Month: March, 2014

Living in a Passionate State of Being

March 19, 2014

I had a lovely date with a girlfriend of mine last night and she had just made one of the hardest decisions in her life that she has ever made. It is going to turn her life upside down inside out and everything is uncertain right now. The only thing that is certain is that she did the brave thing, the hard and the scary thing. She took a step to reclaiming her life and living a life that she loves and is passionate about.

The rest of the night I could not stop thinking about the things that drive us mad in our lives and that we seem to put up with these things or people way longer than we should. We have all done it. We have all gotten comfortable in     dis-empowering  situations and we have all made exceptions and excuses for people who make us unhappy. This post today is about reclaiming your passion, your power and remembering that you can create anything in your life if you put your mind to it!

Are you Living in a Passionate State of Being?

 com • fort zone noun 1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

 Everyone says that there are two types of people in this world, and then they will go on to explain what those two things are. This is limiting to your humanity, don’t listen to them, you do not fall into a group, and exist in the cut and dry world as this or that. You are infinite in your complexities, and you should revel in them.

 However, there does exist a certain bipolarity in the way people behave and construct their lives. some people, whether they realize it or not, tend to be predominantly proactive when it comes to their life, and others tend to be reactive. Some people live consciously, passionately, intentionally.

 Others don’t.

 You’ve probably seen the saying “well behaved women rarely make history.” Well, I say, “The woman who lacks passion won’t make history,” or at least she won’t ever live the life she truly desires.

 How do you know if you’re living in a passionate state of being?

 First you have to be honest with yourself:

  • Who is driving your life?
  • Do you wait for others to take action and you follow along?
  • Are you in a job you can’t stand because you’re afraid of losing the security?
  • Are your friends controlling or are they empowering?
  • How long does it take you to make a decision, and when you do, do you stick to it?
  • Are you living the life you’ve always dreamt of?

Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. You have to look inside yourself, determine what it is that you really want, and you have to act on it without waiting for permission. People are proactive aren’t jump first think later sort of people, they just don’t wait for other people to “approve” of their dreams before the strive after them.

 Every second of your life is a new opportunity. You can use it to break out of your comfort zone, and do something to further your life, or you can sit around and wait for something to happen, and watch opportunity after opportunity pass you by.

 It’s your life, it’s your choice whether or not you want to wake up everyday and live in a passionate state of being!

 Choose wisely.

living passionatly

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7 Tips For Choosing A Boudoir Photographer

March 19, 2014

Choosing a photographer isn’t always easy. There’s so many “photographers” out there, how do you separate the good from the bad?

 Here’s my top 7 tips for choosing a boudoir photographer to make the filtering process easier.

Having great equipment doesn’t necessarily make you a great photographer, but having the right equipment can make a huge difference. Not only that, a professional photographer needs to have the expertise to use the equipment he or she uses, and the financial backing to keep it updated.

Often, when you see a boudoir photographer who has low session fees and low print prices, this is a major red flag. They most likely haven’t invested in high end professional photography equipment or it could be they don’t know how to run a profitable business. Contrary to popular belief, photography is an expensive business to run. One of the most expensive parts of running a profitable photography business, in addition to marketing and advertising, studio fees, certifications, and professional programs is the need to maintain and professionally update our equipment so the photographs we create are quality.

If you are looking professional photographer with experience and top of the line equipment, you will not be able to book sessions with them for $100. Nor will you be able to walk out out the door with a few 8×10’s for under a few hundred dollars.

Photographers don’t make a living from session fees alone, we make them from our print sales and it’s vital to our survival as artists and professionals that we charge according to our work, our time, and the investment we have made into our businesses.

Photography is an investment and if you want a professional that has dedicated their life to it, continues to do workshops and seminars every year to evolve as an artist, and is 100% committed to quality, you have to understand although it may not be “cheap,” it will be worth it. It goes without saying, in all things, you get exactly what you pay for.

