Category Archives: Training

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.

MEOLA-100-3

[VIDEO] Q&A with Legal Expert Rachel Rodgers, Esq

My friend Rachel Rodgers is a highly-regarded lawyer for creatives and charges major moola to give her clients legal advice.
I’m so grateful that she sat down with us so we can give you the most important, super critical, must-have, stop-everything-and-watch-this-video-right-now legal info that you must see.In today’s video, we cover the 10 Legal Mistakes Photographers Make and How to Avoid Them, as well as give you action steps on how to protect your biz and answer your most burning legal Q’s.

Click Play below to get all your most pressing legal Q’s answered…

Rachel not only sat down with me to answer all your Q’s and give you her valued legal advice, but she also created an incredible must-have guide: Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers just for YOU.This all-in-one resource is what pro’s and newbies alike need to protect their business, assets, hard work, and future earnings.

It has all the info, templates, contracts and checklists you most need. It would’ve saved me tons of heartache and thousands of dollars if I had it years ago.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again… Smart is sexy. So is protection. So hustle your buns over to get more info on THE legal guide for photogs.

Love,

Christa

ps. TIME-SENSITIVE: Rachel is giving my readers $100 SAVINGS off Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers. But hurry, her offer expires TOMORROW, FRIDAY 2/6 at midnight EST.

christa-meola-rachel-rodgers-photographer-legal-mistakes-tips-0011

The #1 Legal Mistake Photographers Make

Have you ever wished that you had a lawyer on speed dial?

(Me too.)

To help with all the confusing legal Q’s on contracts, usage, theft, entities, and coverage, such as:

What do I need to include in a contract?
What if a client hates her pictures and wants her money back?
What happens when someone steals my photos?
What’s the best biz entity for me? What if I’m not being paid yet?
What insurance coverage do I need?
What’s worth pursing action and not pursuing?
When do I know it’s time to get a lawyer and how do I find a good one?

Well, I’m excited to announce today’s guest blogger, Rachel Rodgers!

I recently did a shoot for Rachel and her law team. Rachel is a business lawyer, who runs a non-traditional law firm for innovative companies and entrepreneurs. She’s worked with photographer newbies as well as established pros, and has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, MSNBC, and many others.

Today, Rachel will give us critical info to avoid The #1 Mistake Photographers Make.

And on Thursday, Rachel and I will have a sit-down legal throw-down conversation packed with info on all things legal for photographers. She and I will cover all Ten Legal Mistakes Photographers Make (I’ve made them all) and How to Avoid Them, as well as answer all your burning legal Q’s. (More info at the end of this post.)

And now, over to Rachel…

###

You are a powerhouse photographer either on your way to, or having already built, a sought-after photography business. Your clients love you, your work is rewarding and you’re loving life.

Unfortunately, there are lot of legal issues that affect a photographer’s business so its not all gumdrops and fairy tales. Taking care of your legal needs as a photographer can be really confusing and overwhelming. Its a lot more fun to just ignore it and hope for the best, right?

Um … no.

Creating a proper legal foundation may not be fun, but it’s what smart photographers do to make sure they don’t have to worry about things like time-consuming and costly contract disputes, unintentionally giving away their intellectual property, and paying way too much in taxes.

The good news is that taking care of the legal stuff does not have to be hard, expensive or incredibly time consuming. For example, you can protect yourself and your business from a whole host of legal issues simply by having a solid contract with every client. Which leads me to the number one legal mistake I see photographers making:

#1 Mistake:
Not having a solid contract (client service agreement) for each client.

This is an epidemic. A lot of business owners, not just photographers, do business without any contracts at all. Which is a terrible way to do business. Why? Because the whole purpose of a contract is to prevent disputes by making sure that all parties to the agreement understand exactly what is going to happen, what is going to be exchanged (services, products, cash), and what happens if things don’t go according to plan (cancellation terms).

How can you avoid making this critical mistake?

For photographers, because your intellectual property can be so easily stolen, its even more imperative that you have clear terms for how your photos can and cannot be used by your clients and clarify exactly what your clients are purchasing (are they purchasing all rights to the photos or just a license?), and you need to ensure that you have your client’s permission to use the photos for marketing and other business development purposes.

Necessary items to include in your contract:

How many calls/emails/meetings with you can the client expect?
How many photographs can the client expect to be shot, showed?
Will you provide hair and makeup stylists, wardrobe?
When and how will the photos be delivered?
When and how will the client pay you?
What happens if payment is late?
What is and is not included in the price (retouching, copyright)
What happens when a client fails to show up at their appointment?
What happens if a client doesn’t love her photos?

