5 spiritual practices to guarantee the best energy during a Photoshoot

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. 

 

Photographing Introverts: Ideas and Adaptations to help you feel more comfortable during your branding photoshoot

Photographing Introverts: Ideas and Adaptations to help you feel more comfortable during your branding photoshoot

I am an introvert.

I’m not shy but crowded spaces, noise and overstimulating environments drain my energy. I need a lot of time of silence and loneliness in order to recharge. I prefer low light, calm and soothing environments, and rather minimal, yet cozy decoration.

Most of clients are introverts as well so, throughout the years, I’ve adapted my photographic process, the way I organize and structure photoshoots and the activities I include during a shoot day, to respect their energetic needs and make sure they move through the day  happy, energized and excited.

I want my clients to shine in front of the camera, and I believe it is my job to make sure they’re comfortable with me, at ease in their surroundings (especially if we shoot outdoors), and overall feeling so great throughout the photo-shoot (however long it takes) that their smiles  become blindingly bright and their eyes sparkle with joy.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you about adaptations that I regularly put in place to set my introverted clients at ease. Every person is unique, and I always check in with them, before and during the photoshoot how they’re feeling.

If you’re an introvert, some of these adaptations may not work for you, you may need different or additional things, or not need all of them, and that’s ok. I’m writing this as an inspiration, so you feel empowered to request what you need in order to feel your best during your photo-shoot. Because when you feel your best, you will look your best, and you will let your inner light shine brightly. Whatever it is that you need, we can probably make it happen.

I want you to be SEEN as you deserve this year.

I want you to feel confident to put yourself out there.

I want you to enjoy taking photos of yourself and to look forward to the next time you’ll be in front of the camera.

This is why I’ve made a list of what you can do to help your photographer create a photoshoot experience that feels wonderful for you, and that matches your energy. I’ve also listed my own process and why I do what I do below that,so you can get some ideas of what to ask and why when getting ready to book your own photoshoot. 

Here’s what you can do: 

Before the photoshoot, make sure you’re comfortable with your photographer and that you have agreed on a shared vision for your images. This will go a long way towards helping you feel at ease during your photoshoot.

I suggest meeting with your photographer, either in person or online, if possible. If not, you could email her information about your business, what you hope to achieve with your images (where you will use them, the feelings you want to transmit, whether there are formatting requisites she should consider, such as leaving space for text, etc). If your photographer does not create a moodboard for you as part of her services, you could share a Pinterest board with her, explaining what you like about each image, so you can then bounce ideas. Let her know if there are any images from her portfolio that called to you the most, and what you liked about them. 

It can also be a good idea to follow a photographer you’re planning to hire on social media, just so you’re familiar with her voice, her style and her energy. The more used you are to interacting with her, the easier the day of the shoot can be. 

Also, let your photographer know the following: 

  • If you need time to recharge after a certain time and what this time requires. Do you need silence and nature? Do you need to drink and eat something every couple of hours to be at your best? What kind of activities deplete your energy and which ones hep you recover? 
  • If certain locations, sounds and lights are too uncomfortable, overstimulating or overwhelming for you. Let me give you an example: In March last year we shot a few image at the Palais de Tokyo museum in Paris. We thought, before arriving, that they had a different exposition going, whereas the one that was actually there was an exposition on war. The lights were fluorescent, the sound of bullets and shooting very loud,  and the images deeply disturbing. We had to leave, because it was intolerable. 
  • If you can’t stand crowded places, or would rather no one was watching while you have your photos taken.  This will help your photographer monitor the times of day when certain locations that may be great for your brand are emptier of people.
  • If you function better at certain times of the day. Our biorhythms are different. I, for example, am a morning person and function better early in the morning, so I can start the day full of energy, whereas others may need slow beginnings in order to be in top form around 10 am in the morning or after lunch. Your photographer can structure the day of the shoot to match the times when you are at your best, and give you time to recharge when you need it. 
  • If having the camera always pointed at you makes you uncomfortable, and you would rather have a more “undercover” style of shooting. Do you need your photographer to distract you? Would you like your photographer to be far away from you when shooting, so you’re not too intimidated by it? Take a look at my different shooting styles below for inspiration, we can make anything you need happen. 
  • If having lots of people around makes you uncomfortable. Would you rather have a one to one shoot (just the photographer and you) or can you stand a big team around you? There’s nothing wrong with wanting a more low key experience, just let us know so we can adapt the shoot to what you need. 
  • Any fears you have about the shoot, and things you would definitely NOT be comfortable with.  
  • If you want to check the images as they’re being shot in the little screen behind the camera, to help you make sure you like them so far, and correct anything that may not be what you desire. 

