Stylish, fun and full of challenges for our art directors, these shoots were ones for the books.
April 2012 • Dean Wheeler
"Fashion shoots were always the most exciting for me, especially when we were shooting at a location that brought a unique set of challenges that was, of course, filled with character. This was definitely the case when we traveled to the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff for our 2012 spring fashion feature.
The flapper-era styling was visualized with perfection in the hands of the shoot's director Amber Brewer and hair/makeup artist Cassie Francioni, while photographer Jason Masters and his crew worked the cramped spaces and brisk schedule with ease. It was a marvel to watch as I learned the ropes very early in my career at Little Rock Soirée."
Under the Big Top
September 2015 • Marcus Boyce
"The theme for fall fashion 2015 was 'carnival.' The team worked together to compile and create items to give us that 'fun at the show' feel, and we felt really good about what we had. The day of the shoot, in early August, landed on the hottest day of that summer. It was going to be well over 100° with a wild heat index.
No worries, we were shooting in an air conditioned horse arena. Except when we showed up the day of the shoot, the AC was broken. Shooting all day inside a steel building with no AC made walking outside into the natural heat feel like entering a walk-in refrigerator. It was the hottest I’ve ever been for an extended period of time.
But, we made it all work and it turned out great. We even had a real life fire-eater! We were all kind of fire-eaters that day."
February 2018 • Dean Wheeler
"Apart from art direction, I also really enjoyed getting to do some photography on my own, especially when handed a challenge from publisher Mandy Richardson. This was definitely the case as we styled this feature for the February 2018 issue, a mix of product shots and a dramatic dark styling of a cabernet sauvignon with a hint of vanilla."
April 2019 • Vince Palermo
"This spring fashion shoot had everything with a logistics list to show for it. Sultry and villa-inspired stylings by Malina Tabor? Check. Killer looks from model Lacey Cortez? Check. You need Yerba Mate, sangria glasses and mandarin oranges? Done.
The icing on the cake was this iconic Edgemont home which provided no shortage of interior themes and interesting angles. Jason Masters was in his element and Lori Wenger was a makeup machine. It was an incredibly long, fulfilling day and everyone brought their A game."
Judge Reinhold: In His Natural State
By all accounts, this shoot was big and chaotic. Shot on the property of the Bale family, one setup with the Hollywood actor included a boombox, a tank of fish from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and a dog wrangler whistling commands (then eventually using a nearby barn cat to redirect the pup's rapidly depleting attention span).
Reinhold flexed his acting muscles for Soirée that day, bringing a playful energy to match the on-set madness, then switching gears at a moment's notice to give art director Amber Brewer the stoic shot that made the cover. As photographer Jason Masters put it: "It was a perfect circus."
The Sweetest Thing
December 2021 • Emma Devine
"Publisher Mandy Richardson had only one request for this December issue, and that was to make it feel like pure Christmas magic. This was one of the first big assignments I got to see through — from scheduling drop-offs with local bakeries to staging each photo at photographer Jason Master’s studio.
We even got to enjoy most of the desserts (I'm still thinking about that Biscoff butter cookie cheesecake) and there was plenty to go around with our ABPG coworkers. It was a fun day of collaboration and helped us all get into the holiday spirit, even though we shot it in October!"
Jason Masters has served as the principal photographer for Soirée for about 15 years, working with every one of our creative team members along the way. We couldn't go into the archives without asking for some of his favorite moments on set.
Star of Hope
"This shoot with Vicky Starling for Access Schools was inspired by the moon and star portrait styles of the Art Deco era as well as the 1902 Georges Méliès film 'A Trip to the Moon' ("Le Voyage dans la Lune"), whose glass house studio in Paris has always been an inspiration to me. Plus, the hair and makeup from that era is amazing. It takes time and skill, and Cassie Francioni did such a great job!"
"Other than loving this entire fashion shoot, this one holds the record for hottest. I’ve always felt photos need to be printed with a ticker at the bottom that includes time, temperature, wind speeds, humidity levels, etc. This shoot took place on a Walnut Ridge tarmac on the hottest day of my entire existence. Soirée legend has it that I got sick on set. We would set up the shot, get into the car with the AC on, stay until the model was on set, capture 10 frames and then get back in the car. We recorded the temperature on the tarmac that day at 118 degrees."
Light & Dark
"It's always going to be a fun shoot when you take all of your lights, a vintage typewriter, desk and chair into the lowland forest swampy banks of the Arkansas River! Little Rock author Kevin Brockmeier was totally game for it to highlight the Arkansas Literary Festival. In shoots, we sometimes add drama through the movement of fabric simply by dropping it, but this was our first paper drop. If I remember correctly, we got this on the first capture."
"Just like old times! Amber Brewer is one of my longest friendships in Little Rock. Photographing and working with her after her time at Soirée was as if not a day had passed prior to our previous shoots. She is truly one of the most highly influential people in the state within the creative community. You may not realize it, but you’ve been exposed to and loved the results of her creative decision making."