Boudoir Advocates

boudoir_advocates.jpg

I was having a conversation with another photographer and friend of mine awhile bakc and we got to discussing boudoir photography, which by the way we both shoot full time.

What started our conversation was the fact that a certain photo contest does NOT allow boudoir photography.  This infuriated both of us because firstly, why the hell not and secondly it allowed maternity boudoir!?  My friend then proceeds to tell me that when checking out some of the images, she noticed a photo of a dead baby at 12 weeks gestation that was competing. I said: “Wait, what?? Are you kidding me? So that type of image is allowed to be entered into a photo contest?  Maternity boudoir is allowed to be entered but NOT straight up boudoir? How is that even right? Who decided this and WHY?”

We then proceeded to talk more about how boudoir photography isn’t properly recognized as an art form like other genres of photography.   Unfortunately, it is still viewed as sexualizing women, dirty or slutty photography which couldn’t be further from the truth. This viewpoint was also demonstrated by an online conversation between my friend and other members of the group/company/page that was running the photo contest. This is an incredibly narrow minded and sad viewpoint on OUR genre of photography.

It angers me that boudoir photography still isn’t even represented in the proper and deserving way it should be at all the BIG photography conferences that happen around the world. It is so frustrating to think that what we do as photographers isn’t respected or doesn’t garner the same respect as other genres of photography.

Something has to change.  There needs to be a shift in thinking in our industry as well as outside the industry. We need to start educating people on boudoir photography and ALL the benefits of it. We need to start talking about it more, share the benefits of boudoir photography. There are FB Groups out there like AIBP that focus solely on boudoir photography and those are all amazing but MORE needs to be done in order to bring awareness to this beautiful genre of photography.

We boudoir photographers need to UNITE and start being ONE VOICE for boudoir photography and begin spreading the word further and wider. My friend and I decided to start a new page/group called Boudoir Advocates United in order to help spread the positive message about boudoir photography and help educate people. We want women, men, past clients AND other boudoir photographers to join the group and help in this mission.

This is a very important cause/mission to me and I would love YOUR help with spreading the word. Voices get louder and are heard more in numbers so please if you are interested in learning more about the group or joining the group click the link below and join the group.

Let’s spread the word about this incredibly amazing genre of photography and help to make it more mainstream and NOT frowned upon or looked down upon.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/boudoiradvocatesunited/

https://www.instagram.com/boudoiradvocatesunited

AIBP - Creating a Sense of Community - Membership Has Its Privileges

MemberBadge2018GOLD.png

As some of you may or may not know, I belong to an esteemed group of Boudoir Photographers. Collectively, we are known as the Association of International Boudoir Photographers (AIBP). Erin Zahradka, founded the organization in 2009 along with the help of Cate Scaglione, Jennifer Tallerico and Jesus Bernardo the AIBP community was born.

 We proudly boast having members who hail from 6 continents around the globe. We are 676 members strong and constantly growing. Our message and mission is clear and centers on the empowerment of women through photography.   Additionally, our focus is to elevate the standards of boudoir photography through education and connections in order to enhance the experience of our clients.

Not only do we set the highest professional standard when it comes to boudoir photography but we also raise the bar for the boudoir-photography industry. The sense of community that has been created over the years since the group was founded is just incredible to me. It feels like a family where we can all rely on one another, reach out to one another and get the support that is needed whenever it is needed and that doesn’t just go as far as photography needs. The members of the group are always willing to help out its members should a member be in need for a personal matter as well. We are there for each other plain and simple and it’s such a wonderful community to be a part of.

This is not just a collection of hobbyist or enthusiast photographers. It is a group of working professional, knowledgeable and talented boudoir photographers from around the world.

I should add…we aren’t ALL WORK and no play! There are weekly contests, workshops, retreats and mentorship programs. Hell we even have our own magazine, Philsophie, which provides opportunities for members of the group to submit their work for publication. There are shooting tips, daily discussions around boudoir photography and we are constantly striving to get the boudoir photography industry the recognition this niche of so rightly deserves.

