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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!

WHAT TO WEAR GUIDE | FRIDAY FREEBIE

It’s Freebie Friday for all Chic members! You know you want stylin’ clients and the best way to get well-dressed clients is to educate them on what to wear. All Chic members get FREE What-to-Wear guides from I Adore Your Style {value of $48/yr} to teach your clients how to be more stylish. You can showcase them on your blog (who doesn’t need more blog content?), send them in a newsletter, or email them to individual clients whose sessions are coming up.

  FEBRUARY CHIC BLOG

Each style file comes complete with UP-TO-DATE corresponding links of what’s retailing right now for every outfit! That means your clients can go buy those clothes online today!
Monthly style files include one family ensemble plus an additional file for either couples, seniors, children, or babies.
What-to-Wear Guides are only available during the current month so be sure to download your February WTW Guides by February 28th!

Download yours HERE in the forum.

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VEGGIE VALENTINE SOUP | CHIC CHEF

Guest Editor | Brooke McLay of the Cheeky Kitchen

Girls!  You know what you need?

To quit obsessing about skinny jeans and just start making dishes that get you in them, stat.

Love yourself, and everyone else with this so-simple soup recipe. Easy enough to pull together by Valentines day, simple enough for even the non-Chic chefs among us, this crazy cute V-Day heart soup is about as happy as the season of love gets. Grab a spoon and dive in!

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Veggie Valentines Soup

Makes 4 servings.
Get the easy photo tutorial for turning your veggies in valentines here: http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/7-so-easy-fruit-and-veggie-valentine-ideas/

 

3 small purple potatoes, sliced into hearts

1 small sweet potatoes, sliced into hearts

1 carrot, sliced into hearts

6 cups veggie broth

1 small zucchini, sliced into hearts

1 small yellow squash, sliced into hearts

3 tablespoons green onions

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Add potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot sliced into a large pit with veggie broth. Bring to a boil and boil just until potatoes are tender. Add zucchini and squash. Boil 1 more minute. Remove from heat, top with green onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

 

Do you have a favorite Valentine dish that you serve?

 

 

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Queen of Hearts Styled Session | Eye Candy

You won’t believe this amazing session photographed by Tim Pham of Ardent Studio.  We asked Tim, what motivated him to create this gorgeous set.

“I’ve been photographing weddings full time for almost 5 years now.  90% of what I shoot is wedding related and for my clients, so needless to say, I’ve been trying to break the mold by shooting more personal sessions for myself.  Sounds easy enough right?  Not really. I’ve only shot about 3-4 personal sessions since I have been telling myself this 3 years ago.

I was more determined than ever to change that for 2014.  It’s only been less than 2 months and I already have 4 personal sessions under my belt!  yay! =)  My Queen of Hearts model, Amy Nguyen, was actually the very first bride I ever photographed.  I was telling her during our session how she almost ruined me when I first started.  Amy can obviously model.  Her husband Dennis is an actor.  You can probably see where I am going with this.  My first ever bride and groom session went so smooth and turned out so beautifully, I remember thinking, “Man this stuff is easy”.  I’ve found my style after one session.  I’ll just shoot my weddings with an editorial fashion twist.  It’s so sad how wrong I was.  My next 10-15 bridal sessions were brutal.  Unfortunately, it’s not easy posing brides and grooms who aren’t models/actors.

I became Facebook friends with Amy.  One thing about Amy, she is so creative and festive when it comes to dressing up.  I knew I wanted all my personal sessions to be fashion based, but I especially wanted to work with Amy because she also knew how to stylize.  I actually saw her Queen of Hearts costume on my facebook newsfeed after Halloween and I knew I had to work with her again.

It was as simple as that.  She had the costume, and she knew the makeup.  I found the location to match her look and together, the Queen of Hearts inspired session was created.”   

Let the royal fun begin…

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Tim Pham of The Ardent Studio / Website / Facebook

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PINK CHALLENGE | WEDNESDAY WINNERS

Here are our 5 Faves from our PINK Photo Contest on Facebook!

They each won a 3 month  membership to Chic Critique Forum

Email us at help@chiccritiqueforum.com to redeem your prize!

The Winners are…

Esther Dorotik Photography

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Privizzini’s Passion Photography

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Emily Bitner

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Rupa Sutton Photography

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Purest Light Photography

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Be Present. A cell phone box.

