Month: February, 2014

Why It’s Ok to Be Exactly Who You Are

February 28, 2014

classy or nasty

Boudoir State of Mind: Classy or Nasty – Why It’s Okay to Be Exactly Who You Are.  So many times they try to label us.

As women, we get grouped into broad categories: Some generic and placid, others hurtful. As we grow older, we tend to embrace these labels as part of our identities.  We begin to associate our sense of self with whatever others think.

As a result:

  • The “pretty girl” may miss out on career opportunities like higher education and job promotions because people assume she
    is less intelligent, and she believes them.
  • The “nerdy girl” may spend her Friday nights alone because she feels it would be too difficult to let loose, even though she wants to.
  • The “bold girl” will face problems with authority because she isn’t ashamed to speak her mind.
  • The “shy girl” will keep quiet because she feels that no one wants to hear what she has to say.
  • The “classy girl” won’t buy the eight inch red stilettos she wants.
  • The “nasty girl” won’t apply for the job she dreams of because her friends will think she’s sold out.

These labels inhibit us from being the women we were intended to be.

You are not a single thing, one label with one purpose; you are an individual full of glorious nuances and complexity so unique that no one else in history has shared it. Sure, we may be similar to others in some regard, but who’s to say that because we have a certain trait we shouldn’t be allowed to do the things that make us feel alive?

Don’t let the world box you into a bipolar set of categories; just because you may be or do one thing doesn’t mean you can’t be or do another thing.

We live in a world where most people are walking around half dead, conditioned to think a certain way and live a life they don’t control. It’s so easy to get sucked in, especially if you have negative people telling you what you can and can’t do with your life. It’s hard to see clearly sometimes and I’m here to tell you to trust your life, not your script. Fuck the script.

The scrip that someone else might have written for you, the one you don’t like, the one that makes you feel powerless: You have the power and  the ability to be whoever you want to be. Let loose, take chances and surprise yourself.

Instead of falling victim to the labels, just be yourself, and you would be amazed not only how much freer you will feel, but how well you’ll be able to connect with other free people who live beyond the labels — the people who can be classy, nasty, beautiful, relaxed, carefree and hardworking, full of passions, full of dreams, and above all full of life.

Happy Friday! Have a weekend that adds a new pep to your step!

XX, Marisa

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Top Ten Mistakes New Photographers Make

February 28, 2014

Boudoir Photography Tips:

Top Ten Mistakes New Photographers Make

Mistakes aren’t all bad. They are often good learning experiences, times when you as a new photographer figure out what works best for you and what doesn’t.

In this regard, mistakes early on in your career can be, in a way, your guide. But let’s be real for a second. Nobody actually enjoys making mistakes.

Most of the time they lead to a loss of some sort, sometimes pride, sometimes money, often both. So if you can avoid making common mistakes like these, the mistakes you do end up making will be fewer and farther between.

1. Under Charging Clients

Although there are dozens of ways to under charge a client — with prints, editing or with the session itself — the point is: Don’t do it!

Know your value before you set up a pricing plan, and understand what goes into the process of running a business. Know your cost of goods (COG) and your return on investment (ROI)

It makes me cringe when new photographers charge a flat rate for the session, editing and images inclusive, a flat rate that will eventually ruin the future financial success of their businesses.

2. Not Knowing Your Limitations

Although you may be proficient in several genres of photography, you simply will not have the time to specialize in all of them professionally.  Many new photographers start off thinking they can cover everything from weddings to newborns to real estate and that because they can do all this they will get more business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We live in a society which adores specialists.

Spend your time becoming the best at a few things, market those things, and your business will profit from it.

3. Not Investing Time in Improving Their Craft

As a photographer, it is your duty to never stop learning. Go to workshops, attend lectures, even pursue a degree at a university if you don’t already have one (or even if you do), and above all else, keep shooting.

If you want to have any chance of keeping up with your competition and to become the best photographer you can be, invest the time to improve your craft.

4. Falling Back on Old Habits

If you want to remain relevant and continue to create good work, do what it takes to create good work. Have an old habit that’s getting in the way of making great photographs? Do what you can to eradicate it. Feeling uninspired? Seek out other photographers who have tips to help you. Don’t just rely on your old way of doing things; try new things, and you may be amazed on how well it works out.

5. Ignoring the “Boring Legal Stuff”

In the photography industry, this is a BIG problem, especially for new photographers. They spend so much time researching lenses and gear, talking to clients and scouting out locations that they forget one essential aspect.

