Prepping for a photo shoot!

I have been driving by this wonderful stone archway for over two years, each time I knew that it was perfect for a photo shoot! But I never imagined that I could pull it off. I'm not a photographer, or a magazine stylist or even as talented as the many bloggers that I follow and use as Mentors. In fact, that should be my next post, my blogger "Mentors" have inspired me through the tough times these past 3 years. 
Any way, I had a dream about this archway, kept it close to my heart and held it dear.

Last month, when I published my new Summer Look Book, I realized that I had learned the lessons, with alot of dogged determination, to do it again. I could publish a new look book for the fall! And maybe, just maybe I could use that stone archway....
But how, how do you work a place like that into a tea party? And even if I could pull a tablescape together, how would I possibly get photos taken? And in time to publish it for the next issue!
First, I needed to shove that little gremlin off my shoulder, the one that keeps planting those seeds of doubt, you know the one I mean?
Then I needed a plan and a tea party theme. Both hit me as I was cleaning the dining room 2 weeks ago.
Which means I should spend more time cleaning my house :)
So I put the furniture polish and vacuum away and started pulling out my favorite dishes. A plan started coming together. I could visualize a tea party, and made a shopping list. I needed a few key pieces and headed to Micheal's and Pier 1 the next day.
I do like to "practice" setting up my tablescape, because I know that it is all in the details and that part doesn't come naturally to me. Here are a couple of photos of the tablescape, set up in my dining room.

I use my phone to take quick shots and record the layout and details so I don't have to remember what goes where. After I check out the shots, I do grab my good nikon, and get a few of the artistic elements captured with that camera. 
Once the layout and placesettings were recorded, I dismantled it and loaded it up into the car. I had huge doubts nagging at me! What was I thinking? Why didn't I just use these photos for the catalog, they did come out pretty well! But I did load the car, telling myself that all it would cost is a few hours of time, no one would know but me if it didn't work.
Off I went, early in the morning because, of course it was due to hit 90 that afternoon. And if I wanted to pull of a "fall" feel to my tea party, I probably shouldn't have the steam rising from the ground in my photos!
I arrived to my location, that fabulous stone archway just sitting there waiting for me. As I unloaded the car, I looked across the street and wondered how many of the office staff would be looking out their windows at the crazy lady setting up a picnic and taking photos?!

Again, I shoved the gremlin of self doubt off my shoulder and pressed on, taking the time to enjoy the process, who cared what the onlookers thought after all! 
I recreated the tablescape and even played around with some new little details.
Then I pulled out both cameras, and with a rising sun and breeze behind my back, (next time I need to remember pins, to keep the tablecloth in place!) proceeded to get some pretty good photos.
Most times I just wing it, change angles, move this a little, or stand on a chair. 
Like I said, I'm not photographer, but I know what I like to see in a photo so I took lots of them!
Then of course comes the time to dismantle again, load the car again and get it all home! 
That's the party I need help with next time! 
I hope that you will take a moment  to browse through my look book and see the photos I've chosen from the photo shoot. I'm pretty happy with them and actually pretty proud of myself for stepping so far out of my comfort zone and getting it done! 
Please do take a moment to let me know what your favorite part of the tea party is!