The WORST Boudoir Photographer! Ever.

Let me tell you about the WORST Boudoir Photographer.  I recently came across an entire session; and it is just GOD AWFUL.  This girl is exactly who we hate: that “fauxtographer” / momapher that just goes out and buys a camera and decides she’s going to start a business.  She goes to a camera shop in her local mall, buys a camera, had some extra cash so she opted for the Canon 40D {mostly because the guy behind the counter was a canon guy, I’m sure if she had gone on a Thursday she’d have bought a Nikon; it’s not like she knew the difference.}  She had a good chunk of change so she opted for the Professional Grade one… Let’s at least give her points for not choosing a Rebel eh?  She then finds a local photographer I’m friends with and attends a workshop.  She hopes all that google reading she did will help mask the new camera smell clinging to her when she proudly declares she came name all three things that control the light: The shutter speed, the aperture, and the is-o… It’s pronounced ISO dear, you say the letters… {are you kidding me?!}

Now having taken a workshop she is obviously ready to start shooting and charging, at least she knows that only amateurs shoot on the little grey square, and so she turns it to the icon of the person for portraits, buys herself a super highend lighting kit off of Ebay and shoots her first session in … her bedroom… while her 3 and 1 year old are down stairs.  It’s obviously the workshop photographer’s fault that even though they were shooting natural light, he neglected to mention she’d need a trigger to get her strobes to fire… she resulted to shooting with just the modeling light, charged her the exceptionally highend price tag of $75.00 and gave her a disk of all the Raw files… She shoots jpeg, she thought raw meant unretouched.

Before I show you these monstrosities she called “art” can we just take a moment and agree that people like this are EXACTLY what’s wrong with our industry these days?!  Photographers like this drag down the value of photography for all of us, they are inexperienced, uneducated, and they have NO respect for those of us working so hard to make this our livelihood with hours of practice, and countless classes, books, video tutorials, and experience.  They do everything wrong and then the clients that come into contact with them have a F$#%ed up view of what photography should look like in terms of quality, and what it’s financial value is… We’re quickly approaching the end of any of us being able to make a living because this now passes for artistry:

Don’t you love the over exaggerated posing, though if you cut off my foot and hand I’d faint too…

We clearly don’t care about cutting off hands and legs… what’s important is we got the armpit…

Obviously putting her hand in-between her face and the light source is ideal; ya know for those “moody shadows” that softly conceal any recognizable facial features and remove any connection to the model at all…

Let’s also make her look as big as possible by shortening her midsection and compacting her… good thing we got that highlight on her thigh and forearm though, otherwise people might have thought her face should be the focus…

I don’t even know what to say about this one; color theory and skin tones obviously matter little… must have been the camera’s fault, she left in on auto white balance after all…

This must have been from her blue period, again lets pick the most unflattering angle, crunch her midsection for the short and stocky look all the girls are trying to obtain these days…

This one almost had potential if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s advertising the neon red light special…

I’m quite certain you can see what I’m talking about now.  It’s a shame that photography doesn’t require a certification, that there aren’t requirements and barriers to entry to barricade our beloved industry from these leeches that have no care for safeguarding our careers and artistry… I can tell you that 5 years later this photographer was exactly where I expected her to be:

She runs one of the highest end studios on the East Coast of the USA and makes a minimum of $2000 a session.  She was recruited by a publisher to write her first book which is now internationally published and available in every major bookstore and online, and was featured by Rangefinder Magazine as the top book to pick up in the beginning of 2015.  .  She is invited to speak at some of the largest expos and conferences in the country.  She has toured with American Photo Magazine, is sponsored by the heads of the industry, like Sigma, Finao, Triple Scoop Music, and On1.  She has 45 Apprentices in 17 different countries that she mentors as a Master Artist in the Arcanum.  She’s leading workshops internationally, the next one in London.  She now shoots only what she loves, gets paid exceptionally well for it, works for clients approximately 6 days out of the month, and spends the rest of her time on her personal art project which is meant to be a gallery show and fine art book…  The images below are the same model, but 5 years later… I think we can say she redeemed herself, though much to her dismay the model still sees something in the original shoot and refuses to remove them from social media.

