This Is About You Book Party

This Is About You BookLast year, one of my really good friends asked me to be the photographer for her book. I have been published before, but have never had the chance to be the only photographer in a book. This book was also to be about loving and accepting yourself as you are. I could not think of a project that I wanted to work on more.

I, like all of us, have struggled with different aspects of self love and appreciation. There is a great need for everyone to be told that they are awesome and learn how to believe it. So, when Mary England at Uncustomary asked me to be her photographer, I jumped at the opportunity to help create something that I so fiercely believed in.

Once I agreed, we went to work with planning out shots and figuring out timelines. I was gearing up for Burning Man when Mary told me she had gotten a publisher! This is great news, but it looks like they wanted to push up the date a few weeks. We ended shooting everything in one day. I’m pretty proud of us *puffs up chest.*

Love Balloon hat by April’s Twisted Entertainment, check her out, she’s amazing.

After all of the shooting and all of the editing, I was done with my portion. However, Mary worked her butt off – working with publishers and graphic designers, promoting her book, and also keeping the other aspects of her business going. In case you didn’t notice, I think she is Wonder Woman.

Naturally, after all this hard work and after seeing how amazing the book looks (and is), Mary decided to throw a party.

This Is About You Book Release

Release partyMary had set up different stations where you could write a love letter to yourself, take Polaroids with your friends, and color a section of the Color Your Clit Zine.  She had artists come in and paint faces, play music, read tarot, give massage, and even walk on stilts and make insane balloon hats. The space was a safe space to be utterly yourself and celebrate the power of self-love with like minded people.

Poloroid photo station

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The best thing was being able to meet so many people that also believe in building others up and promoting self love and acceptance. We are all weirdos and that’s fucking awesome.

If you are interested in learning more about the book or getting your own, check out Uncustomary. org or purchase one on amazon.

Stay WeirdArt by Charlotte Hager.

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March’s Monthly Shoot With Uncustomary.

One of my best friends has this amazing blog about self love and happiness called Uncustomary Art. Check it out at uncustomary.com or by just clicking here. What she is doing is very important and I believe in her cause so much, it is really natural that we would work together. For those of you a part of my social media you will have noticed me shamelessly promoting the book I worked on with Mary England about self love. Here is a lovely photo of Mary holding one in front of a pile of her books with a bookend that says BOOK!

Mary England with This Is About You book.

After working together on her book we realized that we were more than just good friends, but we actually work very well together. Also, we are both so incredibly weird that it just works. Mary has now taken on as commissioning my work for her blog and other work on a monthly basis, so that means there is going to be a constant influx of positive and colorful images coming in. OH NO! But yes, I am more excited than ever being able to work with such a good friend and for a cause that I truly believe in.  You should definietly check out her blog, she has posted about a bunch of great concepts and even made this hilariously awesome sex positive coloring book. YEP, check that out here. 

On to the images. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Mary holding Popcorn

 

Sidewalk Chalk Rainbow

 

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Self Love Affirmation

I love photographing all types of work and really bringing across her concepts in whatever medium she would live to express it in. I can’t wait to work more with Mary and create great things. Make sure to check out the book release party for the book on April 14th, check out the event page here. There are going to be a bunch of amazing things for your enjoyment- from photobooths to performers and artists.

Mary England being awesome.

 

 

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Group Shoots, Are They Worth Your Time?

People have feelings about group shoots, a lot of them. What is a group shoot you ask? A group shoot, or sometimes called a meet and greet, is when a bunch of photographers, models, and other industry professionals that get together to network and sometimes shoot some photos. There are so many different kinds of these industry get-togethers and there seems to be about as equal amount of opinions about them.

I’m going to come out and admit it. I love them. Meet and greets are great opportunities to meet potential clients, plan future collaborations, and be around a bunch of people with the same interests and goals as you. Yes, some of the larger ones tend to have some people that just don’t get it there.  However, the gain you can get from going in with a good attitude and doing a little homework beforehand is huge.

Some of my favorite shoots happened at meet and greets. I got to work with models that were passing through the area, and have made contacts with wardrobe designers and performers that I went on to collaborate later on with. There is definitely a certain group shoot etiquette where you give everyone the space and respect they deserve, but honestly most of that has to do with just being a respectful human being. I plan on going further into detail about this particular part in a later blog post, because it really should have its own feature. Group shoots can work, but they don’t work if you’re disrespectful.

Maura Housley in Belle Morte with Alexandra Fische This is an example of what I shot at one of my local group shoots at Studio Murder. Model: Alexandra Fische  (Book her, she’s awesome)

Above is a shoot with Alexandra Fische that I shot at a small studio meet and greet. There are all kinds from indoor to outdoor, traditional studios to interesting venues. Starting as a photographer, my first few meet and greets really helped propel me into the modeling and photography scene. I shot a lot my first few and didn’t really talk and network as much as I should have, but nerveless I got good images and my name out there. However to best utilize your time there remember a few things

