“It doesn’t look like you; but it feels like you.”
That what Asha’s youngest said about the pictures of her mom. Asha Ramakrishna is the women you see in the photographs below. She is a wife, a mentor, and a mom. She grew up in Venezuela where [I was surprised to hear] when a little girl walks into a room, she is immediately judged based on “could she be the next Miss Venezuela” or not. There is even a grooming program for young ladies who are being considered. So to Asha, being beautiful literally represented better opportunities, a better life and a way out of a poor country.
Talk about pressure.
“I think I resisted that [beauty] side of me…” Asha says as she shares her story about the realization that she did not fit their traditional role of beauty queen. “I’m more of a natural person. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I live in the country….but I’m so curious about seeing a different side of myself.”
Because part of the intention for this shoot is to help challenge her daughters’ minds and their perception of beauty, Asha brought them in when it was time to pick up her portraits. We all had a conversation about the fashion industry, our own relationship with beauty and hopefully inspired them to see and think differently.
Here are just a few of their favorites.
We recorded the reaction to Asha’s girls seeing their mom as a model for the first time (video coming soon).
Here are a few screenshots from that footage.
Child slaves in Haiti and children from the slums of Kenya learn what it’s like to snap a picture for the first time, and what they found was beautiful…
[Click the photo below to watch]
“I used to think I’m not beautiful enough like the other girls. Now I came and realized that I’m beautiful in my own way. I saw the other side of myself. How beauty is inside me. And this will be the thing that I remember all my life.”
Learn more about the Kioo Project HERE.
Call us [617.307.1155] or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see the other side of you.
I recently came across a video about the everlasting conversation around retouching. It was led by another boudoir photographer and one of the comments made was…
“As boudoir photographers, we talk out of both sides of our mouth saying that you need to love the skin your in, at the same time let’s put you in all this hair and make up and lingerie…because you’re not good enough as you are; it’s a fine line. If you’re a boudoir photographer, I bet you struggle with this a lot, especially when you’re talking about why you shoot boudoir. How can you not be hypocritical when you’re doing this.” [Let me go on record and say that this photographer is quite passionate and lovely and I could tell she cared very much for her clients. I actually really enjoyed what she was saying, aside from the quote above. And I loved that the reason she retouches is to help women look past their “flaws” to be able to see their true beauty.]
As someone with almost a decade experience of working with high fashion runway models and someone with equal experience photographing women who are not models, I am more than qualified to speak up on the gap between the fashion industry and how we see ourselves day to day. Regarding that quote above and any other comment that comes close to it, I call “BULLSHIT!”
Keep reading to find out why…
I know exactly where I stand on this issue. I don’t struggle with this at all and hypocritical is the last word I would ever utter out of my perfectly made up red lips when I describe my work. Can you hear the steam coming from my ears right now!!!!
Why is someone who has “all this hair and make up and lingerie” automatically described as “because you’re not good enough as you are?” If that’s why you’re doing it, I can understand why you’d have a problem with it. I say “because you love the skin you’re in and because you’re worth it, let’s put you in all this hair and make up and inspire you to experience a side of yourself you may not have yet seen.” Does having her hair and make up make done and dressing up really make her any less of who she is without it? What about when she comes out of the gym covered in sweat with frizzy hair? Or when she is covered in puke while taking care of her newborn. Do those “outfits” define her? No. They are all temporary experiences that together make up who she is. Not one or the other and certainly not because she’s “not good enough.” Why are we so quick to judge the dressed up version of ourselves but not the dressed down version?
That attitude is what shames women and it’s disgusting.
The fashion industry is so fun; I absolutely love it and I’m proud to be a part of it!! But I think what everyone forgets is that the fashion industry is theatrical in nature. It’s not meant to be something you compare yourself to day in and day out. It’s meant to be fun! And if you want that experience, I can certainly give it to you. But again, it’s just that…an experience. It’s not who you are and it’s not who they [models] are.
