Monday, April 2, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

I have a way of telling a story, or explaining a thought, that is never quite straight to the point, and it's never quite a clean circle either. There are twists and turns, and I quite often lose my point along the way and end up finding a new one. I've got quite a few thoughts to share today, so please bear with me while I do my best to express them. ^_^

It's funny how the key turning points in your own life don't even hit you with their importance until years down the road. I'm a "let's plan for this and then just see where it takes us" kind of person. As I've been asked to tell my story more and more, I'm actually surprised at the pieces that I've forgotten or taken for granted as just being a part of it instead of an intregal puzzle piece. Next to my desk, I have a large picture that I found in the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years. Since I've had it, it's hung in just about every room except the kitchen. In fact, my husband would like for me to hang it back in the bathroom, from next to the mirror where I took it down, because it brings some sense of comfort to him as well. I love this picture because it has always spoken to me and shown me that this is what women should look like: relaxed and elegant in any state of dress. It's just a worn out, blown up reprint of an old Theatre Magazine cover. It's a reprint of the November 1918 issue, to be exact, and I absolutely adore it. In some recess of my mind, I have always wanted to be as confidentally beautiful as this woman. Without realizing it, this old print, that I found at a garage sale, became a turning point and an important component to the foundation of my belief that all women are beautiful. Period.

Now, I really should go backwards a bit and tell you about when I first fell in love with photography. When I was in the 7th grade, my very best friend's, Jennii, mom began taking night photography courses at the local university. (GO MEMPHIS STATE TIGERS!!) The class needed models, so naturally Jennii and I were quickly recruited for the job. I loved it! Dressing up and being the center of attention was a lot of fun, but what I really enjoyed was watching what went into composing the shot and then seeing the final product. This was before digital, so I'd have to wait for what seemed like forever to get a print back, from a student, but it was always worth it. What was amazing to me was figuring out who was standing where taking the shot, where the main light source was coming from, and what was the most flattering and natural looking body position. There was a process to it, and I was so into trying to pinpoint it, but I was only 13 and eventually my interest moved onto other things. It was always somewhere in the back of my mind though. I'd try to take those same questions and apply them to my paintings and drawings, too. As time went on, I'd pick up a disposable camera or two whenever possible, but I almost never got them developed. For one, I didn't have the money growing up to pay to get film developed, but for another, it just didn't seem as important to me back then.

Fast forward to the dawn of the digital point and shoot. I've had some really crappy digital cameras at one time or another, back when I thought the all-mighty megapixel was the deal breaker. ^_- Having children created a need to document as much of their lives as possible which really worked out for the camera companies because I can't tell you how many of those cheap things that I went through over the years. lol I tell you what though, those early digital camera really taught me the importance of lighting. Without it, you had nothing. With it, you could create the most breathtaking images with whatever equipment you had available.

Once I started to realize the importance of light, other things started to slowly click together. That's when the infamous "picture parties", that I talked about in an earlier blog, started. With those intimate portrait parties among friends, I began to understand the importance of how light contours a woman's body. What started out as friends getting together to create sensual images for their spouses became a way to raise self esteem and self awareness. Another puzzle piece clicked into place.

I get asked who my ideal client is. I've thought long and hard about this. I love all of my clients, but there is a target market that I am drawn to. For inspiration on how to appeal to this specialized market, I think of my own mother. My mother was born to be a pretty child. She grew to be a beautiful teen and then matured into a breathtaking woman. Even after giving birth to 2 children, she was still a sight to behold. Then life took over. Stress and troubles weighed heavily on her. She became ill and soon divorced. Her health seemed to always be a factor in her increasing age; it took front seat and made itself known. She had forgotten that she was a goddess. My mother saw herself as "formerly beautiful" instead of incredible in the present. She was my absolute best friend, and it broke my heart to watch her sense of self worth deteriorate month after month and then year after year. I no longer have my mother here with me, but she will always be the standard to which I hold myself. No woman should ever believe that she is less than she is. That is a belief that I hold dear and close to my heart. I consider it my purpose in life to open every woman's eyes to behold her own radiance. I have my mother to thank for that.

I'm sure that there is so much more that I started this post intending to say, but with it being my mom's birthday today, emotions are high, and I feel that this is a good way to close my thought process. I didn't mean to tell my story or explain why I do what I do, but it seems like I did anyway. If you've stuck around this long, thank you.