Customizing contracts to suit your business

Spend some time thinking about your policies, and then set them down in the client service agreement so that you are crystal clear on what happens in different situations, and the client is crystal clear on what she can expect.

If you have specific rules on set, list them. You might prohibit or allow alcohol (for adults), you may limit the number of guests, you will probably want rules about food or drinks and cell phones. This is also the time to let the client/model know what to bring, props, outfits, etc.

Special clauses for nude or boudoir photography

Photographing models in the nude or semi-nude requires some specific clauses in the contract (and often in the model release as well.)

Because of the sensitive nature of such a session, you will want to set forth policies that you are comfortable with and that will make your model comfortable. For example, many boudoir photographers limit who can be present during the shoot. It’s a good idea to mention that, as the photographer, you may need to reposition the model’s lingerie or touch her to get the pose right.

You’ll want to consider, and diplomatically set forth in the contract, what circumstances will wreck the deal. If the model shows up intoxicated, or is suffering from bad tanning or botched Botox treatments, you may not be able to get satisfactory images.

You’ll also want to make sure (require proof) that your model is 18 years of age or older. The laws that prohibit child exploitation vary from state to state, and are often enforced on the discretion of local law enforcement. Furthermore, persons under 18 are not legally able to sign a contract or a release.

Important boilerplate items to include

And don’t forget the boilerplate which is all of the legal language you see at the end of an agreement. It may seem really monotonous and irrelevant but it is incredibly important. If you ever have a problem that escalates into a full blown dispute, that boilerplate protects you and can save the day.

Boilerplate must-haves:

The Limitation on Liabilities clause prevents the parties to the agreement from suing each other for additional, extra, and over the top damages.

Recovery of Litigation Expenses (also known as the attorney’s fees clause which is easier to say but not nearly as impressive). The typical attorney’s fees clause allows the winning party of a lawsuit to recover their attorney’s fees and other costs incurred to bring the lawsuit to enforce the agreement.

No Guarantees clause states that the service provider (that’s you, pretty thing) cannot guarantee a particular outcome.

Transfer of Intellectual Property is mega important because it states how and under what circumstances the intellectual property is transferred from the service provider to the client.

Entire Agreement; Modifications; and Waiver. This clause states that what is written in the contract is the entire agreement between the parties. That means that emails, conversations, and other statements made between the parties are not a part of the agreement. This section also requires that any modifications to the agreement be done in writing.

When and how your client should sign the contract

Be sure to send your agreement to clients at the very beginning of your engagement using an electronic signature software like HelloSign. Electronic signatures are totally legit. This not only lets your clients stop procrastinating on signing your agreement, but also helps you stay more organized and on top of your contracts ensuring that you have a signed client service agreement for every client. And it gives scanners everywhere the right to gracefully bow out of this whole contract signing operation. They can retire with fax machines in Barbados or something.

The best protection you can arm your business with is having proper contracts in place between your photography business and your clients, with terms covering what rights to the photos the client is purchasing, the terms of the client’s license to the photos, cancellation clauses, payment terms and all that beautiful boilerplate that is sure to save your ass one day.

Because your photography deserves a great business backing it up – one that’s armed for whatever might pop up.

###

Got more legal questions?

We’ve got you covered…

I’m hosting a no-holds barred conversation with Rachel that will be posted here on Thursday. We’ll chat about the Top 10 Legal Mistakes Photographers Make and How to Avoid Them. Plus, she’ll be answering all of your legal Q’s.

Join me and our special guest, Rachel Rodgers, for a fun convo and legal throw-down…

The Top 10 Legal Mistakes Photographers Make
& How to Avoid Them

Thursday, Feb 5th
No need to RSVP. If you’re on our list, we’ll send you a reminder.

Ask your legal Q here by leaving a comment by Tuesday evening, and Rachel will tackle it during our chat.

See ya here on Thursday!

Love,

Christa

ps. Rachel, overachiever that she is, not only took my questions and answered them for you, but she also did 1000% better and created an awesome guide specifically for YOU! Legal Nunchucks: For Photographers started out as a blog post for me and is now an info-packed 64-page guide with all you need to know and essential tools you need (contracts, templates, checklists) to avoid legal disasters, save money, and keep you and your clients happy. Plus you guys save $100 off until this Friday Feb 6th at midnight EST. Check it out.

