How are you?
How are you feeling? Like, really feeling? About your photography? About your skills?
Sit with your thoughts for a moment and allow me to drop a truth bomb on the topic of creativity...
Do you feel like the art of photography has changed over the past few years?
Do you feel like you cannot keep up with current trends?
Do you feel the pressure that every single shot you take needs to be styled, trendy, on top of a mountain with the perfect gust of wind that flawlessly tousles hair and adds movement an image while the immaculate golden light glistens across your subject and the landscape?
This isn’t the good ol’ days of session work.
Nowadays you can’t just give a client a list of clothing do’s and don'ts as guidance and have them show up authentically themselves for their family session. Today, to be par with trends you have to have them styled a certain way so it will match the popular, seamless aesthetic so you can hope for your work to be featured by a prominent magazine or Instagram account. You have to shoot a certain way and pose a certain way in order to be recognized by your peers and even clients are catching onto the trend, coming to you with a Pinterest board filled with images of these popular styled shots.
Instagram is filled with the same images over and over…
The same style over… and over...
So I’m asking you, my friend, where did we leave our own creative voice?
Being influenced by so many images flooding social media daily, we are left to wonder how we are supposed to keep our own authentic voice alive. And not just alive and whispering but bold and expressive. How do we keep from unconsciously creating the same images over and over, falling into the trap of losing our voice just so we can fit in?
If you keep on looking around you, if you keep mindlessly scrolling Instagram daily, you will lose your authentic voice (or never find it to begin with) because your mind will be too busy with all the imagery it has seen to know what is authentic to you. The more you look around you, the more you lose your own creativity.
I’d like to encourage you to consciously consume social media.
Be inspired by what you see but make sure you take breaks from looking around you to spark your own creativity. Set a time limit on scrolling or set an intention before you open your phone for what your purpose with opening Instagram is and look at your feed with that focus. Your focus could be connection, inspiration or checking your stats.
The constant, mindless scrolling instagram can make you feel like you don’t belong. That same scrolling can make you feel like you’re not good enough of a photographer when the truth is, you ARE good enough and you DO BELONG! You belong right here, with all of us, creating what sparks our passion and creativity and using YOUR OWN VOICE to create work you love.
Boudoir can be one of the most empowering things your client will ever do. They will step into their self-confidence, unleash their inner Beyonce and will be blown away when they look at their images exclaiming ‘that’s me!?’. Self-confidence is paired with authentic self-love and watching the two unfold together during a boudoir session is, for me, one of the most rewarding parts of what I do. I can imagine that you feel the same.
In the Boudoir Guide I send to all of my boudoir clients, I take the time to ease their fears and help them prepare for their shoot. One of my favorite parts of my guide is literally the ‘how to prepare’ page that helps my clients feel totally in control, knowing there are things they can do to be ready for their shoot. Don’t worry, I don’t offer any tips like ‘practice your sexy face in the mirror’. That’s not at all what boudoir is about-- it’s about your inner beauty shining through to embrace that inner wild and let her shine.
So how do I encourage my clients to prepare?
The Week Before
The week before their session I am encouraging my clients to get a manicure in a color of polish that will suit their style and personality, take care of personal grooming so they don’t have any red spots during the shoot, try on their outfit selection to make sure it fits and is comfortable and, another fun helpful tip, to lower their salt and alcohol intake if they are worried about water retention. I also advise my clients to avoid fake tanning and spending too much time in the sun to prevent those awkward tan lines that never seem to fade until next summer. The best suggestion on this list is to create a confidence-boosting playlist. A playlist that makes them feel good, confident and like they can take on anything is one powerful secret weapon to calm nerves and let confidence come to center stage during their boudoir session.
The Day Before
The day before is the perfect day to wash your hair (we all know freshly washed hair is hard to style) and to pack your day-of bag so that there is no rushing around the day of the shoot! These two tips are simple and effective.
The Day Of
The day of list includes some really important tips that I encourage everyone to follow. Even if they went fake tanning and didn’t get a manicure the week before, the day of guidelines should be followed by everyone! Day of preparation for the client covers being sure to lotion your body, to eat something light yet filling before coming to the session, to put on CLEAR deodorant and to wear something loose and comfortable that day that will prevent putting creases on the body from tight jeans or bras. We want smooth skin that day since creases show up in images.
