Monthly Archives: May 2011

Modern Vintage Pin-Up

Guess what I did on this smoking hot Memorial Day weekend!…

Whew! I just finished four days of shooting up a boudoir storm with vintage bombshells, a female boxer, a nude dancer, and a saucy mother of two! And you want to know the BEST part? We recorded it all on camera!!

You want to go behind the scenes to watch me shoot?
Done!

You want to see how I coach women, create smoking hot poses, capture emotion, and laugh myself silly?
You got it!

How about working with nudes, a curvy woman, lighting restrictions, different lenses, a hotel room, outdoor location, and a small bedroom?
Yup 🙂 it’s all in there!

All this juicy awesomeness is for your viewing and educational pleasure as par of the Online Boudoir Workshop!

Take a peek at some of the sexiness that’s in store for you…

And this was just one set of pics!  There’s a whole lotta boudoir goodness in store for you – make sure to watch the blog closely this week 🙂 and head over to our new website for the Online Boudoir Workshop! You can check out the schedule, read reviews, and register for a ringside seat to all the action!

So freakin’ excited.

x. Christa

ps. We’re over half SOLD OUT, so don’t delay – I really want you to be a part of this fun, sassy and empowering event, so Register Now! If you’re a beginner, thinking about getting started, or your business is in burn out, this is the PERFECT TIME and Workshop for you! Let’s get this party started and take action now.

A Sultry Good Time

Photographs created at the Hotel Empire, NYC, May 2011. This shoot was a little mini-session with maximum sultriness. Mrs. C is a wife, mother, business owner, and was just about the easiest shoot I’ve had. She was adorable, flirtatious, comfortable with herself, and willing to try anything. She loves fashion and really high heels…

You would never guess this gorgeous woman’s age – which further illustrates that sexiness is a mindset!

Ok, her regular insanity workouts don’t hurt either 🙂

more soon!

x. Christa

Good Morning…

…and good night! I love it when you can’t tell if it’s early morning sun-up or late evening sunset 🙂 and really, does it matter?

Here’s to a wonderful sun-soaked weekend!

x. Christa

Shooting up a Storm in NYC!

Just a quick little note while I am in the happy busy midst of relocating my business and life to NYC!! I am totally LOVING it, and shooting up a steamy hot NYC boudoir storm – lots more to come soon 🙂

Thanks to all of you for the comment-love regarding this new site, my new city, and the new Online Boudoir Workshop – soooo many sexy awesome things happening, and I can’t wait to share more!

lots of love,

x. Christa

5 Simple & Sensual Lighting Set-ups

My Favorite Five! is going to be a new recurring feature on my blog. So to kick her off, here are my absolute fav gorgeous go-to lighting scenarios whether I’m shooting Fine Art Nudes, Boudoir, or Portraiture… These are easy as pie, just like we like it!

Scenario No. 1
Easy & Flattering Natural Light On Location

Here’s how to do it
Model is about 6 to 8 feet from the window, so it’s not too harsh or contrasty. However depending on the light quality that day (and the weather!) you may need to move the model closer to the window. For the most flattering and easy lighting set-up, angle your model slightly towards the window (or slightly behind the window for some nice edge light). Position yourself adjacent to the window. This is my favorite look. You can try collapsible reflectors to bounce or reflect the light from the window back into shadow areas of the subject. I mostly prefer not using the reflector, because I love shadow! The above pic is without a reflector.

 

Scenario No. 2
Easy Studio Look with Natural Light while On Location


Here’s how to do it

Model is on a grey seamless paper backdrop or black muslin near a window – again, the distance she will need to be away from the window will depend on the quality of light that day (as well as time of day). This is a nice side-light that highlights curves! I love doing this easy set-up to help create variety while in a hotel room or other interior location. I’m often in tiny spaces, so sometimes this whole area is only a few feet by a few feet, as was the case with the above shot.

 

Scenario No. 3
Natural Light Backlit, Optional Continuous or Video Light Fill

Here’s how to do it
This is another favorite look – totally easy and gorgeous. The backlight is natural light from a window, and if you overexpose a stop or two, you will be unable to see where the outline of your model’s body begins and ends, so I love using this one with plus-sized women since it’s very flattering, as in the pic at the top of this post. If you need a little more light, you can add a continuous or hand-held video light turned up just enough to give you a little boost from the front – I just eyeball this and adjust to taste 🙂 The above pic was taken with just available natural light.

