christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-11

Boudoir Outtakes – How to Capture Someone’s Essence

One of my secrets to capturing the essence of someone is including a lot of outtakes in the final set. By outtake, I mean the moments that aren’t “posed” – usually the moments in between, when she thinks I’m not shooting (but I always am :), when she blushes, lets out silliness, cracks up or in some other way expresses an authentic feeling.

The shot above and just below of Mrs. H (a bad ass businesswoman, devoted wife and mother of five!) are my two favorite shots of our photo shoot – and they’re outtakes.

Here are a few highlights of both outtakes and more “posed” moments…

christa_meola_boudoir-photography-workshop-9christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-001 christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-8 christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-2 christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-99 christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-004

So maybe you grabbed the shot so quickly you accidentally cropped off the toe, like I did here, below. BUT the essence of the human being is there.

christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-005 christa-meola-boudoir-photography-workshop-006

So make sure to include those outtakes as one way to capture someone’s essence.

It’s the thing I’m most complimented on, and now you know one of my secrets.

Have fun with it!

xoxo, Christa

christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_02

Nude with Fringed Shawl

If I were going to choose only one accessory to shoot with nudes or boudoir, I’d go for an embroidered fringe shawl every time. They can be elegant, tasteful, and provide a lot of coverage or a little. It’s a great middle ground for clients who would like to do nude, but need some help getting warmed up.

christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_03 christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_06 christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_005 christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_04

christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_012 christa_meola_nude_online_boudoir_workshop_05 christa_meola_nude_online_photography_workshop

These were all shot during a live in-person workshop in NYC, during a mini-demo with one window as our light source. Check out some other nudes with fringed shawl here.

Remember to coach a bunch of actions to create variety and have fun with it!

xoxo, Christa

 

Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_015

Simply Stunning Strobe Lighting

Here are three lighting set-ups from a personal branding shoot in Los Angeles with the brilliant and bad ass Justine Musk.

We shot this first set with 2 strobes, using a similar set-up I first demo’d in Gorgeous 2-Strobe Set-up.
Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_016

The main light with octobox is raised above head level and just to my right. Back light directly opposite angled just slightly toward camera. Here’s a diagram of set up #1:

christa_meola_lighting_diagram_1

Then we switched to the seamless studio background (Dove Grey, my fav), keeping mostly the same lighting set-up above for the first shot below. Note that we simply inched the back light further out to my left here so that it created an edge light on the right side of her face, arm and body. Here it is SOOC…

Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_010

Here’s a diagram of set up #2:

christa_meola_lighting_diagram

Now, did you ever want to create that hazy soft ethereal look?

Here’s how to do it: We added a third strobe. My assistant stood just a few feet to my left and slightly in front of me, holding a strobe pointed directly into my lens. Yes, it was slightly blinding to my eyes – ha! – but I really love the soft haze and color that resulted.

Here it is SOOC with only sharpening added…

Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_008

Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_009

Christa_Meola_New_York_Photographer_011

My assistant played around varying the angle of the strobe to get more and less light into my lens, thus varying the color/light effects you see above.

Diagram of set up #3:

christa_meola_lighting_diagram_3

There ya go  – easy, fun, beautiful lighting.

Flattering light doesn’t need to be complicated – try it out and have fun!

xo, Christa

Lighting diagrams created at sylights.com.

christa_meola_personal_branding_boudoir_photographer_001

Sexing it up with Silver Reflector Boards

Ever since I first blogged this set-up 2+ years ago, I’ve been answering tons of Q’s about how I created this look.

You’ve asked consistently for a “simple go-to lighting scenario” and “what are those background reflectors you use?” – so I went ahead and made this tutorial for you.

Photographers who’ve attended my live workshop in NYC have seen this set up in action, and I’ve become known for it. (So much so that when Annie Leibovitz shot Caitlyn Jenner for Vanity Fair, I received several messages joking that she stole my look!)

But this look is easy and hardly revolutionary. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. In fact, you can use it on your next shoot.

Here’s why I love it:

√ I use this set up for everything from boudoir and nudes to personal branding and head shots.