I have been a member of AIBP for 3 years now and this is one of the best organizations I have ever been involved with. It’s not just a FB group, or an online community. It truly is a community where lifelong friendships are forged and a sense of family created. It’s inclusive, helpful, encouraging and a place I feel welcome. I honestly cannot even count the amount of times this collective of amazing photographers AND people have helped me out. If you as a photographer are reading this blog post right now and perhaps on the fence about joining the group, DO NOT even give it a second thought, JOIN TODAY! I promise you will NOT be disappointed. The AIBP community’s value is far beyond measure. Special thank you Erin Zahradka and ALL the AIBP Members for EVERYTHING you do EVERY DAY!

When You Do What You Love....

BTS Emily Violin Image.jpg

My wife and I were having a chat the other day and she was telling me about a conversation she had with our optometrist. They were talking about kids and how kids today have it rougher than we did when we were their age etc ( I disagree with that but that is a whole other discussion/blog post for another time) The conversation was centered around school and trying to figure out what the kids want to do with their lives. You know the proverbial question: What do you want to do when you grow up?

My youngest, who is 17, says she knows what she wants to do with her life and that’s great.  I’m very happy about that and happy for her.  Then there is my wife, yes, she is working full time but she still says to me all the time “I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up” and she is 47 years old. My oldest is interested in the arts and English but is still unsure of what she wants to do.  She is 19 and I tell her there is no huge rush, you will figure it out. Don’t jump into school and do something that doesn’t interest you just for the sake of going to school or because all your friends are going to school.

“They” say kids who are going into the workforce today will change their careers anywhere from 10-15 times in their working lives. That to me is insane! Could you imagine our parents doing even half of that?  Back then, they got a job and they stayed there for life.  Even if they hated the job, they stayed because they had to.  They had families to support. Now I know that the times are very different now, people are having families later in life, if at all. There is much more focus put on ones career as opposed to having a family. It is also said that we spend almost 1/3 of our lives at work or working. When you think about that, it’s absolutely staggering and mind boggling.  That is a hell of a lot of time and time is the ONE thing in life we DON’T have control over and can NEVER get back once it’s gone….but I digress.

The conversation then moved towards happiness in life and happiness in our jobs/careers. With keeping all of the aforementioned above in mind, it triggered the real conversation and the true point to all of this:  shouldn’t we ALL be doing something as a career choice/job that makes us happy? Isn’t that the point to life, to be happy? Why would you want to spend that much time at a job you fucking hate doing and going into if you have to spend that amount of years/time of your life doing? It just makes sense to me to be doing something you love to do for a living. Now I know it’s not that simple to just find something you love to do and do that to make money and have a great life. Hell it took me over 25 years to finally figure “it” out and actually do something about it. I know we all get into different situations where we are “stuck” doing something we hate for a living and it’s NOT easy to make the changes necessary to start living the life we had envisioned for ourselves but as “they” say, “if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen” and I whole heartedly do believe it.

When you think about it, it’s such a simple concept, do what makes YOU happy PERIOD! As we all know it’s not that easy to put it into action but believe me and I am speaking from experience, it CAN BE DONE! Are there sacrifices that have to be made? Are there concessions that have to be made? Hell yes there are, of course there are but again as “they” say nothing worth having comes without a fight.

I guess really the whole point of this blog post/conversation is, in today’s day and age, why aren’t more people doing what makes them happy? Life is fleeting, life is short, we ONLY get one go around in this world and with the amount of time we spend at work or working in our lives, why not spend it doing something that you absolutely love to do and be happy doing it!  Instead of doing something that you hate doing, at a place you hate, getting up EVERY morning and going to do that? How can we as parents instill this value into our children if we aren’t leading by example and doing the same thing?  So get out and DO what you love!

Better Gear DOES NOT Make You A Better Photographer

Better Gear Doesnt Make YOU.jpg

…never have truer words been spoken. This has been a constant debate and topic of discussion among photographers in forums and the like for years upon years. It’s a pointless argument/discussion because it’s neither the camera nor the lens that make the picture, it’s the photographer!

Over the years, I have often heard from many people: “oh I need to buy this expensive camera”, “that expensive lens” or “I can’t create the images I want to because I only have this shitty camera or this crappy lens”.  STOP with the excuses!  Nothing could be further from the truth. You absolutely DO NOT need expensive gear to create amazing images.