 

 

Here’s how I have adapted my own process, according to the advice above: 

1) BEFORE THE PHOTOSHOOT

As an introvert, I know being in front of the camera can be intimidating, especially if I’m not familiar with the person who will take photos of me or with the place where we will shoot. This was also a BIG issue with most introverts I contacted when preparing this blog post…so if you feel this way too, know you’re not alone.

Since I work mostly online, most of my clients hire me without having ever met me in person. They come to me because we have interacted on social media, they have followed my work and are a part of my community, or they come recommended by someone else. Add to this that I live in a small city, in a small island, 3 hour-flight away from most big European cities, which makes meeting before the photoshoot a difficult thing to do.

For this reason, I have created a thorough on-boarding process that allows my clients to get to know me as much as possible, and for them to know (weeks before we shoot) how everything will take place on the day of the shoot.

This is how this works: 

-When a client signs up to work with me, I create a client page especially for them. In this page, I explain, step by step, everything about how we will work together. This includes all preparatory work they need to ( 3 branding tests and 1 branding questionnaire + a 1 hour meeting with me) and what I will do with it: prepare a moodboard, a list of possible photoshoot locations for them to approve, a list of props they may want to use in the photoshoot, a detailed shot list I suggest for their approval, and a list of archetypal symbolism associated with their branding archetypes. This page also includes all my contact information so they can reach me anytime.

– The Skype meeting allows my clients to talk with me and see how I work in real life. In it, I ask questions about their prep- work, we bounce ideas, we talk about props and keywords and inspiration and the feeling they want to transmit with their images. We discuss their marketing plan for the year following the Photoshoot, products they will release, social media platforms they are planning to use, topics they’re planning to talk about in their blog posts and newsletters, and discuss how their new images will support these goals. We also discuss clothes, accessories, hair and makeup and they are free to ask me absolutely anything they want to know or that makes then uneasy about the photoshoot.

The Moodboard I create allows my clients to get an idea of the look and feel I envision for their photoshoot, and why I choose it. It is based on their tests results, questionnaires and on our meeting and it allows my clients and me to agree on a shared vision before we take a single image. It is, as everything I do, subjected to their approval, and I’m available to rework it until they’re 100% happy with it.

– The list of suggested locations allows us to plan an itinerary for the day and to know what to prioritize in case we don’t manage to reach all places where we’d like to shoot. Each location is selected to match the look, feel and vibe of moodboard and is, of course, subject to approval from my clients. This allows us to visualize how the day will go. Where will we begin shooting? Where will we go next? What clothes will be better for each location? What light is better for each place? What time of day are those locations with less people around? What caffés and restaurants and parks and quiet areas do we have within close distance of each location, where they can have a moment of quiet to refuel and recharge? What covered areas are there close by, in case it rains? All these are details I add to a google map that I save in my phone app, which I carry with me on the photoshoot.

– I also send them, together with the moodboard and the list of suggested locations, a Guide with advice on how to get ready for the photoshoot. This guide includes everything we discussed about clothes, props, and what to bring, as well as a description of how the day will go and a list of suggested shots for their approval. I am also available for them to contact me via email at any time, with any doubts they may have.

I try to make it a point, as far as possible, to book my airplane tickets for the day before in the morning, so that I’m available to meet for coffee the day before of the shoot, if my clients want to. This way we can talk about anything else they need, go over outfits and adjust the itinerary according to the weather forecast.

One important note about my process: It is not inmovable. When I was preparing this post, I asked in business groups I am a part of what fellow introverts preferred, and some of them mentioned that they would rather do everything via email and not meet in person or via Skype because of social anxiety. If this is your case, I want you to know that all these processes can be adapted to suit your needs. Just let me or whoever you choose as your photographer know how you prefer to work: you being comfortable is what’s important.

 

2)DURING THE PHOTOSHOOT

The day of the photoshoot, whether this is a 2 1/2 hour shoot, or a full day, my main focus (apart from capturing them in all their glory) is to take care of my client’s energy.  In order to do so, there are some things that I’ve learned work better, both through experience (cough mistakes cough) and by asking questions to other introverts like me about what they prefer. 

These are:

a- Slow Beginnings

In my experience, most introverted clients need to slowly ease into the day of the shoot. No blasting loud music during hair and makeup and no starting the shoot jumping up and down the city. 

What starting slow and easy means is that we begin the photoshoot talking, testing poses, and normally photograph for the first hour in one location, in whatever outfit is their favorite. We may do breathing and visualization exercises to help them relax and feel comfortable with me. I also show them the images we take, so they let me know what they prefer and so they get comfortable with seeing themselves in photos (and they can see how gorgeously beautiful they really look).