If you have questions, try out Professional Photographers of America. This is one of the many great organizations that can help steer you in the right direction.

6. It’s a Business

And as it is a business and you’re doing it professionally, there’s a whole other skill set that you have to master before you can even dream about being successful. You need to become savvy about insurance, contracts, liability, etc. etc. etc. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can get away with ignoring this stuff, or you might be in big trouble, not only with your clients but with Uncle Sam.

7. Not Taking Time Out for Personal Projects

After more than a decade of doing this, I can’t tell you enough how stale certain aspects of the business can get, and how stagnant your work can become as a result if you don’t watch out. Taking time to work on personal projects, in the midst of shooting for clients, will help you stay fresh and inspired after years in the business. You’re only human, and your mind needs that creative break.

8. Not Investigating the Competition

You do not operate in a vacuum. Whether you are in a big city or a little town, odds are there is at least one photographer in the area who you need to know about. More likely, there will be hundreds. It’s your job to research them, find out what they charge and what their processes are. It will not only clue you into your area, and help you find clients, but will let you know how hard you need to work if you want to make it in your area.

While doing this, remember what makes you unique. Don’t try and be like everyone else. I’m not saying that you need to be obsessive about it, because your business comes first, I’m just saying you need to be aware.

9. Forgetting about E-mail Marketing

Long gone are the days where you could tell your friends about your new business and they would tell all their friends, and you would be up and running in no time. You also can’t just post signs on street corners and pray that clients will come knocking on your door. In the modern age, you need to go to them. You have to find clients, and one of the best ways to do it is via e-mail marketing.

10. Being Lazy

If you are under the impression that being a Boudoir photographer is easy, think again. You need to be extremely resourceful from the beginning. Not only are you the head honcho, lead photographer and master editor, you also are your own accountant, PR person and human resources department. You will be working 60 hour weeks minimum, often much more than that. Working for yourself is one of the hardest things you can do, and if you don’t LOVE it, you probably won’t make it. Eight-five percent of new businesses fail within the first year, 70 percent in the second year, and 60 percent in the third.

If you want to have the best chance of success, make sure your heart is in it to win it. It’s 10 years later and I still work around the clock, but when you love it, it’s not work! I feel blessed everyday to get up and work my ass off and before I know it, it’s 2 am.

Now that might be my relentless pursuit of perfection, but I’ll get into that later.

And here’s a bonus reason:

 11. Not Getting to Know Clients

Here’s the real zinger that most photographers fail to understand. Besides yourself, your clients are the most important people to your business. Without them, you would not have a business. Take the time to learn their  needs and go beyond meeting them. Build relationships with people so they not only hire you again, they refer their friends to you.

These are just a few pointers to help you get started, but if you have your own advice or if you have question, don’t hesitate to comment below.

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How to Develop a Positive Self-Image

February 26, 2014

Boudoir State of Mind: Body Talk – How to Build a Positive Self-Image

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserves your love and affection.” – Buddha

Do you have any idea how absolutely incredible you are, how unique and beautiful and capable you are?

For most of us, taking compliments like these is difficult. We think, “Me? How am I special? What makes me unique? And I may be pretty, but beautiful, no, I don’t think so.” Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Do you remember when you were a little girl and someone complimented you on your new dress, you not only believed them but you said thank you and felt like the most beautiful thing in the room?

What happened to that self-confidence, that belief that you are someone special? For many of us, we grew up. We were thrust into social circumstances where, instead of people being positive to each other, they were mean, sometimes to our faces and, more commonly, behind our backs. We would stay up late picking out an amazing outfit for the next day, only to have the “popular” girl make fun of it. Or we would work for days on a school project, only to get tongue-tied when we presented it to the class.

These experiences at home, at school and hanging out with friends came to shape our self-image.

If we get burned, we typically try to avoid putting ourselves in that situation again. Bad public speaking experiences as a child lead to full-on phobias as an adult. Embarrassing social situations while we’re young turn into social anxieties as we get older. And if we have insecure parents, those same insecurities will amplify in us, and the cycle will continue. But what if I told you there was a way to let go of these experiences and begin to develop a positive self-image? Would you set yourself free and give it a try?

Write down the things you’re most insecure about, and think about what has made you insecure about them. This is undoubtedly the most difficult part of the process, as most of us don’t want to revisit these circumstances.

For example, a friend of mine was always incredibly insecure about her ears.