In the guide I also include what to pack in your bag and even how to pick the best lingerie to wear for the session. I share with my clients absolutely anything I could possibly think of that could help make them feel completely at ease. Especially if a client is doing their FIRST boudoir session, the whole process can be totally nerve-wracking. You want to make the entire process, from booking to delivering the images, as easy and detailed as possible to show you care and my Boudoir Guide really takes care of the needs of my clients.
If you’re interested in providing a guide to your clients that will make them go ‘I love boudoir sessions!’, check out my guide here.
You’ve been asking, so I am answering!
People have been wondering about my workflow when it comes to culling and editing images. We often take so many images that we end up wondering how in the world we are going to actually sort through all of them and pick just the best ones. We can spend hours flipping between two almost identical images trying to pick “the perfect one” and it can feel like you’ll never even get around to editing.
I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to look at the detail in each and every image and wonder if the image is good enough to edit then send over to the client. Over time, I’ve really figured out a system that works really well for me. Take a read through my workflow process below.
Step 1 - Get all my RAW images into Lightroom
Nothing magical about this step here! I get all those raw images into Lightroom then move on to step 2.
Step 2 - Give 5 stars to all the images that spark my eye
That’s right. I give all 5 stars to the images that really spark my eye. These are the images that I am immediately drawn to. You don’t sit there and assess each and every image; it’s a quick emotional response. What makes you feel? What images spark that something inside of you that draws you in? Those are the images I will give 5 stars to.
Step 3 - Look at them in a small format
Let’s face it, social media images are small. An image that full of dramatic nuances when large might not come across the same way on Instagram or Facebook. I go through all of my 5-star images and I find that ones that really grab my attention in a small format. When I find the ones I love in a small format, I edit them and export as smaller sizes.
Step 4 - Pick the rest
Go through the remaining 5-star images and decide on the best ones in each group/set. Try to go with gut reaction when selecting them. If you are having a really hard time deciding which is best, then get technical or even play with edits to see one has more of an impact when edited. Make your final selection of images you’ll want to edit.
Step 5 - Edit
The moment we’ve all been waiting for-- editing. I edit my photos using presets that I’ve created (that can also be yours! Check out the shop here!) so my images all look consistent. If I switch between a few presets based on lighting and location, I make sure I edit all of the images from each set with the SAME preset for consistency.
Overall, you can see that my process is quick and efficient and the culling process is based on emotion more than technical composition. Especially when you plan to post a few images from a session on social media, you really want to keep in mind that the impact an image has on you when you first look at it will have a higher impact on someone else when they see it for the first time.
What is your workflow when culling and editing? I’d love to hear it! Share in the comments below!
We are always chasing the sunlight. Whether we are capture our subjects in the stunning golden hour light or strategically setting up our studio lighting, the light is always a focus.
In the Facebook group we challenged you to tag your images with the hashtag #sunlit if they were images that were lit up with the stunning sunlight in unique, creative and awe-inspiring ways. You did not disappoint.
Below is a round up of some of our favorite #sunlit images. These images are emotive, intense, beautiful and creative. Take a look below and give a follow to the incredible photographers.
BEHOLDEN PRESET- 06
Wanderlust Preset- 02
Wanderlust Preset 06
Willow Preset - 2a
Visual Poetry Photography
Wanderlust Preset - 02
Wanderlust Preset- 13
Jade Preset - 03
Province Preset- NWT
Wanderlust Preset- 01
Beholden Preset- 04
Social media is an amazing place to find new clients. I love using social media to connect with people I can collaborate with in my area from models to stylists, but I also love it for how I can market myself to the real people who would love to be my clients and those I would love to work with.
As photographers, we are always posting images on social media. What I am finding lately is that a lot of photographers actually have way better work than what they are choosing to showcase on their social media feeds! Social media is the place to highlight the best of the best-- but how do you know what is really the best you have to offer?
The best work you have to offer the world of social media is the work that represents you best.