 Light

When scouting for boudoir photographers, it’s incredibly important to take a look at their portfolio. All of it. By looking through what they consider their best photos, you can determine what type of light they excel in, and if they have a consistent look. If they seem all over the place, and if their subjects don’t really seem well lit, it’s a sure sign that your photos will turn out the same way.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of professional photography. If a photographer doesn’t know how to manipulate existing light or position proper artificial lighting, then you don’t want to work with them.

Energy Levels

The best photographers are positive people with high energy and high output. This is because they understand how important it is to keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself during the shoot.

This is why it so important to begin the process with an over the phone conversation. Only by talking to them can you discern whether they are a good fit for you, and if the session will bring out the best in you. If they pass the phone test, meet them in person to discuss your session. Remember, this is an investment you’re making, it should be with the right person.

Directing

Another thing to look into when choosing a good photographer is if they give good direction. I run into this problem all the time with clients that come to me and tell me their last photographer did nothing to make them feel comfortable, nor had the ability to give them proper direction to bring out the best in them. Good photographers understand that the majority of their clientele won’t be professional models, and that it’s up to them not only to give good direction, but to be encouraging, and help people become comfortable doing something they don’t do all the time, like being in front of camera.

One of the best ways to judge this is, again, by looking through a photographer’s portfolio. If people look relaxed and at ease, and if there is a diversity of unique expressions in the mix (and a general absence of nervous features), then you’ve struck gold.

Personality

Photo sessions are supposed to be fun, so for your own sake, find a boudoir photographer that has a bit of character! You don’t want to spend a session being bored and generally awkward when you can easily find someone upbeat and fun to be around. Usually if you talk to someone on the phone before booking with them you’ll get a good idea what they’re like.

Experience

Determining a photographer’s level of experience comes down to a few distinct things:

  • How long have they been a photographer?
  • Are they self taught or did they go to school?
  • Did they work for someone else before branching out on your own?

Each photographer will vary slightly based on what they’re experience has been. There are a lot of great self-taught boudoir photographers out there, but you need to be careful because there are even more terrible ones. People who have been photographers for 40 years may have less pizzazz then those who have only been doing it for ten, but have a more creative fresh eye.

Research your photographer, find out your story, the right level of experience will make them trustworthy, which is exactly what you need.

Studio 

Not every professional photographer has a studio, but chances are, the ones who have been successfully running a profitable photography business in the same area for a while, will have a studio.

If a photographer doesn’t have a studio, you’ll have to ask them where they shoot: in their house? Out on the street? Without a studio, there’s a greater risk, but with a studio, the photographer is in complete control of the environment. Just something to consider.

Bonus: Retouching

You want to look your best, right? Quality photos are professionally retouched, there is no exception.

I have been retouching for more than ten years and lots of love goes into perfecting my images. I can spend up to 2 hours on one photo. I retouch images to look as though they came right out of a magazine. Not to say one way is either right or wrong, that’s just my style and what esthetically pleases me.

So you want to consider how YOU want your fished images to look. Check out their website and weigh them against your standards. Does their work employ quality retouching, or do their photos on their site and blog have flaws in the skin, have they taken the time to retouch flyways or stretch marks?

When it comes to professional photography, it’s up to you decide what your standards will be. And doing your research, and keeping these things in consideration, will make choosing the right photographer for you that much easier.

If you have a tip for finding a professional boudoir photographer, a question to ask me, or if you want to share an experience you’ve had with a photographer who wasn’t all you thought they were, don’t hesitate to let us know in the Comments below!

choosing the right photographer

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The Gateway To Your Creative Energy

March 17, 2014

“Introspection is the key to understanding one’s self, and it’s also a route that leads to the well of creativity.”                    – Jane Gaboury

I’ve been reading so many articles recently on the nature of creativity and the creative process, about how people can be inspired to dig deep within themselves to come up with beautiful and inspirational works of art. One of the things that I’ve discovered over and over is that the most incredible things come from the darkest places, from the most confused places, and even stranger yet, from the tired places.

