I have photographed thousands of people in my career. Honing into my skill as a premier boudoir photographer I have photographed more women. This has given me the edge to learning all the different shapes of a woman's body and posing women in a way, to assure they feel confident with their curves, baring them in their best light, However, not all of this is determined by posing, and in fact a lot of this can be handled by wardrobe choice. How, do you know what's best suited for you and your body type? How do you know what will hide those areas that you may not want to show as much and highlight the areas you do? Well, you don't typically, unless your a lingerie model, and so, that is where my expertise as your professional photographer will come in very handy.
First and foremost, you have to be able to identify your body shape. We are all not stick figured, and may even need help identifying this part. Many times to make the process easier for women, I will have them take a picture of them self standing straight and send it to me so that I can be able to start recommending the best lingerie or outfits to wear for their photoshoot. However for the sake of this blog, I recommend that you go ahead and do this for yourself. Examine your body closely and figure out which shape best identifies your body. Do you have those very curvy hips, or are you a little more rounded on the bottom and smaller up top? Are you pretty lean and long through out, or are you super bustier on the top and tiny in the middle? Once you can figure this part out, we move onto the next step, which would be the question of, what area of your body are you a little insecure about?
Shooting boudoir photography, I have learned that we, women, are supercritical creatures of ourselves. Trust me, I am no stranger to this thought process as well and have very much had to train my mind to thinking that I am sexy goddess. Our significant other can tell us how sexy we are every day of our life, but if we don't believe it, we will never feel it. From the size zero woman, to the size 26 women, I have heard it all. Though I may look at you and never guess that you have one insecurity in the world, you will tell me about 5 right off the bat. So with your help, I determine which part of you is just bat shit crazy because you are a sexy goddess and which area may not look the best if it is highlighted.
Now, it's very important to know that these rules do not always apply as we are all so very different in the way we can wear things. I am by no means a lingerie connoisseur, but I can visualize very easy what looks great on a real womens body. Here a few tips that I can lend to the beginner lingerie wearer. (Is that even how you say this?)
Women who are a little fuller in the mid section may not want to choose a bra and pantyset, (although there are posing tricks I can apply with this). I would most likely recommend a corset of some type, a baby doll, full body suit or a more loose fitting satin piece as you can see below.
Women who are taller, very skinny, and may not have as many curves, I would typically recommend something that would really highlight and push out the curves that you do have. In this instance, I would most likely not recommend a corset as it may make the thinned frame body look even more straight
Less, just may be best here. Let's push those curves out, I want to be able to see the curves of your body as much as possible. These lingerie pieces should highlight the hips, and waist, highlight the deep curves of the back and the fine lines of the butt.
I'll end with this, when choosing a boudoir photographer, do your research. Not everyone who photographs is specialized in every shoot. I always tell my women when doing a consult with me that this is not the type of session that you want to leave up to someone who is just starting out, is not as familiar with these sessions, or shoots primarily baby sessions. Trust me, the hands to the feet in happy baby pose, may make your husband happy, but it will not highlight you in your best light. Go with a trusted photographer who has a specialty in boudoir photography, someone whom you can go and ask other women about and they can give an honest opinion over, and someone who you feel comfortable with. Sharing a lot of this information about yourself is a very vulnerable area for most women. You want someone that you can have an open space with and a no judgement zone.
Here are some of my very favorite lingerie stores:
Hips and Curves
Amazon (believe it or not) return policy is amazing
When I was newbie photographer, I made it a point to photograph anything and everything that I could get my hands on. I was doing it all from newborns, to corporate headshots, weddings, families, you name it. I was just so interested and hungry to hone in on my skills and see where I was at in this new "professional" world of photography. I even got myself involved with a mentor, a very highly respected photographer. I felt I was ready to learn even more.
(Side Note) Sometimes we can just be busy and not effective.
On one of our training days, I remember being at his home and asking him to upload some of my images that I had taken into his computer so that he could give feedback. This was literally a heart wrenching moment for me as I was putting it all on the line. I was exposing what was so precious to me to allow someone to possibly rip it apart. I sat silently while he went through all the different photos I had taken, and awaited his possible compliments or dreaded critiques. He finally got through with them and like all well trained teachers, he began with a compliment stating my posing skills were phenomenal. However, I knew this exercise, I knew what was coming after that. He then took one of the images and blew it up on his big 26 inch screen, that reveals all and pointed to my subjects eyes and said but your focus is off.
(Side Note) We have to open to being vulnerable and seek guidance from someone that may me a little more learnt then we are.
I was so excited about just getting clients to photograph that I hadn't taken the time in to learn how to focus properly. Like literally step one in photography after picking the camera up. Although with the regular eye and to most non professionals, the pictures looked great at a glance. However, after seeing them on the big screen, I could see that most, if not all the pictures I had taken lacked focus and this would make it almost nearly impossible to print anything bigger than an 8x10 portrait.
In our lifetime, we can become so obsessed with just doing, that we don't even concentrate on the full picture. We tend to shoot and then aim. There is nothing wrong with with being an action taker, however in the end we may notice that our focus is off and we are aimelessy just staying busy.
