In a Greenhouse: Ashlyn Baer

Putting together photo shoots might be arguably one of the most time-consuming and exhausting, fun and rewarding parts of creating our magazine. Since the theme of this issue is “Process,” we thought it would be fun to be transparent about the behind-the-scenes steps that go into the final photos you see in these pages. 

For this shoot, we had four cameras on location: our photographer Tyler’s Nikon d850, which made the final polished images that one would normally see in the pages of our magazine; the iPhone XS, with which I shot the zoomed-out “behind the scenes” images; and a vintage Polaroid 600 and Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 that our models used to document their experience of getting ready for the shoot and being in front of Tyler’s camera. We hope the diversity of perspectives in these images gives you a broader understanding of all that goes into flourish photo shoots and what they look like from our viewpoint.

Of course, there is much that goes into being on location before we ever even step foot there the day of the shoot. It begins with imagining a general concept for a theme that fits within the broader theme of the magazine. When I was in grad school, I worked in a greenhouse and was inspired by the life breathing around me and all of the lovely ways the light came in from everywhere and cast itself all around. It was a place of healing for me, and inspired me to create. Since we did this shoot in late January and early February when it was still gray outside, I wanted to incorporate the green and other colors of a greenhouse into the shoot for our Spring issue. I also thought the growth that happens in a greenhouse visually reinforced the issue’s theme of “Process.” Tyler wanted to incorporate film cameras into the shoot — which is where the theme “Process” for this whole issue was born in the first place — and shoot in a greenhouse, too. Voilà, our concept was decided upon. Thanks to Melissa LaPlant at the Southeast Missouri State University Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse and Dr. Jim Hoffman with his private greenhouse and collection of exotic plants in Cape Girardeau for offering up their spaces and time to us so this idea could come to fruition.

A lot of what happens in making art is serendipitous, a matter of being open to receive what the universe gifts us as we live day-to-day life: the models for our shoots are often women from our region whom I meet in daily life and would like to know, who inhabit their own inner and outer beauty and have a certain authentic quality about them that can help encourage all of us in our pursuits to be who we genuinely are. Once they say yes to being a part of the magazine, we set up a time for the actual shoot and a time to go shopping for their clothes, which are graciously lent to us from area boutiques. They also answer questions to share in the magazine via email, so readers can get to know the beauty of these women’s hearts and minds, too. 

As all of this is happening, Tyler and I talk about ideas for the shots and aesthetics that we want from the shoot; we get these ideas from our own minds as well as from photography that inspires us. In this photo shoot, we wanted to create clean images that evoke the natural beauty and personality of each model. The day of the shoot, it’s always fun being on location and getting to know the models even more as we all work together to create photos that bring goodness to the world and help us think in new ways. After Tyler shoots the photos, he spends time choosing and editing his best shots, passing them along for final choice. We make the final call to create a well-rounded set of images and then send the photos along to our designers to create something beautiful on the page.

So there you have it. That’s how flourish photo shoots work around here. We hope they inspire you to be who you are in the world.


Ashlyn Baer

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a junior at Notre Dame High School. I enjoy participating in my school’s pep band, drama presentations and clubs. I love spending time with my family, my two dogs and my friends. My hobbies include Disney, reading, listening to music, dancing and singing. I am passionate about spreading awareness of Williams syndrome and enjoy attending Williams syndrome music camp every summer.  

Tell us something that matters.

My relationships with others matter the most to me. My relationship with God, my parents, sisters, family and friends are all very important to me. I also love my St. Andrew Church Family, my Notre Dame High School Family and my Williams Syndrome Family. I am blessed with beautiful people in my life who love and support me.

Tell us something that you have learned in life.

I am a work in progress. I am learning to love and accept myself as God created me — unique and special. I am learning to treat others with respect and kindness. I am learning the importance of relaxing and remaining calm.  

Tell us something that it took you a long time to get good at.

I am a good reader, which took a lot of work and practice. I enjoy reading biographies and books about American History. I also enjoy reading books about Disney villains.   

Tell us something that you’re glad you took a chance on.

I applied for the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Music Camp last summer and was accepted. I spent a week at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, got to hang out with country music singers and producers, and went to exciting places. I made new friends, and we wrote a song with Lady Antebellum and performed our song on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. I had so much fun, and I gained a lot of independence and confidence! 

Clothes: Imagine That Boutique in Cape Girardeau

Photo by Tyler Graef
Photo by Tyler Graef
Photo by Tyler Graef
Photo by Melissa Baer