04.15.14

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE GARAGE

Is always sexier when I’m allowed to do my thing, ha! I had so much fun with this gorgeous woman and she pretty much threw down the gauntlet for taking my direction like a freakin PRO. I am always prepared to direct my clients FULLY and EXHAUSTIVELY. It’s more my job than loading film, selecting dials & clicking a button. Getting my boudoir client into a model headspace, getting the giggles out, dissipating the anxiety and crushing the nervousness… it’s my specialty! But this smarty-pants, down to earth woman impressed the heck out of me and made my job so easy!

And these in-the-garage-on-the-workbench shots make me wanna purrrrrr….

boudoir in a garage
boudoir in a garage
boudoir in a garage

Fierce, dirty, sexy Hair & Makeup by.Melissa Hoffmann

04.10.14

THE PAIN OF DOING WHAT YOU LOVE

There is a plethora of business coaches out there lately. Have you noticed that? They have fabulous information and support to offer. It’s such a cool thing (something I’d even enjoy doing since I’m a natural coach). The problem is, I have seen hundreds of articles talking about how if you do what you love, the rest will fall into place. Just follow your dream. Work hard. Do what you love for the love of it & remember why you are in it. What great advice, right? It’s true. And it happens that way for many people. But I would like to add that there can be another facet of the story for those of us who love what we do.

My business is my heart. Connecting with incredible women. Days, weeks, months of planning & dreaming of their photo shoots. Shopping for them and creating vision boards (sometimes physical, sometimes mental). Pouring blood, sweat & tears into their shoot day (yes, literally). Bonding. Feeling uplifted and knowing I’ve uplifted another woman. Excitedly receiving the film scans from my lab and being glued to my computer for the following 3 days, trying & failing to force my love for them through the screen & into each image in photoshop, making sure to enhance their unique beauty and never crossing the line of making them look like a different person. Thinking how excited they’ll be to see their images. Imagining their first email to me and what they’ll say. Putting those images online and crossing my fingers & toes that they’ll be accepted with the same enthusiasm as I created them with. Getting the email from my client & being (usually, hopefully) overjoyed with how much they love them. And eventually sending their finished album or disc and receiving the final thank you email. Feeling I’ve done my job. Feeling I’ve maybe created change. Feeling I’ve created closure but at the same time… momentum.

But we don’t talk about the other times.

The times where you don’t get a rave. The times where you’ve done a fabulous job… and awhile later you find out that client has booked another photographer for another shoot they need done. The times you hear a rave from your client but you know they aren’t referring you to their friends that want the same type of shoot. The times where someone you work with in your business is praising other people in your field, referring their friends & acquaintances by touting someone else’s work.

It’s business, right? We should suck it up and move on. I mean, we all take things sort of personally b/c it’s OUR business but come on… just get OVER it! But there’s a catch. You LOVE what you do. It’s your soul. It very nearly defines you. No no no, you should never let a business define you! How true, how true. And yet… again, you LOVE it. It’s part of you. Your business is so personal… your business is actually YOU, connecting with OTHERS, after all. And when those connections which are so real to you FAIL… it’s nothing short of crushing.

So we work on our resiliency (or so we think). We follow the rules that are supposed to help us have a work/life balance. Ideas that are supposed to help us thrive. We try to distract ourselves with other things. We busy ourselves. We brush it off. We fish for compliments on our Instagram accounts. We try to play it like we’re all kinds of happy & we don’t need anyone or anything. But that voice that lingers. And that voice stings. It stings like it did in High School when you didn’t get asked to the dance. I believe it’s true that artists are more sensitive… I don’t know that it’s always a bad thing, I mean, it enables us to do what we love with EVERYTHING we have. To always strive to make it better, to always want to be our best. But as one of my favorite authors/researchers BrenĂ© Brown relates, ‘we’re wired to love, be loved and to belong’. And sometimes, we just aren’t loved and we don’t belong. And it is not a great place to be.

*from an experimental shoot I did with my good friend and one of my favorite hair & makeup artists, Misty Spinney*

In the last year or so, I’ve been really focusing on how I can help, uplift & nurture others in their pursuits. I believe to feel satisfied, we need to GIVE. Focusing on building others up has been difficult but usually rewarding. It’s a great tool to use when you’re not feeling as much connection as you’d like. But how do you keep giving? How do get over yourself and feel like you’ve got something in your bucket to give away to someone else? You feel gratitude. Make small lists every other day or at least a couple times a week of what you feel grateful for, no matter how hard it is. Fill up your own bucket with love. Notice what’s there. Enjoy it. Play with the desire for more! And enjoy THAT! For someone who has their heart in what they do… their heart is on the line almost daily. And we should all have some reserves to reach into when we feel the sting of disappointment. And keep filling up those reserves. What do you want? How do you want to have more fun? How do you show yourself love? We should all be able to look INWARDS for love & worthiness because, frankly, we just won’t get it from anywhere else.

In the comments, I’d LOVE to hear how you fill up your bucket with fun, love & worthiness!

02.05.14

COUTURE IN THE MIST

This stunning gown in the closet of my client was calling my name from the other room… it fit her like a dream… diaphanous, regal, royal & of course, sexy. My favorite thing about full day shoots is the ability to shoot a little bit like a fashion photographer instead of focusing on ONE thing. The day of this shoot we did a 70′s couture look in front of marble fireplace, a simple & bare look in the bedroom, a sexy high-fashion lingerie look with a long 70′s fro’ in her ultra cool skylight-lit hallway, this darling dress in a meadow and one tiny add-on look on the street in front of her house that was reminiscent of 1950′s Havana. Long summer days for photographing are the best!

COUTURE IN THE MIST
COUTURE IN THE MIST

12.17.13

MY HEART BELONGS TO SANTA BARBARA

and to Jennie.
I am so happy you didn’t run away from the crazy girl in the restaurant who accosted you at the salsa bar and said ‘you’re super gorgeous. i need you to model for me. tomorrow’.

The STYLE + Soul Workshop was an absolutely beautiful experience and I am filled with gratitude for all the beauty Santa Barbara (my favorite town since I was about 12) offered up to us.

photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california
photography workshop california

Photography, Art Direction & Styling by Me (with a lot of help from Jennie’s fabulous wardrobe, check out her styling skills on her FB page)
Hair & Makeup by Melissa Hoffmann

12.03.13

CONTEMPLATION

The gorgeous Amanda drove down to meet Melissa Hoffmann and me in Santa Barbara for our Workshop. Her soft, sweet, sensual face was perfect for the rare moment I shoot Boudoir actually IN a bedroom. I wanted this look to feel organic, relaxed & contemplative… because really… isn’t that how many of us are when we hang out in our bedrooms alone? Anyway, I thought it was appropriate to post these today as I’ve got so much to contemplate myself lately. Lots of transformation and exciting things to look forward to (and be nervous about) and maybe even some major life shifts are in store too. Though I don’t look nearly as pretty as miss Amanda when I contemplate major life changes… I do have to say that Amanda is deliciously calm 100% of the time. So much so that her dead-pan, slowly drawled-out responses make me double over in laughter. I’m so grateful there are girls like her in the world. Smart, quirky, successful, hilarious and with a pair of lips that I have to restrain myself from kissin on every few seconds (I’m not alone, my workshop attendees AND Melissa all agreed they’re pretty much out of this world amazing).

santa barbara boudoir
santa barbara boudoir
santa barbara boudoir