Scenario No. 4
Studio Strobe with Softbox, One Main Light on Grey Backdrop

Here’s how to do it
Ok, this is the easiest thing in the world, and I love all the variety you can create with just one main light using different placement. It’s important to note that you must use a grey backdrop and not black if you only want to use one light. Once you use black, you’ll have to add a second light as a hair light to separate your subject from the background. (Although honestly, I love the look of disappearing into the backdrop and do that often – see Scenario 5 below). In the shot above, the light is placed off to the side for contrast and just higher than the model because I wanted drop-off as we got lower down her body.

 

Scenario No. 5
Studio Strobe, One Main Light “Feathering” on Black Backdrop

Here’s how to do it
Remember when I said just a second ago to use the grey backdrop so you see separation between backdrop and model? Well, forget that! I love the look of disappearing into the background and again, this is extremely flattering to plus-sized women since you can’t see where the body ends – it just disappears into luscious shadow 😉 Place the light with softbox slighty away from the subject so they are only lit by the edges, a technique called “feathering.”

There ya have it! Simple, easy, budget-friendly and GORGEOUS –everything I want my lighting to be 🙂

I’ll be demonstrating all of these techniques and so much more as a part of my awesome new Online Boudoir Photography Workshop! Participants will join me behind the scenes during video demo’s and watch me shoot models, clients, plus-sized gals, and nudes…. ooooh how much fun is that! So sign up and grab a ringside seat to the action!

IMPORTANT NOTE: You have less than 24 hours to sign-up for the special rate! Price goes up at midnight tonight EST – so Register Now!

Tips for Getting Started in Boudoir!

Just arrived in NYC for a week of shoots and wanted to give you some vital information for those who are just getting started or need a refresher in Boudoir, Fine Art, and all female photography! I receive tons of emails from enthusiastic photographers who are catching boudoir fever and would love to know how to begin! –Great question! So in honor of my new Online Boudoir Photography Workshop, here is my best advice for a helpful approach in getting started, how to prioritize your investments, create a smoking hot portfolio, and get that first boudoir client!

1. KEEP A PLAYFUL AND INTELLIGENT APPROACH
As a boudoir photographer and as a woman, I live by the following three tenets: Simplify, Experiment, and Focus on Emotion. I believe these principles are conducive to creativity and success in all areas of my life, photography, and business. Keeping these in mind at every stage of building your boudoir business as well as your creative process will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and will not only result in greater success, but also a heck of a lot more fun!

SIMPLIFY
Keep it simple is my mantra — it’s how I shoot and run my business. It’s especially important to simplify when just starting out and learning something new. I believe this applies to everything from gear and workflow to styling and pricing. Why overcomplicate things with a task list that seems insurmountable and will only eat up your resources and further delay your getting started? Keeping it simple will also help your first shoots go smoother.

EXPERIMENT
Go on a journey to find what’s right for you. Think of this process of getting started not as an obstacle, but as an awesome experiment in finding what works for you and discovering your own style. There is no right or wrong, and as photographers, I think we always have a tiny bit of “I don’t know what I’m doing” because that’s called creativity baby! – going into the unknown and figuring it out. So, go ahead and do some research, visit the forums, go to workshops, geek out a ton on practice shoots, and make sure to keep a playful spirit and keep experimenting to see what works best for you and your clients.

FOCUS ON EMOTION
Emotional impact trumps technical perfection every time, particularly in boudoir! Focus on what’s happening in front of you, on connecting with your model/client, and don’t get caught up in your gear or in your head with doubts. Strive to capture the life inside her – something honest, something emotional, some movement, some imperfection, and some sexiness!

2. PRIORITIZE YOUR INVESTMENTS
It’s important to allocate your budget wisely, especially in the beginning when funds may be limited. You want each dollar to go as far as possible, so I recommend starting with the bare essentials in terms of gear and allocating your funds to improving your skill, getting educated, and building your business.

KEEP TO JUST THE BARE ESSENTIAL GEAR
Don’t spend too much money on equipment right off the bat. You probably already have a great SLR or DSLR camera and a really good lens, so go with what you’ve got and invest elsewhere first. Master one piece of equipment inside and out before investing in another. Rent the lenses and lighting you want to try until you can buy, and add on as you can afford. As far as set pieces or backdrops go, my staples are a $30 grey seamless paper backdrop, a thrift store vintage chair, and a classic set of white sheets. Be creative, and you can transform any space into a simple beautiful setting.

