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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