When I first started learning photography and editing about 6 years ago, I spent so much money buying presets and actions to make my photographs look how I wanted them to. I told myself (and a friend who I was venting about my endless stream of purchasing presets and actions to) that in 5 years I would be selling presets that I knew photographers hungered for. Without much thought to this statement, I continued on in my photography journey, not really realizing how profound the act of speaking this statement out loud and claiming it in the Universe would be
As I went from novice to experienced photography, I started being asked often about my editing style, which spurred a decision that would change my life. Two years ago I decided to put myself out there and sell my very first preset collection that I had made specifically for my own boudoir work. After learning the ins and outs of creating them, using them constantly for my own work and having them extensively testing on other photographers work, I streamlined them for the general popular, ensuring they’d work for every photographer as much as possible.
The Embrace Collection was this first set of presents near and dear to my heart. It is such a mind-boggling concept-- giving my personal editing style out to the world to use. Since its release, The Embrace Collection has been used by thousands of photographers around the world and was especially successful among by boudoir peers.
Boudoir can require its own unique look-- a little more moody, a little more dramatic, and a little more smooth than presets you’d use for other family or portraiture work. Fast forward to now and once again, I am putting my personal style out into the world with The Boudoir Tones.
The Boudoir Tones Presets have been a labor of love over the past year and a half where I’ve taken the exact presets I use for my own boudoir work, fine-tuned them to perfection, and now, they are available for you.
I am a moody shooter so The Boudoir Tones preset collection has been created for your dark and moody artwork. The presets will pop the highlights to give you the mood you are craving for dramatic boudoir work. The Boudoir Tones preset collection is created specifically for low light and directed light boudoir imagery. That being said, since the release, people have been using them for brighter images, even those with an airy look, and have found them to be absolutely stunning making the collection super versatile for both dark and light images.
After testing out The Boudoir Tones collection of presets, I am pleased to say they work very well for images in flat and in natural light. It takes these lighting situations and gives them a moody vibe with more contrast. Some of the presets in the collection have a grainy, striking feel while some have that creamy vibe that give perfect skin tone. The tonal range of this set ranges from blue hues to warm brown tones. Mood, cream, fade and black and white magic.
I shoot incredible clients with a wide variety of different skin tones so this set is also designed to be skin tone centric and works well with all skin tones! This is a huge feature of these presets as common feedback from presets is changing a skin tone too much where the client almost becomes unrecognizable. That will not happen here! I have also included a set of 9 Skin Brushes to beautifully illuminate your subject.
The Boudoir Tones is a comprehensive set of 37 presets that will transform your boudoir work to be the breathtaking, sensational imagery you envision in your mind and see with your eyes when you are behind your camera shooting your clients. 37 presets. 9 skin brushes. All in one extensive collection ready for you to use to revolutionize your work.
Get back to your roots and embrace the willow.
The Willow Collection is a whimsical collection of 29 presets that take you back to your roots embracing a distinct, earthy feel. Imagine yourself sitting beneath the shade of an old, wise weeping willow tree. Listen to the leaves rustle as the wind makes the shadows dance on the earth before you. The warm breeze ushering in the sunlight that leaves a golden tone of warmth on everything you see. This is the willow collection.
Muted and lush greens, brown tones and creamy skin tones are the foundations of each preset in this collection. A combination of color and black and white presets, Willow will give your images the classic film look will enhance your style and bring your unique creative vision to life.
Back to your roots, back to the earthy hues that nature embraces. The Willow Collection is a jam-packed collection with 29 presets that will transform your images taken outdoors into the artwork you desire the images to be.
To find out more about these stunning presets, click here.
The features for this month have me in a MOOD… pun fully intended. The monthly feature for July was #moody and the images submitted delivered. What I love about the images that came in during the month in the Facebook group is that they all represent MOODY differently…
Some of the images are the classic submissions-- dramatic shadows, stoic faces and darkened spaces. Some of the images are moody in a more romantic and playful way and some are bold and expressive. All of these images embody the sentiment #moody and seeing the interpretations pop up in the group on Instagram reminded me of how we each bring something special and unique to the table. As photographers, we interpret things different and that is exactly why your clients fall in love with you; your style and how you can capture moments for them.
Take a look at the images below and let them transcend your own understanding of what #moody means.
There’s this little phrase you might hear people say often that goes, “you should market to your ideal client.” Do you know who your ideal client is? Do you know why it is better to spend your time marketing to your ideal client and not, well, everyone else?
When we talk about ideal clients as photographers, we are talking about the exact person you want to photograph. Your ideal client is the ideal-- the person who will love the work you do, be willing to pay without fuss and will sing your praises to those they meet.
The best way to understand your ideal client is to think of the work you do, then think of who would appreciate it. How much does your ideal client value photographer? What do they appreciate about it? What makes them love your work more than someone else's? What makes them unique as a person and what characteristics do they have that match your work and your brand?
When I decided to find out who my ideal client was and to only market to them, I realized I actually have a few ideal clients and, instead of marketing to just one of them, I can actually market to all of them. The key here is that I narrowed down my target market from anyone and everyone to three key demographic areas of people who I know appreciate my work and who I love working with. In these three different Ideal Client profiles, each ideal client is different and unique, yet there are a few commonalities. Let’s take a look.