HONE YOUR SKILLS
The number one priority is developing your eye, skill, and style, so make sure to practice practice practice! Shoot as often as you can. Create your own projects. What is your dream shoot? Now go set it up for yourself. Have fun, hire models, get props, hit the streets, or photograph your neighbor. Do whatever you can to make sure you’re shooting at least a few times a week and building a body of work that reflects your true style and a complete portfolio. (More on your portfolio in a minute).

GET EDUCATED
Nothing beats experience and practice, but you can shortcut your learning curve by training with more experienced professionals. Become a sponge. Seek out training, classes, and workshops from photographers whose work you admire. Check out photography forums and blogs. Go to the library and look at your favorite photography books. Again, look for what feels like boudoir to you and see what appeals to you and what doesn’t. All of this will strengthen your attraction to what works, what looks good, and what is technically sound.

BUILD YOUR BUSINESS
If you haven’t done so already, start the business! Set up a blog or website and begin! It’s time. Take inventory of what your strengths are and lean on them. Whether it’s your charming personality, amazing composition skills, or design prowess, make sure to utilize what you have to get your business started. I’m a big believer in jumping in and figuring it all out on the way!

3. CREATE A SMOKING HOT PORTFOLIO
When viewing your photography, potential clients want to see passion for what you do, as well as consistency, quality and style in your work. Although most clients will hire you based more on your personality, professionalism, enthusiasm and confidence than on your web gallery, it’s remains vital to have a killer portfolio to attract the right clients and to set-up their expectations.

HIRE PRO & AMATUER MODELS
I do understand that many of you just getting started are feeling like you have a chicken and egg situation – you can’t get that first client until you have a portfolio, and you can’t get a portfolio without that first client. So I highly recommend hiring models to help round out your portfolio. Artists’ figure models from art schools and art galleries are great to photograph. They are exceptional at moving their bodies, finding really sensual and beautiful poses, and are experts at small details such as placement of their hands. Artists’ models are also much more likely to happily pose nude and sign a model release for you, even if it’s your first time. Try local art colleges and fine art galleries in your area. Model community sites, such as Model Mayhem, are also great for portfolio building. These communities consist of women who are a mixture of pro’s and amateurs, some of whom will work Trade For CD (TFCD). This is a wonderful way to get exposure to women of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, and include them in your portfolio. Model sites and communities can also be good resources for makeup artists and hair stylists.

INCLUDE ONLY THE A++ PHOTOS
The best way to have a smoking hot port is to include only your very best photographs. Be a tight editor and remember that it’s far better to have fewer stellar images as opposed to a bunch of mediocre ones. This is why I coined the phraseA++ Images. Pick the best of the best of what you have at the moment; don’t wait for the illusion of perfection. You are going for an honest reflection of where you are right now in your creative process.

BE DISTINCTIVE & CONSISTENT IN STYLE
There should be a common style evident in all of your images. People who view your portfolio should know exactly who they’re hiring and what they’re getting. That is not to say you can’t have a wide breadth of variety in your portfolio, in fact you should. Just make sure that it’s consistent in quality and style.

SHOWCASE WHAT YOU OFFER
Don’t show studio shots if you only want to do location work. Keep images in your portfolio that represent what you love to shoot and want to be hired for. If your thing is black and white fine art nudes, than make sure your portfolio represents that.

4. GET THAT FIRST CLIENT!
I know from the photographers I mentor that getting that first client seems to be the most difficult task of all! There are plenty of women (in fact, most women!) who want beautiful, sensual, editorial-style photography for themselves, but it’s important to take a step back and first consider your brand, your client, and what’s meaningful to you before you start seeking out your first customer. With a clear idea of the value and experience you are offering, you have a far greater chance of success of booking clients.

KNOW YOURSELF & YOUR BRAND
Ask yourself “what does boudoir mean to you?” How can you pitch a session to someone and talk passionately about it if you haven’t taken the time to consider what it is and why it’s so important for your client to experience it. Also make sure to answer “how do you stand out from the crowd?” and “what makes your style, process, products, service & experience unique?”