 

christa_meola_photographer_photography_nudes_boudoir_nyc_new_york_00

5 Things I No Longer Believe About Photographing Women

As my 5-year blog anniversary approaches, I’ve taken a long look back through my archives. I laughed a ton, cringed a bit and had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of the clients and stories I’ve had the pleasure and honor to share.

And I’m so grateful to you, my dedicated enthusiastic readers. Many of you have emailed me noting quite a difference in my photos over the past couple of years as well as how much you think marriage agrees with me. Thank you! I agree with you.

Speaking of changing, there’s a lot I do and think about differently now versus 5 years ago or even 1 year ago. I thought it’d be interesting to cover just a few things that have changed with regard to how I photograph women.

5 Things I No Longer Believe About Photographing Women

1. Photoshop is a woman’s best friend.

Yes, I actually said that. This belief has changed the most. There is a long list of what qualifies for woman’s best friend, starting with self-acceptance, body-love, good girlfriends and an amazing partner. Photoshop isn’t all evil and shouldn’t be public enemy number one, but the damage it causes in projecting an unrealistic unattainable perfect ideal is. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing a post on feeling sexy on the inside.

2. Never show a woman her pictures without retouching them.

Similar to the belief above, I used to think showing a woman her pictures unretouched was just plain unfriendly, not to mention unprofessional. But I’ve come to believe that retouching a women’s pictures before they see them is a disservice. For the past couple of years, it’s been so much more fulfilling to show a woman her photographs totally bare naked unretouched and allow her to see herself as she is. To have a woman fall in love with herself as she is instead of retouched into someone else’s version of perfect is an amazing gift. Anyone can look like that girl in the magazine. Just add photoshop. What no one else can look like is YOU. Sharing the authentic you is the biggest gift I can give.

3. I’m happy to photograph you without a signed model release.

When I first started shooting, I thought that if you didn’t want to sign a model release, you still deserved to have photos taken and not shared, so I’d happily do it. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. I’m sure there are plenty of wonderful photographers willing to photograph you without a signed release form. But at this point in the game, I’m fulfilled by sharing my work with the world. My new belief and practice is that I will no longer photograph a subject without a signed model release.

4. No husbands allowed on set.

Over the years, many husbands, boyfriends, male besties, (and even one son!) have asked to be present during the shoot. I always thought the policy of no men on set was a good one… it was just the girls having fun, she’d be able to relax more readily, the pictures would be more of a surprise, and the husband might distract from our creative focus. Well, boy did I learn how wrong I was. You can read more about what changed my belief here: Ordinary Couple, Inspiring Story. Also, some of the best photographers, stylists and assistants are male – including mine! Male energy on set is a glorious thing. I now offer the choice to have either no men present or have your partner there.

5. I can make a woman love her body.

Only a woman has the power to love herself. The old belief was a nice idea, and I was definitely enthusiastic, passionate and earnest. But I’ve learned, mostly by being a woman, that I cannot make any woman love herself. I can only show her the beauty that I see.

What have you changed? Do you have any old beliefs, or maybe ones that need revisiting?

I’d love to hear how you’ve changed your game. Join the conversation here.

I’ll be hanging out and to hear how you’ve changed and what you do differently.

Because, hey – people change, processes evolve, and when you know better, you do better.

xoxo Christa

ps. blog post coming soon: The #1 Legal Mistake Photographers Make

 

Photo above: Jerry Zalez, CMP Associate Photographer

Screen shot 2014-01-15 at 3.02.09 AM

Interview with TWIP

While I was up and gettin’ married this past December, the interview I did with This Week in Photography was posted.

It’s 45 minutes and PACKED with no-holds-barred info, so I didn’t want you to miss it.

The show’s gracious host, Frederick, said it was one of the most educational interviews he’s ever done. Gosh, what a compliment.

We discussed how I got started photographing women, my entire process, making women feel comfortable, how I work with my assistant, pricing, gear, what I do at the sales session, what’s next for us in 2014, and so much more…

So grab a cup of coffee, and I hope you enjoy!

xoxo Christa

CLICK PLAY BELOW TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0015

Working it! Creating Variety, No 2.

Boudoir photography is all about using what you’ve got and focusing on what’s awesome. Remember that post, Working It! Creating Variety, on how to create beauty and variety when you show up on a crappy shoot location?  Well here’s another little tip in the same vein. So when you’re low on pretty backdrops and you’ve already shot every wall in the room plus the seamless background paper…

TRY THIS—> Watch this quick 1 minute+ video to see how we created the backdrop in the shot above.