Lack of focus can kill our productivity. If we are not concentrated, on what could be the most important part of the picture, we can end up with a product or service that is lacking and useless in the end. Many times I find my wheels turning in so many different directions. Part of that is being diagnosed ADHD, in my definition: the artist in me and some of that is just mindless wandering and getting stuck in the sink hole of social media. Either way, we need a good source of energy and concentration to bring us back to purpose. A few good techniques that I am in the course of learning and some that I am currently practicing are;
Time manage what you are doing.
Give yourself time slots where you get certain tasks done. Hold yourself accountable to these slots with an alarm system. You can easily find a kitchen timer on Amazon for super cheap and it's a great way as you're working to hear something that alerts you stop and start something new.
Try to get organized.
If you are someone like me and organizational skills are at the bottom of your, the things I'm good at list, then start small. Just a little tidying up can really make a huge difference in your life. Endless amounts of time are often spent looking for things that are sometimes right in front of our face. Cleaning up can help you stay focused and not have you running the rat race looking for things. Generally speaking, our mess can show us a lot about what is going on, inside of our life. Take a look around your space and let that mental picture soak in to remind yourself of what you may need to cleanup in your mind as well.
And remember that 90 percent of what we do and who we are is by choice. If you want to be more focused whether it be on your kids, your marriage, your career or life in general, just a simple mindset shift will start to lead you in the direction that you need to go to get back on track.
As I was going through a few pictures albums the other day, looking back at my baby boy as a newborn, a toddler, and a young kid, I sat quietly just staring at the photos with a smile on my face. My oh my, where has the time gone?
Now a highschool senior and halfway through mind you, I was just in awe! A friend of our family was visiting our home, (side note), this young fellow is considered a millennial but also on the verge of Generation Z, walked by me and asked what I was looking at. I smiled and passed the album over to him and said, "Joeys baby album." He laughed and said, "that is so 90's!" The funny thing about this statement was I wasn't shocked! As a photographer, I know the way the world sees photos now a days and even more so that everyone is about having those digital photos!
Oh the days of hanging pictures on our wall or doing the "90's" scrapbooking thing for everyone to see. I never thought I would hear myself saying the good old, "well back in my days!" But things really have changed havent they! We are now in an era that is known as the Lost Age. An age where millions of digital photos are taken everyday but with that, most will never see a wall. In fact, it's been shown that 86% of people have no plans of printing the photos that they take. You see, now we do the,"hey, come on over to my computer and let me show you my family pictures."
I believe so much in the power of a print that the moment when my clients walk through the door, they see a 40x65 Heirloom print of my family photo on the wall.
I love the way that people, not just my clients, stop and look at it in admiration for minutes. I catch my kids friends staring at it for moments and wonder if they think we are truly a mobster family! Its a conversation starter, an attention grabber, its my history, its my story, it's my beloved family!
That's not the only place you will catch printed photos on my walls. The moment you begin your descent downstairs, to the most comfortable spot in our home, is the moment you will find yourself walking a little slower then what you normally would. Here you will see more of our legacy and history as a family. Different moments, different vacations, different ages in our life, some of our most valued memories shared with everyone.
I make it very clear to my clients that I am proud to be a Print Artist.
Most of the time they will just nod and shake their head in agreement. Some will ask the question, "well, just what does that mean? I mean really, Sally from up the street gave me all my pictures last year on a disc and sent me on my way, won't you do that too?" That's my que to really explain the definition of why being a print artist is so different. I explain that when hiring a professional photographer like myself, they are investing in so much more than the quick pass off of a digital image. I explain that I honestly find it a disservice not to offer them an art piece for their wall. I believe that they too, should have an heirloom piece to pass down. I let them know they should not solely rely on the "cloud" that is somewhere up there, to store their photos, forever hidden from the world, unless ofcourse you are on Facebook. I explain that the images I print should outlive them. I tell them that I believe in giving them something tangible that they may pass down to their loved ones, etching their history into time. I want my clients to sit in their living room everyday enjoying and cherishing the photo that is hung on the wall or placed in a book and let it make them smile in remembrance of a time, a place, or moment that meant something to them. Even if that moment was "just the day that we met the photographer at Helen Hunts Falls, kids were crying and it was so windy, but we laughed, had a great time and now have a wonderful portrait from it."
Print artists like myself, aspire to give clients something to hold, something to touch, something to see off the screen. This allows us to connect with it so much more. It allows us to have those moments that tug on our heart more frequently when our images our right in front us and throughout our homes. It allows us to have those quite, teary eyed moments staring at a loved one who may not be with us any longer. It allows us to share our own story while others look with admiration. It allows us to share the history of the generations before us paying homage to who they were in our life and the life of others. This is a the power of a print. This is why I am a print artist! Lea
I first and foremost have to thank Josh, a business partner and professional, for not only the inspiration for this blog post, but as well the favor he asked of me.
Now, before I get started, most of you may think that this will come across as very rudimentary for a photographer of nearly 10 years, however, I want to make very clear that my first mentor Jonathan Betz told me, “ always try to take photos as clean as possible out the camera so that you have very little edits to do at your desk, unless you like that sort of thing.” For me, personally, editing photographs is my LEAST favorite part of the whole process!