KNOW YOUR CLIENT
Who is your client?  It’s not just “females.” Is she a new bride, a young fun twenty-something who wants pin-up, etc? Or is she like my client: a 40+ mother of two, usually has just had a recent transition in life: weight loss, getting pregnant again, cancer survivor, divorce, new relationship, and she’s a woman who takes care of herself, but has never really let her sexiness come out to play (in front of a pro’s camera anyway 🙂 It’s helpful to be as clear and specific with who you are targeting and what your outcome for her is.

CALL IT WHAT YOU NEED TO
Some women can get a bit shy when hearing the term boudoir photo shoot, so when booking that first client, call it what you like: a fashion shoot, a lifestyle shoot, a beach shoot, or something equally appropriate and creative. I had one client tell me she would never do a boudoir shoot, but would love to do a swimsuit session! Girls are funny like that.

TARGET YOUR CURRENT CLIENTELE
If you are currently a portrait or wedding photographer, I’m sure you’ve got more than a few raving fan clients who are perfect candidates for a boudoir session with you. Target the ones that gave you a million referrals and offer her a special free session. Target the ones that you could tell spend a heck of a lot of time and money on looking and feeling good. Target the sassy ones.  Target the shy ones you would LOVE to open up and that you know trusts you. You know who I’m talking about – I’m sure there are already a few women popping up in your mind.

Best of luck with getting started in Boudoir – it’s a total blast and you will soon become addicted! Just remember to shoot from the heart, and you can’t go wrong.

ps. IMHO, my new ONLINE Boudoir Workshop is a GREAT place for those who are just starting out or seasoned pro’s looking to take it to the next level. We’ve already got a huge variety of awesome photographers signed up! From boudoir pro’s to those who’ve never done a paid shoot before, we’ve got dozens of countries represented as far as Denmark, Italy, India and of course lots of photogs from your small town USA 🙂 The content applies to all levels. There is just one week left to SIGN UP for the discounted price – after that, it goes up! Hurry over to the ONLINE Boudoir Workshop page and you can Register Now and enter to WIN A FREE SEAT!

see ya online!

x. Christa

 

Tuscany Road Trip!

A Springtime joyride through Tuscany! Sun shining and wind breezing as we take in breathtaking landscapes, vineyards, castles, villa’s and vino…

Tuscany wouldn’t be Tuscany without cypress trees, whether in a glorious rows or a singular cypress artfully placed on a hilltop…

I had a designated driver for half of the trip – lucky me 🙂 because I was in for some serious wine-tasing coming up!…


Our first stop was Greve in Chianti, and we headed over to le cantine, this lovely underground chateu looking joint, which is the largest wine shop in Chianti. There are over 140 wine’s to taste! as well as olive oil, balsamic, and grappa tastings, plus free salami, olives, cheese and bread… oh.my.goodness.

You simply purchase a tasting card with some credit and enjoy tastings at your pace, leisure and pleasure…


The sun started to set, and we got back on the road!

…and now off to Siena! more pics from the next leg of my journey posting real soon!

and ps. the response to the Online Boudoir Workshop has been tremendous! It’s going to be incredible! I’ve received a bunch of questions about the schedule – is it live or pre-taped, etc. So you can now find out How it Works and still Win a Free Seat! over on the post for the Online Boudoir Workshop. Hope to see you there!

Salute!

x. Christa

Online Boudoir Workshop! Begins June 14th

Yay, it’s here! I am thrilled to announce the brand-spanking new & totally sexy Online Boudoir Workshop! This 6 week course is for photographers who want to learn all of the exciting aspects of the booming boudoir market, from home! Join us in your pj’s and enjoy video demonstrations, behind the scenes shoots, tutorials, personal interaction, a private forum, and much more!  Gain support, motivation, inspiration and answers to all of your questions, as I expose everything inside my boudoir business that makes it a success – as well as the biggest mistakes new boudoir photographers make and how to avoid them!

YOU’RE INVITED TO ENJOY:

Video demonstrations & Tutorials
Behind the Scenes access to Christa’s shoots
Live Q&A calls each week
Portfolio Critiques
Private Forum for members only
Free Resources & Vendor Discounts
Client forms, contracts and releases
and more!…

HOW IT WORKS

This is a 6 week course, beginning Tuesday June 14th. On each Tuesday, I release that week’s content: videos, tutorials, notes and projects 🙂 Anytime during that week (or even weeks after), you can view all or pieces of it at your leisure. Each Thursday or Friday (alternating) we’ll have 3-hour live calls scheduled for Q&A’s and discussion on that week’s content. The call will be taped and available for you to download at anytime should you miss one 🙂 One of my favorite benefits of this workshop is the members only forum  – a place of ongoing support, information and motivation. Members will be able to leave comments under each content area, so everyone is sharing their thoughts, ideas, tips and questions all in one place – so we’re all in this party together, all the information is available to you 24/7, and I’m right by your side as your personal coach!

