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What I Learned in my 1st Year of Shooting Boudoir

When I first decided to birth my photography business 4 years ago, I really didn’t know what I wanted to “specialize” in. There are so many talented photographers out there that shoot a variety of genres and it is daunting to think about what you should shoot when you first start. So I just shot everything. I shot weddings, bands, military parades, the ocean, plants, animals, landscapes, maternity, families, kids, and events. It was all fine and dandy but none of that really spoke to my heart. Then I found Boudoir photography. I had found my niche. I decided in April of 2018 that I was a Boudoir photographer. I had shot a whole 1 session but I knew that was my calling with my camera. The empowerment that my lens gave to my first client was all I needed to know that I was on the right track. I wish I could say it was easy and I knew all I needed to know out of the chute…that was not the case. So, in normal fashion, grab your favorite adult beverage and sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

I finally found my calling with photography. But how on earth was I going to do it and be good at it? Practice, trial and error, some good laughs, a reshoot or two, lots of editing, and tons of note-taking and watching online classes on the subject. Surfing Pinterest for pose ideas was very helpful although now I try not to rely on Pinterest but rather to guide my clients into poses that are comfortable for them and that flatter their bodies in the best possible way. Just as there are hundreds of different body types, shapes, and sizes, there are equally as many poses that those bodies can rock. However, I didn’t have a clue how to properly pose, so I studied and stalked my favorite boudie photographers on social media and finally developed a sense of what poses to use in individual shoots.

After several months of study and a shoot or two under my belt, I decided that 2019 was going to be my year to totally step up my game and get out there to do this thing that spoke to me so strongly. I did a 4 hour promotional shoot with an amazing model (who is also one of the most amazing people I have come to know) and shot all of my promotional material for the whole year except for Halloween and Christmas and I decided I was going to host a Valentine’s Day Boudoir minis event. I was terrified. But I was also committed.

I spent the money to do some hard core advertising and then I waited. And then the inquiries started coming in…and then one person booked, and then another, and another, and another. I had 6 bookings and was thrilled. I had 10 spots to fill so decided to go back through the inquiries and follow up with everyone that had messaged me. I did that 3 days before the big day, not expecting to fill all 10 sessions. Within 30 minutes of reaching out, I had the remaining 4 spots booked and paid for and there was no turning back!!

I hired my lovely model mentioned above as an assistant/pose coach for the day and off we went. Here is what I learned from that day alone that will definitely guide me as I move forward and solidified my resolve that this is the photography niche I need to pursue.

The first thing I learned is that no matter how well you plan, things will change. You gotta roll with it and make shit happen regardless. Also, wine is a must.

I learned that I absolutely cannot, no matter awesome I think I am, do 10 back to back sessions in one day ever again. Next time, I will schedule breaks for myself and not cram every session into one day!

I also learned that if I want to sleep at all the week following a mini event, I need to give myself more time to edit between the shoot date and the guaranteed delivery date. 10 days to edit and deliver 10 galleries, along with working a full-time job, kids, and grad school, is just NOT enough time. I did it though, and I delivered all galleries the night before Valentine’s Day. In addition, I learned that weird weather events, such as this years polar vortex, can and will delay the delivery of items…if the labs are not able to run and the post office can’t function, nothing gets delivered, such is life. Thankfully my clients are AMAZING and they all understood. Of course, regular communication and updates helped them all feel important and let them know that I wanted to keep them informed. Communication is key to EVERYTHING. Don’t believe me? Let’s chat…(my graduate program is in communications…but that’s another post for another day).

Anyway, back to the point. I learned that I truly enjoy editing boudoir sessions. Honestly, I usually dislike editing. It requires me to pay attention for way too long and gets a little monotonous. However, I love editing my boudoir sessions. I think it is because I love seeing that moment when the beautiful lady on the other side of my camera realizes that she is a beautiful, badass force of nature and in that moment, NOTHING can stop her. That moment is THE BEST moment! Lucky me, I get to experience it over and over with all the amazing women I work with.

I learned that flash is my friend. I also learned that using a giant white umbrella to diffuse the flash creates the most amazing lighting, especially in the white studio that I love to shoot in. I am very simplistic in my approach to boudoir photography. I like minimal distractions in the negative space and I like the eye to be drawn directly to the beautiful subject.

