If you ever get the chance to do something special for yourself....get Boudoir photos taken of yourself by Brad Walsh!! Although it may seem like a frightening thing to do for some, Brad's professional manner made me feel comfortable and by the end of the shoot posing became effortless. I am more than pleased with the amazing photos that Brad had captured through his lens. His eye for detail and emotion made the sometimes uncomfortable poses all worthwhile. Do yourself a favor....book a session with Brad and you'll find out it was worth every penny and you'll ask yourself "why didn't I do this sooner?"
This past weekend I had the pleasure of exhibiting at a women’s expo for the first time as a Boudoir Photographer and I must say it was quite an experience. Being one of the very few men in a room full of women was an amazing thing. The event was called Girls Day Out and was held in Vaughan Ontario and that’s exactly what it was, just an afternoon out for the ladies.
It was a relatively small event, perhaps 20 vendors and a couple of women speakers. One of which was my business partner and author of the book Brave Ecstatic Woman, Merav Richter. There was also a fashion show and then of course time to mill around the room and peruse the products vendors were selling. I would say there were about 75 – 100 people there, many of whom were parents of the children and teens that were participating in the fashion show but all in all considering the venue and the publicity surrounding the event it was a fairly well attended event.
Among the good number of women that came by my booth, I noticed a common thread among some of them: that they needed to lose weight before booking a session with me. Now to me, that is just horribly sad to think that way. ALL women are beautiful and come in ALL shapes and sizes. I honestly at the moment didn’t have a proper response to that except for telling the women that is NOT necessary at all, you look wonderful the way you are. Upon some reflection and speaking with a couple of women, I managed to craft an appropriate response albeit a little too late for that event but I know now what to say the next time I hear those words from a woman who is contemplating a boudoir session with me. I can just tell them, you are perfect just the way you are now. If you wait to do things until “YOU” feel you are the "perfect" weight etc., you will never do them. Women are very hard on themselves. You should celebrate who YOU are right now.
I think we as boudoir photographers have an amazing opportunity to help change that mindset but not just within the photography industry. I think, we owe it to one another to flip that way of thinking upside down. In fact, we need to eradicate it completely. There is no need for women or men to feel they need to lose some weight before they can do a photoshoot or anything else for that matter. Embrace who you are and how you look NOW and celebrate it.
Beauty fits ANY body!
The other day I had posted a boudoir photography promotion in a group on Facebook and not 10 minutes later I was banned from the group. I was given no reason or forewarning about it just removed from the group. Because of this excommunication of sorts, I decided to do some digging to find out who removed me and more importantly, why?
Armed with the name of the perpetrator, I reached out to find out their reasoning behind it. The first reason I got was because I placed my ad with no accompanying text which was complete and utter bullshit because my ads ALWAYS have accompanying text. Through further conversation I got to the root or “real reason” behind the ban which apparently was and I quote: “your models are in underwear and it leads people to have negative associations with your offer”. They also added that: “a post with half naked women offering a boudoir shoot causes people to make assumptions”.
This conversation infuriated me because of the ignorance and negativity that was expressed. Boudoir photography is very intimate and can be very intimidating for many women. To me, it’s about showing women the beauty in themselves they may fail or struggle to see. There is beauty in EVERY woman and I believe this should be viewed as a form of therapy for some women. Helping them find and more importantly, see the beauty within, to recognize it and realize it. So I ask you, why is there such negativity and misconception when it comes to Boudoir photography?
Yes it is photographing women in suggestive, seductive poses, revealing clothing and lingerie but on the flip side of that, people need to understand this is incredibly empowering for these women. Boudoir is confidence boosting, beautiful and emotive and it isn’t JUST for women. There are men who participate in boudoir photography sessions as well. Does it mean it is negative for men also? There are even couples shoots, are there negative connotations with couples shoots?
I understand that there are some people who use this genre of photography for salacious reasons and personal gain but compared to the legit photographers out there I would have to say they are far and few between. Now this isn’t to say that the negativity is only geared at male photographers in the industry because I believe there is still negative stigma surrounding this entire genre of photography. We as photographers who specialize in this genre need to do our best to educate our clients and people about boudoir. There is NO reason for an adverse connotation with boudoir photography.
Collectively, if we as boudoir photographers are diligent about educating our clients and people we come in contact with perhaps we will be able to elevate boudoir photography to the level it should be and have it seen as a beautiful art form. Could we even begin to eliminate the negativity surrounding boudoir photography? Boudoir photography is a collaboration between a client and a photographer where raw emotion and beauty are evoked and captured in still frames. Boudoir photography NEEDS to be celebrated! We need to promote positive body image! Shout it from the rooftops! Let’s eradicate the negativity and ignorance once and for all!
Image courtesy of pinterest.com
“All good things must come to an end” and no better way to sum up the second day of Yervant and Anie’s Photography Symposium. This event rolled through Toronto as one of its many stops on June 15th, 16th and 17th. I attended the event for 2 days and there was a master class on the third day which I opted out of.