If this was a movie, it would the part of it where you see a slow Sunday morning with sunlight streaming down the windows, and the heroine drinking her coffee while reading the newspaper. No rush, no stress, just a quiet enjoyment of the beginning of the day.

b- Pauses, breaks and down time

During a long day of shooting, it’s important that my client’s energy stays stable and their vibration high, because this is reflected in their images. In order to do this, I need to schedule pauses, break, as well as slower paced shooting times, when they can recharge and recuperate. This includes times when they can eat or drink something that will keep them nourished and full of energy.

The way I do this is by carefully planning the itinerary of the day and making sure the different locations are close to cafés and restaurants that match their style, where we can quickly grab a drink or a bite, as well as switching locations where the ones we’re at become busy or crowded.

So, for example, if we’re shooting in an office area, I will make sure we leave when people go out for lunch and move to a quieter place, like a nearby park. We may shoot in more touristic areas in the early morning, to ensure they’re as empty as possible, or schedule the shoot during weekdays (instead of weekends) in places that tend to be frequented by families or large groups of people.

c-Location, location, location

Before shooting, I research locations to make sure the ones we like are not crowded, so my clients don’t feel self conscious having people watching them while we shoot; or too noisy or overly stimulating. 

I also check the lighting of the places they’ll be photographed in, to make sure it’s not too harsh and bright, or look for alternative areas where we have natural, soft light nearby. If my client wants to shoot in a private area like a hotel lobby where they love the decoration or a museum, or a botanical garden, I will always call first to request permission, and ask the venue which time of the day there are less people around, so they can feel more comfortable shooting. During my latest photoshoot in Switzerland, for example, we shot at the Hotel Beatus, early in the morning, when most guests were either sleeping or at breakfast.  When I shot at Winterthur Museum, we did so on a Friday morning, when it was almost empty.

e- Shooting style 

I also adapt my shooting style to my client’s preference and/or switch it during the day so it doesn’t feel so much like a photoshoot, but more like having a fun day where a camera is involved. We normally switch back and forth between the following: 

a- Posing: Most of my clients don’t like traditional posing, where a photographer makes you stand in front of the camera and tells you to look there and move your right arm there and the neck to the other side and the leg down and you feel like a contortionist in a circus and a little bit awkward and a lot on the spot.

But just because someone may not like posing it doesn’t mean they don’t like to be gently guided to look their best. The goal, after all, is for my clients to have images they love. And, mostly for them to love  images where they can recognize themselves.

I am convinced that branding photography is about revealing your inner light, not about changing yourself into something you’re not. So, at the beginning of the photoshoot I will spend lots of time observing my clients and taking lots of images. I want to see how they move naturally, how they smile genuinely, how their hands move when they talk, how their eyes shine when they think about something they’re exited about. And then, when we shoot the rest of the day, I’ll take this knowledge and use it to give them small indications here and there, and adapt the angle I shoot from or the lenses I use, so they always look their best without feeling self conscious.

b- Photojournalistic lifestyle images. By photojournalistic I mean the images where a person is not posing but rather doing something else. I will normally shoot these type of images after shooting headshots or traditional portraits, so my clients can relax again, without feeling self- conscious by having a camera being pointed at them all the time.

These may be, for example, close up shots of my client’s hands when meditating, or images of them walking down the street (shot with a telephoto lens, so they don’t feel being chased by a paparazzi), or reading a favorite book, or having a coffee.

When I shoot these types of images, I sometimes remove the sound from the shutter of my camera, so it’s silent when I click and my client is not disturbed in what she’s doing. This helps them relax and makes the images look more natural.

c- Play. This is a recourse I use a lot during photoshoots to distract my clients and help them look relax. This is also how I get their most genuine smiles and laughs on camera.

There are two ways I do it, and which one I choose depends on my client’s personality and the images that suit their brand best:

– I do something silly myself, like make a ridiculous face, or jump or say something unexpected or funny. (I can be a bit of a clown so this comes with no effort, I must admit)

– I ask my client to do something they don’t expect that includes body movement, like jumping or dancing. The objective of these requests is twofold: Photos with movement look amazing and are great at starting conversations, and the BEST smiles and laughs happen before or after a client does something out of the norm and THAT is when I take the photo.

 

Another great way to play is something that Ria Gor from https://www.bethecreativepenguin.com suggested to me when I was asking introverts what they prefer:  She said she asks her video clients to pretend they’re a famous star in order to embody that confidence. I thought the idea seemed like fun, especially if you’re super self-conscious. I have also played with this idea, but with archetypal alter egos (Mine is…Gandalf, obviously 🙂 )

f-Zero Pushing

Finally, my policy in general is one of zero pushing. I make suggestions, and try to make the day as playful and fun as possible, but I never ever, ever push a client to do something they’d be uncomfortable doing or that they feel would be completely out of character for them. I want the experience of having a Photoshoot to me to be as pleasing as the final photos they get.