  1. Reaching out to people beforehand is good. Check out their portfolios if the event has posted a link to them and contact people ahead of time if you may be interested in shooting a little. However, make sure you don’t bog down your full day. I tend to only plan one or two quick shoots when I am there and don’t tend to spend too much time planning. Group shoots are great for seeing how people’s energies work.
  2. Bring a bag, but not every prop/wardrobe piece you own. Being mobile and having the ability to just pick up and shoot something on the fly is good. I tend to only bring a small bag of wardrobe/fabrics/props. Nothing crazy, but if you have some weird experimental idea you wanted to try out, then bring it and someone might just dig it.
  3. Bring your portfolio! Meet and greets are for networking too and this is really where you can make an impression. Plus, if you are walking up to someone wanting to shoot and your name is not instantly recognized, they have NO IDEA if you are any good or not. I love having a printed portfolio but I am guilty of having mine fall out of date, so if you don’t have a physical portfolio download an app or have your images on your phone or tablet to show off.
  4. Business cards. It should kind of go without saying but they are a must. So you spent your whole day shooting and meeting all sorts of amazing people that you want to stay in touch with. When they ask for your information what do you do… write it on a napkin? Having a calling card says that you are serious and plus, what else are they for?
  5. Follow up! After you have gone home make sure to reach out to the people you met and shot with. Set expectations on when they should see their photos, talk about what you want to work on in the future, or send them that link to that thing you said you were going to.

Sera Feron

Shot at a ‘group shoot.’ Model: Sera Ferron (she is also awesome and can pose for days, photo her)

So where do you hear about these get-togethers?  Think of where you connect with anyone in your field now. I find that social media and word of mouth are my two biggest ways of finding out about events in my area (and further away). I try and not limit my going to just ones in my city either, while these may be some of the most convenient, sometimes I will travel a little to meet some new people and see some new places. Some of my favorite places to find events are facebook groups and events, meetup.com, and sometimes I still come across one on modelmayhem. Talk to other photographers and artists in your area and see if there  is anything going on, and if there isn’t….make one! I am a firm believer if you can’t find it then pool some people together and make it yourself. Now, putting on a group shoot is a bigger task than just going to one, but it doesn’t have to be super structured either. The idea is to get some like-minded people in the same place and things will happen.

What are your thoughts? Do you go to group shoots? What has your experience been? Do you have any coming up? Share!

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Isabel and Her Autoharp

This past weekend I attended a small get together with some photographer friends and a few models that I had never met. It was great seeing my friends (plus they let me shoot in their nifty studio right here in Baltimore). I also got to meet Isabel Stone, a musician and traveling performer. She had mentioned that she needed some shots of her with her autoharp, which I don’t think that before that day, I knew what it sounded like.

Isabel Stone

Autoharp

I love seeing people passionate about what they do- be it modeling, photography, music, or whatever. After taking a few of Isabel with her instrument, I encouraged her to play and I could capture her while she created. Isabel began to play the autoharp and sing – and it was amazing. Her voice is so soulful and beautiful, and with her autoharp I was truly in love with photographing her.  It really shows that she is passionate about her music.

I love the spontaneity of meeting artists at group shoots. I don’t tend to plan what I photograph at these events too much, as I love just meeting a person and just creating. You should really check out Isabel’s work (she actually has a show coming up in March, details below).  I would love to hear what you think about the images or even if you enjoy her music as much as I.

 

Isabel Stone

Isabel Stone and Autoharp

Want to see Isabel live? She has a show on Thursday, March 10th at Gallery 788 in Hampden in Baltimore (at 8pm). If you can’t go, you should check out her ReverbNation:

 

 

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Latex and Totoro

For those that have come to know me, you know that I’m a pretty awkward socially. I say silly things, make silly noises, and generally will trip over things. However, I now see it as much of a part of what makes me, me. My friend Laura has really helped me open up a lot and really learn to embrace my wackiness. So when Laura came to me to tell me how much she liked my photos and how she has never had her photo taken professionally, I instantly had to put together something that showed how pretty she is, but also enabling her to fully express herself, even if I was the photographer.

Laura in Latex

I rented a studio in downtown Baltimore that had all kinds of space and cool perks like music, tons of props, and an owner that didn’t care if I re-arranged absolutely everything. Can you ask for anything better? Laura wanted to do a variety of different looks, and we fit as many as we could into the little bit of time we had there. Usually I tend to start with more lighthearted shots first and then work our way up to the more “sexy” styled shots, but Laura came in and starting wrangling her gorgeous latex dress (check out KLAWTEX). A lot of people tend to be a little scared of latex, but (unless you have a latex allergy) I have literally never seen anyone who looked bad in it, and especially not Laura.

Laura in Latex

Laura in Latex

Black and White Laura

We went from there to talking about how she really wanted photos of herself being extremely herself- her goofy, fun, and hilarious self. She donned a pretty blue dress and proceeded to spin and jump around, making adorable expressions after another. There is something amazing about seeing someone open up in front of the camera and be utterly themselves. You get such great, expressive images that make their personal energy radiate from the image.

Black and White Cute Laura

Lastly, she had brought her partner Adam and wanted to take some photos with him, both in her fuzzy Totoro onesie and some in her pretty dress. I love both sets as they show how much they are into each other and honestly felt energized by photographing them together.

Girl in Totoro onsie

Laura and Adam Totoro

Laura and Adam

Laura had mentioned that she was a little nervous but ended up feeling completely comfortable when modeling. She even said a few nice things:

“I am generally uncomfortable and self-conscious when having my picture taken and had never been in a professional photo shoot involving posing, so I was fairly nervous about it. Maura gave me ideas  was able to tweak my poses down to the arch of my back, hand position and even expression. Despite my awkwardness, the pictures came out beautiful and really naturally sexy (if I do say so myself). Overall, I had a really positive experience and the pictures are some of the best that have ever been taken of me.” – Laura Schilling

Laura and Adam

What do you think? If you were to be in front of the camera, how would you like to be captured?

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