I wish I had the money to buy all the gear I wanted but I don’t and I don’t feel that is truly going to help me create better work. I suggest you start out with a relatively inexpensive camera and the kit lens that comes with it. Get to know the ins and outs of your camera.  Practice, practice and more practice with what you have. Master your camera.  Learn it inside out.

You can worry about better gear and spending more money later on once you have worked on and honed your craft.  Learn the basic principles of photography and master the camera you have.  So many people get caught up in spending a ton of money on gear when they are just starting out it and it really isn’t going to make you a better photographer nor is it necessary.

Only YOU have the ability to make YOU a better photographer. So get out there practice, learn and talk to other photographers who have been at this awhile. Take courses, get a mentor but MOST importantly get out there and shoot!

Anniversaries and Milestones - Celebrating 1 Year as an Entrepreneur

AnniversaryCelebration.png

Today, July 27th, 2018 marks one year since I left the corporate world behind to pursue my dream, my passion of photography as my full time gig. As I sit here and write this post, I am blown away and cannot believe a full year has passed already since deciding to jump into entrepreneurship.

I don’t regret leaving my full time corporate job for this life at all, I love that I get to wake up every morning and work for myself doing something I absolutely love to do and get paid for it.

Some days it feels like it’s been longer than a year and other days it feels like it’s been only a minute.   It’s absolutely crazy. It has most definitely been one hell of a roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows but I knew that is how it would be going in so I was prepared for it..... right??? 

I have had to learn that it’s not going to happen in just one year.  These things take time, a lot of hard work and perseverance. I can without a doubt, tell you.... it is A LOT of hard work and dedication, a lot of ups and downs but if you can persevere and get through the tough times, the reward is surely greater than the risk.

I honestly don’t think you can ever fully prepare or truly be prepared for what’s around the corner when you make that kind of shift in your life. Yes, you can tell yourself it’s time and you know it’s time to move on but when you do it, it’s a different story.

Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the entrepreneurial life, being my own boss and running my own business but let me tell you, it’s NOT easy.  Not that I thought it would be at all! It’s a lot of time spent on your own, no social interaction.  It’s very different from working in the corporate world around people all day long.  I am around clients when I have a shoot, a meeting or networking event but there is a lot of time spent on your own. You are alone with your thoughts most of the time and sometimes-negative thoughts creep in.   Occasionally I go through moments of absolute doubt about it all: Did I do the right thing? Can I do this? Is this possible?

When I find myself thinking like that, I just have to remind myself of the reasons I left the corporate world and the reasons I choose to do what I do for a living. When I do that, I always am reassured I made the right decisions.  There will be tough mountains to climb and battles to fight but as they say.... nothing worth having comes easy.

If you have been thinking about leaving your job and going into business for yourself, one thing I CAN tell you for certain is that there is no perfect or ideal time to do it, you just have to believe in yourself and DO IT! Life is too short to look back and say what if??

As the saying goes, if you love what you do for a living you will never work a day in your life.

 

We Are All Photographers Until You Put it in M Mode

Manual Mode.jpg

I have seen this meme, this argument so many times on social media as of late and in the past as well and it always makes me laugh! 

The Apple Iphone X was just cleared to claim it can create studio quality portraits. There are photographers who shoot only using a cell phone. Billboard images have been created using a cell phone camera.  Movies have been shot using cell phones.

I mean, back when I started shooting I was shooting on film.  You HAD to think about the shot, lighting, settings, composition, your ISO settings, your aperture etc. There was NO auto mode but that’s beside the point.

The camera used is just a tool.  It’s up to the one who is using the tool as to how it is going to be used. Does it really matter what mode they shoot in? Isn’t the goal to create/make beautiful images for our clients; for ourselves?

Every tool has its place and every mode on the camera has its use.  Who really cares as to what mode other photographers are shooting in?  Shouldn’t you really just be worried about your own tool and how YOU are using it? Insert snicker here.

I don’t understand this constant focus and concern with what all the other photographers are doing.   Who the fuck cares?  Just do YOU! YOU are your only concern and competition.  Stop worrying about others. Maybe if we all did that, everyone would be much happier, much busier and enjoy what they are doing more!