In my next blog post, I’ll tell you the energetic tools I use during photoshoots to support my client’s energy.

 

Now it’s your turn:

If you’ve had a photoshoot before: what parts did you love? What suited your personality best?

If you’re an introvert: would these adaptations work for you or would you need something else?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Did you hear?

This Spring, I’m traveling to Amsterdam to photograph a select group of driven, heart-centered & soulful entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in visuals that are archetypally aligned, highly customized, beautiful, authentic, strategic and effective to propel their business success.

Ready to do this? Click the button below to learn more about the 3 different packages available and book a call to get you started. 

I can’t wait to work with you!

Photoshoot Makeup Guide: 5 looks for Women Of Color [ Guest post by Izmir Henry ]

Photoshoot Makeup Guide: 5 looks for Women Of Color [ Guest post by Izmir Henry ]

 
When I wrote my previous blog post, using myself as a lab rat to create a progressive, building-blocks inspired makeup guide for your next photoshoot, I knew my work was not complete. I am, after all, a white woman with cool coloring, and the makeup styles and colors that look good on me, may look completely different in women with different coloring and complexions. And if finding looks my clients could relate to was difficult if they were white, it was next to impossible if they were of a different ethnicity. 
 
So I contacted the amazing Izmir Henry, a lovely and super talented Panamanian living in Hamburg, Germany, and creator of Maquillate con Proposito (Makeup with Purpose) and asked her if she would be interested in creating a makeup guide, with 5 progressive looks like I had done for myself,  for women of color. To my utter delight, she said yes! So…
 
 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby present you The Photoshoot Makeup Guide, Part II. 
 
 
 
Izmir worked just as Maria had worked with me, with the idea of a makeup system that could work progressively, so you can decide after each step, whether you want to deepen the look and make it more dramatic, or not. As in the previous post, none of the photos was retouched in photoshop at all, because we wanted you to have a clear view of the change makeup can achieve on its own.
 
Before we begin going through the different looks, two important clarifications:
 
 
1) You will notice that Izmir used different colors from the ones Maria did with me. There is no grey and black smokey eye in this guide, and this is because Izmir’s skin has warm undertones (whereas I have cool undertones). 
Skins with warm undertones look better on reds, oranges, yellows, creams, bronzes, caramels and chocolate browns. 
Skins with cool undertones look better in lavenders, pinks, whites, blues, greys and blacks. 
 
It’s important that, when deciding your makeup style, you take this into account in order to select colors that suit YOU better. As you will see in Izmir Photos, a chocolate smokey eye looks amazing. 
 
 
2) A note about products: Finding the right products for darker skins in Europe is problematic, so Izmir mixes two foundations to create the right color for her, and two concealers. We have detailed the products she uses, in case your skin color is similar to hers. Here they go: 
 
1. Foundation:  Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless 350 & L’Oréal Paris True Match 7D/7W
2. Concealers:  Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer neutralizer + L.A. girl pro conceal in  Fawn
3. Finishing Powder: Laura Mercier secret brightening powder for under eyes 1 
4. Mascara: L’Oréal Paris voluminous feline noir blackest 633
5. Blush: Milani baked powder blush 06 bellisimo bronze 
6. Cejas: Chou Chou Berlin brow blender dark taupe
7. Lipstick: L’Oreal Roche Toasted Almond 843
 
(side note: hello, L’Oreal, how about you provide options for someone other than white people?!). 
 
 
 
Here are some photos of the colors she used: 
 
 
Ready? Let’s begin with the softer looks.
 
The first photo below shows you Izmir without any makeup at all, so you can see for yourself the difference made by each  product she added. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1) LOOK 1: The Minimal Look: 
 
 
 
In order to create the first look, Izmir started by using foundation (she mixed two in order to create the right color for her complexion). Then she used concealer under her eyes, also mixing two shades, and eye primer. She then added highlighter , finishing powder and blush in a lovely bronze color. She also delineated her eye brows with Eye Brow pencil.
 
Finally she drew a very thin line on her top eye lids with liquid eye-liner and topped the look off with a coat of mascara. 
 
If you look at the photo collage of the first three looks, you will notice that, even though it doesn’t look like she’s wearing makeup with this style, the difference it makes in her skin and eyes is, as in my own guide, quite noticeable. 
 