Of all the things that I learned as a rookie boudoir photographer, the most significant thing is that I realized just how amazing women are. I spent the day with 13 of the most amazing women (hair and make up artist and assistant plus 10 clients) and learned so much about empowerment, encouragement, and emotion. I learned the stories of 10 women who came from ALL walks of life (seriously, one of them drives a 40-ton rock truck!) some from abusive relationships, one about ready to pop with her first baby (who was born just 4 days later and is seriously such a beautiful baby girl!), business owners, moms, and wives just looking to have a little time for themselves and to recapture that which makes them unique. I learned that empowered women, empower women. Read that again: EMPOWERED WOMEN EMPOWER WOMEN. Ladies, there is so much in this world that tries to tear us down and make us feel like we are less than. Please for the love of all of that is holy, lift each other up. In doing so, you will lift yourself and also all of womankind.

Wow, this is a really long post. If you have read this far, go get some more wine…and maybe a cookie, you deserve it! I’ll wrap it up even though I think there were other things I learned but just can’t remember at this moment haha!! If you or someone you know has been considering or even just wondering about a boudoir photo session, hit me up. You can email me directly at realshotsphoto@gmail.com. Your inner badass needs a boudoir session…so don’t wait, book now! I can’t wait to meet you and create the boudoir experience that will empower you and remind why you should be proud to be a fearless, undeniable force of a woman!

Until next time,

Keep it Real! <3

4 Reasons You Should Print Your Photos

Printing photos seems so 20th century these days. Everyone has a smart phone that holds thousands of photos, accessible with the touch of a button. Why on earth would anyone want to print their photos when their phone allows them to take their photos everywhere?

I’ll tell here just why you SHOULD print your photos. So, sit back, relax, grab a glass of your favorite beverage, and enjoy!

Reason #1 you should print out those photos of last summer’s beach trip, the kids’ birthday party, and your boudoir session (because every woman needs a boudoir session!!) is that your family creates the most meaningful art work you will ever own. Whether it lines the walls of your great room or your only graces the private spaces in your bedroom, artwork that consists of your photos, of your people, will always hold the greatest value in your heart.

Reason #2 that you should be printing at least some of those aforementioned photos is that a physically printed photo, be it on paper, canvas, wood, metal, or whatever medium, is tangible. It provides a way to physically reconnect with the memory of those moments. It is a way to pass on family stories to your kids or reminisce about the “old days” before your kids were born. Printed photos also provide a way for your kids to see what you were like when you were younger! I love showing my kids old photos of their dad and me from our childhoods—they get a kick out of the crazy hairdos and “classic” cars (from the 70’s and 80’s) and of course the wardrobe choices of our parents in those days. Without printed photos, we could never share our former selves and our experiences with our children. On the flip side, printing your photos from your current life will allow your children to do the same thing with their future children. For posterity’s sake, please print your photos!!

Reason #3 that you should definitely be printing your photos is that it shows the people in them that you care about them. Kids are very observant. They notice when you decorate your home with pictures of them and it helps them to feel loved even more. When you print your family or birthday or random day photos and hang them in your home, it communicates to your family how much they are loved and valued. And of course, it provides something for everyone to look at! I now print a few canvases of our family photos every year and when the living room walls get full, I move the oldest canvases to our stairwell and hallway so they can still be enjoyed! I know it can be hard to always find room for printed photos so even if you have to print 4×6 prints and keep them in a photo box, at least you can easily revisit them and reconnect with your memories.

And finally, reason #4 that you should always print your photos: because they are fun to look at! After all, what is the point of taking photos if they are never to be seen again? Isn’t the point of freeze-framing a moment of your life to be able to revisit it later on? If that is the purpose of snapping a photo, then why are we all carrying them around on our smartphones all the time instead of donning our walls with them? The stories of our lives are captured, preserved, and passed on through photos, so print them, enjoy them, and share them!!

Until next time,

Keep it Real!

🖤

7 Reasons to do a Boudoir Session

Have you ever thought about doing a boudoir session? Maybe you’ve seen your friend’s recent boudoir photos or heard of someone doing one, (or maybe you’ve seen my ad on facebook…) but you’ve never done it yourself. Maybe you’re a little nervous and have put it off, or maybe you’re not even sure what a boudoir photo shoot entails.

In the last year I have really discovered my passion for boudoir photography. I have shot families, weddings, and events but none of those are as exciting as a boudoir session. Being able to empower other women and get them to see their own unique brand of beauty is one of the best things I have experienced as a photographer.