Most women can’t relate to working in the high fashion industry. That’s OK, I probably can’t relate to what your job includes. But I think we rush to judge things that we don’t fully understand and I think that’s what happens when people attack the fashion/beauty industry. We are afraid to say things like “I want to look like that. I’m insecure. I’m afraid to be vulnerable.” So instead, we attack. We say “Shame on you for retouching. Shame on you for being 13 and skinny. Shame on you for selling us something we want but don’t want.”
What I’ve found over the years, is that the more that women find their own confidence and find the ability to love, forgive and care for themselves as they would others, the more they want to take care of and celebrate themselves. They want to embrace a variety of experiences and yes, for some, that includes hair and make up, lingerie and retouching. It also means embracing an experience that adds value and confidence to their life.
And shame on you if you think any differently.
Why do you hang portraits of your children? Why did your parents hang portraits of you? All pondering aside, did you know that research shows children who grow up in homes where their portraits hang on the wall, grow up with higher self esteem than those without?
Because it says to them that they are valued and are worth showing off to anyone who sets foot inside their home. It says “my parents are so proud of me and the family that we’ve become and I am a worthy part of that equation.”
I can almost hear your thoughts….
“Well then, how about just pictures of the kids then. Maybe one family portrait from 10 years ago and a small print of our wedding photo will do.”
Something I’ve learned as an adult and as a wife is just how much our parents’ actions and belief systems mold us into the people we are today, for better or worse. You can tell your little girl anything you want, but if you don’t believe it for yourself, she’ll have a hard time believing it for herself. The best thing we can do for our children is live by example; to be the person we want them to be.
We need to take better care of ourselves.
We need to celebrate ourselves.
We need to be proud of the person we are today and the person we will become.
We need to be patient with ourselves.
We need to forgive ourselves.
We need to love ourselves better.
The last thing you would want, is for your child not to believe in himself because you didn’t believe in yourself. Or worse, be afraid to become the best version of themselves because deep down inside they feel guilty about being the person you could not be. So how can you tell your little girl, learning to be a woman [or your little boy, learning to love a woman] that they should proudly have their portraits on the wall, but you’re not worthy of the same?
Lead by example.
And if you’re not ready to have children; first I applaud you for recognizing that and not rushing in, but second there’s no better time to build your own self worth than before you actually have them.
Either way, the people who love you, love you just as you are today; and tomorrow is not promised. When was the last time you were photographed? When was the last time you were photographed in a way you loved? When was the last time you were photographed in a way you wanted to cherish?
If you can’t remember, call us [617.307.1155]. Let’s chat about how we can help you.
You deserve it! If you’re not convinced a wall portrait is for you, click HERE.
Recently, I was asked by the lovely Marianne Cherico to join her on a coaching call and offer advise to “women in their second half” about posing. I gladly did so and we briefly chatted about how important is for women to celebrate themselves and to be photographed. As Marianne was wrapping up our segment, she quickly added the words “and not in an ego way.”
In all honesty, it took be aback for a minute. Because I believe so desperately in what I do, it had never once crossed my mind that what I was talking about could be considered to be done out of ego. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard it before.
“O, I wouldn’t want to put up a big picture of myself. That’s weird isn’t it? Do people do that?”
If you’re a photographer who sells large wall portraits and you’re reading this, you’ve most likely heard this a time or two in your own studio. If you’re a client reading this, you may have had the exact same thought as you look around my studio and see lots of large artwork on the walls. And I’ve heard that exact statement come out of the mouths of a few of you. No worries though, I get it. I heard the question in your voice. “It’s so egotistical, right?” You’re asking the question because you love this portrait so much that you would want to see it hanging in your home somewhere but you aren’t sure where you would put it or how you would explain it to your friends.
“Do other people really do that?”
Let me answer this way….if people didn’t buy them, I wouldn’t offer them. So yes, other people really do that. But let’s chat about the bigger picture here [pardon the pun]. Why are you worried about what other people might think when they enter your home for a few short hours?
Isn’t that ego?
Ego, by definition, is the part of the psyche that experiences the outside world and reacts to it, coming between the primitive drives of the ID and the demands of the social environment, represented by the superego.