First, consider what your brand is. What feeling do you want people to have when they look at your work? Choosing photos for your social media based on the feelings you want to convey is what will engage with people the most and draw them into your profile. I’m all about feeling over perfection and feeling over technical correctness. If an image isn’t technically perfect, but it conveys powerful emotion and makes my heart skip a beat, I know that image is worth showcasing. The truth is, the only other people who won’t know the image isn’t technically sound are other photographers-- the potential clients are just going to see an image that makes them stop scrolling and be taken away by what they are viewing.
Choosing the feelings you want your work to convey is going to make your work recongnizable. There is only one you. There is only one person in the entire universe with your eye, your taste and your color scheme. You are incredibly unique and your take on what you do is unlike anyone else. Own that.
Here’s a little exercise to get you going…
4. Ask yourself the same questions and see if the answers are consistent. Repeat this a few more times then look at your answers. There will probably be some consistencies that start to appear. Images that make you feel THAT way are the ones you should be posting on your social media feed.
It can be hard to take this next piece of advice but please, don’t get distracted by what is trending. There are always going to be trends that seem like the place to be focusing your composition, your editing style, your posing, your coloring and more. Forget the trends and find your taste. Trendy work is everywhere and will come and go-- when you find your taste and stick with posting images that make people FEEL the way you desire them to, the clients that find you will instantly fall in love with your work. And not just your recent 9 posts… all of your work because they will see work that draws them in and connects with them on a deeper level.
Next time you are picking an image to put on social media, look to your list of feelings you want your images to convey and see if the image makes the cut. It may not be the most technical or trendy but if it’s authentically you, it is going to represent you and your brand in a way that is always drawing in your ideal client closer and closer towards you until they book and see their face gracing your social media feed.
When I had the idea for the Wild at Heart Workshop, I had no idea what kind of magic would come with it…
I shared my vision with my girl, Jessica Rae, and we came to the conclusion that we wanted to do this workshop together. Jessica and I think alike and we work our boudoir sessions with the same approach. Even though we are so similar in our approaches, our actual work is different. We have different styles and each of our images has a completely different feel. We are friends, not competitors, and together, we knew Wild at Heart had the potential to be something really special.
It’s magic when you meet someone that thinks the same way as you and approaches work from that same avenue. It’s even more spellbinding when you teach a workshop together in the most mystical of places-- Joshua Tree.
I truly felt like every person who was there, from each eager photographer looking to learn, to myself and Jessica, was really meant to be there at this time. Everything we hoped and dreamed was manifesting into reality.
The first day of the Wild and Heart Workshop we had a nice little ‘get to know you’ get together where we learned where we were all from, why we are passionate about photography and why we were all excited to be here. Breaking the ice led us into a session with Jessica who taught Dark & Moody images. Following Jessica’s session we went out to Joshua Tree where I got to teach Outdoor Boudoir. This session started with some teaching on harsh light that flowed into the rest of the session.
The first day was enchanting. Everyone was so happy and relaxed, ready to be there and willing to learn. Open, wild hearts ready to embrace what was happening around them.
On the second day we woke up early and had a magical sunrise session. Sunrise sessions don’t get enough credit for how breathtaking the light is. Yes, you get up early but it is always worth it. We all thought so!
We had three other models arrive to do some indoor shooting and we ended up rotating groups and models so every person who attended had the opportunity to shoot with instruction and apply what they were learning. No one went home feeling like they missed their shot to try something-- everyone put to practice the new skills they were acquiring during the workshops.
One of the best parts of the whole thing was the free shooting time. The attendees did whatever they wanted and got to let their creative juices flow to create the work they felt represented both where they were at with their skills and where they invisioned their work going as they continued to put their skills to practice.
Artist Jessica Rae
Next, we all went out and got to step out from behind the camera to be the ones in front of the lens! It was amazing and I think it should be a requirement to get in front of the camera at each workshop and just let go and get out of our own heads. It was empowering and so much fun.
We ended the night with drinks that hit the spot and conversations that went deeper than photography which deepend the bonds and friendships that will now last a lifetime. Leaving the next morning was sad, like the spell had run out and we were heading back into our own realities, but I am still feeling the enchantment from The Wild at Heart Workshop and I know all those who attended are too!