PREFACE by Editor-in-Chief, Kelli France 

When I first heard about the Be Present cell phone box (see below), I thought it was freaking brilliant. The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is your presence. This is a challenge when so many of us are addicted to our computers and phones. In fact, Quallcomm says that on average, we check our phones 150 times a day! That’s once every 6.5 minutes. I’ve noticed that when I’m in Mama-mode and I check my emails on my phone I begin to feel instant panic. Stress overcomes me with a sense of urgency to reply or resolve client issues when, instead, I should be helping my children. I have decided that ignorance is bliss when it comes to emails. I prefer NOT to know about things until I can work on them during my set work hours. When I’m with the kids, I force the “phone fanatic” in me to hide my phone from myself. Your loved ones want your full attention and they’re not going to be around forever. It’s not everyday that your little ones will be small enough to sit on your lap or innocent enough to still want to hold your hand. So be in the present by turning off your phone or computer to really be “with” the people you are with. If we fail to give our undivided time to those we love, one day we’ll regret it. Wear your Mom hat OR your Photographer hat, but don’t wear both at the same time or you’ll feel frazzled (and look ridiculous!)

Be Present. 

Guest Editor | Mark Love of Mark Love Furniture

I had an idea for a small wooden box a week ago. A birthday present for a close friend.

I made it with the help of my friend Michael (who has a computer-driven machine that can carve wood), took a quick and dirty snapshot (below), and posted it on my personal Facebook page to show my friends.

And it went completely viral. Nutso.

Six days later, the snapshot has now gotten more than 1,000 likes and 300 shares (at least that’s how many I find when I follow all the trails), and I’ve received more than 250 personal messages from people all over the world asking if it is for sale. I told Michael what happened. We both took a deep breath and said, ‘Okay then, let’s make some more.’

So yes, it is for sale.

I took some better pictures, I created a little website, and we’ve now got a plan for making the boxes in multiples.

Michael and I have over fifty years of combined experience working wood professionally. But we’ve never seen anything like this. It’s overwhelming, in the best possible way. And we both believe very strongly in the message the box represents: We should better learn to put our phones away and be present in the moment.

Please don’t think for a minute that I’m good at being present just because I came up with the idea for this box. Quite the opposite. I thought of it precisely because I’m not good at it. When I’m with friends, if I’m not looking at my iPhone I’m thinking about looking at it. When I’m with my family, I’m the one with a hand holding the phone and the other held up to signal ‘Just a minute…’

And I realize that life didn’t used to be this way. Not for me, and not for all the people I see at restaurants and parties and plays, sitting with friends yet looking at their phones instead of each other.

And I’m aware of a shift in myself, in my mind. From focused to frayed, from single minded to scattered, from present to remote. I’m aware of the feeling that wherever I am I seem to be focused somewhere else, wanting something else.

And I’m pretty sure that’s a good recipe for sadness, depression, relationship problems, and feelings of alienation.

What can anyone do about this new addiction so many of us seem to have? When you feel you have the whole world and everyone you know in your pocket, it can be so difficult to just stay focused on where you actually are, on just a few people.

My friend Barb, who is one of my spiritual heroes, lives in London. We text and talk often. We’re in daily contact, and normally we respond to each other’s messages quite promptly.

A few weeks ago she began a new discipline of mindfulness, of paying attention to the things and the people around her, of being present. One day she didn’t respond to a message for a very long while, and later she told me that even though she was riding the bus and therefore would have had plenty of time to send me a text, she decided not to. She put her phone away and just focused on the people and sights around her.

That made me think. And I started trying it myself. Putting my phone away even in situations where it would be perfectly natural and acceptable not to. Just for the sake of my own soul. And I felt an immediate shift, back toward the un-fragmented person I used to be.

Barb’s birthday was a few days ago. I wanted to give her a gift to show my appreciation for this gift she’s given me. A visual representation of the idea of being present. A piece of functional art meant to serve as an expression of a value, like a doormat that says ‘Welcome’ or a family Bible on the coffee table. And I wanted it to be just a little funny, because Barb is a lot funny.

And that’s where the weird idea for The Be Present Box came from.

I know that people don’t need a box in order to put their phone away and be present wherever they are. But what we do need sometimes is a reminder of what’s most important.

That’s often where art comes in. I hope The Be Present Box is less like a pragmatic ‘cell phone jail’ and more like a good story, or a moving photograph, or a powerful song. Something that taps right in to the best part of us and inspires us to be better versions of ourselves.

So The Be Present Box is functional art. It’s a reminder, whether or not you ever actually put your phone inside it, that we do all have choices. No matter what new technology is currently nipping at the heels of our attention, we still have the power to choose the better things.

To order your Be Present Box, click HERE.

