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Chic Critique is THE elite magazine, community, & resource for women who love photography (yes, we’re biased!)
Our mission: critique | confidence | community
Get your CHIC on with our Celebrity Photographers who inspire, teach, and critique to help increase confidence and improve your images!


Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega




LeslieVega_ChicCritiqueForum Inspiring quotes by Leslie Vega for Chic Critique Form
Leslie Vega is a seasoned brand designer for photographers and wedding professionals. She founded Leslie Vega Design in 2008 and has been creating breathtaking brands for clients across the globe ever since. From logos to stationery and beautiful web presences, her passion exudes in her work and in her client experience. View her work at
Leslie Vega
Leslie Vega Design, LLC
Brand Design for Photographers & Wedding Professionals
Web | Twitter | Facebook | Blog




Today in the SPOTLIGHT is Laura Valenti-Jelen, creator of the online photography course, Candela: Finding Inspiration Through Photography


Laura Valenti-Jelen / Website/ Facebook / Blog


Hi, Laura! Tell us a bit about your upcoming e-course.

I’d love to! Candela is a six-week e-course about moving away from a technical approach to photography, and towards an approach based on the core of the creative practice: intuition, emotion, and heartfelt personal inquiry. 

I’ve been a photography teacher for many years and have seen photographers really struggle with the technical side of the process. Oftentimes, this struggle starts to eclipse the creative part of photography and take the fun out of it. I feel strongly that photography is much more than just a technical or mechanical exercise. Instead of investing in newer, fancier, better gear, we need to invest in ourselves as artists. 

Candela is designed to help photographers tap into a more personal approach to the medium and develop a richer artistic life. We talk about breaking photographic “rules,” making images that reflect personal passions and experiences, and overcoming creative stumbling blocks and that pesky inner critic. The e-course includes inspirational readings, audio slideshows, lectures, and weekly photography projects designed to help expand creative boundaries. I am incredibly happy with this course and I love sharing it with students.


What advice do you have for photographers who are trying to find their creative voice?

I think the most important thing is for images to come from a deeply personal space. At a certain point, we have to move beyond taking common, everyday images and create photographs that are deeply informed by who we are as people – as artists.

I had a student recently who was at this turning point in her work. She’d been photographing for a few years and was making some pretty good pictures, but she felt like there was something missing. She couldn’t figure out how to develop a personal style and say something unique with her work. We worked together to identify some really rich sources of inspiration in her life – and it’s made a real difference in how she approaches her photography. She was born in Japan and moved to the States when she was still fairly young. Her home was filled with beautiful Japanese antiques, old family photographs, and handwritten letters from her parents (great photo subjects!). She had a lot of strong emotions around losing touch with her heritage and was working to reconnect by tracking down extended family members who were still living in Japan. Through our work together, she started to see that she had a powerful story to tell with her photography, and she’s now working to build a whole series on this subject. Because these experiences are so personal, she’s now able to imbue her work with more emotion. It can feel a little vulnerable to put yourself into your work like this – but it can be incredibly enriching. In the end, personal work is powerful work. 


Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I am a photographer, curator, educator, and arts director based in rainy Portland, Oregon. I work as Outreach Director at Photolucida, a nonprofit that helps build connections between photographers and the gallery and publishing worlds. I also curate exhibitions, jury competitions, and review photographers’ work at portfolio review events around the country. I love helping photographers clarify their vision and produce stronger, more meaningful work. You can see my personal work at my website:

Laura Valenti Jelen


You also have a travel photography e-course, right?

I do! I wanted to create a course that would go beyond simple gear recommendations and itinerary tips. Those things are important, but they’re not at the heart of the matter. My course, Traveling Light: The Spirit of Travel Photography, focuses on making more nuanced, personal travel images – images that resonate with the spirit of the place. It’s a one-week, on-demand course, so it starts on the day you register. It’s easy to squeeze in right before an upcoming trip!

I have two more e-courses on the horizon: The Visionary Portfolio and On Gratitude: 30 Days of Photo Meditations.  Both of these courses will launch in the spring or early summer.


We would love for you to check out Laura’s e-courses.

Her next Candela course begins on April 2nd. Registration is now open.

Candela: Finding Inspiration Through Photography:

Traveling Light: The Spirit of Travel Photography:


Laura’s blog:

Wanna be a Vogue Vendor? We spoil our vendors with content marketing, giveaways, magazine and event advertising, a special section in the forum, and MORE! Advertise with us to get your business noticed.








In honor of RED CARPET WEEK and the launch of the fabulous new CHIC BOUTIQUE,  we are offering all our fans some super FREEBIES!

P.S. Every Friday on the blog we share a FREEBIE for our Chic Members including What to Wear Guides, templates, actions and more. Join now so you won’t miss out on another fab freebie!



$25 Value!! | Mini Session Marketing Card Collection | Four One-Sided Card Designs | 5×7 PSDs (WHCC)


Download it HERE and use the code: SWEETFATFRIDAY  (Good for this product only)


Freebie from MAGAZINE MAMA:

Turn your pages to profit with this premium 5×7 two sided template. Both sides are fully editable and customizable. Basic instructions on how to place images, changes colors and fonts along with a list of fonts used are included with download.