 

TOPICS COVERED

Shooting On Location & In the Studio
Go behind the scenes of Christa’s shoots. See how Christa styles her sets and works with minimal equipment both on location and in the studio. Watch how she relaxes a nervous client, brings out the best in each woman (from models to moms), creates sensual moments, captures emotion from even the stiffest client, and finds flattering poses for every body type.

Equipment & Lighting
What’s necessary and what’s not – this surprises most new photographers! Learn easy lighting set-ups, how to work with the challenge and beauty of natural light, working with studio strobes, and the ease of video lights. See the results of using different lenses at all budget levels.

Branding and Style
How to create a distinctive brand that brings you into your business. Creating a consistent look that separates you from the crowd.

Creating Raving Fan Clients
How to attract clients and turn each woman into a raving fan who does your marketing for you. This is how I create boudoir addicts who hire me again and again and tell all their friends.

Best-selling Boudoir Money Shots
Learn how Christa coaches and captures each of her best-selling Money Shots™. These are the shots that every client wants and are absolute must-haves for your portfolio!

Post Production & Workflow
Cut down on your editing time with a workflow that is easy, fast and effective. See Christa take her pics from straight out of camera through Lightroom and Photoshop to final edited images presented to client.

Giving Direction & “Posing”
Learn how to coach actions, give easy direction and create beautiful moments instead of “poses.” See the difference between what’s hot & what’s not – a subtle but huge difference!

Flattering every Figure
Easy ways to flatter women of every shape and body type. Top ways to work with women, from models to moms, breast cancer survivors to body conscious clients.

Fine Art Nudes & Fashion
Working with nude models, see how Christa blends Fine Art Nudes and Fashion with Portraiture to create her high-end Boudoir “look.” Learn the qualities that distinguish each style and how to bring them into your work.

Sets & Styling
How to style a set and a model to create editorial style photographs. Creating an amazing high-end look on a budget both in studio and on location.

Pricing and Increasing Sales
Nailing your price list so you’re busy, happy and well-paid. How to increase sales

Successful Boudoir Parties
Christa’s step-by-step process that gives you all you need to throw a successful (or your first!) boudoir party!

Plus Permits, Releases, Contracts, FAQ’s and more!

If you’re new to this blog, you can read Reviews on Christa’s workshops, see more of Christa’s Boudoir photography and check out her Fine Art Nudes.

Boudoir Photography is about empowering women – helping them feel amazing and celebrating who they are. So get in on the fun now! The boudoir photography market is currently enjoying a huge surge in popularity as more and more women are seeking this service. Boudoir photography is such a fun and fulfilling career, and I want you to be a success!

***SOLD OUT***

***CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***

Winner is BETHANY GROVE!
Yay!!! Congratulations Bethany! I’ll email you with all the juicy details!

Here are a few ways to WIN A FREE SEAT!
Do one or all of the following, then leave a comment for each thing you do, which is important because your comments are your entries!
1. Enter your email here:

2. Follow me on twitter and tweet this: So excited for the ONLINE Boudoir Photography Workshop! with @christameola WIN a FREE SEAT here! http://bit.ly/iglLEo
3. Like Christa Meola Pictures on Facebook, then tell all your photographer friends about this giveaway.

The contest ends on Sunday June 5th, midnight EST. Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on June 6th 9am EST. If you’ve already registered (smart move!) and win, then your fee will be refunded 🙂 Cool! So register now before the price goes up!

Good luck! and I can’t wait to see you online at the workshop!!

x. Christa

Attending Christa’s workshop changed my life.  I more than doubled my income! – Robin Hultgren
My first shoot was a total success!!!  My client was thrilled, and I was relaxed and confident. – Sally LeDrew
I had my highest portrait sale ever of $4,700 thanks to Christa! – Lisa Roah
Best money I’ve ever spent on my business. Period. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. – Erin Nelson
I have been on fire since the workshop! It kicked my creativity and inspiration into overdrive! – Jill Amanda
Best workshop I’ve ever taken!!!!!! Anyone who asks me I tell them it’s SO worth it! Sign up! – Shani Barel