So back to the original question–have you thought about doing your own boudoir session? Sit back, relax, grab your favorite glass of wine (or coffee for the morning audience) or whatever drink you fancy and listen to me tell you all about why you NEED to do a boudoir session!

Reason #1: As if we women ever need an excuse to go shopping and buy something to feel uber sexy in, a boudoir session is a great reason to get out there and buy some new lingerie! Maybe you’ve been eyeballing Victoria’s Secret’s latest bodysuit or Calvin Klein’s new bra and panty set. Or maybe you saw something on the clearance rack at Wal-Mart and just couldn’t figure out where you would wear it. Well, a boudoir session is the perfect reason to splurge a little and get that new outfit (or two…this is also a good reason to get that new pair of stilettos you’ve been wanting)!

Reason #2: It’s well known that women are terrible at taking time for themselves. A boudoir session gives you a chance to do something for yourself and get pampered for a little while without the distraction of kids, work, school, spouse, or whatever. YOU get to be the center of attention for a little while the rest of us make you look like the sexy queen that you are!

Reason #3: A boudoir session gives you the chance to appreciate yourself and your unique beauty. Sure, we all have things about our bodies we don’t like–thick thighs, wide hips, soft tummies–you name it, we probably don’t like it. But why not? Afterall, our bodies are amazing and we need to cut them some slack once in a while. A boudoir session will allow you to see all of your assets in a way that flatters you and makes you look like a million bucks! And if you really struggle to see your own beauty, perhaps a boudoir session is exactly what you need to help you learn to love yourself. 🖤

Reason #4: You will get a kickass workout! 💪Don’t believe me? Just book a session and you’ll see!! Sexy poses are hard work, but they are so worth it. And don’t worry, you won’t be the only one working out, I’ll be right there with you showing you how to pop your hip one way and shoulder the other while your knees go somewhere else! 😉

Reason #5: You will step outside of your normal box and do something new and empowering. You will realize that you are amazing and you will feel like an empowered woman that can take on the world with a new-found confidence! Yes it’s scary to think about posing in your underwear in front of camera, but the results are so worth it!

Reason #6: Boudoir prints and albums make fantastic gifts for your special someone or even for yourself!

Reason #7: You are a badass woman and you DESERVE it! You deserve to feel beautiful, you deserve to be told you are beautiful. You deserve to get the supermodel treatment for a minute and have the perfect lighting and the perfect makeup. You deserve to celebrate YOU and you deserve to feel like a rockstar, even if just for a moment!

Boudoir is for every woman. It doesn’t matter your age or your size, whether you have stretch marks or wrinkles, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, you just need to let yourself believe that…and book your boudoir session now!!! 😉

Until next time,

Keep it REAL 🖤

Happy New Year! Let’s Talk Resolution(s)

Let’s talk resolutions. There are three types of resolution: high, low, and of course, New Year’s! High resolution is my personal favorite 😉 In all seriousness, though, resolution and resolutions are important, so since it is the beginning of a new year, let’s talk about them all!

When it comes to photos, resolution can be tricky. We have all heard of hi-res and low-res images, but what exactly does that mean? Let me break down the differences and the various uses for high and low resolution and also the value of new year’s resolutions!

According to microscope.org, resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. Resolution is sometimes identified by the width and height of the image as well as the total number of pixels in the image. For example, an image that is 2048 pixels wide and 1536 pixels high (2048 x 1536) contains (multiply) 3,145,728 pixels (or 3.1 Megapixels). That’s a whole bunch of technical mathy stuff, so let’s simplify it. Simply put, resolution is the detail an image holds. High-resolution images have more detail and low-resolution images have less detail.

Why is this important? Well, that depends on what you intend to do with your images. If you plan to print last weekend’s family reunion photo on a 20×30 canvas, you need a high-resolution image (think lots of detail like a 6016×4000 pixel image) so that when the image is printed at that size, it retains the detail and looks as amazing as you hoped it would. Low-resolution images don’t print well at larger sizes because they hold less detail, which gets lost when the image size is increased, and the image becomes blurry or distorted.

Fear not though, there is use for low-resolution images. In this social-media driven post-everything-online world in which we live, low-resolution images are your friend. Because of the ways that social media platforms are set up to show photos, they have to resize digital images in order to fit into their feeds. If you use a high-resolution image to post to your Facebook page, Facebook will shrink, or compress, that image to make it fit their platform. While you may be thinking that high-resolution images should be okay because they have so much detail, they actually suffer from this compression just like low-res images do when they are enlarged.