CLICK PLAY

To watch the entire 45-minute behind-the-scenes video of this shoot,
join us for the next Online Boudoir Workshop, coming this fall!
Get on the list here—>

 
Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0002

And here are some more of my favorite pics from this boudoir photography session with Mrs. X, a thirty-three year old mom in Los Angeles (yes, I travel for shoots!). Her favorite body parts that she loves are her eyes, boobs and bum – so we went ahead and focused on that 🙂

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0000

Mrs. X confessed to being super nervous before our shoot, but as you can see, that didn’t stop us from capturing beautiful sensual pictures.

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0003

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0004

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0005

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0006

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0007

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0008

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0010

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0014

Christa_Meola_Boudoir_Nude_New_York_BoudoirPhotographer__0012

Pretty stunning for a mom who had never posed before and was “soooo nervous” right?

We had a blast on this shoot, and Mrs. X was super fun, open to all ideas, and the sweetest woman you’d ever want to meet.  A big THANK YOU to Mrs. X! for being brave and vulnerable, and letting me share your pictures as well as the process in making them.

Hope you loved the tip I shared in the video! Leave a comment and let me know if it’s helpful and if you’d like to see more!

xoxo, Christa

PS. If you’d like to see the BTS vid of this entire shoot plus tons more, join us for the next Online Boudoir Workshop, coming this fall! Get on the list here—>

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_new_york_workshop_0000

Secret Photoshop Recipe: Rusty Cage!

Last week we talked about creating smoking hot gorgeous light with a two light setup, and this week I wanted to discuss how to create even more of a smoky dramatic look with one of my favorite action secret recipes, using TRA’s Rusty Cage!

This action, Rusty Cage, is the most dramatic difference you’ll see in my before and after’s – it is the only action I use that is not subtle. Of course it can be more subtle if you use less of it (ie. adjust the opacity layers to a lesser percentage). You’ll see that I even set some layers of the action at 0%. I use Rusty Cage when I want to create an even moodier, more dramatic, smokier feel, or a look that resembles a painting.

You can use it with natural light, strobes or any available light – as you see demonstrated here.

When shooting on a shoestring budget with a non-model and no assistants or supplemental lighting (ie. no strobes, or video light, or even a reflector), I am working to shoot fast (usually only 4 to 5 minutes for a quick little set) using just available light to flatter her as best I can. This shot is a perfect example: a dimly lit hotel lobby where we did ask permission to shoot, since it was packed during Fashion Week in NYC. I said we’d take one or two shots and be quick and be done.

Available Light, AFTER

(Pic above)

Available Light, BEFORE:

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_new_york_000Settings: 24-70mm, 2.8, ISO 6400, 125 sec.

MY SECRET RECIPE

Rusty Cage, by Totally Rad Actions

Rusty Cage Light @ 41%
Warm Up @ 100%
Levels Tweak @ 0%
Desaturate @ 100%
Duplicate Desaturate layer @ 24%
Rusty Cage Dark @ 64%

Plus a dollop of EZ Burn, by Totally Rad Actions

EZ Burn @ 68% (and erased on hand and feet).
This is what darkens the appearance of the outer edge of the image.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
When you’re shooting, you strive to create a set-up that’s beautifully lit and flattering to your subject. Using actions in post does not mean that you are trying to correct anything you did “wrong” when you captured it. But you can choose to further your artistry and enhance the vision you had while shooting it.

Share your fav action in the comments – I’d love to hear it. Or tell me what you think of Rusty Cage.

I hope you get an opportunity to test drive my secret recipe and cook up some sexy!

xoxo Christa

ps. you can download Rusty Cage right here.
You’ll find it in the set of 48 actions called “TRA 1: The Original” – have fun!

 

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_12

Creating Gorgeous Light: 2 Strobe Set-up

Man, I’ve been loving this lighting set-up lately! It’s gorgeous and super easy to do.

I wanted to create moody, flattering, dramatic backlighting that evoked a feeling of being on stage.

Here’s how to do it:

All images shot with Dove Grey 9 ft seamless backdrop, Elinchrome BX-Ri 500 set at the lowest power with a 53″ Octabank as the main light. The backlight is a Speedotron 805 lowered to about 75 watts with a #10 grid attached.

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_10

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_09

Here’s a diagram of the set-up:

christa_meola_lighting_diagram

 You guys know I love versatility and variety, as well as a classic look, so of course we changed it up, turned off the backlight and shot these too:

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_01 christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_05 christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_07

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer-nude_workshop_new_york_13

Fun, right?