It was an incredible experience and one I won’t soon forget. If you do get the chance to attend this event in your city, I strongly advise you do check it out, you won't be disappointed. Yervant and Anie put together an unbelievable program packed with a wealth of information, knowledge and not to mention an incredible line up of 6 industry professionals all experts in their particular area of photography. It took place at The Berkley Field House, a truly beautiful venue. It was geared at a smaller more intimate group of about 60-100 attendees which I feel was the perfect amount.
The two days were jam packed with information and personal stories and at times, astonishingly emotional and honest moments. Yervant speaking about wedding photography and making us laugh hysterically. Joe Buissink sharing his incredibly moving story of his childhood and why he is so passionate about wedding photography. Sue Bryce sharing her brilliance on posing your subjects. Michele Neal Celentano and her insistence on existing in your photographs because of her beautifully moving story.
There were a couple of common threads that were strung through these two days of presentations and stories. These recurring threads seemed to be: if you work hard at your craft, you can achieve whatever it is you want for you and your business and you are worth it so charge your clients what you feel you are worth but keep in mind, you must deliver on that promise.
One thing in particular really struck a chord with me, the presenters kept re-iterating was with regards to printing your work. Then I thought about it and we don’t print our work nearly as often as we should! You MUST print your work. Preserve those moments in time through print as you never get a second chance to go back and relive those moments. They are fleeting!
Remember, it’s not a photograph until it’s printed! This statement really reverberated me and reminded me just how important it is for us photographers to print our work. Not only are you helping yourself but you are also helping to preserve our industry.
When considering whether or not to attend a workshop, a lot of factors contribute to the ultimate decision of attending. They are a great way to expand your network as there will undoubtedly be other like-minded people to speak with, to share knowledge with and of course the obvious, to learn! Do I? or Don’t I? Of course the first one is cost followed by content followed by a series of questions: How will it benefit me? How long is the workshop? and who is giving the workshop?
When the Peter Hurley “Illuminating the Face” workshop was announced for Toronto, well that was a no brainer! I knew I had to attend as I had been waiting some time for this one to come to town. It took place back in March and this was an incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the industry. How could I possibly pass that up!? I figured I wasn’t going to get many chances to actually get to interact, to learn from him. I had to take advantage of being up close and personal with the one and only Peter Hurley. I found the cost to be incredibly reasonable. The location was right here in Toronto, so getting there was easy. The time commitment was only an 8 hour day. This was without a doubt something I had to do.
The workshop was put on by Henry’s Camera and they did an incredible job. I would like to say a huge thanks to them for putting this on. The workshop was also sponsored by Profoto and I have to say their gear is absolutely incredible, so easy to use and easy to work with. Their reps were so friendly and helpful.
It was an absolutely incredible day all around. It was a full, jam packed eight hour day where I got to learn from the master of headshots. I got to meet a ton of great people. Perhaps some of the nicest people I have ever met. Peter Hurley was such an incredible teacher. So easy to talk to, down to earth and just an all-around incredibly nice guy. It was such an invaluable experience I will never forget.
As a business owner, giving back to your community is such an integral part of who we are and who we should be as entrepreneurs. It’s almost as though there should be an unwritten rule about giving back in the entrepreneur handbook (of course there is no such book). Although, I believe it really shouldn’t be “unwritten” and there really should be a handbook or guide of do’s and don’ts but that’s a whole other topic.
A couple of nights ago I had the esteemed pleasure of attending an incredible event. The event was put on by a woman named Katia Millar, a woman to whom I was informally introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago. She started a meet up group called Positive Fabulous Women in 2008 and let me tell you, she is positive AND nothing short of fabulous. What this woman has done for thousands of women across the GTA and her community is astounding. Her network of female members, followers and fans is 8000 plus and continually growing. She organizes monthly events with guest speakers, live twitter chats and webinars for her members. These members donate door prizes from their business, whether it be tangible prizes or one on one mentoring sessions from their individual businesses.
These events are held with the purpose of women getting together to network, discuss their businesses, goals, aspirations and most importantly build each other up, support and empower one another. Not only are they members of this network but they all give back to the community in one way or another, whether it be through mentorship or simply what they do as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It truly is inspiring to be in their presence.
As an attendee and being one of the only men in the entire room, I have to say it was a little intimidating but the experience was without a doubt, three of the most inspiring hours of my life. What an incredible experience, listening to some of these women share their stories of building their businesses from the ground up. Sharing their successes as well as some of their failures because we all know, without failure there is no success. It was truly a magical evening. If any of my female readers are thinking about going into business or may already be a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend you go to one of the Positive Fabulous Women events, I can guarantee you will walk away filled with inspiration! It will be 3 of the most valuable hours of your career. I honestly wish I could attend these sessions but sadly they are restricted to women only.
I strongly encourage all business owners to donate their time to some community cause or event, it will leave you feeling fulfilled. I know for me personally donating my time as a photographer for the event the other night, it did exactly that for me and I will definitely be doing more of that in the future.
I would just like to say thank you to Katia Millar for allowing me to be part of and the brief glimpse into her incredible world that is Positive Fabulous Women.