Many times people have told me that they aren’t able to be creative because they have too much to do, and they don’t have the energy to put their ideas in motion. They make excuses based on the misconceived notion that they have to be perky or manic or have boundless energy in order to see their dreams become a reality. I’ve always felt like this was a much smaller limitation than many people realized, but now I know just how small it is.

Our mind is an extraordinary thing. It gives us dreams and fantasies while at the same time helping us to cope with the challenging aspects of reality. It helps us conquer enormous to-do lists and keep up with relationships and job responsibilities in ways that we didn’t know we were capable. The mind thinks, the mind sets into motion, and the mind creates – even when we aren’t aware of it.

Think about it this way. Have you ever had an “Aha” moment when you were in the shower or in the last few minutes before you fell asleep? Have you suddenly recalled a tidbit of information, like where you had placed that lost book or the name of a band you were talking to your friend about, hours after you had actively stopped thinking about it? Odds are, you have. Do you know why?

Your brain is ultimately separated into two parts: your active mind and your subconscious mind. Your active mind processes information, and you are aware of its activity. Your subconscious mind also processes information, and you are never actively aware of its activity. It is from your subconscious mind that flows many aspects of the self, especially the creative self, to your active mind.

So when you had that brilliant idea when you got in the shower, that was your subconscious mind relaying information to your active mind. To you, it came out of nowhere, a shot of inspiration from the air. The reality isn’t quite like this, although you can definitely consider the truth to be just as miraculous.

What most people realize is that this communication between both parts of your mind happens naturally, but it won’t happen if you don’t take the time to slow down and become introspective. The reason why it finds you in the shower or when you’ve just crawled into bed is because that’s been the first time all day when you’ve taken the time to rest and be still. Your subconscious is very polite, it won’t butt in until you’re ready to listen.

So if you’re exhausted and feeling drained. Don’t try to fight through the muck and the mire of your active mind and force yourself to be creative when you don’t feel up to it. Instead, look inward. Take time to meditate and allow yourself to relax. Only then will your inactive mind begin to teach you, and relay information that it’s been storing since the last time you took a minute to relax.

Relaxation is Invigorating. It’s uplifting. And it’s the gateway to creativity.

quieter

Have a great week and don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself to look inward and relax! I promise it will be worth it!

XX

Marisa

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Boudoir State of Mind: The 3 C's

March 13, 2014

Boudoir State of Mind: Connect, Communicate, Conquer —

Why Saying What You Mean is the Key to Success

It continues to amaze me how our ability to communicate as Americans has degenerated over the past few years.

Maybe it’s all the texting, who knows. But regardless of the cause, this difficulty with communication keeps us from living our life to the fullest especially when it comes to being successful in our professional and personal relationships.

Ultimately, communication is a two way street. Sometimes we think we’re making sense, when the person we’re talking to has no idea what we’re saying. It may be cultural barriers, or it may be because we’re just not being clear. Because everyone’s different, it’s important that you know when the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand, so that you can try to explain things better.

This means that, depending on the situation and the people involved, your methods of communication will have to change. Most of the time, however, it is better to be straightforward than to be vague.

It’s better to just say what you mean.

Three Steps to Being a Better Communicator

The first step to useful communication is to connect.

This could be as simple as making the first move by sending an email or making a phone call. On a deeper level, making a connection has more to do with finding things in common. In the professional world, this means stating very clearly how your purpose in contacting them is related to what they do.

To make this connection is very important. You might get into a situation where it seems like beating around the bush is more polite, but it can often lead to the other person missing the point completely.

People respond much more quickly to direct, yet tactful lines of reason than they do inarticulate rambling.

 What if taking an assertive stance just feels like the most difficult social situation you can think of?

There are ways to get around the nerves. First of all, breathe. Often when people get into stressful situations–as can be the case when trying to get something you want from people you think don’t want to give it to you–they forget to breathe.

Taking in that breath eases your mind and keeps it focused on what you want to say.

Secondly, practice. Even if this means practicing in front of the mirror or with your spouse, if you know that you have the tendency to get tongue-tied or to  suddenly get shy, it’s beneficial to rehearse a bit beforehand.

