To be honest, I didn’t have much of a game plan for this shoot. I wasn’t in touch with Rilynn Rae directly until a few hours before the scheduled time. She had just landed and was on her way to the hotel when we linked up for the first time via text. We quickly discussed wardrobe options and figured out that there were 3 things I needed to get her: Pizza, Starbucks and a hairstylist. She was scrambling to find a decent hair salon near the hotel, so I took on the duties and told her not to worry about it. I called up my makeup artist friend Tiffany to see if she can make some magic happen. As you can imagine it’s not the easiest thing to do to find a good hairstylist an hour before your shoot. She suggested just downloading the GlamSquad app which will send me over a hairstylist or makeup artist to my location. I scheduled the appointment and parked my car by the hotel. I thought about bringing my lights up but I left it in the car for now since I figured I can come grab them later if I needed them. I let Rilynn know I was in the lobby and she came down to meet me.

Rilynn Rae


I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I got great vibes from Rilynn from the start. She was really laid back and easy to talk to. We walked over to a nearby store so she can pick up some eyelashes and what not. I contemplated getting some candid shots here but I decided to keep talking to her so I can get to know her a little better. She was into a lot of great music from rock, hip-hop to EDM and also had great knowledge about classic artists which impressed me. Before we headed up to the hotel room I remembered I still needed to get her some Starbucks and Pizza. Pizza didn’t seem plausible at the time with the hair appointment approaching so we decided to grab some coffee. I ended up just getting some water and as usual I offered to pay for her coffee. She had taken some cash out faster than me and she insisted on paying. Of course it’s not about the money in a situation like this, but I couldn’t believe she actually paid for our beverages. It may not seem like a big deal, but this kind of thing never happens in this business. It was refreshing to meet such a down to earth person and what else can I say, she’s just a cool-ass chick.

Right on cue, I got a call from the hairstylist so I went to the lobby to grab him. Lino and Rilynn chatted quick about what she wanted and he got to work. I decided to just snap some shots of this process for the candid segment since we really wouldn’t have any time to step out again to shoot. Lino was professional and fast, and the three of us had a great time just talking and doing out respective duties. Thankfully I was happy with the lighting in the room so I didn’t have to go grab my lights from the car.


After Lino left, we got right to the glamour stuff since time was quickly running out. We started the shoot with the long black gown and Rilynn had a great idea to go out into the hall way for some shots. They had these cool bright lights inside the infinite mirror and it definitely gave us a lot more options besides the bed in the hotel room. I wanted to get at least one more look so we headed back inside after a few shots. In some ways this shoot was a prime example of what not to do for a session, but it was also an example of how to make the best of any situation. From a photography point of view I wish I had planned the shoot better but Rilynn was amazing and it was an incredibly fun shoot. It’s nice to meet someone that’s as genuine as Rilynn, and I’m looking forward to the next time she’s in town so we can link up again. I still owe her good NYC pizza! 


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Photos © Sonic Highlark

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