√ It’s awesome to use when doing mini-sessions and marathons because it gives me confidence when I’m hustling to create variety within a single session.

√ No matter how cluttered a location is, this set-up provides a cool clean backdrop in a pinch.

√ And the lighting is universally flattering.

Take a peek at how I use it for boudoir…

christa_meola_personal_branding_boudoir_photographer_nyc_002

For personal branding and entrepreneurs…
christa-meola-nathalie-lussier-personal-branding-photographer-nyc-05

christa_meola-boudoir_personal_branding_photographer_nyc-1-3

For headshots…

christa_meola_boudoir-personal_branding_photographer_nyc-1

And for nudes…

Christa_Meola_Nude_Boudoir_Photography_NewYork_001 Christa_Meola_Nude_Boudoir_Photography_NewYork_003

Silver Reflector Boards Lighting Diagram
christa_meola_reflector_lighting_diagram

Tips on using
Walk around and try different angles to either incorporate reflections or totally eliminate them.
Have your model stand close to the reflector for sharper reflection, and ask her to step away from the reflectors for more blur.
Open and close the reflectors for different looks, move it around the studio and have some fun!

What to get
It’s called Bead Board 4′ x 8′ x 1″ or foam core reflector boards.
It comes in glossy, matte, and semi-matte. I got the semi-matte.
It comes in varying thickness. Get the thicker boards because you’ll need the sturdiness. It’s more money, but worth it.

Where to buy
I got mine at Set Shop in NYC. They deliver. But you can get them at most photo supply stores.

How to make
Lay the boards on the floor, silver side down, and tape the backs together with thick gaffer tape along the spine from top to bottom.

Violá!

Reflectors á la Meola.

Hope it’s helpful when you want a simple gorgeous lighting set up that clients will love.

xo, Christa

ps. Try it out, and please share your pics with me on social media. I’d love to see your success! If you have any Q’s, ask them via Instagram or by tweeting me @christameola.

christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_nyc_09

Shades of Grey

Sunset hour at the studio is one of my favorite times of day, and I love keeping it simple…

christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_nyc_01
christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_nyc_08

christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_nyc_05

christa_meola_nude_boudoir_photographer_907

This woman chose to remain unretouched in all the photos above. #RealisBeautiful.

xo, Christa

ps. We show all clients their pictures without retouching, and it’s each woman’s choice whether to keep them that way.

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_04

Spotlight on: Michelle Martello

Michelle’s a triple threat, who’s everything a modern entrepreneur wants: a talented web designer, fierce digital strategist and brilliant coder. Most importantly, she’s someone you can trust, always tells it like it is, and goes many extra miles for you.

I should know – Michelle is finishing up the new ChristaMeola.com, launching this Fall.

As fiery as her hair color, Michelle is hilarious, the sexiest dancer you’ll ever want to meet and one of my dearest friends.

My husband and I love visiting Michelle and her husband in Richmond. You can expect house music and homemade cocktails; wine tasting and drag racing; hot seats and lots of hospitality.

Check out our interview below to hear more about Michelle and her latest exciting project.

I’m delighted to introduce you to (the completely unretouched) Michelle Martello…

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_005

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_01

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_09

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_05

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_03

christa_meola_personal_branding_photographer_nyc_06

Michelle, give me 5 words to describe you.
Loyal. Strong. Creative. Independent. Witty.

What is your greatest gift?
I love looking at the bigger picture of someone’s business – envisioning years ahead and seeing what’s next. Staying ahead of the curve and getting my clients to the top of their game.

How do you keep inspired?
Constantly reading everything I can get my hands on. A slight Pinterest obsession. Running on my favorite forest trails. Frequent retreats to spaces where I can’t get wifi.

How do you walk your walk?
I strive to do everything with the utmost integrity. I refuse to put my name on anything I’m not proud of.

Can you tell us a favorite inspirational story of someone you’ve helped?
These days I’m most proud of my role as a mentor. I love supporting designers to find their voice, gain confidence and challenge themselves. I love when people I’ve mentored come back a year later to say our work together completely changed their lives – they’ve turned their business around and are working with amazing clients and projects.