Compression shrinks the image size which means that those little pixels that are currently fitting 300 per inch, are now trying to fit into a much smaller area. Think about taking a cup (literally 8 ounces) of water and trying to make it fit into a 4 ounce cup…what happens? You have a mess to clean up! Basically the same thing happens when a photo is compressed. Your pixels are spilling out of their space and they make a mess. In an image, this translates into soft or blurry details and less than ideal image quality. But, lower resolution images don’t have that problem!

Of course, if the resolution is too low, you will still run into blur, even on social media. A nice image with a lower resolution (for example 960×640) fits nicely on social media platforms without losing any of the detail or image quality that you want.

Now that we know the value of both high and low resolution images, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions!!! Who sets them? Who thinks they are stupid? Personally, I don’t really set resolutions anymore because it’s kind of cliche to set a resolution on January 1st only to see it fizzle by the 31st. I prefer to use the new year as a time to look at my regular ongoing goals and see if I have been doing the things to achieve them and then determine if I need to change course to continue toward them. Setting goals or making resolutions is something that happens regularly for many of us.

In business, we have to constantly set, revise, work for, achieve, and reset our goals or we don’t succeed. The same applies to regular life. If we don’t know what we are working for, how will ever know when we have achieved it? No matter how small or large your goals are, it is important to identify them and also to identify a plan to achieve them. In this regard, I think the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect, revise, and resolve to do better than I did the last year.

So, what are your new resolutions? Leave a comment to let us know what you’re working on this year!

Until next time, keep it REAL ♡

The Purpose of Pictures

Why do we take photos? What is the purpose? To answer these questions, we have to first define what a photo is. Not just on a physical image-printed-on-paper definition, but a deeper, more meaningful definition.

A photograph is a connection to a memory-a moment in time that will never occur in the same way again. Think about that for a minute. One single moment, that will NEVER occur again. Yet, by simply freezing that moment with the click of a shutter, it is now preserved for all time.

Ok, now that we know what a photo is, we can better answer why we take them. The answers are different for everyone, but at the root of it all, we take pictures to preserve memories. Photos allow us to put in a frame, book, or box, what might otherwise be forgotten. Even as amazing as the human brain is, it cannot possibly remember all the fantastic moments that occur over the course of one’s life. Enter photography, and voila, permanently preserved memories that can be returned to at any time!

Think of your photos as a rolodex for all of those moments in your like that you want to come back to. Maybe it’s your wedding day, the birth of a child, perhaps even your parent’s final moments. All of these occasions (among a multitude of others) stir different emotions and imprint different memories within us. Freezing those moments with a photograph allows us to return to those emotions at a later date.

Walk with me for a moment down memory lane. I’m going back to that day, nearly 16 years ago, when I said “I do” to my best friend and we became husband and wife. I clearly remember that day and most of the crazy shenanigans that occurred. However, every single time I look at my wedding album, I am taken back to a specific moment or emotion from that day. The photos of my grandfather walking me down the aisle, the photo of my husband looking like a deer in the headlights, even the photo of the lone beer bottle on the shelf behind us (there’s a story there…) all bring back to the surface the wonderful experience of that day!

Without our photos to preserve those moments, some of those details would eventually fade. That is the power of photography. The power to reignite certain memories and bring those moments back to life. The power to evoke emotion when viewed and bring a smile to one’s face or a tear to one’s eye. As a photographer, it is my job, my duty to harness the power of those moments.

That is the purpose of pictures.

And for the lonely beer bottle…

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Great Expectations

We’ve all been there. We book an appointment of some kind, have an idea of how it should go, show up, and BAAM, it goes nothing like we thought it should. We leave feeling defeated, let down, maybe even angry. But why? What is it that causes us to feel this way?

Expectations. Improper or unfounded expectations are the cause of disappointment. So how can we overcome this in our daily interactions with clients, co-workers, and even family members?

That’s an easy one: TALK it out!!! If you have an idea or expectation of how someone should act or how something should turn out, discuss it. There is absolutely no way someone will live up to your expectations if you don’t tell them what you expect!

Let’s use photography as an example. If I book a session with a family of 5 (dad, mom, teenager, 2 younger kids) and I simply tell mom when and where to show up, what do you think her expectations are going to be?? If that were me, I’d expect that the photographer maybe didn’t know what they were doing or wasn’t interested in capturing the real essence of my family.