Download it HERE



Freebie from  SUMMERANA:

Enjoy 10 free actions from Summerana’s hit Colorosity Lights Action Collection compatible for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements users.

This sample collection contains one-click light overlay actions that add extra oomph to any image!

Summerana Freebie

Download it HERE.



2014 Calendar Photography Template 8×12′ – Photoshop Template for photographers.

Create the perfect gift for your new and existing clients with this beautiful calendar template.

Simply offer these designs to your clients as an ‘add on’ to an existing package and they can gift them to their loved ones once printed – an ideal present for grandparents and family living overseas! Your clients will simply love this idea. :)

Download it HERE.


 Check out the amazing new CHIC BOUTIQUE and shop till you drop!

And don’t forget that every Friday on the blog we share a FREEBIE for our Chic Members including What to Wear Guides, templates, actions and more. Join now so you won’t miss out on another fab freebie!



We’ve been working on this for 9 months and we think you’ll LOVE it


It’s Red Carpet Week and we’ve been rolling out the Red Carpet all week to reveal our BIG SECRET today!

Here’s what we’ve featured this week:

  • Mon- Instagrammy’s & Pin it to Win it contest
  • Tues- A BOGO membership sale! Simply join Chic this week & a friend will get in FREE!
  • Wed- A “Golden Camera Giveaway” with over $1000 in prizes
  • Thurs- Our big surprise…REVEALED
  • Fri- a FAT Freebie Friday with freebies from tons of our Vogue Vendors


This project started 9 months ago, during the summer of June 2013, and is finally ready to be revealed. 

Introducing our CHIC BOUTIQUE!!!

We love to shop and figured you do too so we created a boutique for women who love photography.

To get you started, we are giving you a $5 Gift Card. You’re welcome.



Check it out at






It’s Red Carpet Week and we’ve been rolling out the Red Carpet all week to reveal our BIG SECRET!

Here’s what we’re featuring this week:

  • Mon- Instagrammy’s & Pin it to Win it contest
  • Tues- A BOGO membership sale! Simply join Chic this week & a friend will get in FREE!
  • Wed- A “Golden Camera Giveaway” with over $1000 in prizes
  • Thurs- Our big surprise…REVEALED
  • Fri- a FAT Freebie Friday with freebies from tons of our Vogue Vendors



It is RED CARPET Week as we roll out our newest baby!


You can catch all the excitement and find out what the surprise is tomorrow!

We are so excited to offer this amazing giveaway for our super Chic Fans from our awesome Vendors!

Enter today for your chance to win it all!


Paper and Camera are offering a Custom USB Drive with their ENTIRE DIGITAL STORE loaded on it!


Paper and Camera / Website / Facebook



Camera Coats is offering 2 Camera Coats to the winner plus a Discount Code for all Chic Fans

Get $10 off now! Code: Style10 Expires: 3/31/14

camera bag for women

Camera Coats / Website / Facebook

camera coats logo camera bag 150px


She’s Dainty. He’s Dapper is offering a $75 Shop Credit to their store


She’s Dainty. He’s Dapper / Website / Facebook



For You, With Love is offering a $100 Gift Certificate to their shop

chic giftcertificate

For You, With Love / Website / Facebook



The Shoppe Designs is giving away  their FairyTale Action Set

300x300 fairytale actions promo

The Shoppe Designs / Website / Facebook

new logo square150x150


Creative Motion Design is giving away a Free Website or a Blog Pro-Package

Winner will receive a Coupon Code


Creative Motion Design / Website / Facebook



Little Hatchlings is giving away a $75 Gift Certificate to be used in their store


Little Hatchlings / Website / Facebook



Paper Lark Designs is offering a $75 Template Shopping Spree

Chicc Boutique Paper Lark Spree

Paper Lark Designs / Website / Facebook 

Paper Lark Designs Banner Ad-1


Little Sweet Designs is offering a $75 Gift Certificate to their shop


Little Sweet Designs / Website / Facebook



To enter to win today’s giveaway, complete the form below.  You may choose any or all entries.  The winning entry will be validated to ensure that all entry requirements were completed.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Rare Membership BOGO Sale! | RED CARPET WEEK


We are rolling out the red carpet this week to unveil a big surprise at the end of the week! Be sure to watch what’s happening on Chic’s Red Carpet all week long.

Here’s what’s to come this week:

  • Mon- Instagrammy’s & Pin it to Win it contest
  • Tues- A BOGO membership sale!
  • Wed- A “Golden Camera Giveaway” with over $1000 in prizes
  • Thurs- Our big surprise…REVEALED
  • Fri- a FAT Freebie Friday with freebies from tons of our Vogue Vendors


February is the month of LOVE and we think everything is better in pairs.

So, for the 1st time ever, we are having a rare BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE MEMBERSHIP SALE!

That means if you sign up as a Chic Member this week, your friend can get the same Chic Membership subscription for FREE! Holla!

Offer ends on March 1st 2014! 

How it works: 

Simply sign up as a Chic Member by March 1st 2014 and you’ll get a Welcome email with a coupon code you can send to a friend.

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