5 spiritual practices to guarantee the best energy during a Photoshoot

“You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery and risk and leave room enough for someone else to get in there” Joel Meyerowitz

I believe the difference between photos you love with all your heart, and photos you can’t stand to look at twice is energy.

Your energy: the way you feel during the photoshoot. The feelings and emotions you’re connecting to while I photograph you. The way you feel about your surroundings. The ease you feel with me and with yourself.

The emotions your work evokes in you, your passion for helping your clients, your joy, excitement, inner peace: they are all reflected in your eyes, the way your body moves, the naturalness of your smile.  When you are connected to love, joy and your higher purpose, this energy can be felt through your images.

My energy: The one I bring to the work and to the day in general…whether I’m centered or nervous, joyful or sad, excited or upset, affects your energy as well. Even if when feeling bad, I do my utter best not to show it.

For this reason, my goal during a photoshoot is to both make sure my energy and vibration remains high all along it, and to support and sustain your own energy while we shoot.  I want to help you connect to the highest vibration, so the message you want to transmit with your images flows straight to the heart of your potential clients.

In order to do this I follow a series of conscious pre-photoshoot rituals, and also have developed a handy toolkit of quick re-calibration techniques that helps me go back, quickly and effectively, to feeling great so that you can feel great too.

My pre-photoshoot rituals include reading only uplifting literature the day before a shoot (I consciously avoid the news), and playing mantras or Abraham Hicks rampages the night before, while I clean my camera and lenses and check that everything works perfectly before putting it back in my camera bag. In the morning, I wake 2 hours before  shoot, do a 20 minute yoga sequence and a 10 minute meditation, then shower to allow water to cleanse my aura and repeat affirmations while I dress, have breakfast and review the client’s moodboard.

Before leaving for a photoshoot, I create an energetic bubble around myself that lets only the good permeate and keeps away any energy that doesn’t serve me, and ask my guides and those of my client, to guide our day, with a small prayer I adapted from the one Diana Gabaldon says before writing:

 “Allow me to see what I need to see and guide our steps to find the locations that are perfect for this shoot. Allow me to capture the perfect images to help this client fulfill her life purpose. Let my camera be a witness to her greatness and her light, and allow me to reveal the true radiance of her soul in every shot”

During the Photoshoot, I use my bag of tricks, which I will share with you today. If you are familiar with Abraham Hicks’ work, you know it takes holding a thought for 16 seconds to turn around your vibration, so here’s my advice: Use these quickly and often and in a preventive manner. Don’t let your vibration drop, or rescue it fast when it does due to environmental input or tiredness. 

Here are the practices that help me keep the energy high:

1) Grounding

This is my go-to technique, one I use before every photoshoot and one that helps re-center clients with anxiety, who feel uneasy or very self conscious.

There are many ways to ground and get out of your head. I personally use a Grounding Meditation that I created myself and edited with music, which makes you visualize flowers and branches growing around your feet and legs and infuses your body and mind with the Earth’s love and energy.

Walking barefoot, sitting on the grass, touching running water and hugging trees are also really good for centering and aligning …and make for great photos as well, so I’ll sometimes suggest these type of shots , because I know they’ll also have the advantage of helping my clients ground.

2) The Energetic Bubble

This is the technique I mentioned I do before going out of my hotel room, to make sure my energy stays high during the day. As an introvert, this is very important for me to do. When I was just starting to photograph in cities, I didn’t realize I needed to protect my energy, and on my first two day shoot with 8 clients, I crashed down at the end of the day, and got so depleted I could barely stand.

It’s also important for me to make sure my client’s energy doesn’t dip as the day evolves. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, locations get closed due to emergencies, there’s more noise than we anticipated, or more people than we wished for, or we witness ugly discussions nearby. All these things, coupled with the natural nerves of a photoshoot, can become a perfect storm that derails a client’s vibe.

So what I do is expand my energetic bubble (the one I created before leaving my hotel room) to cover my client, so that they are always vibrating high.

Here’s how to do it: Visualize a golden or rose golden ray of light coming from your heart.  A ray of light that vibrates and beams with love. See it expanding until it covers all your body and, once it does, imagine it growing like a bubble, creating a ball of love and light around you. Visualize it letting into your energetic field only positive vibrations and repelling the rest. Ask your guides to help you keep it in place all day long.

 

3) The Love Connection

When I photograph clients, we do a simple exercise to show them how beautiful they truly are when they allow LOVE to shine through. 