 
 
2) Look 2: The Day Look
 
 
In this look, which is ideal for an everyday look and looks really nice, Izmir added eye shadow (white on the upper part of her top eye lid and yellow and orange-brick color on the lower part of the top eye-lid). She also added a thicker layer of liquid eye liner, which better defines her eyes. 
 
As you can see, both looks are ideal for someone who is not used to wearing makeup, yet wants a little extra something.
 
 
 
 
3) Look 3: The Day to Night:
 
 
This look would work really well for the day, as well as for a night out. The main difference between the two looks is that, in this one, Izmir continued adding more orange-brick eye shadow and added chocolate brown eye shadow too, diffusing them for a warm, deep look that beautifully highlights her eyes. 
 
 
4) Look 4: The Caramel Smokey Eye
 
 
In the fourth look, the eyes start to get more dramatic. 
Izmir created this look by adding more chocolate brown eye shadow (the one she chose has golden sparkles too) and blending it with black eye liner. The combination with the preceding orange eye shadow creates a beautiful burnt caramel look. 
 
As you can see from the photo above, the eye liner line that was clearly defined and looked very much as made with liquid eye liner, now blurs and blends with the eye shadow. It’s there, but softer. 
 
 
 
5) Look 5: The Chocolate Smokey Eye
 
 
Finally, the most dramatic look, the Chocolate Smokey Eye, darkens and deepens the previous look by adding even more chocolate eye shadow, combined and diffuminated with more black eye liner pencil. 
 
Both smokey eye looks are also complemented by neutral lipstick, which adds shine and a tiny bit of color to the mouth. 
 
You can see the difference between both smokey eye looks in the photo below: 
 
 
 
And here are all 5 looks side by side. 
 
 
And a Pinterest-friendly image, if you want to save this post in your boards and share it with the world. 
 
 
 

Which one would you choose for yourself? Which one feels more like you? 

Have you ever tried Smokey Eye? Would you try it, if you haven’t yet?

Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to follow Izmir in her Instagram accounts: @misshenryinge and @maquillateconproposito

 

Do I need to wear makeup for my branding photoshoot? [ Photoshoot Makeup Guide Part I)

Do I need to wear makeup for my branding photoshoot? [ Photoshoot Makeup Guide Part I)

When I started photographing women entrepreneurs, three years ago, one of the main questions I’d get asked over and over again was whether my clients needed to wear makeup for their photoshoot, and if the answer was yes, how much should they wear.

Up until that time, I hadn’t realized how much the pervading imagery around what a “professional looking woman” was supposed to look like involved a whole lot of makeup. Most Pinterest images involved elaborate before and after shots where a woman would be transformed from the average mum we meet during school meetings into a diva worthy of a Vogue cover shot. The Makeup Guides I could find showed how different styles looked in 20 year old girls with a beauty worthy of a runway- even without makeup.

Needless to say, most of my clients had trouble believing me when I told them that no, they didn’t need to wear makeup for their branding photoshoot. That a branding photoshoot is more about authenticity than glamour (unless glamour is what your brand stands for, or your archetype favors elaborate looks, such as the Ruler of the Lover). That what makes you shine in images is a light, a passion, an energy that comes from within and connects to your ideal clients.

And, for those who wanted to wear makeup, they had a terribly difficult time seeing themselves in examples of perfect-looking 20 years old. So I decided to take matters into my hands, and create the resource I had fruitlessly been looking for elsewhere.

In the name of science, I used myself as lab rat and hired my favorite Cyprus makeup artist, Maria Kalogirou, to create 5 progressive looks that could help my clients, and you dear reader, decide whether you want to wear makeup for your next photoshoot, and if so, exactly how much. 

The beauty of the system is that, being progressive, you don’t need make a final decision from the beginning. You just need to start, and then see how comfortable you feel as it progresses. You can stop after each step, take a mirror and say ” I’d like to move to the next one”, or “This is it, this is the perfect look for me, I don’t want anymore than this”.

I set the camera in Maria’s salon, and left it on a tripod while she worked. Whenever she would finish each step, I’d stand up and shot an image or two, then go back to the seat for her to continue. I also took photos with my cellphone in between, which you’ll see in this post too.

The images have not been digitally retouched: You can see my face exactly as it looked without makeup, and with it in its different stages. This is important because I want you to notice the difference each product added makes. Only then can you make a decision with any degree of certainty.

The triad below shows :

  1. My face without any makeup at all
  2. My face with a minimal look (bare minimum makeup)
  3. My face with a soft, yet a tad more sophisticated look.

These two first looks are the ones most of my clients choose for themselves, so I wanted to show you what they involve in detail. As you can see there’s quite a difference between the photo of my bare face and the first look. The skin tone is even, there’s no redness, my eyebrows look bigger and my eyes pop.

