality of photos. It would be easier to take one simple look on the road, and do photos that look exactly the same everywhere we go. But that's just not how we roll. Honestly, we'd get bored!

Despite the challenges, we were confident we could make it work (relying on our newspaper photographer experience, where you never know what will happen) and we set out. Our first stop was at Bittersweet Studios in Florida, where studio owner (and business phenom) Summer Ahonen generously offered us a place to stay and loads of studio time to work with. We shot her instructors, her dance company Releve, and students in pole, aerial and contortion.

It was definitely a crazy time. Her dog cornered a squirrel, which panicked and ran into the pool, and we had to rescue the half-drowned critter with a pool net. We took apart half of her studio to turn around a giant velvet curtain. Nearly all of her poles had to come down to shoot the aerialists (thank you Lupit for making that easy). We climbed ladders and rigged, and re-rigged, and re-rigged. We hauled aerialists down from tangled knots of tissu. Halfway through the shoot, we found a fog machine! We shot late into the night, shoved tacos into our faces, and crashed deep into our pillows. But what a studio to start off the tour with! The space is beautiful, and the people are just awesome. Thanks for helping us kick off a whole new chapter of our business, Bittersweet lovelies! We can't wait to come back.

Below is a selection of our favorites from both the open shoot, instructors and dancers with Releve.