…experiencing the outside world and reacting to it…so really, isn’t it ego NOT to hang your large portrait?
I completely understand if a portrait of you in the buff is not something you want hanging over your living room sofa. That’s not what we’re talking about here. My clients get a beauty portrait or something that is appropriate to share with the public during their boudoir experience. And some clients come to me strictly for beauty. So yes, maybe your bare bottom belongs in the privacy of your bedroom or in an album. But that stunning portrait of you, looking relaxed and confident, that belongs out where people can see it and celebrate with you.
If you’re ready to celebrate you or someone you love, contact us [email@example.com] for booking info.
We would like to welcome Royal Dreams Boutique to the neighborhood! Located just around the corner from our studio, you’ll find this gem of a children’s clothing store! New moms Ginnette and Lisandra are the co-owners of this must see space. They are both friendly, outgoing and just talk to them for a couple of minutes and you’ll see the passion they have for their own families as well as how excited they are to learn about yours!!
Royal Dreams Boutique caters to children ages Premie to 6 years. They are committed to quality and carry many European brands, making their selections more versatile that what you might find elsewhere, here in the states. The store is adorned with everything you can imagine from handmade booties to hand stitched headbands, gorgeous Christening gowns and outfits that even Prince George would envy your little man wearing. No matter what your budget, you’ll be able to find a one of a kind gift for yourself or a loved one.
And if you just can’t decide, go with a gift card!
What I really value about this boutique is how thoughtful they are! This is not your average children’s store, it’s an experience! They have gifted precious retail space to their clients by providing a play area for children to use while mom shops. It’s also used for story telling time, as they regularly have authors come in to read to your children and sign books. Don’t have time to browse? You can place your order online and pick up in the store in just 15 minutes!!
You’ll also want to ask them about their gender reveal parties; one of my personal favorites!!! They’ve really thought of everything! So, next time your in the area either for fun or visiting our studio, please make sure to stop in and support our local businesses.
Click HERE to see more of the store on their mobile app!
Save it to your phone [directions below] to order online or call the store with just the click of a button.
Saving your mobile app to your phone:
- Open the link from your email
- Click on the share icon (box with the arrow coming up out of it at the bottom of the screen.
- Click on add to home screen.
- Then the app will be added to the home screen.
- Copy the url for your album and paste into the Chrome browser
- Click on the browser’s built in menu (usually three lines in the upper right) OR the phone’s built in menu option (Samsung phones) this is usually three lines on the device to the left of the home button.
- Select “Add to Home Screen”
What kind of friend are you?
Are you an empathetic listener? Do you give thoughtful advise? Are you the sarcastic or funny one in the group who never fails to make your friend’s laugh when they’re feeling low?
Now let me ask you another question… What kind of friend are you to yourself?
I find that some of the most amazing, caring and giving people often forget to give themselves the same respect. Not on purpose, of course. But were they ever taught?
As a child you probably learned how to be a good friend to others. You learned to pay attention to facial expressions in order to be sensitive to mood. You learned to apologize when you wronged someone. You learned to accept an apology when you were wronged. You spend a lot of quality time with your friends and you probably consider some of them extended family.
But did you catch on that those traits should be applied to you as well?
Last year, my own Bestie found herself in a pretty difficult situation. She needed to make a painful decision in order to protect herself and her own children. Without getting into the details, I just asked her this…
“Put me in the exact same situation. What would you tell me to do? Would you forgive me if I made the wrong decision? Would you think any less of me for making one decision over the other? Would you love me any less? So why would have more love, more respect, more empathy for me, than you would for your own self?”
You’ve had years of practice being a really good friend to others. Don’t forget about you!
Imagine what you might accomplish if you:
> Forgive Yourself
> Encouraged Yourself
> Respected Yourself
> Spent Time Getting to Know Yourself
> Saw the Potential in Yourself
> Had Faith in Your Abilities
> Realized how Amazing You are as a Person
…and most importantly,
> Loved Yourself
After all, “You’d be surprised what love can heal.”
If this message inspired you to see your self just a little bit differently today, please share it or comment below! And make sure you’ve joined our mailing list for more inspirational messages like these.
