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Carmel, Engagements, Indiana, Indianapolis

July 13, 2018

Ballet Engagement Session at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana


Are you ready for something amazing? This shoot has been my creative dream for over a year, and I finally get to share it with you because the feature on Wedding Chicks is now live!

When we moved to the Carmel area last winter, I was immediately entranced by the city center and the Palladium in particular. I love Old World elegance, and this building looks straight out of Tuscany! It’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the Midwest, and I knew I wanted to do something very special here.

I always like to use real couples in my creative projects–it gives my images more emotional depth and it gives my models something they will cherish for a lifetime. For this project, I wanted to find a couple who really fit the Palladium, and Megan and Paul couldn’t have been more perfect.

Their love story began when Megan joined Ballet Arkansas, her first professional ballet company. Paul was already part of the company, and he noticed her right away for both her warm personality and the beauty of her dancing. It only took him a month to convince her to go out with him (but he says it felt like forever.)  Once they started dating, it was clear they were a perfect pair, and Paul proposed while visiting Megan’s family at Christmas in her hometown of Carmel, Indiana.

I became connected with Megan shortly after that when she started searching for photographers on Instagram. I couldn’t help but imagine creating a romantic, ethereal ballet engagement session for them at the Palladium, a place that was designed to showcase performing artists like them!


Once I was connected with Megan and Paul, I started looking for other wedding vendors to help plan this session. I was fortunate to connect with Sarah at All in the Details, who turned out to be an expert on Indianapolis weddings and engagements and a former ballet dancer to boot! Together, we toured the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts with the Event Manager, Laura Varnau, and talked about how we could use all of the spaces in a way that fit our couple.

As artists who train and perform together, Megan and Paul spend as much as eight hours a day dancing with each other. For their engagement session, we wanted to include this central feature of their story and their life together, while also capturing some more candid and interactive photos.

When we started planning for the session, I didn’t know that the Palladium had a large, original poster from the musical “An American in Paris”, or that Meg and Paul had taken a special trip to see this musical while they were dating! It was one of many happy coincidences which just confirmed that this session was meant to be.


The Palladium’s Italian Renaissance architecture had the perfect blend of elegance and romance for a ballet engagement session, and we wanted to create a fresh modern interpretation of Renaissance beauty to enhance this aesthetic. When you are looking for soft, romantic gowns with lots of movement, Leanne Marshall is as good as it gets! Megan’s Raincloud gown gave us a full, flowing skirt and clean silhouette to highlight the beauty of her dancing. Paul’s midnight blue tux was a softer take on the black tie look, and made him the perfect leading man for his ballerina.

We were fortunate to work with an exceptional hair and makeup artist who was able to complete this  romantic, old world look. Andi at Something Blue Stylists kept Megan’s style simple and pure with soft, glowing makeup, and a half-up hairstyle that allowed her naturally wavy texture to shine (and wore so well through all the dancing and humidity!)

As we were thinking through this session, Megan and Paul mentioned that they sometimes dance with fresh flowers, and had just performed together in Giselle, which uses flowers prominently. We decided to create several floral pieces for them to use in our session, but we wanted to keep them small and simple. Gina at Pomp and Bloom crafted two simple, lightweight arrangements in dusky pink, lilac purple, and periwinkle blue for our ballerina. The small bouquet was filled with lush springtime blooms while the dainty floral garland featured wispy jasmine vine for a soft and ethereal look.

When it came to our photos, we wanted a mix of classical ballet poses and intimate moments and gestures to capture the richness of Megan and Paul’s relationship. Using all the beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces of the Palladium allowed us to dig deep creatively as we explored different qualities of light and facets of Megan and Paul’s artistry.


Many thanks to our incredible team of vendors who helped this dreamy engagement session come together!

Planning and Coordination: All in the Details

Venue: The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts

Floral Arrangements: Pomp & Bloom

Hair and Makeup: Something Blue Stylists

Gown: Leanne Marshall

Tuxedo: The Black Tux

Bride and Groom: Appearing courtesy of Ballet Arkansas

(Megan and Paul, you were truly a joy to photograph, and your love and artistry made this engagement session a dream for all of us. Thank you for all the beauty and all the laughs in between!)


But wait, there’s more! We also made some really creative, non-traditional images inside the Palladium that I just have to show you (but this post was already too long). Don’t stop now–they’re waiting for you in the next post…

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