 

  1. The Minimal Look

The total time it took to accomplish the first look was 20 minutes, and this is what it involved:

Maria begun by cleaning my skin and applying moisturizer. She then added liquid foundation in my skin tone, used two colors of powder for contouring (adding shadows and light to different areas of my face), and concealer to hide imperfections and the dark circles under my eyes.

The next step was adding eye primer (the eye shadow lasted perfectly 12 hours thanks to it), and then adding definition to my eyebrows.

Finally, she added a light mauve eye shadow (the one shown in the photo below, on the right), a very thin line of liquid eye liner, and one coat of black mascara. She finished it off with pink blush in my cheeks.

Here’s a close up of the first look and what it involved:

If you are not comfortable wearing too much makeup, yet want something light that can still highlight your best features, this may be the style for you. This is also a great style for those whose branding archetype tend to have more natural looks, such as Explorers, Girls next door, Caregivers, and even some Innocents and Heroines.

2. The Soft Look

After we shot the first look, Maria continued building on the look above by adding grey eye shadow to the outer corner of my eye lid and under my eye. She added very, very little, so much so that it took only 3 minutes to go from one look to the other, yet you can see (if you can get past my silly camera-triggered- with- remote- control face 😉  how they look quite different.

I believe this is still a day look, that can be worn comfortably with everyday clothes, and which can easily suit archetypes such as The Sage, The Ruler , The Magician, The Lover or The Creator.

 

Now we move to the three more dramatic looks:

3. The Day to Night Look

4. The Grey Smokey Eye look

5. The Black Smokey Eye look

In all three looks, the only thing that changed was the level and color of eye shadow used. Nothing else was touched on my face. On the final look, we could have used fake eyelashes, but I can’t stand them (they make me cry), so we didn’t. We could also have added a bit of nude lip gloss, but opted not to so as not to distract the focus from where we wanted it to be: the eyes.

3.  The Day to Night Look

For this look, Maria added a bit more grey eye shadow in the same area as in the look before, basically deepening it. The transition took, once again, no longer than 5 minutes.

This look works very well both during the day and at night. It clearly defines the eyes, yet is not so strong that cannot be worn with lipstick. This is the style I personally use when going for a party, and I complement it sometimes with my favorite red lipstick, YSL Rouge Volupté Shine number 4. This look can be worn easily by the same archetypes as the look before.

Here’s a closeup of the 3rd look, with what it involved:

 

4. The Grey Smokey Eye Look

With the 4th and 5th look, we enter into more dramatic territory.

I must confess this was the first time I tried the smokey eye look. I guess we can say I’m a bit late to the party, but I had this unfounded idea that I wouldn’t look good with them. I believed, like most of my clients, that they were “too much”, “not for me”, “too dark”, “too much like someone had punched me in the face”.

Well, I was wrong. I wouldn’t wear them everyday, nor probably for a branding photoshoot (I think looks 1 to 3 would be more brand-aligned for me personally) but for a special occasion, or a fantasy photoshoot? Yes, totally, count me in.

Soooo…Grey Smokey Eye came first, and it was a more natural transition from the look before.

In order to create it, Maria filled my upper eye lid with Dark Grey eye-shadow, blending it with a bit of black eye-shadow. She also deepened and strengthened the line under my eye and added a deeper line of eye liner on my upper lid too.

Here’s a close-up of this look:

And here’s a close-lid view of looks 3 and 4, so you can see the difference more clearly:

This look would look beautiful in fantasy shoots (think fairy tale style, like Mayi Carles’ The End of Boring) and also for those of you with branding archetypes of Creators, Magicians, Lovers, some Rulers, some Outlaws (it can scream “Rebel”with the right clothes), and some Jesters. 

Getting from look 3 to 4 took 10 minutes.

And finally…drum roll please:

 

5. The Black Smokey Eye

This look is as dramatic as they get. And, confession time, it was kind of scary for me, who only wear one thick line of eye-liner on my upper lid and mascara, to go. It was also the longest it took: 20 minutes to move from look 4 to 5- and a whole lot of black eye-shadow!

Here you can see the transition (I asked Maria to work on one eye at a time so I could show you the difference between both smokey eyes):

To move from grey smokey eye to black smokey eye, Maria blended a ton of black and dark grey eye shadow, making sure to add only grey in the area where the eyes meet the nose, to avoid the “someone punched me in the face” look, which no one wants,  amiright?  She also added two more coats of mascara and an additional coat of black eye liner.

As you can see from the photos, This look completely covers the upper lid and creates a thick line around the lower part of the eye too, completely encircling it.