They were a bit larger in size and weren’t flush against the sides of her head, like she figured “normal” ears were supposed to be, so she always wore her hair down or wore a hat so no one could see her ears.  One day, she forgot her hat and needed to wear her hair up to work on a project, and someone told her how nice she looked with her hair that way. She froze. And she didn’t believe it at first. A few days later, she tried it again and another person complimented her as well, said that the look brightened up her face. They didn’t say a thing about her ears.

The truth was this little insecurity was something that only she saw and was caused by something that happened when she was in middle school; a group of mean girls had made fun of her and called her “Yoda” for an entire semester. The sad thing was the girls had done this only because they were jealous of the girl and were looking for a way to bring her down, and it had worked. Everybody we meet on this planet is fighting their own battle.

They deal consistently with raging insecurities and personal issues that they keep inside of themselves, letting no one see. Many times, the hurtful and seemingly selfish things they say to us that insult us and sometimes stay with us for the rest of our lives, have absolutely nothing to do with us. We get hurt and we hurt others, and the cycle continues.

But it doesn’t have to. Once we take the first step to realizing that the insecurities we face, although perfectly real to us, don’t have to remain with us. We can stand up to them and replace them with more positive ones. We can take the terrifying leap of faith and just believe in ourselves for once.

Start to tell yourself every day. Look in the mirror and into your own eyes and tell yourself that you are incredible, unique, beautiful and absolutely capable of achieving whatever it is you intend to do. The harmful words of others, formed by their own insecurities, cannot harm you.

You can rise above them and be the person you were meant to be.

gaining self confidence

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Boudoir Tips – Common Boudoir Questions

February 26, 2014

common boudoir questions

This business has really been a labor of love for me, and I want nothing more than for my clients to see the value in what I do, so it has become very clear that educating clients on the process and what to expect is mandatory!

I want my clients to feel as informed and comfortable as possible, as it gives them the ability to be an educated consumer. Then, hopefully, they clearly can see the value in what we do here at Boudoir Los Angeles and trust that I’ll give them the best experience imaginable.

These are the most common boudoir questions:

Q: Can you make me look like the “models” on your site?

Most of the women I work with aren’t professional models. This includes the photos on the website.  These women are real people — mothers, daughters, wives, fiancées, girlfriends, etc. — with dreams and insecurities, just like you and me, and every one of them is beautiful and unique. Boudoir photography is designed to bring out the best side of you, so that you look fabulous in your photographs.

Q: Can you make me look twenty pounds lighter in a sexy boudoir photography shoot?

Am I able to make you look twenty pounds lighter in your boudoir shoot? The honest answer is yes, I can. As a professional photographer, I know how to pose and which lighting to use to make you to look your best. I have been retouching photos for more than a decade, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but I am a firm believer in the natural beauty of women, and I am convinced that your dress size has nothing to do with how attractive or sexy you can be.

With that in mind, I retouch the photos in a way that only enhances them. I have been shooting fashion and editorial work for years, so I’m not going to lie, I LOVE retouching! Every photo needs some retouching, and every photo we see on the newsstands and in the magazines has been retouched. Retouching can do amazing things.  Yes, it can be abused, but I don’t believe I am guilty of that. Seeing as we compare ourselves to who we see every day and are somehow convinced that we can’t look like that, I am here to show you, YOU CAN!

It’s time to level the playing fields and show you that with the right photographer, lighting, equipment and tools you can be just as glamorous.

A boudoir session with me is guaranteed to bring out your fabulous most sexy self, and although I will help you become the most beautiful person you can be in these photographs, I will not transform you into someone who you’re not. Through my photography, I want to help you appreciate the unique radiance that already exists inside of you, not create something else that isn’t real.

Q: I’m normally very shy and conservative, so will I look nervous in the photos?

Boudoir photography is an incredibly empowering experience, and although the session may not transform you into a daring vixen, it will help you be come more confident, which will show up in your finished photographs. Also, you’re not doing this alone. Our team will be there to help you pose and relax, and you’ll probably have more fun than you thought you would. I love what I do, so most can’t help but feed off of my enthusiasm and have a good time as well! Okay, the champagne helps, too!

Q: Are your packages very expensive?

For top-of-the line customization, the value meets the price. We maintain a dynamic range of products and unparalleled services at our custom photography studio.

We

  • Offer the finest portraiture services available.
  • Create timeless images that match our high standards.
  • Provide photographs which are professionally edited, color corrected and retouched.
  • Keep you and your total experience in mind.
  • Offer our specialty fine art products that you will appreciate for a lifetime.

Q: Do you provide the outfits?