I think we all need to stop focusing, bitching and complaining about the technology being used and “HOW” it’s being used and just get out there and “CREATE” beautiful photos PERIOD!

Testimonial by Miss A - It Was a Great Experience, Every Woman Should Do It!

I-Got-The-Music-In-ME.jpg
Lean-Into-It.jpg
Get-a-Grip(1).jpg

I've always wanted to do a boudoir shoot and was excited when I finally had an opportunity to treat myself to one. Beginning with the wonderful, professional make-up artist set the tone for the day. I felt like a total goddess throughout the shoot. The space was also gorgeous, it was like the set was ripped from the page of a novel. I'm glad Brad gave the suggestion of bringing multiple outfits, I was only going to bring two but more options were definitely better. You'd think it would be awkward shooting with a stranger, however it was completely professional and I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. I'm thrilled I have these photos to look back on when I'm older. It was a great experience, every woman should do it!

Challenges and Limitations

Challenges and Limitations.jpg

As a photographer sometimes we face challenges on set while we are shooting. Whether it be indoors or outdoors, it could be weather, lighting, wardrobe or even camera gear.

Now, to overcome these challenges sometimes we need to be quick on our feet and improvise.  Sometimes we just have to roll with the punches and somehow make it work. I personally enjoy the challenges that pop up from time to time because it keeps you thinking, keeps you sharp and pushes you outside your comfort zone which is great for growth as an artist and as a person. Now that’s not to say I don’t like when shoots go smoothly and come off without a hitch, those are my favourite kind of shoots for sure.

Sometimes the limitation of our gear presents a challenge although this is a challenge I really welcome. I am speaking about lenses in particular. As we know, different lenses have their weaknesses and strengths as some are more suitable types of photography while some aren’t so versatile.  Being a boudoir/portraiture/headshot photographer, I have my go-to lens, which happens to be a 50MM lens.

Currently it’s the only lens I have for my full frame camera so if I want to shoot with my full frame I have no choice but to accept the challenge and limitation of said lens. Sure I could shoot with my cropped sensor body and have multiple lens options but I like shooting with my full frame and frankly love the challenge of using my 50MM for boudoir shoots.

I find it helps me grow as a photographer by forcing me to think about my shots before I take them. I have to use different angles, really think about my lighting and use it the best way possible. I have to move around my subject more and get multiple shots out of one pose.

Now you should be doing that anyway but with a fixed lens (no zoom capability) you are left with no choice BUT to make it work. This is one of the challenges that I face every time I shoot but I love being challenged that way.

I find it’s constantly helping me grow and ALWAYS pushing me outside my comfort zone!

Admiration and Accolades

The Road to Success is ALWAYS under Construction.jpg

It’s been almost a year since I left my full time corporate gig and took the exhilarating leap into full time entrepreneurship.  It’s been one hell of a ride so far, filled with lots of ups and downs. It’s like being on the world’s longest, highest and fastest roller coaster, it’s a ride that NEVER ends but I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s exciting, frustrating and challenging all at once.

I remember all of the admiration and accolades I received from people when I told people what I was going to do or tell them now what I do for a living; it was overwhelming at times. All the “I’m so proud of you for doing this” or “I wish I had the guts to do that”  or “You are so brave for going out on your own, I could never do that”.  These are all wonderful words to hear from the people around you but they fade quickly into the background and you’re left with just your thoughts and ideas, making plans on how to take your business to the next level.  I find myself often wondering: “what in the actual fuck have I just done?”  And as those thoughts creep in I start thinking about what I do for a living; I get paid to do something I love!  I am my own boss!  I make my own hours and not to mention the freedom it affords me and those negative thoughts slowly begin to creep back out again.

It can sometimes be a looooong and lonely journey, this highway called entrepreneurship. It feels like what I imagine a junkie may feel like when they take that first hit.  The highs are just incredible, like you are soaring and the sky’s the limit but the lows (which a lot of people DONT TALK ABOUT) are really low sometimes.   Constantly struggling with your thoughts and insecurities and worries of how the fuck am I going to do this??

Well believe me if you don’t push through these lows and there will be many of them, it will swallow you AND your business right up like neither of you existed! The key is to keep on going and think outside the box.  Try NOT to let those negative thoughts creep inside your head and take over your mind. You MUST try to remain positive at all times!