Ideal Client 1
My first ideal client is between the ages of 30-50 years old. She is single and independent with a career and is looking to have an empowering experience.
Ideal Client 2
My second ideal client is a mom in her 30’s to 40’s who is married or single, independent, and looking to find her fierceness after giving birth and raising kids. A woman looking to reconnect with herself once again.
Ideal Client 3
My third ideal client is a young woman in her 20’s (or 30’s or 40’s) who is getting married and wants to put together a ‘little black book’ as a gift for her Groom on her wedding day. This ideal client is initially where I focused all of my marketing efforts and, sure enough, those are most of the clients that walked through my door with the intention to create exactly that.
When I look at these three ideal clients, the main thread is a woman looking to be empowered for all that she is. She’s independent and can make her own decisions-- especially regarding the money she makes and how she wants to spend it. She is coming to me to feel empowered and have images that show her strength, her vulnerability and her inner-power in an authentic way. Images that go beyond what people see in her daily interactions but more truly live up to all she is on the inside.
My biggest goal is to empower women. With empowerment being my main focus, it’s not a surprise that I am marketing to and photographing women who want to feel empowered. I market to them and they find me. My job is to make them feel absolutely amazing about themselves and these three different ideal clients come to me and leave feeling that way. They feel empowered and amazing.
Finding your ideal client isn’t so much about who the person is but is more about what they want-- do they want to feel empowered? Do they value amazing photos of themselves? These are the two main points that drive home who my ideal clients are.
So, who are your ideal clients? Take a few moments and write out how you want to make your clients feel and what you can provide for your clients. Then, write out demographics of people who are looking for just that. Try marketing to those people and see what happens-- you might have just found yourself a way to work with only the clients who would love to work with you!
Do you ever feel like quitting your dream job?
For many of us, being a photographer was the ‘dream job’; it was the one job we always desired more than anything to do day in and day out for the rest of our foreseeable future. Photography allowed us a creative outlet and gave us the gift of creating memories for our clients and to empower other human beings with amazing photos of themselves that give them the freedom to own who they are and be confident in their skin.
But, it’s also emotionally draining at times. There is so much work that goes into creating and running a photography business-- the hours spent on social media, marketing, editing sessions and the 24/7 thinking about your business. All of those necessary parts of your business, besides the fun part that is actually taking the photograph, can often make us overwhelmed and perhaps make the thought of quitting cross your mind daily.
Photography is something we LOVE and put our whole selves into, and the heart that makes us love what we do is the same heart that can make it hard to do what we do-- it becomes personal. The work you do becomes a piece of you and that is often why it’s so easy to become burnt out and question your future in this field…
Do you feel like you can’t keep up with the demand and the trends, what you’re seeing on social media or in magazines?
Suddenly you start to feel like you aren’t valued enough for what you’re doing.
Do you feel like your work lacks in all different areas?
This builds up and you start to feel like YOU aren’t good enough.
This is the Artist's Curse and we all go through it.
When we spend too much time on social media, scrolling the highlights reels of others, we begin to believe the lie that we should be doing the same. When we start to question why we aren’t creating the same thing, we start to give in to peer pressure to be the same as everyone else.
When we feel our work is not good enough we need to embrace the thought. We need to go through it, question it and come through on the other side stronger and better for exploring what makes us feel like we aren’t good enough. Perhaps the very reason you feel like you aren’t good enough is because there is something inside of you that wants to get out and create work that challenges you, makes you grow, and allows you to push the limits you’ve set on yourself.
These are growth spurts. We all go through them from time to time and they will never go away. Take these growth spurts as an opportunity to push, to learn and to come back stronger than ever before with a vision so clear it’s like you’re seeing for the first time. Don’t quit your gift. You were born to do this. You see, the Artist’s Curse is a gift when you look at it from the other side.
(Photo credit Katie Burnett @edmontonboudoir)
These monthly features are quickly becoming my favorite thing to share on my blog! For May + June the hashtag was #movement and the submissions moved me.
All of the images in this blog were first posted in the Facebook group so if you’re wondering how to be featured, join the Facebook group. The Facebook group is one of the most encouraging communities you will come across online. Members share their work with the other talented photographers who enjoy posting their images, sharing feedback, asking for insights and overall just supporting each other as we all grow as photographers.
Take a long look at the images below and allow them to inspire how you interpret the word #movement when you’re shooting.
Do you embrace the moodiness of a dramatic sky, wild wind and emotive moments between your clients? Are you more inclined to shoot in harsh, direct light at golden hour because you love the impact the dramatic look brings to your images? If any of this sounds like you, the Wanderlust Collection of presets will be a worthwhile investment for you.
The Wanderlust Collection is full of moody tones and muted colors which are perfect for the photographer who embraces the bold and dramatic. They have been created to instantly give you the moody look without much tweaking so you can edit your images efficiently and effectively.
What I love best about the Wanderlust Collection is how great it works for all kinds of outdoor client sessions-- from boudoir to family sessions, weddings to intimate couples portraiture. The Wanderlust Collection comes with 14 color presets, 3 black and white presets and 3 practical tools for you to use to make your life easier and your images stand out amongst the crowd.
There’s a reason the Wanderlust Collection is one of the best-selling presets in the shop. The images speak for themselves and I know one go with these presets will have you editing all of your images with the Wanderlust Collection.
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!