I know, I know, for some of you who love to drop backgrounds in, snow, smoke, and new heads, may be thinking how unbelievably fascinating that may be, but I assure you, I truly have no desire! So, when I was asked to do something like remove a background from an image, I have to admit that I cringed a little bit in my seat as I had never done it.
To be quite honest, I procrastinated on it just a bit as I let the thought of it build up in mind. First, I would have to sit down and learn something new, which meant research time. I would have to look at multiple videos and sit and experiment for some time. Being ADHD, let me just tell you, it just doesn’t work for me! I don’t mind doing edits that I have done on regular basis, twenty four seven, especially since those edits now only take me one to two minutes per photo. But not this, this means I would have to sit and learn a new technique. Hindsight 20/20 I spent more time procrating and thinking of all the reasons I could'nt do it then what it took to actually edit the damn picture.
So I began the dreaded research. I began to get out of the normalcy of my day and stretch myself a little bit. I began my research in YouTube, the God of all learning experiences!
I first somehow started up in videos that demonstrated how to make chili rejenos.
I then got side tracked at the cute bulldog video that came up.
I checked my email in-between and then remembered why I had sat down on a Saturday afternoon when I should be somewhere like getting my nails done!
Oh yes, (sigh) taking a background out of a picture for dummies!
I was so proud that I did it! I was so proud that now I could add just another thing under my belt that I had done in the editing world. But most importantly, I started to realize very quick that I was more proud that I pushed myself out of my comfortable place. The place that feels safe and easy. The place where I can’t grow. The place that will keep me stagnant and unmoving. What a small yet powerful message I had received that afternoon.
I made things seem so much bigger in my head, I allowed myself to talk myself out of doing things that were actually not as hard as I thought. I allowed procrastination to kick in, the killer of all goals and dreams. Yet, just a little movement and action, a little push inside me, took me to the next step and the next and the next, until I was done.
I felt good with a sense of accomplishment as well for just finishing!
I then decided to push myself to the next dreaded thing I know I have been procrastinating on, my blog!
With December and January being one of the most popular times to get in engaged, we at Lea Flores Photography first want to say congratulations to our newly engaged couples! So, you are probably asking yourself now what? Where do we start, how do we go about everything? Well, we have a few words of wisdom and tips to give you two lovebirds on your upcoming journey! The first thing we always recommend to any couple when starting to plan their wedding, is to look for the venue first! If you can lock your venue down first, half of the stress of planning will be done. First and foremost, with the flux of new proposals that have just happened, many couples will begin getting on the phone asap. Secondly, most couple from the prior year have already started planning their wedding, which means for you two, that many of the local venues may be booked.
Determine, what style and theme you have in mind for your wedding and then specifically look into venues that cater to your design. For instance, if the bride to be, knows that she wants a rustic barn wedding, you wouldn't necessarily want to start with your hotel venues. Get on Facebook, look and ask questions in your local wedding groups. Didn't know they existed? You will be surprised at just how much information is at your fingertips in some of these forums! Not only is there a plethora of other information, you can ask your local neighbors about venues that they have seen and know of! Make of list of venues that you want to check out and get on the ball to get a tour done with them! Also if you are in Colorado Springs, take a look at Expertise.com as they compile a list every year of the most talked about and coveted photographers.
The next piece of information that we give our soon to be brides and grooms, is that there are three things you don't cut corners on, that is, the ring, the dress and your photography. All of these items should out live you and become a part of your legacy. Cut corners on everything else! You already have the ring, so next stop is your dress and photographer. As far as your photographer is concerned, DO NOT go with who is the cheapest photographer. Photographers offer services just like tattoo artist and you get what you pay for. You will have these images for the rest of your life. Go with someone whose work you admire. Check out their portfolio in detail and see if they have your specific style of photography that you desire! Set up a consult with them, sit down with them and make sure that you are a good match for each other. You will be spending a lot of time with your chosen photographer, not only on your wedding day, but possibly doing an engagement session and ordering save the date cards. Not to mention, some photographers like Lea Flores Photography offer full, customizable collections, that include boudoir before the wedding as well!
Now for the one of the most favorite parts of "her" planning, is to choose the dress. We definitely recommend trying on dresses as soon as possible. So look up some reputable bridal stores that, grab the girlfriends and be on your way! Allow time to first find the dress that you fall in love with, almost as much as him, try it on along with about 10 others as well and try to make your choice! You may have a goal in your mind of losing weight and once you try on the dress, you may know what your target point is. There may be alterations that have to take place, and these things take time, so make sure you have some! As you go along, your bridal dress design team will have you in for multiple fittings to see where you are at and also if some of the alternations that needed to be done regardless are looking amazing!
Now, while all the planning is going to be key in having the most amazing wedding, the most important part will be your love and the moments. The moments that this day will bring on. The moments that will represent your beginning to the rest of your lives.
So make sure you enjoy it. Make sure you stop and take a breather and truly enjoy every moment you put into this day, every detail that you both scrutinized over. Make sure that you look into eachothers eyes over and over and just appreciate the moment!