Lighting doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated to flatter 🙂

Next up on the blog: my secret recipes!! for luscious light in post…

Have a phenomenal day!

xoxo Christa

ps. If you missed out on the news last week, you can still read all about my business secret weapon and how it changed my life and rocket-launched my business!

 

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0001

Working it! Creating Variety

Have you ever shown up to a shoot location, and it royally sucked? The light was crappy, the space was small and the decor was orange/brown motel chic? Yup, that happens to all of us  – and even in NYC,  as it did to me on a recent shoot.

A sweet 30-something grant-writer from Texas flew up to New York for a convention and a boudoir shoot with me. She stayed at the hotel the convention was in, and it looked fairly decent online. Now, if you have been following my blog or reading my book, you know I’m a big fan of shooting to create variety! Sometimes it seems hard to do when the shooting space is, well, limited. BUT, it just takes some extra hustle and creativity (and some must-have items) to create a beautiful set of 35 to 55 shots.

1. Insist on a Dress
This poor shooting location predicament is just one of the reasons why I always insist that my client bring a dress (or two) or other outfit that can be worn outside as one of her wardrobe choices. This way, we can hit the streets! Or the hotel lobby, or the hotel stairway, etc. Anywhere there is good light and an interesting backdrop.

So she put on one of her dresses, we walked outside, picked up a pretzel and shot some sexy fun street shots. She flirted at a hot dog stand, stood amongst traffic in Times Square, sat atop a nearby parked bike… and we had a blast.

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0008

2. Bring a black muslin
As I mention in my book, a must-have item in your kit is a black muslin. Affordable, lightweight, portable and invaluable! You can buy one at camera stores for about $150, or save some money and get a 20 dollar tablecloth at Target 🙂 Make sure it’s wrinkle free and the biggest one you can find. Bring gaffer’s tape or A-clamps to set so you can set it up anywhere. Here, we have it taped to the wall right next to a big window for a natural light studio look. Boom! I don’t see ugly wallpaper, do you?
christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0002

(And of course, you have to add the fan!)

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_00043. Incorporate props
An easy way to create variety and add fun to a shoot is props! I love little signs, and Mrs. L and I had discussed some fun ideas prior to her shoot. Her and her hubs have a tradition of giving fortune cookie messages that are meaningful to them. So we did a whole series with the fortune cookie and this custom message she created. To avoid the distracting ugly decor, we shot it backlit in front of a window. This was a fun series that not only added variety to the session, but also made a great opening for her album!
christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0009

4. Work those basics!
A set of white sheets and pillows can be found in almost every home and hotel in the world. Thank goodness, because they create a beautiful neutral canvas upon which to play! The only decent light in this room was right up against the windows. The rug was dark and ugly and I wouldn’t want anyone rolling around there naked. At first I thought it might look ridiculous to put the sheets and pillows on the floor, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and I love the results! No one is paying attention to bedding on the floor, when you have a beautiful woman in front of your camera. And it’s not that far-fetched – my bf and I have thrown bedding on the floor (TMI?). The look is beautiful, classic, casual and sexy. Love it!

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0005 christa_meola_boudoir_nude_photographer_photography_new_york_workshop christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0003

5. Go the extra mile in the opposite direction
Mrs. L and I already had plenty of variety and gorgeous shots in the camera. Enough to fill a beautiful album with at least 35 photographs. But Mrs. L was still really excited about another dress option she brought – in fact, she rented this dress – plus she had traveled all the way from Texas. So I decided to add an extra 4th set. This quick wardrobe change didn’t take much extra time, and it put this session over the top in terms of variety and client happiness 🙂 We went in search of another little corner of awesomeness and found it in the lobby of a nearby hotel. I love that these shots are totally different then the rest of her shoot – she has a fancy schmancy dress on, hair is styled different, and we’re in a more luxurious setting with moody light.

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0006

This is one of my favorites…

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_nude_workshop_new_york_0007

Stay tuned for a lot more client sessions and tutorials on the blog!

Next up: the photoshop action recipe I used to create the pic above. You’ll see the SOOC and the exact post-production technique to enhance this beautiful moody lighting.

Have fun and remember to create variety!

xoxo Christa

ps. you don’t need to have the backdrop of NYC to create variety. Here are four different sets created out of just one tiny boring room with no decor whatsoever! Check out Modern Vintage Pin-up, Hot Summer in the City, Peonies & PJ’s, and Directing Models without Posing.