Summer a bald beauty at 13 | Inspiration Shoot | Louisa, Va | Crystal Reyns Photography

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SUMMER!!!

A gorgeous, strong, confident, and HAPPY young lady. A THIRTEEN year old when she lost all her hair in just TWO weeks. This shoot was planned to inspire and lift her spirits, but little did I know she would inspire me more than anything I have ever done in photography.

We met before sunset, a little after Kat’s Hair Studio spend some time doing Summer’s makeup for the shoot. Summer was all smiles, she owns exactly who she is hair or no hair. We chatted during her shoot, and I learned all about her family, her best friend Maddie that has been a bald beauty too so they have a special bond, and all about school and how some kids are so mean to her because she doesn’t have hair. She smiled after telling me this, I realized she is one heck of a STRONG young lady.

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Here is a little about Summer from her Mom, Sharon: “Summer L Stauffer born March 18, 2002 in Fredericksburg Va. In early October of 2015 she was washing a car with a friend and I noticed a bald spot on the side of her head. We went to the doctor and confirmed it was Alopecia. It took us about three weeks to get into a Dermatologist who officially diagnosed Summer with Alopecia Universalis (AU) on October 29 2015. From when I noticed the first bald spot until the time that all of her hair had fallen out was about two weeks, four days before our appointment at the dermatologist. They informed us that day that AU is one of the rarest forms of alopecia and her case was especially rare because of how fast it happened. There are three types of Alopecia:
Alopecia Aerata
Alopecia areata, the most common variation of the autoimmune disease, presents itself as round, smooth patches of various sizes.
Alopecia Areata Totalis
Alopecia areata totalis presents itself as total loss of hair on the scalp
Alopecia Areata Universalis
Alopecia areata universalis is the rarest form of alopecia areata and presents itself as the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body
Alopecia is not contagious. They don’t know exactly how or why some people develop it. It is an autoimmune disease that is normally brought on secondary to some other medical issue or diagnosis. The easiest way to explain what and how it works is that your body is allergic to your hair. Now keep in mind this is not the technical definition, just an easier way to explain. There is no cure for Alopecia. However there are treatments to help the possible regrowth of hair, injections, creams, squaric acid. None of these would have been beneficial for Summer. The only possible one they suggested would be the squaric acid treatment. After talking this over with Summer she decided against it. Basically they would put this acid on her scalp in hopes to cause an allergic reaction and her body would attack that and leave the hair follicles alone to regrow hair. On top of my 13 year old female child, at the time this all started, losing all her hair she was going through some medical issues as well. Summer missed a lot of school between the middle of October until December when we were able to finally get her on home bound school. She went back to school part time in January and returned full time April 4. Through all the lab work, scans, ultrasounds, visits to the ER, the Gastroenterologist, Primary doctor, Oncology/Hematology, Orthopedic and physical therapy they have still not determined everything and what was happening with her. She is being treated for stomach issues with medicine that seems to be working, a liver mass that they have been watching, and still trying to figure out what is wrong with her back and the pain there.
Summer has met people within the past six months, complete strangers with Alopecia as well, who have come up to her and asked if she has Alopecia and that she inspires them and makes them want to be like her, to have her strength and own what obstacles that have been placed in her path. They hide behind wigs, hats, scarfs and make up because they are scared of what others will say and not comfortable in their own skin. A woman stopped us walking out of the store around Christmas time and was amazed of how Summer was “rocking” the bald head. She gave Summer a hug said “God Bless you I want to be like you.” They look at her father and I and tell us that we have raised a very strong young woman. I hope so. We always tell our children that they are who they are meant to be.”

Summer is a big sister:

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A best friend:

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And an amazing, inspirational person!

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My first styled shoot | Romantic Boho theme | Crystal Reyns Photography

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I am beyond excited and nervous to finally share that my very first styled shoot has been published….and published on a wedding blog I read every single week. It has been a dream come true to say I am officially on Burnett’s Boards (I seriously never thought I would never be able to say that). See their post HERE. THANK YOU to Sara for this awesome publication!!

I started planning this earlier this year when I was out at Shutterfest in St. Louis. Shutterfest is an amazing conference for photographers to learn from other photographers and each other, and every year I become completely inspired. One class really stuck out, Bambi Cantrell’s. She made an amazing statement, ‘do something completely for you every 4-6 weeks to keep you being a creative.’ At that point I knew it was time and I reached out to my amazing photographer friend of Debbie Laughlin Photography and she pushed me with courage to go after putting this shoot together. Thank you Debbie, you are a great great friend!!!!

My inspiration for this was vintage, which I completely love. So I reached out to some local ladies that have rocking businesses to see if they would be interested in helping me pull this off…….and they totally were. Everything that you see in all images is from a bad ass business lady…..except for male model, Doug. Styling this shoot was completely fun. I had the help of Megan Wilson of Sweet Sauce that pulled in some really really cool accessories from local vendors in Richmond, check out her blog post about shoot here.

Our first stop was Urban Set Bride with our super awesome model, Alissa, to pick out a wedding dress as this bridal boutique offered the exact style as to what I was going for. Working with Christine and her mom was a complete pleasure and they actually let us feature TWO dresses in this shoot…….amaze-balls right?!?!?

My next contact was the one at only Kacey of Faithful Flowers, seriously one of the nicest people I know, but also the only option for me in suggesting a florist. And in this shoot I gave Kacey the open door to do as she wanted and she NAILED IT!!!! Total above and beyond impressed with her arrangements!!

Cake was by the one and only Pam Harlowe, which she never ever disappoints and makes some of the best cakes around. This was her first naked cake and her husband was the cutest when I picked it up. 🙂 Cupcakes by Bites of Delight

Day of shoot was exciting!! Not only exciting, but choosing a day in July meant it was hotter than a you know what, but everyone ROCKED IT. We started at my home in Bumpass, Va for the models to get ready and set up with the piano as a backdrop. After a few snaps there, we loaded up the truck and cars and moved to a riverside location for a the main part of this shoot. With a little table set up, an amazing gold chair from Paisley and Jade, some fanning off of the models we were ready to go…..oh and a dress change…..and possibly walking through some poison ivy which I am highly allergic to (s0 worth it!). Ending river side with some champagne was so whimsical as the sun came in just perfectly.

Some of my favorites from the shoot:

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Invites and rustic cake topper by Scrappy Seahorse Design

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Seriously in love with these cake toppers by Lietofiore

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HUGE HUGE Thanks to all that helped with this shoot!! 🙂