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INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE PISCITELLI | CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Chic Critique is so excited to have Stephanie Piscitelli of Bellini Portraits return as a Celebrity Photographer in March!
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Sign up to have your images critiqued by Stephanie this March!  Active Seats are SOLD OUT, but there are SILENT SEATS available!

Stephanie Piscitelli, owner of Bellini Portraits, is one of Boston’s most sought after photographers for newborn, children and family portraits. In business since 2007, her name and brand have become synonymous with creamy, soft, airy imagery. Stephanie’s work has been featured on popular photography blogs such as Clickin’ Moms, Evoking You, Reverie Mine, The Lens Loves, Inspire Me Baby, Lemonade & Lenses, and Featured Photographers. Most notably, she was one of three photographers asked to contribute to the e-book, “For the Love”, by world renowned photographer Barb Uil of Jinky Art. Stephanie’s commercial work includes fashion photography for The Measure, Little Goodall, and for numerous newborn accessory designers. Her work for The Measure was featured in German children’s magazine “Kids Life”. Stephanie is a regular contributor to Baystate Parent Magazine with 4 fashion editorial spreads and 7 magazine covers under her belt.

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A WELCOME from Stephanie:

Welcome, welcome! I am so excited you will be joining me for the 4 week Chic Critique in March! It’s going to be fun to meet and get to know you through you work and most importantly to help you take your images to the next level. I will help guide you to find potential in each and every image you present and help you harness the creativity that will undoubtedly flourish within!

 

Stephanie, what camera do you use and what is your favorite lens?

Canon 5D Mark III. Favorite lens is 50mm 1.2L and 85 1.2L are a tie!

 

Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?

Photoshop

 

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Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?

I think people regard the word “critique” with a negative connotation. To them it means somethings wrong, it’s not perfect, it needs to change in some aspect. Think not of it as something negative but something positive that can elevate our work’s integrity and beauty. When somebody gives another person a critique of their photography–or anything else for that matter– they are giving an *objective* point of view on that. Sometimes as artists we see our work so often that we can’t really *see* it anymore, if you know what I mean. I believe a fresh set of eyes can reveal some discrepancies or flaws and guide the artist to take their image to the next level.

 

What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

Creamy, soft & airy.

 

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

fashion and travel magazines, commercials, dreams, music.

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What is one specific way that you balance work and family?

This is an on going personal struggle. First off I can say that I couldn’t do what I do without the help from our amazing nanny who is with us 3 days per week. That being said I still need to discipline myself to set certain hours that I cannot do work. I have a home office and it’s very easy to come in and check email, edit, update social media, etc. Too easy! What’s hardest is telling myself that a working day is over because as business owner you never stop thinking about the things that you need to get done or the things you would still like to accomplish. I could work until midnight every night and there would still be something I could be doing!! Its never-ending, but I love it just the same.

 

Best biz/photo advice?

From photographer to photographer? Practice, practice, practice. Build a strong body of work by portfolio building before you take on paying clients. Get on forums. Get honest critique of your work. Ask questions. Educate yourself as much as possible. There is so, so much to learn. You shouldn’t really start a business until the camera is an extension of you. Shoot in manual. Learn your camera. And you must really, really want it. It is not an easy business to succeed in. You’ve really got to love it, breathe it, want it whole heartedly.

And one of my favorites that I always keep in mind that my husband taught me; Not all business is good business. So when you get that potential client that doesn’t feel like a good fit right off the bat or a client that made you feel badly about something…just remember that little adage. Thanks hubs!

 

What have you learned the hard way?

Do things for other because it makes you feel good. Never ever expect anything in return.

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How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?

The best you can do in this increasingly over-saturated market is to just focus on yourself. You can’t busy yourself worrying about what he or she is doing, shooting, blogging, etc. Stay true to YOURSELF, your brand and shooting style.

Where have most of your 2012 clients come from (besides WOM)?

It’s still got to be word of mouth, hands down. I don’t advertise. If your clients are happy they will undoubtedly sing your praises to their friends and family. They will want what you’ve been able to give to your clients–beautiful memories. 90% of my clients are WOM and I’d say 10% come from FB or Google inquiries.

 

What has been the best workshop or convention you’ve attended so far?

I haven’t been to a workshop in over 3 years—I’m feeling the urge attend another but haven’t decided on which just yet. I would say the best Barb Uil’s workshop was by far the most inspirational as well as the most organized. Definitely worth the money which is not something I normally say after returning from workshops–unfortunately!

 

What is your most popular product?

Digital Collections are my biggest sellers, then storyboards and canvases.

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Want Stephanie Piscitelli of Bellini Portraits to critique your images? Sign up for a 4-week Critique HERE!   Only Silent Seats are Available!

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