Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to throw a Successful Boudoir Party!

A successful boudoir party means my women had an amazing time, LOVE their photos, and I made great money. I’m bringing back Marie Forleo‘s Rich Happy Hot ladies from our 22-woman boudoir party in Los Angeles to go with this post. Get the crazy details behind that shoot and see more rich happy hotness when you check out these posts: Rich Happy Hot No. 1 and All Heart.

Here are my top tips specific to these marathon shooting days that will contribute to your next (or your first) boudoir party being a huge success!

Be Prepared
It’s even more important to be prepared when you’re on a tight schedule. Make sure to do the prep work with each client well before the shoot day. Discuss what makes them feel sexy, what they love about their body, and discover what is meaningful for them – this way you already know your client intimately before she even steps in front of the camera, which is key when your time is limited. Also make sure to chat about wardrobe tips & ideas, let her know what to expect, talk to her about your contract/policies, get an idea of her comfort zone regarding nudity and most importantly get a clear idea of the end product she wants to purchase as a result of this shoot. All your prep work will ensure that both of you have a clear idea of what your shooting for and make each session go smooth like butter!

Style three “Sets” and Prep your Equipment
That means each “set” should be a unique location, even if you’re in a tiny hotel room. Move beyond the bed for two set ups: try gorgeous backlighting in front of the window, in front of a full length mirror, at the vanity in the bathroom, in the hotel shower, on a chaise lounge, at the hotel suite’s front door, laying on the floor or on top of the coffee table – I’ve tried it all. Find what works and looks great well in advance, start visualizing your ideas, move furniture, remove distractions, and style it up. Most of all, be creative and resourceful! Lastly, know which lens and what camera settings work best in each area, so you don’t have to burn up your session time trying to figure this out.

Set-up a Mini-studio
A studio set is always a great idea to create another look which makes it seem like we got out of the hotel room, and is an easy way to create one of your 3 sets. You can bring a $30 seamless paper roll (my favorite is grey) and one main light with softbox. Presto! If you don’t have studio equipment, a very affordable option is a black muslin (use a black tablecloth) hung up near window light. You can set this up anywhere even in the tiniest of rooms. This one was set up in the bathroom.

Keep to a Schedule.
I suggest scheduling 4 distinct blocks of time for each girl. Three of those blocks are for shooting on each of your 3 sets. And the first block is to chat, go over wardrobe (choose which outfits on which sets and in which order). I like to do 60 minutes per girl, so each block will be roughly 15 minutes each – if I steal a few minutes from one block – I make sure to make up for it in another. Have someone (an assistant, the make-up artist, or a friend) keep track of time and let you know when you only have a few minutes left in each area. If no one is around to help out, then use your cell phone’s timer.

Find ways to create variety!
Since greater variety is a big part of the equation that equals higher sales let’s make sure to create variety at every opportunity. We’ve already covered having 3 sets. Likewise, your client should have 3 vastly different wardrobe looks. Make sure to coach and capture different emotions from her, the various stages of dress and undress, various angles, details, close-ups, and full-body shots. Use different lenses, have a mix of color and black & white images, and try some photoshop actions on a few in post.

Have an assistant and a pro stylist.
I know sometimes as sole business owners, we try to do it all ourselves. Greater success lies in teamwork! Professional hair and make-up artists will elevate the quality of your work immensely.  An assistant will make a significant difference in the ease of your shoot. She will help with equipment, moving sets, communicating with the MUA, getting the next client ready, holding the fan, helping your clients laugh, keeping you on schedule, and so much more! If you can’t afford to hire professionals just yet, find an enthusiastic apprentice to be your assistant and search the modeling sites, like Model Mayhem, for hair and make-up artists that are just starting out, want to build their portfolio, and will work Trade for Prints TFP or TFCD.

Make it a Party!
Music, mimosa’s, excitement, dancing around in your underwear, a bit of chocolate, lots of laughter, being pampered with pro hair & make-up, and maybe a take-home vintage polaroid pic… just a few ideas that can add to your boudoir party being a total blast and memorable event. Be silly, be professional, have a good time, and your clients will too 🙂

So make sure to be prepared, keep it fun, keep on schedule, hire some help, mix it up, and have a blast!

What are your favorite tips for creating successful boudoir parties? Leave your success stories in the comments below! And as always, if you have more Q’s about photography, photo parties, or getting started in boudoir, leave your questions in the comments, and I’ll shoot you an answer 🙂

Best of luck to you!

x. Christa

ps. I’m thrilled to be receiving an incredible amount of positive reaction to the ONLINE Boudoir Workshop beginning June 14! If you haven’t grabbed your chance to WIN A FREE SPOT to this awesome new course for photographers interested in boudoir, get the details and your chance to win a spot HERE now! Registration begins this Monday May 2nd with a bang! Make sure you’re here 🙂

Fine Art Nudes, Sculpture Style!