Thirdly, you want to learn the art of being concise. Some people will go on about their daughter’s Sweet 16 for an hour before they get to the real discussion about the price of a vehicle they want to buy.

Others will hum-and-haw about what’s on their own calendar before asking if they can get an appointment on such and such day. The key to getting what you want when you need it is to learn how to say it sooner rather than later.

This is not to say that social interaction isn’t necessary. On the contrary! Asking someone about their day or their family could be just the opening you need to bring up a topic.

At the same time, pay attention to their reaction and avoid circling around the point.

On a final note, we all know the adage, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” This is crucial to success. If people perceive you as someone who cannot put their ideas into words, or worse, as someone who is unreliable, then you are in for a lot of trouble. It will be difficult for people to trust you, and especially if you’re in a leadership position, to follow you.

A person who is good at communicating knows how to read the situation, clearly articulates what needs to be done, avoids mixed messages and playing people off one another, and often has an easy to follow design or direction in mind.

Become this kind of person by learning how to clearly and concisely put your thoughts into words.Connect, Communicate, Conquer --

XX

Marisa

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Boudoir Tech: Top 5 Schools to Learn Your Craft

March 12, 2014

Boudoir Tech:  Top 5 Schools to Learn Your Craft

Have you ever wanted to become a professional photographer who specializes in Boudoir, but have no idea which schools will help prepare  you for your career of choice?

As a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, I am a huge advocate for attending a school or university in order to gain fundamental knowledge about the art. Through these programs, you’ll get hands on experience, glean wisdom from expert teachers, and have the freedom to make mistakes while you’re figuring stuff out.

 So many modern photographers skip this process because they believe they can teach themselves and still be successful. Some can, but it takes an incredible amount of self-discipline, and you’ll spend a lot more time bumbling around in the dark. I say don’t make things harder for yourself, go to school, get an education, and create a foundation for yourself that will prepare you for the next phase of your life.

Art schools are great for those who have not chosen there niche yet and need to figure it out. I was lucky enough to learn my skills on film. Or was I? Ha, well I guess I feel special  for learning the hard way. God know how many times I just blew it, but I never forgot those lessons I learned. Three long year of trial and error and weekly critiques made me the photographer I am today. Nothing is wrong with being self taught, but for me, learning the “right way”, so to speak gave me the tools to create anything I want in camera. In order to bend the rules,  you need to know the rules. I have very high standards because of how I leaned. I have a deep respect for photography and after investing the amount of time I have into my craft, I’m confident and proud at the level of quality I produce and I am comfortable at charging more than the average photographer.

 Although there are thousands of options for tech schools, many of which can give you exactly what you need, here’s my list of the best Photography Schools in the country, places where you can get the start you’re looking for in boudoir photography.

 1. Rochester Institute of Photography

 Notoriously one of the most difficult programs in the country, but if you’re looking for a challenge (or a swift kick in the pants), this could be the place for you.

 2. The New York Institute of Photography

 Based in New York City, but offering classes remotely, the NYIP is the oldest photography school in the U.S., so you’ll have generations of photography wisdom at your fingertips.

 3. Rhode Island School of Design

 World renowned art and design school with a photography major, sounds like a winner.

 4. Rocky Mountain School of Photography

 Mixing photography school and gorgeous landscapes – How could you go wrong?

 5. Brooks Institute of Photography

 Since I had such a positive experience here, I just couldn’t leave this one out. 🙂 It’s intensive and expensive!

There are many ways to learn photography,  youtube, hiring a consultant,  learning on the job, or finding a mentor. Whatever way you choose to learn your craft, be sure to tackle it with all you got! Now more than ever, everyone wants to be a photographer and just because you went to a fancy school or watched a bunch of youtube videos does not make you a photographer. It’s a tough business and it’s not just about shooting. I’d say it’s about 25% shooting and the rest is marketing, branding, editing, and sales, etc..  If you want it bad, don’t let anything get in your way and charge forward with a passion and drive that can’t be stopped.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

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