I set the camera on a tripod and they stand in front of it. I ask them to breathe deeply and look at me, and take a photo. Then I ask them to close their eyes. With their eyes closed, I ask them to think about someone they deeply love, to remember the reasons why they love this person, the way this person smiles, the things they say, the way their hair moves in the breeze, the moments they have shared that have made them love this person more and more.

They don’t need to tell me who they are thinking of, and it only takes about 30 seconds. Then I put my finger on the shutter and ask them to open their eyes. When they do, I click.

Then I show them both images. The self- conscious version of themselves and the love-filled version. They can see how their eyes shine differently, how their smile softens, how their every feature becomes full of light.

Try this the next time you have a photoshoot or need to film a video. Close your eyes and visualize someone you love deeply. Focus on LOVE, then come and tell me how you felt, and how you looked. 

Note: I ask clients to focus on someone else they love because it’s sometime easier to see the greatness in others than in ourselves, especially if you’re feeling self-conscious…and yet love reflects your light all the same. 

4) Visualization

Similar to the last trick, but slightly different.  During a photoshoot, I guide my clients through different short visualizations to help them connect to the energy of what they desire.

As you know, feeling like you already have something, or are who you want to become is key to manifesting it. By visualizing how they want to transform the world, what drives them to do the work they do, and seeing themselves helping transform the lives of lots of wonderful clients while I am photographing, we convert the images in manifesting tools themselves. We consciously tap into those energies we want to bring to everything we do.

In order to do this, spend some time, before your photoshoot, thinking about your big WHY and your IDEAL CLIENT. Imagine them. Write a letter to them. See the future world you’re helping create. Then think about those things during your shoot.

5) Gemstones + Essential Oils

One of the easiest tools, that tap into the power of anchoring and olfactory memory.

We all have smells we love, that bring beautiful memories, energize us, make us feel great. I love the smell of vanilla and lavender, for example, the perfume of magnolias and the sensual scent of Kashmir Amber. When I photograph clients, I always carry magical essential oils with me, that I offer to them before and during a shoot. The goal is to use our sense of smell to connect to the emotions we want to evoke during the shoot.

I also carry semi-precious stones in my pockets, and choose my jewelry according to the energies I want to maintain during the shoot (I choose these intuitively, since most of my jewelry is from giardinoblu.com). The most common stones I carry are pyrite (grounding and abundance), rose quartz (love) and amethyst (connection to Source and transmutation of energies).

If you have a scent that makes you happy, or a gemstone you particularly like, carry a small one in your pocket and touch it whenever you want to remind yourself of why you are doing the shoot, what you wish to accomplish with it, and all the good your work will do in the world. You can always program a stone to carry your intention. I like this method by Danielle Laporte for doing so. 

 

Your turn: Do you take care of your energy when you work? Do these techniques sound like something you’d like to incorporate to your repertoire? Share in the comments, I’m always happy to hear your ideas. 

 

How I create [Calling the Muse]

Have you ever wondered how people do what they do? How bakers create their cakes, how designers come up with gorgeous logos, how photographers photograph? And no, I don’t mean backstage footage or photos (which is also fascinating).

I mean what comes before: the process that leads to an idea being born.

The rituals that help us conjure the inspiration, call in the Muse.

 

I’ve shown backstage videos and photos of my work and I’ve created step by step tutorials many times too. But I’ve never talked openly about the process that leads to my photos being a certain way.

A part of it is science: I know about color theory, design principles and I know my camera well enough to make it do what I want it to do.

But the crucial part, I must confess,  is magic.

Not the magic of card tricks or flying wizards, I haven’t joined Howgarts yet (the damn owl refuses to bring me a letter).

The magic of calling in and opening myself to the creative energy and allowing it to show me the way.

I have a series of rituals that help me be in the right mood for creating, and today I wanted to share with you one of them: Creating my amulet mixed art painting.

I learnt this process from Jo Klima‘s beautiful course AMULET and it has been a fantastic way to let go of blank photo card paralysis (like white page paralysis, but for photographers). And since then, whenever the fear of starting a new project settles in, I know I can exorcise it with a bit of paint.

The process is simple, and highly intuitive and it seeks to create an anchor, a reminder of our intention. To declare our openness to divine inspiration and divine guidance. To call in the energies we want to play with, intentionally and consciously.

It’s not about knowing how to begin a project, it’s about feeling our way into it, one brush stroke at a time- which is why it works so beautifully. It shuts down the mind, and opens the heart.

It starts with a paint and paper and dirty hands…

It continues with glue, and glitter, mantra music and marker pens…

And by the time I’m done, resistance is gone and taking the next steps of a new project are easier, because it feels like I’ve already begun. 