“…but where does the CD go?”
While recently chatting it up with another artist friend who had bought the new 27″ iMac, she mentioned she felt a little silly as she asked that very question of Apple’s support team when she got home and realized that she couldn’t find the CD drive. She couldn’t find it because Apple no longer includes a CD drive on their iMac computers.
It’s just one more reason why we encourage our clients to have their photographs printed! Even if you managed to buy a CD of photos, where would you put it? I understand that most people still have a CD drive but that will no longer be the case in just a few short years. Because digital media changes so quickly, it is more important than ever to print your photographs. If you don’t, you’ll be required to constantly update the media and the more pictures you save, the larger that project becomes.
After all, can you still play your iPod on a CD player? Or a CD in a tape recorder? Or a tape on a record player? Who cares, you’re probably streaming live anyway. Get it?
Just like with music, you need to update your digital photos to the most current format [film scan, CD, thumb drive, hard drive, cloud etc.] in order to keep them “archived.” And I use the term “archived” loosely because every time you open those files, they diminish little by little. [For example, making a tape recording while playing a song on vinyl is not going to have the same sound quality as playing that vinyl on a record player. It loses quality.] And just like a CD can get a scratch or a tape can become tangled, your digital files can become corrupt over time or when moving them to new format. That means they are damaged and lost forever. And I know you think you might be able to stay on top of it. I mean, a disc to a thumb drive seems manageable (as long as the files are still in tact). But when your parents were listening to Chubby Checker do the Twist, the internet hadn’t even been invented yet! Imagine their shock if you said “One day, you’ll be able to watch this on YouTube.” Thankfully music moguls have conglomerates who continue to archive their work so that we can all watch Chubby twist his little hips online. We have companies like Disney who spend millions of dollars and countless hours restoring their films so we can watch Cinderella on blu-ray. And in all fairness, because we see those oldies but goodies updated regularly, we really don’t give much thought to our own creative work that needs preserving. I think it’s fair to say that you probably don’t have access to those teams for your Easter Sunday egg hunts or your Sweet 16 or how you looked just a few months before meeting your little girl for the very first time [click here for maternity].
I understand you want to keep the digital files for peace of mind and they are nice to have as a backup, but having your photographs professionally printed is the only real way of backing them up. Not to mention that your favorite photographs are meant to be seen! They are meant to bring a smile to your face when you are sitting at the breakfast table and look up at a big print of your little one covered in the frosting of his very first cake. They are meant to remind you of the love you have for your husband and the life you’ve built together as you flip through your wedding album. And they are meant inspire you to be confident and appreciate the person you are as you get dressed every morning, passing by your bedroom boudoir wall portrait. Your photographs are artwork that is meant to be seen!
You don’t really believe those digital files are the equivalent to a film negative, do you? If you did, you definitely don’t want to know what a photographer would have to charge you for them!
So, print your pictures. I suggest printing all your photographs small to have as keepsakes and choosing your absolute favorites to decorate your walls with. Your photographer can help you narrow down your decision and give advise on what will work best in your home. But, you have to start by making the commitment to print your photographs regularly.
Didn’t you just hate running errands when you were a kid?! I remember when I was little, one of those errands usually included dropping off a roll of film or two at the drive thru photo lab. It was part of our regular routine. And when I was in my mid twenties, my mom gifted me the most amazing photo album. It was a full collection of photos of me from birth to age 16. It included things like my mom’s hospital bracelet, dedication certificate and lots of photos! Photos of family vacations when I was a baby, holidays, music recitals, trips, birthdays etc. It was amazing. All those important memories, in one location and passed down to me so that I could revisit them whenever I like and share them with my own family one day.
I’m guilty of it as well. As a professional photographer, I have access to the best labs and even I have photographs sitting on my phone or desktop that need to be printed. We get busy. We wait until we have a bulk order and then forget all together. I get it! But I’m making that commitment with you today to print my pictures! Will you? If it makes it easier, just order 10 a week. Can I let you in a little secret? When people took pictures on film, they had no more than 36 photos per roll! You don’t need to print thousands at a time. You just need to print regularly. Your children and your children’s children will thank you for it. I can’t imagine growing up in a world where years, even decades at a time, of memories and moments are just missing because they were never printed, can you? Comment below if you will pledge to print your pictures!!