This look works amazingly for fantasy shots, such as the witchy self-portraits I did for The End of Boring below. It would also work beautifully for Outlaws…imagine these eyes, ripped jeans and a black leather jacket? Lovers could also pull it off in sensual shots (with a long,  black or deep red satin dress, for example). It could even work for innocents, for as long as they were focusing on the fairy tale aspect of the brand (it wouldn’t work with every day clothes for them).

 

You can see a close up of this look here, with a detail of what it included:

Finally, here are all 5 looks side by side:

 

Which one would you choose for yourself? Which one feels more like you? 

Have you ever tried Smokey Eye? Would you try it, if you haven’t yet? 

Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to share and pin all 5 looks, here’s an image to help you do so:

 

 

Do you have dark skin with warm undertones? We have a makeup guide for you too, created by makeup artist Izmir Henry

Check it out here: 

 

PS: I’m now booking photoshoots in Europe and the Middle East for 2019 I. Check my packages here: https://marcelamacias.com/shine

 

Why I’m creating my own stock photo collection

Why I’m creating my own stock photo collection

Shortly after I started working as a professional photographer, clients and people who followed my work started asking  me why I didn’t sell stock images. At the time the boom of Premium Stock photos and Stock membership sites had just begun and, from the outside, it looked like a good business opportunity.

I wasn’t convinced, though.

For one, because I tend not to do what everyone else is doing (I have a tiny rebel in me).

And secondly, because for me to create something, it needs to be because I have something new and original to contribute.

How many more photos of desks with Frends headphones and french macarons does the world need, after all? was my recurrent thought every time someone would bring up stock

Creating a slight variation of what others in my field were doing looked like a terrible business idea that would only add a drop of blood in an already very red Ocean of competition. I wanted to follow Chase Jarvis, who says: “Don’t be better, be different”.

So I started observing whether there was a need for an alternative…and going within to see whether I wanted to provide it. Because unless what I wanted to create lit me up like a Christmas tree, I knew I wouldn’t go through with it.

And then, I discovered the world of archetypes. 

On an intuitive level, I had always seen my client’s archetypes  and the energy of their business, in colors, very clearly, but until I found the work of Jung and Joseph Campbell, everything I did was very unconscious and unsystematic. Or,  in other words, I had no clue why some styling and props felt right and some others just didn’t. 

When I discovered archetypes, everything started to make sense. Why some photos looked organic and aligned and others didn’t, how to verify that what I was perceiving about my clients was actually what they needed, the hidden symbols of every object, the meaning of every color. I read and read and read, and studied everything I could get my hands on, and then I closed both the books and my eyes and looked within, to check with myself how it all felt to meWhenever I started talking with a client, images of objects, props and colors would start jumping in my mind, and when I would go check whether the symbolism was right, it always was.

I had found my own holy grail. The type of work that came easily to me, that I adored doing and that could actually help others. 

The question was: how could I do more of it, help more people, push my creative boundaries. 

That’s when I started thinking about a stock photo collection based on the world I love and in the work I’d been doing for a few years: archetypes. And that’s when I started planning, pinteresting, dream boarding and designing these collections.

One after the other, the right props started to show up on my path, as if by magic.

On a very hot July morning, after months of dealing with technical gremlins,  I finally started shooting. 

And tomorrow, after two full years of planning, the first collections for the Magician Archetype will be revealed.

I created them because Archetypes, to me, are about alignment.

Alignment to the soul of your business. Alignment to your purpose.

Alignment to your right clients, who need to recognize YOU in your photos in order to trust you.

I created them because I wanted to give you a tool, not just to make your website pretty, but to make it a reflection of who you are, what you love, and what you bring to the table with your work. 

If you haven’t done so yet, go find your branding archetype here. 

And then come share it with me in the comments and tell me: what are you creating next? 

 

PINK M

Want photos that look like you- and no one else?

Click here to book a call so we can discuss your needs 

How to decide which style is right for your photos

How to decide which style is right for your photos

 

You want to have a consistent brand so you can be recognized the minute your photos pop in someone’s news feed.

But you just can’t decide what style is right for your brand.

How do you choose when there are so many possibilities?

In today’s video I’ll show you 4 ways you can use to choose TODAY  the right style for your brand- and make your brand instantly recognizable, without the headache.

 

 

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript

You’re here because you’re one smart business lady, and smart business ladies make conscious decisions about every aspect of their business. Especially so when it comes to your branding- and your images are part of your branding.

So how do you choose a style that works well for you? A style that’s easy to differentiate and  with which you’re sufficiently comfortable with to be able to keep using it for years to come?