Until next time, take chances with your work, try new things and remember to embrace your wild heart.
Of course all photos are edited with Embrace Presets!
Just the right amount of contrast with an overall softer look make the Jade presets a standard for every photographer. The Jade presets stand out among the sea of presets out there for the warm, earthy colors that set the tone for this entire preset collection. Warm, without looking orange, is where this preset really shines and where photographers have noticed a difference in bringing the consistent warmth they are looking for to their outdoor images..
The Jade presets come with 15 color presets for LR and ACR. Believe me when I say, once you load in these presets, they will become your go-to set for all of your work.
The Jade presets are designed to work best for images shot outdoors. They work beautifully for backlight images, those shot in soft light and the coveted golden hour photos. If you’re a photographer who shoots a lot of couples, families and outdoor weddings, adding these presets to the images you already curated is going to make your clients swoon and will make your portfolio and social media feeds consistent and on-trend without looking overdone.
Effortless and earthy are the look you’ll achieve with the Jade presets. Pick them up in the shop here. Be sure to tag us in your images so we can see how much you love the Jade presets!
There are times in our careers when hiring models is the right direction to go. Perhaps you are looking to expand your portfolio to offer sessions to a new target market (like boudoir, bridal boudoir, graduation sessions, branding photography), or you have moved to a new city and need to begin connecting with new people in your area. Perhaps you have a new, fun, creative idea and you’re looking for someone to help you bring your vision to life. No matter what it is, models can be a great choice to work with someone who knows their angles, is connected and can help you make the most out of your time together.
I have gone the model route a number of times and find it’s always a great way to start networking in a new city and build your portfolio. Every time I move, working with models is how I integrate into a new place and begin using word of mouth to grow my business.
So how do you find models?
There are two potential routes you can take to find models…
Route 1 - Hiring from Modelling Agencies
Most larger cities have modelling agencies. Even if you don’t live right in a larger city, there’s probably a big city nearby. You can do a search for agencies in your area, then inquire to hire a model for building your portfolio. The perk of this are these models probably know their stuff-- they’ll know how to position and pose their bodies, they’ll be easy to work with and you’ll get good shots for the amount of money you’ll pay to hire them. Another perk is that you can often see all the models online before so you can select the model or models that would most represent your ideal client.
Route 2 - Social Media aka- my method
I have used social media to find models each and every single time I need them. I start by just browsing through social media for models. When doing this, you can search for local brands in your area and look to see who they have used as a model. You may be directed to a modelling agency or you may find that there are some individuals in your area who enjoy modelling in their free time. These are some of the models I love working with best because your potential clients may feel they can relate better to them when they see your portfolio.
When approaching potential models, I would simply tell them a bit about who I am (providing my website to them as a professional example of my work), tell them that I am new to the area, that I just opened up a boudoir studio and that I’m looking for models who will be able to also use the images for their own portfolio as well.
I let the models know that this is of no charge to them because I want them to share their experience! I want them to talk to their friends and if they didn’t have to pay, they will most likely be more willing to share their story and experience. Plus, models have the ability to connect you with the ‘right’ people who can help you build your business. If someone has been modelling they’ll know other models, amazing hair and makeup artists and other incredible creatives that could be wonderful to collaborate and connect with.
When I first started using social media to connect with models, a big stroke of luck had me end up connecting with a hair and makeup artist in the fashion industry who loved my work and was also looking to build her portfolio. She had connections to a modelling agency so, with her hair and makeup skills and my photography, we worked together to shoot all their new faces. Finding models was no longer a ‘scroll through social media’ to see who could find tunnel-- I now had a list at my fingertips.
Using social media to find models is a great way to find the popular faces in your area that can help propel you in your area. If you find a face that seems to be popping up across different pages of different brands, it’s a model who is probably well known and well connected. Take a leap and introduce yourself! Offer a free session in exchange for images for their portfolio and see what happens. The worst thing that you’ll hear back is they’ll say no and you’re no worse off than when you started your search.
Do you work with models? How do you find them? Share your answer below!