How do you do that, you may ask?? Well, you can start by surrounding yourself with the right people. People who will be there to help pick you up and offer encouragement when you are experiencing these lows.  A supportive team of family, friends and mentors will be an integral part and key to your success. Don’t listen to the haters and the negative noise that may surround you from time to time, it will only drag you down.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged. If this is something you want, you MUST persevere and keep on keepin’ on. Don’t give up or give into those feelings of fear, don’t let them take over your mind.

Remember your “WHY” and keep going!!

The Big Announcement Part II

the-wait-is-over.jpg

The last week has been a whirlwind of excitement and hard work and I am very excited with the announcement about what’s been going on with Visuphoria Photography.   

So in keeping with the theme and excitement of all the changes as of late I have decided it’s a good idea to celebrate the new look and feel of Visuphoria Photography.

How you may ask.... well I am glad you asked that question!!

We would like to extend a special introductory offer to all the beautiful ladies that love us. We are offering a $149 session fee price for the first 5 ladies that book with us!

This special price includes Hair and MU, a pre-shoot consult via telephone, posing and coaching help from me and an in person photo reveal and an in person image reveal session within 2 weeks of your photo session.

If you would like to book now, please click here

The Big Announcement Part I

Big Announcement.png

Owning a business is a lot of hard work and nobody ever said it would be easy. It’s a roller coaster ride of many ups and downs. I truly do believe if you are willing to put in the hard work, the long hours and do things right, you will definitely reap the benefits of being a full time entrepreneur.

I know in my business of photography there is an amazing community of photographers which most of them are more than willing to share “trade secrets” so to speak lending a helping hand when asked with no hesitation. One of the many wonderful and amazingly talented people I have had the pleasure of knowing and receiving help from is Crystal Mitchell from Provocateur by Crystal Mitchell. She is an incredible human being, entrepreneur, and photographer.

This has been a long time coming and has taken a lot of work in a very short period of time to actually bring it to fruition. I have to say though, seeing the hard work put in literally materialize as results you can physically see, is beyond satisfying for me. I am so proud of what I have accomplished in this short time with my business.

So I am sure you are all curious as to what this BIG announcement I have been speaking of is..... well It isn’t just one thing, there are multiple things I have been working on that have culminated in this BIG announcement.

So I would like to formally welcome you to the new Visuphoria Website! A sleek clean feel for our everyday women to feel comfortable viewing. We have also enlisted some top Album manufacturers, and lower session fees! This makes it affordable for everyone to come in and have their own session with the team of Visuphoria.

Is a Photograph Made or Taken?

Ansel Adams You Dont Take a Photograph You Make it.jpg

In the words of the amazing Ansel Adams... “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”.  I truly do not believe that just anyone can make a photograph.

Just the language used in that phrase right there seems to be a big topic of discussion among photographers. There are some from each school of thought. Some would say that “anybody” can take a photograph and others seem to be of the mind that a photograph is “made”.

Perhaps, depending on the moment or instance, some are made and some are taken. When I think of a photograph being taken, it makes me think of a snapshot or a cell phone shot. That’s just me though. I think as professional photographers, we “make” photographs.

When talking about making a photograph, there are so many factors that go into the “making” a photograph.  It’s more in depth, things like: thought, time of day, subject, camera settings, composition, post production (and perhaps one of THE MOST important things) LIGHT and LIGHTING.  All of these things go into making a photograph. It is all about the photographer’s vision and that’s where it all starts, with the vision!

Regardless of how you view it or think of it, I guess it is up to the individual to interpret their idea/thought on the subject of taking or making a photograph. I was just curious as to people’s thoughts and take on it so I thought I would write it down to perhaps spark a conversation.

Testimonial by Miss J - Thank you Brad, for making me look and feel amazing!