No, but I can advise you on what looks best. You will have a design consultation when you book the session, and we will send you a list of stores I love as recommendations.

Q: What type of outfits do you recommend?

Outfits that you feel confident in. Every woman is different, and a sexy panty/bra set may work for one person, while a slinky off the shoulder sweater may be best for another. If you have any questions about an outfit, don’t hesitate to ask during our consultation. We also have stylists that can be booked for a day of styling at your request.

Q: Do you offer hair and makeup?

Marisa Leigh Photography works with world-class celebrity make-up and hair stylists which are available for your session.

Q: How far in advance do I need to book a boudoir appointment?

The sooner the better. Usually a minimum of 2-3 weeks before your chosen date is optimal, and weekends fill up faster than weekdays. Keep this in mind if you are giving this as a gift. It can take up to six weeks to get your album or image box.

Q: I am a plus size woman and all the girls on your website look skinny. Can you work with me?

Of course! Just because my samples may not seem to be very diverse, I work will all woman regardless of dress size.

Q: Who is Marisa?

I am! Read more about me in the Bio section of my website.

Book a session with us today!  You won’t regret it!

Contact info@marisaleigh.com.

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A Confident Woman Can Change the World

February 24, 2014

In the modern world, everything you come into contact with contains a message, and although the messages are often detrimental or, at the very least, confusing, the messages designed for women often contain similar content.

These messages tell us:

  • WHO we should be.
  • WHAT size we should strive for.
  • WHY we should look a certain way.
  • HOW we should do it.

Up until recently, the message was never:

  • You are good enough.
  • You are smart
  • You are beautiful.
  • You are worthy.

They never said: You Can.

But what if we made a conscious decision to ignore the noise, to block out the sound of negativity, of all the voices saying that we can’t, and believed that we could change the world.  What then?

A Woman Who Broke the Mold

We’ve all heard of Rosa Parks. Often called the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, she was a woman who simply refused to do what society expected her to do. She stared in the face of the status quo and said “no” so eloquently that the world would never be the same again. Although not the first to defy segregation laws in such a way (two more brazen women, Irene Morgan and Sarah Louise Keys, did it before her), Rosa Parks accomplished in this small act more than she ever would have known. She ignored the noise and thought “what if?”. And her actions changed the world.

A Woman Who Faced Death

One of the more famous stories of the decade has surrounded the tremendous young woman Malala Yousafzai. A native of Pakistan, Malala stood up to the Taliban, championing the right of education for all women, only to be shot in the head by her opposers. Despite her trauma, Malala overcame her injury and is now one of the world’s leading voices on women’s rights, especially the right for every woman to be educated. One small voice has shifted the balance in that region; one confident voice has changed the status quo.

You, Too, Can Change the World

I look at these two women, and the thousands of others throughout history, and wonder how many times people told them that they didn’t have what it took, that they would never achieve anything, that, for whatever reason, they weren’t good enough.  Countless times, I’m sure.

But what it comes down to is not how many times someone tells you that you can’t do it, determines what you are capable of becoming, but how many times you internalize it. Someone can tell you something, but unless you believe it, it won’t become a part of you.  Yet knowing this and living this are two entirely different things.

The ever-present barrage of media negativity has a debilitating way of seeping into our subconscious and taking up residence in our lives, controlling our actions, impacting our relationships, and shaping our self-esteem. If we don’t realize how much the negativity of our environment is shaping our current reality, we can’t combat it.

So what can we do?

Wake Up.

Begin to realize that, despite the constant bombardment of messages which are trying to sell things you don’t need and designed to play upon insecurities that you’ve dealt with for years, you don’t have to listen. I’ll say it again. You don’t have to listen. Instead, you can choose to believe a different story, one that tells you that you are worthy, tells you that you can be anything and do anything if you’re committed to it and work hard to achieve it.

Choose to be confident, to believe a different story, and you, too, can change the world. 

This post is dedicated to my ambitious friend Nicole Nogrady aka Lady Nogrady.

She is a singer/songwriter, and tomorrow is her birthday so this post is dedicated to her! She has been following her heart for as long as I’ve known her and that’s one of the reasons I love her dearly. She wrote this amazing song, Hello Girls, which is all about empowering women to take over the world.

She is a strong, bold and beautiful person, and I am so grateful to have her as a friend in my life! Check her out here. I’m sure she would be thrilled to sell some of her songs on her birthday.

Have a fabulous week and remember, you can be the change you wish to see in the world! Let that confidence shine!

Happy Monday!

XX,
Marisa

a confident women

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