The painting above marked the beginning of a project I’ve been dreaming about for some time and that I’ll be birthing into the world in the next few weeks.

I used red, orange and turquoise to call in creativity, passion and free-flowing communication. I called in the energy of Goddess Fortuna, so it’ll prosper and the help of the dragonfly, to connect me with the best ideas within me. I called on the Earth to anchor this project into reality, Fire, to bring it to completion, and the Moon, to imbue it with divine feminine essence. I called on Mars for strength and courage and Jupiter for blessings.

I saged the room before beginning, lit a candle to illuminate the way, and played one of my favorite mantras while I painted.

I’ll tell you more about this project and the rest of my creativity conjuring rituals in my next blog posts.

And now, let me know: how do you create? 

 

PINK M

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Spirituality & mindfulness in business and why they’re important

MINDFULNESS- SPIRITUALITY- CYPRUS-PHOTOGRAPHER- MARCELA- MACIAS
When I was growing up, I used to think that spirituality and ” real life” were two separate things. I was born in a Catholic country, from an atheist father and an agnostic mother, and, to the horror of everyone who knew me, I wasn’t baptized. Aren’t you afraid that you won’t go to heaven? People would ask me all the time, to which I would respond: “ I like to think that, if there’s a God and a Heaven, it’s not limited to those who follow the rite of one of the many religions of the world, but rather that it’s open to good people, so no, I’m not afraid” . To the outside world, I was weird. Not because I was not Catholic, but because I didn’t have a religion. And I didn’t want one either. I rejected the idea of confession, and while I appreciated the beauty of sacred art, I believed that true connection with the Divine could only be found in nature. I was moved, not by a statue of the Christ (The image of the crucifixion always terrified me) but by the landscapes I saw when I traveled, the beauty of dawns and sunsets, the stars in the sky, random acts of kindness, undying friendships, art and poetry.

I saw the Divine in everything. I just didn’t call it that.

Until my late teens, I didn’t see the purpose of having a religion and I couldn’t understand those who did. I was young, and intellectually arrogant and had a lot of life to live before I came to realize the immense power of spirituality. During a particularly hard period of my life, I looked for refuge by going to Church, but found that the practice left me fearful and anxious instead of empowered, so I soon dropped it.

Even though I felt restricted by religion, in my 20s I started longing for a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself.

It started with yoga and meditation, in 2004, practices which sustained me during the difficult first years since Luka and Zoe’s diagnoses. Vision boards, gratitude-journaling, and tapping quickly followed. Then came the turn of oracle cards, Abraham-Hicks videos on youtube, mantras, reiki, channeling, manifesting, planning in accordance with the moon cycles, and the study of the Divine Feminine.

And then I understood. 

We don’t have a spiritual practice because we need one. We have a spiritual practice because when we are connected to a higher power, everything is easier and more beautiful.

It took me years to get to this point. It didn’t come easily to me.

I have a type-A personality that has given me as many triumphs as headaches, and until my kids were born, I never gave myself the time for pleasure, or contemplation. I was all the time on the clock, thinking about what else I had to do to achieve my goals.  Rain + a book was always my idea of a perfect day, but do you know how many times I allowed myself to enjoy a day like that? Until recently, very few. That’s the curse of a Type-A personality with a side of insecurity: the constant drive to do more and more and more, to achieve, to excel, to improve…to prove to myself that I was worthy. I was always on the move, always thinking about new things to do, always wondering how I could move forward in my career. I thought I was my career until Luka and Zoe were born.  

And then, one day, I found myself 24/7 at home, with young kids, and I thought I was going to go mad.

The calmness, the routines, the monotony and (for an introvert like me) the lack of silence were a shock to my system. A lightning bolt in my life, so planned to the detail, so structured before, and now so different. I didn’t know how to cope with my ever growing to do list, with my need to do something other than mothering and for the love of all things holly, I promise you, I had no idea how to be a good mother either. Add to that the lack of sleep, and that, apart from mothering twins, I was also studying for a very demanding Master of Laws and you’ll understand why, when the kids were 15 months I found myself crying with desperate sobs, in the middle of the night, that I couldn’t do it anymore, that I needed to please sleep and do nothing, that I needed a break.

I knew, back then, that I couldn’t continue like that, and that I needed to find a way to change. And what saved me were two things: an enormous love for my children, and the sheer determination to find a way to combine mothering and work with more ease, with more peace, lovingly embracing the present moment. Yoga and meditation, which were practices that I had briefly started before, became the cornerstones of my well being. Crafting, baking and photography became my creative outlets, my stress-busters, my oasis. And that’s when The Celebration Girl (my old blog) was born.