Get-a-Leg-Up.jpg
Can-You-Guess-What-I'm-Thinkin.jpg
Vogue.jpg

I just had an awesome photo experience doing a boudoir shoot with Brad from Visuphoria Photography. First off, I have to say he was very professional and made me feel really relaxed in front of the camera, as this was my first time. We had a mini consultation before meeting so Brad could give me suggestions and ideas on what to wear, and what to expect. He was excellent at guiding me through everything before we started, and his patience and expertise showed while directing the poses. I appreciated that he always made sure I was comfortable with the poses, and took the time to review the shots with me after the session. He is very prompt on following up after the shoot, and I’m beyond thrilled with the finished work. The pictures are absolutely stunning, thanks to Brads’ talent. I loved all the images, and I want to order everything! I would gladly work with him again, I had a blast, and I felt amazing doing it.  I decided to do this boudoir shoot to give the pictures as a gift to my husband, and to look super sexy for him, but I think I did it more for myself too. It was a big confidence boost and very empowering for me. I felt fantastic for doing it, and would love to do it again. Every woman should have this experience. I would encourage and recommend Brad to anyone who is considering doing a boudoir shoot. Thank you Brad, for making me look and feel beautiful, and amazing!

Testimonial by Miss AF - Working With Brad Was Fantastic!

I recently had the opportunity to shoot a boudoir shoot with Brad from Visuphoria Photography. Working with Brad was fantastic!! He was very professional and put me at ease immediately. The shoot was so fun and empowering. I got all dolled up and had my hair and make-up done professionally. I bought some lingerie that made me feel sexy. The studio we shot at was gorgeous with many different areas to shoot in. I did this because someday I will be 80 and I want to remember how I looked and how I felt. Brad captured that perfectly. The images that I have seen are gorgeous and can’t wait to see the rest!

Hands-All-Over-B&W.jpg
Can-You-Feel-It-.jpg

My "WHY"

Sister-Secrets.jpg
Ohhhhh-What-a-Feeling!.jpg
A-Softer-Side-of-Fierce-B&W.jpg
Another-World.jpg

I get asked all the time, why as a man have I chosen to shoot boudoir photography?

The common and obvious answer would be to empower women and although this is true, my personal reason is a bit deeper than this... It's because I have daughters. Many women struggle with having a positive body image and this thought process starts at a very young age.

I see young children daily getting bullied for their weight, their hair, the clothing they are wearing and so much more. This behavior is hurting young women everywhere and the moment a young person accepts the cruel words spoken, that pain tends to follow even into adulthood .

I believe that boudoir can bridge the gap and help put an end to all of this so that the generation of young ladies following behind will follow strong, confident and empowered women.

My name is Brad and I am the owner of Visuphoria Photography

Looking Back on 2017... A Year in Review

2017-2018.jpg
20180102_110827.jpg
Femme Modern Magazine Book 2 October.jpeg
AIBP Standing Ovation Award Seal 2017.jpg

If I were to look back on the year 2017, both professionally and personally, I would have to say that overall it was a pretty fuckin’ EPIC year!

I got to see my oldest daughter graduate from high school and starting the next chapter in her life. Undoubtedly, one of the proudest moments for me as a father and I must say ranks right up there as the best of my 2017.

The year started out with me working full time at Ernst & Young but had long entertained the idea of moving on to pursue my photography business full time but at the beginning of the year, it became more of a serious consideration. I was growing tired of the corporate life.  My heart and mind just weren’t in it anymore and I knew it was time to move on.  Midway through the year, with the support of my wife, my kids, my family and friends, I finally decided it was time to jump ship.  To my surprise, I ACTUALLY did it!  I forced myself to step outside my comfort zone.   This is NOT something I do!   This was scary as all hell!  Leave the security of the 9-5?  NOT ME! The best part about it: I am still here to talk about it!  I didn't break and I didn't die from it!

I had my biggest year in business selling 6 pieces of my artwork to Ernst & Young.  My work to hang on the walls of their brand new building. Being able to have something I created hang on the walls of a Big 4 Accounting firm was quite an incredible feeling.  As I had worked there for many years being able to leave a legacy, my legacy was just an indescribable feeling.

Another great moment for me, being featured in my friend Skip Cohen’s blog post. For those of you who have no idea who Skip is: he is first and foremost an incredible human being but he is also an amazing educator, speaker and writer who is very well known in the photography industry and I am proud to call him a friend.

Three of my boudoir images were selected to be in a magazine, which for me was an incredible accomplishment since I am new to the boudoir genre. That was definitely a highlight of my year, I am very proud.