What are you most excited about right now?
I am so passionate about helping business owners create their own online products and services . The online education sphere is a huge (and still vastly underserved) market. Creating your own product is a great way to get known, generate income and to share your knowledge with the world. That’s why I’ve created an all new guidebook, The Minima Guide to Getting Paid Online that covers everything you need to know about selling (and getting paid) online.

When do you feel your most beautiful?
In the ocean.

How do you feel about your body?
I fought my curves for a long time, and I’ve finally accepted that I’ll never be a stick. My goals have changed as I’ve aged. I’m more interested in staying strong and agile than fitting into a size 0.  I want to be doing handstands when I’m 90 and not be worried about getting up the stairs. I want to try everything at least once. I’d love to learn parkour and run a spartan race.

What’s your favorite book?
Any kind of historical fiction or biography.

Favorite quote?
Well-behaved women seldom make history – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Favorite piece of art?
Art that makes you question everything. Currently I’m loving anything by the painter Kehinde Wiley, and Ai Weiwei blows my mind.  Modern architecture and furniture design are my other great passions.

Favorite object in your home?
My beloved aussie shepherd rescue pup, Juno.

Favorite hangout?
My front porch. Endless entertainment from people watching!

Favorite beauty product?
Dr. Jart BB Cream. I’m so fair-skinned it’s hard to find any coverage that matches my complexion. This is quick to use, gives me a glow and protective all at once.

Favorite can’t-live-without item?
Wireless headphones. I need house music at all times!

What’s your #1 tip for fellow entrepreneurs?
Get connected! The best thing I ever did was get out of my comfort zone and start connecting with others online and in person. Go to events and conferences and meet your clients and contemporaries in person!

It’s too easy to hide behind our computers, and we forget that real people exist behind the personas. Get out there and talk to people. At the end of the day, we exist to support each other. I can’t tell you how many people have worked with me because other clients have referred me. They know that not only will I deliver, but they’ve also got someone who believes in them.

###

I think her answer to when she feels the most beautiful is… well, beautiful.

Count yourself lucky if you get to work with or be mentored by Michelle, and you’ve hit the jackpot if you get invited over to her house for a dance party.

More Personal Branding portraits soon!

xo Christa

ps. #RealisBeautiful – Michelle opted to remain unretouched in all of the photographs above.

CHRISTA-MEOLA-REAL-IS-BEAUTIFUL-PHOTOGRAPHER-NYC-002

One Size Does Not Fit All

This shoot was a fun study in making it work!

A self-described “plus-sized lingerie boutique” sent us a few fun things to photograph. So we booked a model represented by a “plus-sized agency.”

But when our lovely model showed up for the shoot, she was smaller than me! Hahaa! My first reaction was to think Oh my goodness she’s not big enough. But I caught myself super quick and thought Who the heck is to say who is plus size, minus size, regular size, right size. She’s perfect.

So I hustled. I found this mannequin in a back closet of the studio, grabbed it and had some fun.

CHRISTA_MEOLA_REAL_IS_BEAUTIFUL_PHOTOGRAPHER_NYC_001

I also gave her my #realisbeautiful t-shirt. She is unretouched in all of these pictures.

CHRISTA-MEOLA-REAL-IS-BEAUTIFUL-PHOTOGRAPHER-NYC-005

The lingerie boutique and the model agency both have different ideas on what plus-sized is. We will, of course, have to book someone who actually fits the clothing we want to photograph.

In the meantime, I hope you find this story and pics inspirational.

When life surprises you, make meaningful photographs!

Love, Christa

ps. we just had a couple seats open up for our upcoming live workshop! Click here for more details and snag your spot.

kimonoBADGE2

Opening the Kimono, a live Workshop in NYC!

This exciting two-day event in NYC June 12th & 13th is an exclusive peek behind-the-scenes with Christa, her team and clients. You’ll see how she works with women, lights & poses her subjects, and collaborates with everyone on set to capture meaningful flattering shots that sell.

DAY ONE: FRIDAY JUNE 12th

An Exclusive Backstage Pass!
A special invitation to go behind the scenes to watch me shoot LIVE in NYC.