Patricia Spaulding
Made You Look Photography

Friday, March 23, 2012

Preparing For Your Session

I don't need to tell you what an amazing experience that having a boudoir session is. You already know which is why you've gone ahead and scheduled yours. ^_- I know how important it is to you, and I want to help you prepare for it so I put together a quick list of things that you can do to get ready so that you end up with the best results possible.
  • Hairdresser:
    • No more than a week before your session, visit your hair goddess and freshen your tresses. This is a great excuse to tighten your style, revitalize your color, and/or get rid of split ends and any stray gray hairs. (Oh yes, I have those, DROVES) This also gives a clean pallet for our MUA/hairstylist to work with so that she can create a look that is perfect and customized for you.
  • Skin Care:
    • If you decide to have a facial, do so at least 24-48 hours before the day of your session in case any skin issues arise.
  • Nails:
    • A few days or the day before your session, treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure. Not only will your nails look and feel fabulous, you won't be concerned about forgetting to remove that old chipped polish or soften any cracked heels.
  • Outfits:
    • Gather together the clothing and props that you are thinking about using. Remember to pick items that are figure flattering as opposed to practical. A boned corset might not be the most comfortable thing to go grocery shopping in, but it's great for showing off your curves which is exactly what we want. Be sure to include a light robe if you are concerned about being cold between set-ups. I highly recommend bringing an oversized men's white button down. It's simple and sexy. For a 2 hour session, I would plan to bring anywhere from 2-4 outfits. Remember that the more outfits you bring, the more time that you will spend changing clothes. Feel free to accessorize, but keep it to a minimum because we want the focus to be on you and not your bling.
  • Relax and Enjoy
    • Most of all, just remember that the experience is all about YOU!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Compliment vs Creeper

It’s not unusual for me to strike up conversations with complete strangers. I love people, and I always think that there is something special about themselves that they’ve overlooked or have taken for granted. It’s like a need that I have to let them know what that is and bring a smile to their face. I have no problem going up to a woman, that I don't know, and telling her that she smells nice, has great hair that frames her face flatteringly, is wearing incredible earrings/shoes, or whatever it is that catches my eye about her. We’re constantly surrounded by beauty, and a lot of it is strolling nonchalantly passed us as we go about our daily routines.

Walking up to someone and trying to awkwardly explain that they have a look that makes me want to photograph them is difficult for me though. I certainly don't want to be viewed as a "creeper". (@_@) That would kinda suck. Some people just have something about them that draws you in and makes it difficult to look away. This evening, that type of person walked into the same venue where I had just finished an appointment. She had an elven princess look about her, and the synapses that control the creative portion of my brain immediately started conjuring possible photographic concepts centered around her particular look. Instead of running up to her and blurting out some strange version of "OMG! You've just inspired me," I finalized my client notes from the evening and began to pack up my things. I chit chatted with one of my favorite baristas, was rewarded with an unexpected “happy”, and prepared to head home and get started on the day’s client orders.

As I walked out through the front doors, and bid farewell to some of my favorite regulars, I happened to glace to my left. There sat the beautiful young lady and her mother enjoying their coffee. What to do? What to do?? I took a chance and walked over. I’m sure that I was stumbling over my words a bit in an attempt not to sound like the dreaded “creeper”, but I think I was fairly coherent. Had she ever considered modeling? While I’m not an agent, I would love to help her build a portfolio or simply create a photo session customized just for her. To my surprise, the mother informed me that the girl didn’t believe that she was as beautiful as the mom and I obviously did. I gave them my card, thanked them for allowing me to interrupt them, and left them to enjoy the rest of their evening. Whether they contact me or not is of little consequence. What matters to me most, in this instance, is that this young girl truly knows that she is gorgeous.

As women, I think we all tend to think less of ourselves and our worth than others think of us. Every girl should grow up believing in her own beauty, both inner and outer. As those girls get older and become women, we should continue to reinforce that knowledge. Each of us is wondrously and magnificently made.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

And a Little Bit Rock N Roll

Every day, every client, every session I strive to outdo myself from the time before. I live for the unattainable illusion that one day I might be able to perfect what I do so that it reaches the peak of excellence. Each day, each client, each session reminds me that I am always growing and learning to express, not just my own style and desires, but the desires of my clients and of my subjects. It's not unusual to do the pretty pictures with lots of romantic sensuality, but every once in a while I get asked to do something a little further out of the box. This was one of those sessions. This vixen is beautiful with porcelain skin, firey red hair, and a personality that will set you at ease and yet let you know who's really running the show all at the same time. Once she smiles, you instantly feel like her new best friend. But she also has a sexy side that's a bit hardcore. I had such a great time with this that I can't even write anymore. I'm just going to post one of the images and let your jaw drop as much as mine did when I saw it through the viewfinder. Rock and roll celebrity perfection...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Everyone loves a good story. Isn't that what photography is? We do our best to capture the moment with as much detail and emotion as possible in order to tell the stories of our lives. We chronicle memories. Every story has a beginning. Beginnings are the best because they're so full of hope and possibilities.

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of helping one young girl with the beginning of her story. Her name is Mackenzie, and you may very well get to know the sound of her name as her story progresses. I am occasionally asked to do fashion, glamour, and headshot sessions in order for current models to build up and update their portfolios. This was the chance to build a portfolio from scratch. Mackenzie is just dipping her toes into the unkown waters of the modeling industry, but I don't think it will be too long before she's surfing it like a pro. You only have to speak with her for a few moments in order to feel the passion and determination that she has for modeling. My team and I are honored to help her begin this wonderful adventure, and I can't wait to see what amazing things that she accomplishes!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where do I begin? I've begun to include the blog posts on my schedule. As most of you may already know, nothing happens if it isn't on the schedule. It's my lifeline. With as hopping as everything has been, I knew that I needed to actually set aside time just for this. It's true that I'd like for each of you to know some of the things that we've been working on, and the adventures that we've had, but I had no idea how wonderful it would feel to share the everyday goings on of the studio.