If you want us to create and print your pictures, just email firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
[Drive thru photo courtesy of Kodak]
As a boudoir photographer, I get to work with a lot of brides! And because I recently was a bride myself, I now have a better understanding of all that they are going through.
A lot…they are going through a lot!!!
I often get asked if I had a friend photograph our wedding or if I found it difficult to hire a photographer. So, I thought I would answer that in print. No. I did not have a friend photograph our wedding nor do I ever think that is a good idea. I had some of the most amazing photographer friends at my wedding, including Jaclyn Lombardo out of Newport, RI and Ming Han Chung out of Atlanta, GA but I still hired a professional wedding photographer. Here are two of the biggest reasons why:
1] My friends are my friends. I wanted them to enjoy my wedding as guests and not feel obligated to work by taking thousands of photographs, leaving their own spouses to fend for themselves. They were more than welcome to take photos if they wanted to [because I knew they would know how to do it without getting in the way of the hired professionals], but it was certainly not required or expected.
2] To date, my wedding day has been the most important day of my life. I wanted to hold someone accountable and make sure that we had the entire day captured beautifully. Without a contract and money exchanged, there really is no guarantee of that. After all, once the music ended, the wine finished and in our case, the cops had left (I think I’ll leave that for another blog posting), the photographs are the only thing you have. And when it’s time to reminisce with the grand-kids, you don’t go pull your wedding dress out and tell stories, you pull out your wedding album so they can see the stories for themselves. Hiring a photographer made sure that we would have the most perfect story to share.
I should stop right there.
Hiring the right photographer made sure that we would have the most perfect story to share. So what were some of the things that went through my head as a photographer hiring another photographer? There were only three…
I’ll just get that out of the way because it’s probably top of your mind too. When planning our day, we decided what 2 or 3 things were really of utmost importance to us and we put our money there. I think it goes without saying that the photographs were top of that list. Because I had been in the wedding industry myself, I have a pretty good idea of what things cost [if you don’t, do your research] but I still had to be respectful of what our budget was.
Decide ahead of time what you want. Do you want an album? Wall portraits? Digital files? All of the above? Great! Consider what you can afford right now. If the two don’t match [what you want and what you can afford], is there another way? Can you hire your dream photographer for the coverage only and purchase the album after the wedding [once you’ve caught up from paying your other vendors or have some wedding money in your pocket]? By deciding ahead of time what’s important to you, it’s easier to keep things straight when you start to get overwhelmed.
And if it really is important to you, figure it out and make it work. You won’t regret it!!
Because I’m a photographer it might have been easier for me to decide who to book. Or made it really difficult!! But here’s how I shopped for a photographer that might be a little different from non-photographers. I looked for, CONSISTENCY. I think as a bride it’s fairly easy to find the style of photography you like. You don’t even need a name for it [photo journalistic, documentary, modern, fashion etc.] you’ll just enjoy the photographs. Once you’ve narrowed down your style, start to look for consistency. Throughout your wedding day, the light is ALWAYS changing. If your photographer can show you consistency in a variety of locations, a variety of venues and a variety of times of day, he/she knows what the hell they are doing!
Wedding days come in many shades and sizes. If I came across an image I didn’t like, I just asked myself…”Self, do you not like this photo because it’s a bad photograph? Or do you not like that there are tons of children in the photo, do you not like the location choice or do you not like the shoes?” Similarly, if I came across a photo that I loved…did I love the photo? Or is the bride really pretty and her dress is amazing?!
Don’t just look at your photographer’s style, consider your own style. Because you are styling your wedding, will be your wedding. It will have you written all over it [you don’t have to worry about that]. But your style doesn’t have to agree with another bride’s style for you to decide if you like a photographer’s work or not.
If you’re shopping for a photographer, make sure you’re shopping for a photographer.
Last but not least, personality.