Be a fly on the wall during my shoots:
Want to see my team and me in action?
See how I work with my assistant,
How we use the sapce in my fav studio to create variety,
How I work with my clients to create flattering authentic pictures,
and how I pose and light my subjects, on every single shoot.

Q&A afterwards.
Breakfast and refreshments provided.

Click play on the vid below to experience a taste of the first day’s events…

JS

Invaluable. I had my first post-OTK shoots yesterday. Such a difference in how I create images now! I feel like my work has “grown up” into the style I’ve been trying to shoot for two years. I also received ten inquiries after posting some sneaks today. I made some amazing friendships and left with a fresh new approach to photographing women. I have noticed a huge change in my photography after that trip.
-Joanna Smith

HH

It was a ton of fun and the networking was amazing. My biggest takeaway is how simple Christa’s sets are and that I don’t need a ton of fancy backdrops and places to shoot to be successful. I’ve started implementing some of Christa’s posing tips into my shoots, and it’s been really helpful.
-Heidi Hapanowicz

Thanks Christa for generously giving of your time and talent. I am grateful to have been a part of this.
-Joel Callaway

LL 2

It was great! First, Christa is awesome. Second, it’s good to be able to watch a shoot. Observing and being able to ask questions as you go is very helpful.
-Lincoln Lease

I enjoyed watching Christa and her team work. The best part is how friendly and open Christa is. She shared so much and her personality is kick ass. I’m proud that I was part of the event.
-Sarah Murray

Thanks so much, Christa!  The OTK weekend in NYC was an absolute pleasure.
-Linda McMahon

MW

The live photo shoot was so good for me to see. I left there so pumped! It helped me to see what I’m doing right and what I can improve on.  I loved seeing how she interacts with the client. The greatest benefit for me was the confidence I gained. It really was an invaluable experience for so many reasons. I’m very grateful.
-Meggan Weece

The NYC weekend has given me a big shove in my derriere to keep going and get moving, it’s definitely brought the fire within and the competitive spirit (in a very positive and good way).
-Ina McConnell

DAY TWO: SATURDAY JUNE 13TH

Awesome Portraits for YOU + Your Business

You + Me. Mini Shoot. Amazing Shots.

And then on day two, it’s your turn to step in front of Christa’s camera! You’ll be amazed at the great number of beautiful images we can create in in these mini-sessions. I’ve been shooting mini’s (some under 10 min’s) for several years now, and they always yield spectacular results!

headshots

Two different looks (wardrobe changes)
Two different sets (backgrounds & lighting)
Custom Portraits by Christa
20-minute session
My favorite studio in NYC
Ten or more gorgeous portraits.

Sat. June 13th

KN

These are amazing! I absolutely LOVE what you did. I absolutely ADORE these photos. WOW!
-Kate Northrup

Christa makes women look like fantasies of themselves — it’s so fabulous. And fun. There’s a spirit of defiance and rebellion about the photos, but also a joy…and the joy comes from the kind of atmosphere that Christa was able to create. Amazing.
-Justine Musk

JSG

Christa is part artist, part business strategist. She actually helps you SEE yourself at your next level of success. And captures it on film.
-Jolene Smith Garcia

WOW. The pictures are wow. I am so stunned by your talent. You really captured the best of me. This is the me I strive to be.
-Gry Sindig

RT

Wow, Christa!!! I fucking love love loved working with you. Loved. You are amazing. Thank you for the best photos of my life.
-Regena Thomasheur

Christa made me feel I was in perfect hands and completely taken care of. She’s the
real deal. Ridiculously talented good people attract likewise – Christa’s team was just like her: warm, friendly, highly-skilled and fun.

-Juls ArthurNL

OMG Christa! So freaking amazing!! Thank you thank you thank you! Seriously, the photos are beyond cool.
-Nathalie Lussier

THANK YOU for the amazing photos. They turned out so wonderful. You are a miracle worker to say the least!! Thanks again for taking such great care of me in the shoot!
-Amy Porterfield

 

kimonoBADGE2

Join us for Opening the Kimono, Live in NYC!
June 12th/13th
$1197
OTKBUTTON2 Got Questions?
Email me directly at christa@christameola.com, and I’ll get right back to you.