Lately, I've really been trying to get as much outside training as I can. I feel a lot like a sponge that can't seem to soak up enough information. It's almost indescribable the way knowledge can make you feel. It's humbling and empowering all at the same time. I get a lot of requests for me to share my knowledge with other budding photographers, but I just sorta do what feels right in the moment. I don't know how to teach what I do because I'm still learning, too. Quite frankly, I hope that I am always continuing to learn and grow and improve. If I ever feel as if I have learned it all and reached the peak, then it will be time to set my camera down and walk away because then I will know that I have learned nothing. I've done 2 workshops in the last 3 weeks, and I have many more lined up in the next 6 months. If I can find time between sessions and production, I may even try to get a few extra notches in my belt by going back to school. What is the saying? "The more I learn, the more I learn that I have more to learn." So true.

And since we're getting to know each other so well, here is a quick pic of me. This was totally done in the ol' one arm pose, and I think I may have a hint of the dreaded "duck lips" going on. Rut roh! ^_-

"Hi, my name is Tricia, and I will be your photographer today. Buckle up because this is going to be one helluva fun adventure for the both of us!"

So what have you learned lately? Have you tried something new? If you were given the chance to do anything at all, with no limitations, what would you do?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm Newly Commited

Okay, I admit it. I kinda suck at updating my blog. Since it's literally been a year since the last post, I really can't even try to argue about it. However, it's recently occured to me that not everyone visits the fan page on Facebook. Imagine my surprise to learn that the networking site, that has created a life of it's own on my computer, isn't the center of everyone else's universe. Next, someone's going to tell me that there are actual lives outside of my office/studio and that you don't have to view that world solely through the lens of a camera. Mind boggling, right? lol I kid, of course. This particular post is my new attempt at recommiting myself to blogging and letting you in on some of the behind the scenes giggles, the silly antics of the Made You Look Photography team, what you can expect from your experience with us, and a few sneak peeks at some of the finished images.

I'm not even going to put up a front: We are some crazy folks. From consultations all of the way to delivering the final products, we don't even pretend not to be having a great time. I'm not terribly serious myself. I actually have to force myself to do the technical aspects of being a business owner because I have so much fun just simply hanging out with my clients.

We're all just girls hanging out and having a fantastic time. It just so happens that one of us has a camera in hand. After it's all said and done, and your sides hurt from laughing so much, it's almost a surprise to discover that there are pictures of the day. It's as if the experience itself is worth more than the image captured. Don't get me wrong. Those images are priceless. I couldn't possibly tell you how many times I have heard the self doubt at the beginning of the morning evolve into self confidence and self assurance by the afternoon. I have found that tears of joy are not uncommon.

It's always amazed me how much women do for everyone around them compared to how little they do for themselves. A mother will spend days (or weeks) putting together the perfect outfits for her children and husband to wear for a family portrait. She'll then spend the entire morning frantically getting the rest of her family put together in a sort of miraculous picture day masterpiece only to hastily throw on a bit of make-up and hopefully run a brush through her hair in an attempt at not looking disheveled. Women are goddesses in their own right. Women move mountains. And yet, they/we undervalue ourselves more often than not. I know this because I've been in that same boat. I'm the 34 year old married mother of 3 incredible children. It took me up until this point in my life to realize that I truly like myself the way that I am. Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Sure. Should I spend more time doing things that help me to grow as a person? Absolutely. But the fact remains that I love myself just as I am right now. And that is exactly what I want for every woman to feel about herself. We are not formally beautiful. We are beautiful now in this moment just as we are. I was trying to explain this to someone recently, and I think I've finally found a way to articulate that feeling into words. Your body is a visual display of your life's experiences. Each scar and wrinkle tell a story of a moment that helped to shape you into the person that you are today. Embrace yourself as you are now for you are beautifully and wonderously made.

And now that I've made my new commitment blog post a bit longer than I intended, how about some peeks at some recent work that I've done as a reward for hanging in for the long haul during my rambling. ^_-

This is from a glamour session that we did outdoors at a local park. This girl is what you call a natural beauty for sure! I just couldn't stop "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing over her.

Here's a favorite from a boudoir session where we created an entire room in an empty space. That was a seriously fun day! Doesn't she look like a young Elizabeth Taylor here?? Breathtaking.

This is another example of where we created an entire set from an empty space while on location. I don't superimpose backgrounds or objects into my images, so this all had to be done by hand. Don't you wish that the real cupid was this hot??

Okay, so I've never done a bathtub shot before with the exception of my "Picture Parties" over a decade ago. This was a while other ballgame that I couldn't wait to tackle and play with. I've actually got several versions of bathtub shots on the books for upcoming sessions, but this one is different. It was pretty "on the fly", as we'd already started packing away equipment, but I am SO glad that we did it. This girl is just phenominal!

If you'd like to see more samples of my work, please check out our fan page on Facebook. Shoot me an e-mail, and let's set up your life changing consultation.