 

Here are 4 simple ways you can do so:

1) Color

The simplest way of all. Color is very memorable and produces instant reactions in our viewers. Colors increase brand recognition by 80%, which is why brands like Tiffanys have their own trademark pantone color.

Two famous entrepreneurs who have used colors brilliantly to be recognized are Bushra Azhar and Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise picked up Turquoise, her favorite color, and even though she re-branded and redesigned several times, she remained consistent in her colors. The tonality and shade of turquoise changed very subtly over the years, but the main color stayed. And, for those who know her, turquoise is DENISE.

Bushra chose by default her brand colors: they were the default colors of her wordpress theme, and orange is her favorite color. But she used them in everything: her website: the clothes she wore on her professional portraits, even decals she pasted on her wall to use as background for her videos. After a few months whenever people saw orange, they thought of Bushra. A fan even sent her a photo from Ikea, sitting on top of Bushra’s Orange circle rugs.

THAT is the power of color.

So how do you choose the right colors for you? You may begin by selected colors you love, but if you want the full science behind colors in branding, I recommend Brand Color Breakthrough by Karolina Chic.  Karolina is a color expert and in only two hours she can guide you to make the best decision.

https://colourbreakthrough.com/branding-join/

 

2) Seasons

I discovered this method when reading the books How to Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance by Fionna Humberstone (both books I absolutely recommend).

This system takes the color system above to the next level. It is based on color psychology and uses the seasons in nature, and the emotions conveyed by them to create a cohesive look that transmits to your customers what you want to transmit.

The beauty of this system is that, with it, you won’t only know what colors to use, but also what type of photos are good  for you, what fonts correlate great with your brand season, what graphics fit your brand style and what effect all that will have on your customers.

Fionna has three  wonderful free resources in her blog to understand the seasons, including sample seasonal color palettes.  You can check them  out here:

They are:

The essentials of color psychology

Seasonal Personality color psychology worksheet:

Seasonal Color palettes

She also has a course on Color Psychology for Creatives, if you want to dig deeper into this method:

3) Astrology

Wait what?! Astrology?!

Yes, you heard correctly. This system is for the woos out there.

My client, Luisa Silva, from LuisaBazi.com uses Chinese Astrology, and the energetic patterns of your birth chart in order to see which colors, style and even content medium is better for you, which elements should be present in your photos and which ones shouldn’t,  and the best dates to start projects, launch products and overall do anything that matters.

4) Archetypes

My system of choice and the principal one I use with my clients. Why? Because it involves two of my passions: psychology, mythology and the world of symbols, and it’s the system used by big brands like Coca Cola.

This system is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, who believed (as I do) that there exists a collective unconscious, a series of symbols and meaning shared by all of humanity, and that within this collective unconscious, existed archetypes, which were universal images and patterns that define how we see, feel and approach the world around us.

In the 1960s, Jung Archetypes were translated into branding, and the main 12 branding archetypes were born. These define, not just the colors we use, but more importantly, our mission, our strengths and weaknesses and all our communication.

They define the ESSENCE of your brand – and its soul.

They make it relatable and understandable, because they tap into things we have intuitively known all our lives. They give it meaning , and, because of it, they  make it powerful.

And they do so because they relate to the fulfillment of 4 basic human desired and motivations:

Stability, Mastery, Independence and Belonging.

The 12 branding archetypes are:

The Innocent, The Explorer, The Sage yearn for – and promise- paradise and independence

The Magician, The Hero, The Outlaw, look to leave their mark in the world through self mastery

The Lover, the Regular Guy and the Jester look for and promise belonging.

The Caregiver, The Creator and the Ruler searched for and provide stability.

You have seen them at work in the powerful tales of our time.

The Hero lives in Luke Skywalker’s journey to free the galaxy from the Oppressive Empire and in Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring. It lives in Rey, whose innate command of The Force and her big heart and love for her friends, sets her on her own heroine journey.

The Magician lives in Yoda, and Merlin who guide Hero and Ruler to discover their power- starting from within.  

The Ruler lives in King Arthur who unified the tribes and provided stability to the Kingdom. It lives

Now come closer, because I have a gift for you.

A 5 minute quiz that will help you discover your main branding archetype and start harnessing its power. And it’s free 

You can take it going to marcelamacias.com/quiz 

When I found my archetypes (The Magician and The Innocent) it was like finding the key to my soul. Go take the quiz, and then come back and tell which are yours!

If you liked this video and want more like it, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends. Remember to download the checklist of questions that comes with this post on the link below, so you can go through all this before your next photo shoot.

Have a lovely day and I’ll see you soon with more videos to help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams

PINK M

DISCOVER THE SOUL OF YOUR BRAND

Take the quiz to find your Branding Archetype

 

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