When was the last time you photographed a 2,000 year old nude? I was in heaven on a recent trek around southern Italy when we stopped at Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, one of the more memorable museums that houses hundreds of fascinating artifacts, including amazing ruins from Pompeii (a future blog post) and 2,000 year old sculptures. The guards allowed me to take all the photographs my heart desired, and it was so fantastic to be photographing the nude figure from so many centuries ago!

I was enthralled with Aphrodite, Dresden-Capitoline type. 2nd century AD. I love that this is such a genius and sensual mix of provocative and modest. It’s as if Aphrodite is to appear like she is covering up, but in fact her gestures and emotion betray her bold enjoyment. Or is it just me?



Ah, I love the difference!

Here is Aphrodite, of the Marine Venus-type, with Dolphin. 2nd century AD. I really appreciate her litte belly and ample hips 🙂


x. Christa


Lush Messy & Sexy, Exciting News!

Spring is HERE! and I’m so jumping up and down happy for all the exciting things happening. Some cool news for you:

1. The brand-spanking new & sexy will be launching this Monday, April 25th! wooohooo! not only did it receive a sleek redesign but also lots of awesome new features for you. Here are just a few…

The Pro Photographer Manifesto, 10 Habits of Successful Pro’s – is a free download for pro’s to remind us to keep our game on the pro level and for those just starting out to encourage wise habits from the beginning.
New Resources section – you asked and now you will be provided with all of my favorite vendors and resources, including links to the workflow process I use and where I get all my goods.
New Q&A section – with answers to all of your burning questions – there are over 30 FAQ’s – if you’d like to ensure that your Q is on this list, then please leave it in the comments below and I’ll include it.

2. Announcing the 1st ever Very Sexy Boudoir Workshop ONLINE with Christa Meola… it’s a 6 week course, I mean 6 week party, that starts June 14th! This is for all of you who can’t make it the in person workshops, who asked for me to visit your town, who want to play from home in your pj’s, who want tons of personal interaction with me, who want 6 weeks of awesome content, video demo’s, assignments and feedback – all for an affordable price. More juicy details and registration opening next week!

3. Lots of Give-aways! All of my favorite things from Italy! well not ALL of my favorite things, lol 🙂  There will be a leather bag, lingerie, the COOLEST boudoir mask ever, red wine, olive oil, of course lots of chocolate, limoncello, your choice of a fine art italia print signed by me, etc… it’s going to be epic, seriously.

Pretty cool right. So come on back soon – now that I’m back in Firenze from 2 weeks of road trippin around southern italy, I’ve got tons of gorgeousness on the blog in store for you…

ps. remember to leave your question or just plain ol’ love in the comments now! thank you!


x. Christa

Yoga Love

Two words: Devotion + Dedication. One is nothing without the other. In Yoga. In Love. In Life.

Here’s to practicing equal amounts of both!

These shots are from a recent trip to LA, and I love the pics so much, I’m blogging my favorites in two parts 🙂

Location: The Mondrian Hotel on Sunset, Los Angeles
Photography: Christa Meola
Make-up & Hair Stylist: Rachel Lund
Photo Assistant: David Glenn

No. 2 on the blog tomorrow!

x. Christa

All Heart, The 22 Woman Shoot No. 2

My true love is shooting subjects as naked as possible, even if they have their clothes on. I want to uncover the bare essence of who you are and everything you are that makes you, you. As a fine art nude and boudoir photographer I shoot a lot of women and love the expressions of the female body. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “I’m not interested in boobs and butt without some heart.”

Marie Forleo gave me a wonderful opportunity to shoot my favorite type of subject for her Rich Happy & Hot Adventure Mastermind group. If you didn’t catch the background story of this crazy marathon 22-woman shoot (of which I had 8 to 10 min’s shooting time with each girl), check it out in my first installment. It was a smashing success and total blast, and I am grateful to Marie and her amazing Mastermind women, who have personality in spades.

This is an incredible group of powerful women, who are sincere, giving, and love life…


smokin’ hot too…



strong, on the inside and out…








genuinely happy…


honest, focused, forthright…


and elegant in spirit.


Location: The Huntley Hotel’s Presidential Suite, Santa Monica CA
Hair & Make-up: the girls’ own handiwork
Photo Assistants: Robin HultgrenHannah Skye, David Glenn

Ciao for now! and thank you for stopping by and saying hello 🙂

x. Christa

ps. Coming up on the blog: more plus-sized real-women awesomeness! dispatches from the streets of Firenze! and a bad ass yoga shoot 🙂

Street Art, Firenze

Art takes many forms, and Firenze offers up an abundant supply!… I am so happy just walking around the streets of town, and all of my senses are on beauty overload. Whether it’s beautiful chalk paintings on the streets…


…the art of PASSIONATE conversation…


…a beautiful blue bike leaned up against a stone wall… (don’t you just LOVE these two ladies?)…


…the art of graffiti, negative space, and madonna portraits…



Beauty is everywhere – you need only look for it 🙂

x. Christa