But when I started this new business, the old type A habits kicked in again, because that’s the only way I knew how to work. My mind kicked in overdrive at first, and I became obsessed with learning every tip, every tactic, every strategy. I subscribed to a gazillion of newsletters to the point where I felt overwhelm at the mere thought of opening my email account. I was always feeling guilty of not doing enough, not knowing enough, not being more advanced in my plans. I followed the kind of online gurus that shame you for not attending their webinars or buying their products and I allowed them to make me feel like a sore loser.

But, this time, because of my mindfulness practices, I could feel in my bones that something was not right. And around 18 months ago, I started to really pay attention.

I noticed that my body was providing me with signs: a tightening in the stomach when something felt wrong, a feeling of opening in my chest when I loved something, and many more. Could there be other signs I hadn’t noticed? Other patterns? I wondered. So I listened more.

It started like a game: I would give the Universe an ultimatum, or ask a question and then I would start noticing patterns. I was not looking for them, they were pretty much being thrown at me! It was fun, and it was simple, so I started using it for business too. My mind still wanted to take over, but now I knew when to allow it and when not to. I realized that I shouldn’t make decisions when too tired, nor be on social media, for example, because I can become snappy.

I noticed that my mood improved and I could work much better if I took a cold shower in the morning and had green juice for breakfast. I discovered that 15 minutes of exercise a day greatly improved my energy levels. And I found out that lighting a candle and asking the Universe to guide what I had to write before sitting at the computer, made every communication flow much, much easily.

And for the times when my mind was very persistent? I now had a series sacred practices that supported me.

Can I live, work, raise my kids without a spiritual practice? Yes, of course I can. But everything would feel harder. And, call me crazy, but I prefer things to flow and feel easy.

Spirituality (these set of sacred practices that support my well being) and Mindfulness are the keys of my happiness and my sanity. Everything I’ve accomplished these past years, and my positive outlook in life (which has often surprised many and, frankly, unnerved others) can be traced back to the moment I decided to develop consistent routines that support me feeling like I wanted to feel. I was this close to burn-out on many occasions, and I know it’s just not worth it.

Today, my days start giving thanks for everything I have before I step out of bed, followed by a morning walk (with a mantra playlist) and a meditation while sitting in a park near my home. I write my goals every New Moon, and review my intentions when the moon is full. I color mandalas when I feel down, and make it a priority to get back into alignment as fast as possible when life knocks me down. At night, I journal about the day and give thanks again for everything that happened, so my dreams are sweet. I try to surround myself with beauty everywhere I go (a pretty pen, a mug I love, a scarf in my favorite color,  the photo of a loved one). And the more I do this, the better my life gets.

This is what works for me. This is what makes me happy. 

My podcast partner and great friend, Marbel Canseco has been the person with whom I’ve developed these habits and practices during the past 2 years. Every Monday, during our accountability meetings, we’d share what was working for us, what was helping us move forward in business and life. We tested resources, tracked practices and finally arrived to a system that works for us. And the reason it does, is that it’s flexible and fun, because we’ve found that what feels like a chore won’t get done consistently.

And today, we want to share it with you. 

We created a beautiful set of printables, planners, calendars and meditations to help you plan your days with a mix of brain and woo, a lot of action and a dash of letting go. The same system we developed to make the best use of our minds-but to prevent them from taking control. A system to allow us to connect to our inner knowing, to our inner guidance, and to let the Universe show us the way.

This is for you if you believe the universe is power.If you want to add spirit to your planning, so that you can feel supported, and aligned, in every life and business decision.

This is for you if you have ever felt blocked, stuck, like everything in business was just plain…hard. If you’ve ever felt confused about the type of clients you want to work with or the type of customers you want to attract. If you’ve ever wished someone would just tell you what to do, give you some sort of step by step manual for YOUR business, that you could take some sort of back to the future trip in a De Lorean to meet your future self and ask her HOW TO DO IT ALL.

If you feel out of sync with yourself and your intuition, this system is for you.  It is not a crystal ball, it’s a system of resources for you to quiet your mind, go within, and find the right answers for your life and for your business.

Yes this is New Age-y. No, it’s not for everyone. But if you feel called to it, if something in you says “yes, I’d like that”, it would be our pleasure and our honor to share our system with you.

We believe there’s a place for the Sacred in the Daily and the Practical. Don’t you agree?

You can learn more by clicking on the button at the bottom of this post.

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