See, that was me, then and now.  Last year I hosted a workshop called the “Burning the Bridge Retreat”  For 4 days we inspired, we created, we challenged ourselves and each other.  We got in touch with all our fears and insecurities, like the fact that most of us are afraid we don’t deserve it, we’re not good enough, we’ll never make it.  Or the voices from well meaning loved ones insisting you get a ‘real job’, grow up, make responsible {read fear parading as responsibility} choices.  The fear that we can’t make ends meet, can’t run our business, can’t make it work.  On the last day everyone wrote those fears down, left it on my bridge, and then we lit the bridge on fire and burned it behind us so we could never return to those fears or excuses… and we got these amazing photos of this beautiful girl who believed in me before anyone else saw anything but a momapher, a fauxtographer, a representation of everything we say is ruining our industry.

We have Burnt the Bridge, now you will go forward and emerge victorious, or you will suffer the loss, but you will not have the option to retreat.

So here is the moral of the story.  It isn’t meant to boast, it’s simply meant to serve as a reminder:  It’s ok to be a beginner.  It’s ok to be learning as you go, to make mistakes, to shoot TFP {In fact you should, I had no business charging for that first session.}  It’s ok to fail… have glorious failures, not like trip and stumble, like fall all the way the hell down the mountain head over feet, and then stand up brush off and figure out what that failure taught you.

No one is above or better than you… Artistry is not a competition because it connects on a very soulistic level, it’s from your spirit, and heart and mind.  You’ll find that every image becomes a self portrait in some way, and looking at your work connects people to you, to what is important for you to say.  You don’t get to images like these without first creating images like the ones above.  It is not a fork in the road where one path leads to success and the other to failure, success is the destination, failure are rest stops along the way, to refuel, redirect your path, and get back on course.

The ONLY photographer you should be comparing yourself to is the one you used to be.

You have to be willing to work for it.  When it’s hard, and you’re tired, or sick, and nothing is working, and you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, and scared, and exhausted… If you don’t see your potential in those moments, how will anyone else?  If you don’t invest everything you have, your time, and money, and energy, your heart, and mind, and soul into this ESPECIALLY when they are telling you you can’t do it… why should anyone else invest in you?  You have to shoot what moves you, what matters to you.  Don’t shoot for profit… profit follows passion.

Shoot for the love of it, what wakes you up excited in the morning, what lights you on fire… shoot what you are willing to shoot for free, because you are an artist, and this expression is tearing at your skin, clawing its way to the surface, escaping by whatever means it may find because it needs to be in the world, and it threatens your very sanity, becoming an all consuming thought until it is realized… THAT is what you shoot, that is what you center your focus on.

That is what gives you the strength and the courage to pursue in the midst of nay sayers, and illness, and financial uncertainty, it’s what gives you the will to swim against the current.  That is how you create work that can not be ignored, and then by extension you’ll find you will not be ignored… one of the biggest misconceptions plaguing our industry is that you need to be focused on marketing, and branding, and SEO, and social media, you need to focus on getting paid and being well known.  If you want to know why I think I accomplished so much so fast, it’s because I never worried about any of that, I just wanted to create pretty pictures that spoke to people; I wanted to be able to take the images I see in my dreams and my imagination and bring them to life, invite others into it.

I was much more focused on creating work worthy of being known, worthy of being purchased than I was in  actually being known and paid.  It’s time you stopped worrying about being a business, and if you want your potential clients to be focused on the VALUE of your artistry… make sure that you yourself are focused on that value by creating work that matters, that moves… lead them to honor that value, lead by example.

I'm an Intimate Portrait Artist, a Noted Instructor, Speaker, and Internationally Published Author, and a Master Artist in the Arcanum, I'm in Love with the Nostalgic, the Romantic, the Artistic & Poetic. <3 Currently in the midst of creating a full length novel designed as a beautiful photographically illustrated story book.

I am not your girl for the latest on gear, the tech questions, ratios, and rules. I don't care. I don't care if you get it right in camera, or if your style comes in with retouching, if you shoot Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, or iPhone. I don't care what setting you shoot on. What I care about is that you shoot what truly holds meaning for you... otherwise you won't create art, you'll just take pictures... As long as when I see the image it moves me; it inspires me, it overwhelms me, it rips my heart out, or heals me, or empowers me... that's what I care about. Say something that matters with your artistry, and have the courage to fight for the chance to spend your time as you want to. Profit Follows Passion. Focus on the passion, focus on creating work that can not be ignored, and you will not be ignored. <3

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