When I was an art major in college, my professors would often refer to the concept of a “happy accident”, which meant that when you did something like unintentionally dump an entire can of paint on your almost-finished masterpiece, the work actually ended up looking better as a result. Judging from the quality of my paintings, I probably could have benefitted from a few more “happy accidents”.

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It wasn’t until the other day that the “happy accident” concept came back into my life. I was scheduled to style a photoshoot with actress Sarah Butler, starting at 1pm, but due to circumstances outside of anyone’s control, she got held up at another shoot. So we waited… and waited… and as the sun was going down, we all started to brainstorm how to accomplish a photoshoot in near-darkness, and then the next thing we knew, she got there and we rushed to shoot in the fading light, and for one of the few times in my career, I was part of a successful “happy accident.”

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I think the low light, controlled so perfectly by Billy, really sets the mood for the photos and actually ends up adding some kind of mysterious warmth to the work. No one spilled any paint, and it was a good reminder that patience pays off, and some of the best results come from a totally unplanned situation.

Photographer: Billy Small / Styling: Tricks of the Trade / Hair and Makeup: Jill Pugh