Learn from 10 Celebrity Photographers in this FREE video! Watch Now >>

Hey There!

Welcome to Chic Critique! The elite community, resource, and magazine for those who love photography! Get your CHIC on with the top pros in the industry who will teach and inspire you to bring your business to the next level! Hope you will join us!



I was asked to share what is “in my bag” so here you are… This is my new THEIT BAG. I love it! I don’t carry much equipment with me, ok who am I kidding… I don’t OWN a bunch of equipment. Remember that time I sold everything I owned on Facebook except my camera body and ONE lens and decided if I couldn’t love my work with just the basics I needed to just quit…yah so here we are! I ended up creating a style and loving the simplicity of it and 5 years later I have only added three more lenses and that is it!  SpankiMills_1407 SpankiMills_1408

Most of you know how simple I am and how that transfers into my shooting style as well. When I sold all of my equipment I sold my Canon 5D Mark II and all the L senses I had acquired and bought myself a Nikon D700 and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. I have added the Nikor 85mm f/1.4 and the Nikor 35mm f/1.4 and the LENSBABY COMPOSER PRO EDGE 80 OPTIC to my stash and that is ALL! I will break it down for those of you who want to know why I have what I do… I shoot with the 50mm about 75% of the time mainly because it is what I am most comfortable with and I have grown used to being able to reach out and fix a fly away hair or fix a strap that is showing. I am what they call a “touchy feely photographer” and I like it. I have recently (within the past year and a half) started shooting with my 35mm a lot more, mainly with my lifestyle family session. Most of those sessions are in my clients home or on downtown streets and because of that I want to fit is as much of the surroundings as I can. I have the 85mm but I will be honest, I just don’t shoot with it that much. I have tried and I feel like one day I will fall in love with it like the rest of you but because I love being all up in my clients face this lens makes it hard for me and I feel like I need to write a post card to my client when I am shooting with it. I won’t part with it because I WILL give it another try…. I promise! and my Lensbaby, ooooh how I adore my Lensbaby. We all come to those cross roads where we start to question our own art and our heart for it. As you have read in the past, I came to that point where I just didn’t love what I was creating anymore and I decided to let it all go, I added the LB to my arsenal and it has defiantly pulled me out of a creative rut and allowed me to shoot carefree and let go of the “expected” .  I also carry 3 HOODMAN Steel 16GB cards with me (because I think they are the best and paired with the Hoodman card reader there is NOTHING faster). That is it y’all. That is “what’s in my bag”. Let me know what is in YOUR bag and if there is anything I MUST get! Any questions? ask away!:)

SpankiMills_1409 SpankiMills_1410

IMAGE CREDIT: Brylen Mills my 13 yr old son!;)





Meet Chic Critique’s Celebrity Photographer, Spanki Mills. Spanki didn’t find photography, photography found her. She has been featured on several photography blogs such as Inside The Locker, The Maternal Lens, Rock The Shot, and Go{4} Pro. Her work was also published in a few magazines. One of her newest endeavors is becoming a rep for the amazing clothing line Zozobugbaby. This past year, Spanki has added “teacher” to her resume by offering mentoring sessions online, in person and for some of the photography forums out there. This road has not always been easy, so she has made it her goal to help other photographers find their potential and help them become a success story.


What camera do you use? Favorite lens?
Canon 5D Mark II and 50mm 1.4

What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?
The one thing I used to do was frame my image in the camera. I'd crop the shot just like I wanted it in my viewfinder, then the client would want to order the image in a size that cropping constrictions wouldn't allow... so now I always step back and know I can crop in later, allowing myself freedom in ordering.


Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?
Honest critique is helpful in so many ways, for me I tend to get stuck in a rut and miss seeing something...even the littlest of things, that can turn my image from average to stunning!

What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
Fun. Vibrant. Youthful.

Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Videos, magazine ads, and locations.

What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
I have a hard time with time management, but have decided if anything is going to be pushed back for the other, it will be work over family. I would rather stress a deadline when they are at school than miss out on something they have going on for work. My number one JOB is my family!


Best biz/photo advice?
Value yourself, your time, and your sanity. When starting out, price yourself a little more than you "think you are worth" because soon enough you will realize how much you are putting into it and want to raise your prices...this way they are already there!

What have you learned the hard way?
How to say NO. I had a senior in my home at midnight custom designing her graduation announcement and she ordered 25 and it hit me. I gave myself, my time, and my family away to make people happy. It is not worth it!


How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?
First and foremost, I try NOT to pay attention to what others are doing...it psyches me out. I am perfectly happy in my own little world. I try to stay engaged with my clients and keep myself motivated so I give the best I have.

Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?
I have worked hard to network this year with people who are in the direct circle of my "target clients". So I'd have to say a boutique and two interior decorators got my foot in the door and word of mouth has taken over from there.


What has been the best workshop or convention you've attended so far?
WPPI was not as much a "learning" experience, even though I did learn. It was the BEST motivation I have had. On top of also meeting people and networking with others.

What is your most popular product?
Canvas prints are still a favorite, but I sell a TON of metal prints to my seniors!






Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega



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 www.leslievegadesign.com