I want to start by saying that I am completely floored by how amazing the submissions were for #holdme and #details. These two hashtags drummed up a lot of attention in Facebook group and seeing all of the stunning images from the talented photographers in the group just made me smile.
Below you’ll find the my top pics celebrating the best of the first quarter of the year. All of the images were found in the Facebook group and were tagged either #holdme or #details and each used one of our presets!
Take a look at the visually stunning images and give the photographers a follow to encourage them along their journey.
Danielle Navratil- Beholden Preset
Camille Wilson - Embrace Preset
Emma Ryan-Beholden Preset
Jessica Sircy- Beholden Preset
Johanna Gronka-Beholden Preset
Katie Ventura- Jade Preset
Korin Hunter-Beholden Preset
Kristi Neff - Wanderlust Preset
Morgan Mcguff- Embrace Preset
Morgan Liberastore - Wanderlust Preset
Morgan Mcguff - Embrace Preset
Julia Robbins- Beholden Preset
Tossama Chiwarak - Wanderlust Preset
Jaydean and Carey Winkworth - Embrace
Ashlyn Hale - Runway
Camille Wilton - Embrace Preset
Erin Cusisk - Wanderlust Preset
Candice Clarke - Embrace Preset
Emma Ryan - Embrace
Stephanie Sanzo -Embrace Preset- Brave
Jess Bryan - Wanderlust Preset
Kelli Neff - Wanderlust Preset
Korin Hunter - Willow Preset
Leonie Hollan - Embrace Preset- Brave
Photoshop and Lightroom are both amazing tools for photographers to use. Each program has their own pros and cons and the more seasoned of a photographer and editor you are, the more you probably enjoy using each program for its unique offerings.
While both programs are wonderful and can be great to use, there’s something to be said for how accessible and effective Lightroom is for photographers. In today’s post, we are breaking down why Lightroom is easier than Photoshop and why, if you’re going to take the time to learn a program, Lightroom should be the first one on your list of the two to tackle.
What’s so great about Lightroom?
Lightroom was designed specifically for photographers. The way Lightroom intuitively and almost seamlessly works for photographers will make it easier for you to use. Lightroom houses most of the image manipulation tools that you’ll need for editing your images. On top of that, importing your images into Lightroom first will help catalogue your images! What a bonus!
Why do people use Photoshop?
Photoshop was originally designed for simple digital photo editing, but as the capabilities grew, photoshop became the go-to for all your graphic design needs-- from architects to graphic designers, publishers and more. Photoshop has such a wide range of capabilities, that it is often overwhelming when you’re starting out. Photoshop now caters more to the graphic designer than the everyday photographer.
Why should I use Lightroom?
Lightroom is a staple because of its easy-to-use format and the way it can also help catalogue your images, apply presets in important and can overall improve your workflow. Here are my top favorite reasons to use Lightroom…
1 - You import your RAW files into Lightroom and can create collections, add keywords, and save all your files into specific catalogues.
2 - You can apply settings on import! If you know you’re going to be applying a certain preset to all if your images, you can apply settings when you import the images so when see them, they already all have the same settings applied. This is especially amazing if you have a studio where you control the lighting. You can apply the same settings to all of your images and just make minor tweaks to images as needed.
3 - No “save” button. Lightroom automatically saves all of your tweaks automatically so you have a database of edits and history of all the images you’ve edited.
4 - The editing panels are easy to understand. Everything is laid out easily and the tools are easy to understand. Each tool does exactly what it says it does-- brightness, saturation, vibrance, noise reduction, lens correction and more. It’s all straightforward and easy to apply with sliders so you can see how the selected tool modifies the image.
5 - Presets! Most presets are designed to work with Lightroom! Presets are total game changers and I love using my presets for all of the images I edit in Lightroom!
These are just a few of the reasons Lightroom has my personal vote as easier to use than photoshop. For the basic editing you need to do to an image you took, this is it! An extra perk is Lightroom for your mobile phone. Presets can work on your phone so any image you take on the go can be edited on-the-go to match your style so you can post to your social media feed or send a client a sneak peek before you even get the images onto your computer.
Do you prefer Lightroom or Photoshop? Why? Share below.