Take that same family. I have booked their session for 2 weeks away on a Friday evening at 6pm. Prior to even booking their session, I have asked mom some general questions in order to get an idea of what she is looking for in her session. After all, we are going to spend an entire hour together, we better make good use of it! Now that she has booked, I have asked her some more in-depth questions to get to KNOW her better. I would ask her what kind of location she has in mind and then I would give her 3 places to choose from. Once that is decided on, I then remind her that because her session is on a Friday evening, to plan extra travel time because traffic is notoriously bad at that time of the day, especially on Friday. Although it may seem irrelevant, or just common sense, mentioning the traffic and reminding her to plan accordingly helps to reiterate my interest in HER expectations regarding her experience with me.

Next, I ask her if she has a specific color scheme in mind or if she would like a style guide. Once that is determined, I ask her if there is anything specific she wants to capture. Maybe there is a specific pose or grouping she wants. Again, by asking what she wants out of her session, I KNOW her expectations and can deliver!

Lastly, once I have asked all the necessary questions to make sure the experience is going to be exactly what my clients expect, I let them know what to expect from me. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of setting expectations in your business.

As a general rule, when setting expectations with a client, you should always UNDER-promise and OVER-deliver! Let me say that again, UNDER-PROMISE AND OVER-DELIVER!! This will ensure that your client remembers their experience with you in a positive way! And that will occur because you set expectations AND THEN EXCEEDED THEM!

So, back to what I tell my clients to expect of me: I let them know how long it will take me to edit their images and deliver their gallery. I ALWAYS give myself more time than I need, just in case life happens (because let’s face it, life happens every.single.day. 😊). For example, for the family session above, I would tell mom that it will be 3 weeks from the session date before she receives her gallery. I also let her know that she will receive weekly updates as to the status of her gallery. Then, I aim to deliver the gallery within the first week, but if it doesn’t happen she gets the update and is happy! I also throw in a little bonus with the delivery of the gallery, but that is my little secret 😉

I also send a sneak peek of one or two images by text message and social media (if she is okay with that—again, another expectation to set up-front is how you will deal with social media and if your client consents to you posting their images) within 72 hours to let her know that I am busy working on her images. I also let them know that I expect (and require per my contracts) that any images they post on their social media give must have proper photo credit. It’s crucial to remind them of this when delivering sneak peeks because you know they are going to save that image to their phone and blast it across the interwebs for their friends, family, and insta-stalkers to see!!

By setting proper expectations before even meeting a client and completing their session, I am able to provide a personal experience that is memorable and enjoyable for both my clients and for me! I mean, shouldn’t I get to have FUN as the photographer!! It’s not all about making money, there’s so much more to it than that!

The best way to ensure a great time for all is to COMMUNICATE clearly and stick to what you say! That’s why email and text messaging is so great! You can go back and review any conversations you have had so you don’t forget any details! If you do take a phone call or an in-person meeting with a client, be sure you have a notepad and a trustworthy pen so you can take detailed notes! (Trustworthy pens are important because it sucks when your pen dies on you mid-note-taking and your brain can’t hold the details long enough to get you through the conversation…)

So just remember, great expectations can be met with either great satisfaction or great disappointment, it’s up to YOU to get the reaction you want!

(P.S. I chose this image because no matter how bad traffic may be on a Friday night in St. George, it will NEVER be L.A. at rush hour haha!!!!)

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Temple Collection Series Installment #4-Atlanta, Georgia

In March 2015, I started my #templecollection series.  This series is a spotlight on individual LDS (Mormon) temples.  Every so often I will highlight a different temple. In this installment, the Atlanta, Georgia temple is featured. Dedicated on June 1st, 1983, it is the only LDS temple in the state of Georgia! Visit our Atlanta temple gallery here!SKU 0060 (1)

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Temple Collection Series Installment #3-St. George, Utah

In March 2015, I started my #templecollection series.  This series is a spotlight on individual LDS (Mormon) temples.  Every so often I will highlight a different temple. In this installment, I feature my hometown temple! Fun fact: the St. George temple is the oldest operating LDS temple in the world! Every spring, the cherry trees on the temple grounds bloom with the most beautiful pink blossoms! It is my favorite time of year to be outside in this area! Visit the full St. George temple gallery here!

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Temple Collection Series Installment #2-Newport Beach, California

In March 2015, I started my #templecollection series.  This series is a spotlight on individual LDS (Mormon) temples.  Every so often I will highlight a different temple. This particular day was sunny and bright and the ideal Southern California day! Visit our Newport Beach Temple gallery here !

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