When I met my wedding photographer, I sure as hell wasn’t looking for a wedding photographer! My husband and I dated long distance for the first 10 months and as time went on, either he was going to have to move to Boston or I was going to have to be spending a lot more time in VA. So I decided to go to a bridal show to check out the local market as I started to consider marketing myself there. My hubby did end up moving to Boson [thank God] but I actually met my photographer the day of the bridal show [a whopping 2 years before my wedding]. I introduced myself to many vendors as I walked around and did my research about the bridal market in that area. I let them know that I didn’t photograph weddings but specialized in boudoir and that I was looking to network with some other local vendors. It’s funny how many of them weren’t very polite and didn’t want to give me the time of day because I wasn’t a bride. [I wasn’t even engaged at the time]. But not Melissa. Melissa not only went out of her way to get to say hi and actually chat a bit, but then continued to hunt down the editor of a local bridal magazine and initiated an introduction. There was absolutely nothing in it for her at the time. It’s not why I booked Melissa but when I did a Google search of local photographers and her site came up, I remembered her instantly. I liked her work but I also knew I had already liked her as a person. Working with someone you get along with is super important! You are working with them for well over a year [before, during and after the wedding day], and they are with you on the most emotionally charged day of your life. If I know anything from working with professional models, it’s that being comfortable in front of the camera is one of the most important factors. You want to hire someone you’re comfortable with if you want good pictures.
[Note to professionals….Be kind, you never know where your next client will come from!]
So to quickly wrap this up…
1.] Figure out what it is you want, how much it will cost you to get it and be honest with yourself about what you can really afford. 2.] Narrow your search down to only 2 or 3 of your favorites who show consistency in their work. 3.] Then meet with them in person!
It’s just that easy.
Who did we hire?! The drum roll please…..Melissa Arleana!
Click HERE for a peak at our wedding album!
If you’re a Virginia bride, we also loved Tamara Riley of No Ordinary Ordained and Kristin Kirkpatrick of Fat Girl Cakes.
HAPPY PLANNING 🙂
Have you ever tried to copy a pose from a magazine? And, you looked nothing like the model?
What if I told you that sometimes, I pose my clients completely opposite of professional models, so that they look like professional models. Before I start to explain, I want to state that because every pose has various elements to it, it can get quite overwhelming. I’ve invested years and years in learning this stuff so I don’t expect you to get it overnight. Which is why today I’m breaking it down to just one thing, your weight.
Here’s the golden rule: Whatever is closest to the camera lens, looks the largest. This is particularly true when using certain types of lenses. And yes, your point and shoot or camera phone would be one of those lenses. So, when you push your weight forward [toward the camera], you’ll look larger than when you push your weight back [away from the camera].
You might think. Perfect, I’ll just always push my weight away from the camera. Done. However, models tend to push their weight toward the camera.
So when you copy them, you’re doing exactly what you shouldn’t do.
Why do they push their weight forward you ask?
Well, we don’t call them “walking clothes hangers” for nothing. Models typically are very thin. They actually need to create shape where there is no shape [irritating, I know]. So it makes total sense for them to push their weight forward. If you’re like me [and most women in America] we have curves!! And although our men [or women] love our curves, we need to know what to do with them on camera or we end up looking like one large curve. No one wants that.
To help demonstrate this concept, I’ve attached two pictures below. One is a professional Victoria’s Secret model and one is a client of mine. They are not the same pose but I want you to look at the curve of their hips and where the weight is on each of these women.
The model is putting all of her weight on the leg that’s closest to the camera [she’s bending the leg that’s farthest away], essentially pushing her weight forward. Our client is putting of her weight on the leg that’s farthest from the camera [she’s bending the leg that’s closest], essentially pushing her weight back.
Both women look amazing but they are posed completely opposite from one another.
So don’t feel bad about yourself the next time you try to copy a pose you like and don’t end up looking all that great. It’s not your fault, you just don’t understand yet how this all works yet. If you want to learn more about posing, CLICK HERE to check out our posing video. If you prefer to let me pose you, shoot us an email to work with me directly.