Photographer FAQ’s, No. 2

The Christa Meola Portrait Workshop is set for January 23rd and 24th. And I am so excited!  I will be covering tons of topics, and details will be on the blog next week.  This workshop is for pro’s and those that want to go pro.  Feel free to email me christa (at) with questions and to book your spot.  I am keeping the class size small, so everyone get’s a lot of one-on-one time.  My workshop for parents will be scheduled on a different date.

In the meantime, here are some recent FAQ’s…

Marc asked:
What did you start with as far as a portfolio?  Did you already have a good body of work to show?  If not, what kinds of things did you do to build it?

Lol!  You are going to laugh when I tell you my first “portfolio” was a promo card with 5 photos on it of the same baby!… I hadn’t started my business yet and didn’t even own a pro camera, so I borrowed one to photograph my friend’s new baby.  One of those pics became my logo (the shot above), and the other four follow below.

That promo card got me my first job with the Kennedy family – story of that is HERE.  Then I made a website with two portfolio galleries: Baby and Family, with about 20 pics from that baby shoot and 20 pics from the Kennedy family shoot.

And my business has been built on strong referrals from then on.

You can start too, with amazing shots of just one person.  I was honest with clients and just put a good angle on it: “my family portfolio is of just one shoot so you can see how much great stuff we’ll get on your shoot.”  See what I mean?

Lastly, just start!  Don’t wait for the planets to be aligned and your portfolio perfect.  People will hire you based more on your personality and a handful of great images is all they’ll really want to see… that’s been my experience anyhow.

Remember, these were shot in 2004 with a borrowed camera…



Andrew asked:
What lens are you using?

Ninety percent of my pics are taken with the 24-70mm.  It’s like my favorite pair of boots – goes everywhere, appropriate for almost anything.  I also use the 85mm 1.2 – I loooove this lens! for really juicy almost velvety close-ups.

Marc asked:
Any suggestions on how I can break into boudoir work?  As a male, I always feel like I’d come off as ‘creepy’ to try and get a woman to photograph that way.

To build your portfolio, do a few things:

1. Try a few of the model community sites – I use Model Mayhem, found HERE. I’ve always had great luck with their models and am very happy with the professional standard of the ones I’ve photographed.  Make sure they know you’re a pro, even if it’s just portrait work you’ve done before.  Start doing sexy shots of a girl in a dress, or in bed sheets, wearing lingerie, etc. since most girls won’t get naked for a guy without seeing those types of shots in his portfolio. Smart girls 🙂

2. Find artist’s models – like the ones I used for my Nude series, see those HERE.  Those girls are the best at posing nude and knowing how to find really sensual beautiful poses.  They are also so much more likely to be happy to pose nude for you even if it’s your first time 🙂  A great resource for artist’s models is The Gallery Girls (contact them HERE).  Ask for Sara S. and Jennifer F.  If you’re in a different part of the country, try your local art school or college, or call some gallery owners.  Be resourceful!

3. Lastly, you can put a woman at ease with a great sense of humor and a high standard of professionalism.  Make sure you are confident and handle everything positively and politely.  She will feel however you feel – if you’re nervous or feeling creepy, she’s going to pick up on your energy and feel the same way! Also, a tip from Kim Weston for the guys: make sure to ask her if you can move or touch her, and keep your distance.

Once you’ve got an amazing portfolio, get it out there!… and that’s a whole other question 🙂

Happy Shooting!