I was awarded the Standing Ovation Award 2017 from my peers and fellow photographers in my AIBP group. The AIBP organization is the Association of International Boudoir Photographers. They are an amazingly talented group of photographers and an amazing community of people.  To say I am honoured and over the moon excited is a gross understatement. Words cannot express my gratitude for this award.

Overall, I accomplished quite a bit in 2017 and am very proud of what I managed to do. I know there is a ton more work to do as an entrepreneur.   There are many more challenges to overcome but I am so looking forward to taking on 2018! It’s going to be a kick ass year, I can just feel it!

I borrowed the following from a fellow photographer/friend of mine but this is how I am going to look at 2018:

Be A Fucking Wolf.
Be A Fucking Lion.
Take No Shit.
Set Goals.
Smash Them!
Eat People's Faces Off.
Be A Better Person.
Show People Who The Fuck You Are.
Never Apologize For Being Awesome.
Stay The Mother Fucking Course.

In this coming year I urge all of you to do at least 1 thing that forces you outside your comfort zone.  Trust me, you won't regret it. You only live once, what do you have to lose?  Challenges and roller coaster rides as an entrepreneur and business owner…I say BRING IT ON! I am here and I am ready for ALL of it!!!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is... In Front of the Camera

 

20171203_142353.jpg

I can honestly say I really don’t like having my picture taken and I am sure there are quite a few photographers out there who would agree with this sentiment. I know it sounds strange, a photographer who doesn’t like being on the other side of the camera?!

For me, I am most comfortable BEHIIND the camera; I don’t like that feeling of feeling vulnerable and awkward. I don’t know how to pose or genuinely smile without having it come off looking fake.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately and the more I think about it, the more I see clearly that it’s quite hypocritical of me as a photographer to take that stance on getting in front of the camera. How can I possibly expect my clients to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera if I don’t do it myself? A practice what you preach moment, if you will. 

Perhaps it’s even a little bit more hypocritical for me being a boudoir photographer.  I have women who are complete strangers, wearing very little clothing getting in front of my camera. I pose and light them for photographs.  I talk them through the photo session. I try to help them feel relaxed and forget they are in front of a camera to make it a little less of an intimidating experience.

Now more than ever I think we male photographers need to step into our clients shoes and get in FRONT of the camera.  Maybe have a female photographer shoot us in a “dudoir” session.  You know, put my money where my mouth is!  I have noticed a trend online over the past while that more men are doing exactly that and I think it’s amazing. It doesn’t have to be cheesy just because I am a male.  It can be done very tastefully. All the images I have seen from male boudoir (dudoir) shoots were very well done.

We need to do this in order to feel and understand the vulnerability and nervousness our clients feel when they step in front of our cameras so we can HONESTLY relate and genuinely say we know how they feel.

I am challenging all my male counterparts in the industry to do exactly this! Including me! I am looking for a female photographer that is up for the task of photographing this mug of mine!  Any takers????

Friendships, Help and Support in the Photography Industry

Support-businesses-to-start-small-businesses.jpg

In life friendships are very important relationships that we rely on and appreciate. Support is another key element in life, whether it be from family which let’s face it is a staple in life but support from friends and from our peers are just as important which brings me to the reason for writing this particular blog post.

I have learned over the years of being involved in the photography industry that support among photographers is a huge thing and for the most part other photographers are more than willing to lend a helping hand when they can. This is just one of the many things that make this industry so amazing and perhaps why I am so proud to be part of it. It’s a great feeling when you are able to reach out to your peers in the industry for help, just to bounce ideas off of or get feedback and not have to worry about people getting all defensive or protective and not want to share their knowledge. When we help and support each other, we ALL win.  It makes everything better on the whole.

Skip Cohen is one of those people I am speaking of. He is someone I like to call a friend and has even mentored me over the years.  Now I haven’t known him that long but in the few years I have known him, he has always offered advice, opinions and help whenever I have reached out.  I know he is just a phone call, email or Facebook message away if I have questions or need some guidance and he has told me as much. This kind of support is invaluable and this type of thing is a big part of why I think this industry is so incredible.

Skip is a big part of why this industry is so great. He is a pillar in the photography industry and has been involved in it for years. He is an educator, a marketing guru and back in 2013 he launched Skip Cohen University - to help educate photographers from all over the world. 

