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 [firstname.lastname@example.org] for booking info.
I’m always saying posing and lighting matters!! Kira from Creative Photography Classes shows a fantastic example of this in the photo below. Thanks so much for sharing!
“…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 email@example.com for bookings.
[Drive thru photo courtesy of Kodak]
So, one my favorite clients ever has a lingerie set named after her at Agent Provocateur!!!
How cool is that?! No, really…it’s named after her.
“I’m a lingerie junkie” she says. [LOL] And after shopping there for years, the Newbury St. store manager submitted her name to be used, as each collection has it’s own unique name.
Click HERE to get the Saadia bra & brief.
* Guest Blogger: Lingerie Specialist Kristine Isberg of L`ecole Nuit Lingerie. Save 15% with coupon code ShannonMichelle.
So you finally decided to do a boudoir session, congratulations! Now, you are probably asking yourself, what do I wear? From my experience, most women doing a boudoir session have no idea where to begin to choose those important two or three outfits that will flatter their shapes as well as represent their own unique personality. Also, it is important to remember that the lingerie you purchase for your boudoir session should be pieces that you will want to wear again. It may sound obvious, but many women think only to buy lingerie that looks good in a picture, but would never want to wear again either because it doesn’t fit properly or it just isn’t comfortable. Your boudoir lingerie should be 3 things: comfortable, sexy and wearable. Think about it, what are you going to wear when you give the boudoir album to your partner? Double the pleasure by wearing one of your lingerie outfits when you give the gift.
When I work with boudoir clients, I first ask them some questions, not about sizing, but about themselves. As with any outfit, your lingerie choices should reflect the real you, not a pre-conceived idea of what is sexy. Here are two important questions to ask yourself when planning your wardrobe:
- What is your personality type? Are you playful and flirty, daring and not afraid to take chances or more reserved and conservative?
- What style boudoir do you want? Dark and sensual, soft and romantic or minimalistic and modern?
Secondly, I discuss lingerie options. Usually the personality matches up with the stylistic tone of the boudoir photos. For example:
- An outgoing, flirty personality matches well with a soft and romantic setting
- A reserved woman tends to go for lots of silhouettes and simple backdrops
- The daring woman wants the dark and seductive boudoir set that portrays her inner vixen
it is very important to do this reflective exercise and wear lingerie that doesn’t feel like a costume so that you can be more confident and comfortable in front of the camera! So here are some general guidelines:
1. Coquettes – You want lingerie that is classically romantic, pretty and soft. A chemise or babydoll is a modern take on the traditional negligée and is perfect for romancing and sleeping in! Try the Love Me Babydoll by Shell Belle Couture or the Great Gatsby Chemise by Shell Belle Couture
2. Fashionistas – You want lingerie that is uncomplicated, stylish and easy to wear. A matching bra and panty set with fashionable thigh highs is just the thing for a sophisticated, sexy look! Try Meet Me at Midnight by Samantha Chang or the Amandine by Christine Quartier la Tente.
3. Femme Fatales – You want lingerie that is edgy, seductive and naughty. A garter belt with matching bra and panty set definitely sets the tone for a daringly, seductive look! Try Leonor by Christine Quartier la Tente or Messina by Bordelle. [We love these!]
I am always available to assist you individually, should you want personal advice. Just send me a note on our online chat or email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can’t imagine the strength it took to live this life. Thank you for sharing your story Caitlyn Jenner. You look absolutely amazing!
[Can I just say….I’m in love with the fact that Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz is a boudoir shot!!!]
Watch behind the scenes video below and then click over to the Vanity Fair website for more.
I’m just obsessed with this photo!
Boudoir Bride Christine [pictured below] had created a little scavenger hunt for her soon to be hubby on the day of the wedding. It included a few little notes, a case of his favorite wine and of course…his boudoir album, hidden away in the closet! Unfortunately in the hustle and bustle of the mid morning activities, Nathan never made it to the end of his hunt.
After the ceremony, and as they were riding around beautiful Newport, Christine said…“What did you think of your present?” Nathan looked at her oddly and said he loved the case of wine. He had absolutely no clue about the book! What’s a bride to do?! Christine immediately turned that trolly around and Mr. and Mrs. Kearns headed to their condo, just a couple of miles from where they were taking photos. The two of them took a few minutes to sneak away from the rest of the bridal party so Nathan could finish out the scavenger hunt. Christine got to watch as Nathan opened his gift, which she says “…was SO worth it!”
Congrats Nathan and Christine Kearns and thank you dearly to the lovely Robert Norman for capturing this priceless moment!
Want to surprise your man with a gift he’ll never forget? Contact us [email@example.com] for booking info!
Newport Officer’s Club . CT Wedding Photography . Destination Themed . Newport Trolley . Forty Steps of Newport .
Bridal and Boudoir Hair | Make Up by Shana Christoforo.
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.
Boudoir is the ultimate in intimate gift giving. So it makes perfect sense that brides are having designer boudoir albums made to give their fiance’s on their wedding day.
Traditionally, grooms gifts are given on the morning of the wedding day. But when it comes to your intimate images, there are some logistics to consider. Like, how will you get the album to him without your dad or ring bearer getting a peak? Below are three “safe” ways to give him the gift he’ll never forget!
A.] THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
O yes, your boudoir album on your very own personal app is the safest way to get your intimate images in the hands of your man without a drunken, joke-playing groomsman finding and sharing them with anyone and everyone. Imagine the love of your life, just a few hours from becoming your husband, and getting a text from you that contains the password to the NO PEAKING app, that you’ve so sneakily downloaded onto his phone the evening before. Even if he noticed the app, it says “no peaking” and if he is like most men and can’t keep his hands off it, he can’t get into the app without the password anyway. Click HERE to see the app.
B.] MR & MRS
Now that you’ve tied the knot, laughed with friends, cried with family, danced all night, and finished off the last of the champagne…there’s one more thing. It’s wedding night! Giving him the album the night of your wedding is a great way to share in the experience, make sure no one else sees it but still honors that bit of tradition about exchanging gifts the day of.
Were you too exhausted to give him your album the night of? Did he have too much to drink and manage to shuffle his way to the suite’s kitchen to eat a snickers bar while wearing nothing but his socks? No worries, I’ve saved the best for last!
Give him your boudoir album the night of your honeymoon. This is my personal favorite because you get to see his reaction to the photos, you are both relaxed, refreshed and can enjoy the time together. Slip into one of those super sexy pieces of lingerie you’re wearing in the album, pop some champagne and have it wrapped and waiting on the bed…or even better…under his pillow.
There really is no right or wrong way to give your album to your groom to be but know that you have options and decide what’s going to work best for you!!