It’s really quite interesting and funny at the same time because just about a week or so ago I was reading one of Skip’s blog posts and it was one which was guest written by Jenn Bruno Smith a fellow photographer in the industry. I was thinking to myself:  I wonder if Skip will ever ask me to guest write a post for him or do a blog post/feature on me someday?  Well, much to my surprise and excitement,  I received a message from Skip about a week and a half later asking if I would be ok with him doing a feature blog post on me on his website (article found here) To say I was excited would be the understatement of the year!  Of course I was thrilled at the chance to be featured on his website. I thought: “wow, ME, featured on Skip Cohen’s website, what an honour” and I was incredibly flattered that he asked. Of course I said YES!!! Without any hesitation at all.

So for all you photographers out there, whether just starting out or seasoned veterans: you have an entire industry of people you can lean on or reach out to for help along the way. Don’t hesitate!  Take advantage of your network of peers, and believe me you will be pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism and help you will receive. THAT is just one of the many reasons I am proud to say I am part of this amazing community that is, Photography!

The Importance of Using a Make Up Artist on a Photo Shoot

Make Up Preparation Images-9.jpg
Make Up Preparation Images-5.jpg
Captured[1].jpg

I would like to preface this post by telling you this one was guest written by my amazing and incredibly talented make up artist Maddy McGhee aka "madeupbymads" Please show her some love and check out her work and talent by clicking on the hyperlinks below.

"The worst part about having my makeup done by some else is walking away and never looking like myself. However getting your makeup done to highlight your natural beauty can be an eye opening, wonderful experience! Between work/school/kids it's hard to always get in the time for yourself let alone your makeup - that's why sometimes doing something like a boudoir shoot where it's all about you is super fun! Makeup doesn't have to take over the shoot but just makes you shine and adds to the day. You don't wear makeup or a lot of makeup on a regular basis? No problem! I'm a big believer in using makeup to enhance the beauty that's there rather than covering so each application is light and natural but still adding that special something something! It can be an intimidating experience but also an empowering one and that's how I feel about makeup! You just have to find what is right for you and your look. The polished look finished off with a professional photographer can make moments last forever (ones that you don't want to crop yourself out of...) Can't wait to work with you! Maddy from @madeupbymads Check out more of my work on Instagram/YouTube/Facebook @madeupbymads "

Don't Burn Bridges - You May Just Need To Walk Across Them One More Time

Growing up as a kid, my dad bestowed a lot of wisdom unto me with his little one-liners and pithy anecdotes. Now, there were quite a few of them but one in particular really stood out for me: “Don’t ever burn your bridges”

For the past month or so, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster; a veritable whirlwind all rolled up into one for me. I quit my full time corporate job after 12 ½ years with the same company to pursue my passion, my love of photography. Scary as hell but I have a great support system in place in my family, my friends and my former colleagues, which to be honest I didn’t fully expect but it has been an incredibly pleasant surprise.

It wasn’t that I expected people to be pissed off with me or not be happy for me but I didn’t expect them to be as supportive as they have been, and it has been amazing to say the least.  When I handed in my resignation, my boss said he knew this was coming and he was one of the most supportive people out of everybody. He was totally 100% happy for me, unhappy to see me go but in my corner and wanted to help in any way he could.  He helped in more ways than one and I am incredibly appreciative for his help.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit but I was a little taken aback by the offers of help from the different people at work. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it ALL, more than words could ever express!  It was just a little unexpected. The outpouring of support from people was incredibly supportive and kind. It made me a little emotional reading some of them to be honest but moreover it made me feel especially good and supported.

I had partners at the firm approaching me and calling me to wish me luck in my future endeavours, asking for my contact info and offering their help. I even had one partner from the firm tell me to USE the network I have built there, ask for help. More often than not, people are willing to help out, you just have to ask!

I spent a lot of years at my job, met and worked with a lot of amazing people.  I made a lot of friends and forged some great relationships. So the “old man” was on to something.  You should never ever burn your bridges.  It’s always good to keep your relationships in good standing because you never know when you might need help from someone. Thanks for the words of advice Dad, they certainly came in handy!