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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!

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It’s been an amazing start to the Holiday Season!
We just gave away a 5D Mark III plus 12 other prizes with a total value of over $8,000!!
It feels so good to give!
Speaking of giving….
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We hope that The 12 Days of Giveaways has brightened your season!
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Chic Critique is so ecstatic to have Emily Lucarz of Emily Lucarz Photography be one of our January Celebrity Photographers.





Sign up to get your images critiqued by Emily Lucarz this January. Only 2 Spots Left!

Emily’s work has been described as “timeless pieces of art”. She is known for her ability to capture raw moments when they occur without forced posing. Always shooting wide open, her work is light and airy but still maintains rich undertones. She has a unique ability to use all types of natural light to produce soft yet dramatic portraits. She has described herself as a sun seeker as she is always searching for the most beautiful light. Emily has been published in numerous online magazines, billboards and blogs across the country. Recently asked to be a contributor for the Clickin Moms Pro-Random House charity book to be sold, her work and tutorial will be featured in the natural light section of the book, for photographers to learn and grow from. Emily teaches sold out workshops to budding photographers around the country and globally online, and is the creator of the Dream in Color/black and white as well as Enchantment, Photoshop and Elements action sets.

Emily resides in the St. Louis area with her family. Her love for people, extremely happy disposition and love for helping all photographers grow and learn, has made her into one of the most approachable photographers in the business. She’s thrilled to be able to teach others what she has learned in the photography and business world.


Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?


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

We all started off as beginners. None of us were AMAZING when we first picked up our camera. It would be a shame if all the classes we take, all the time and money we invest into our craft, is for nothing. There are SO many classes out there. So many workshops. But what is not prevalent enough, is constructive criticism, or critiquing. Everyone has room to grow, even advanced professionals. Having another opinion, or some constructive criticism, is critical for professional and personal growth.

When we hear the word criticism, we initially think “bad”. Criticism is a much different word than critique. Finding someone in your industry to give you a STRONG critique, to help you appreciate YOUR art, learn from what your mistakes are and help you to create YOUR vision, is lacking in the industry. It’s so important and it makes me SO happy to be able to help photographers grow in a way that they see their vision expand though art.

All of our art and visions are different. It’s what makes different art stand out. People should shy away from the constant approval and “bravos” of peers as well as constant “likes” on Facebook. It’s easy to click a like button. Be your own skeptic. Most are afraid to gently critique. There is nothing more necessary than honest criticism.

On a side note, everyone has to remember that one person can critique your work, but it’s just one person. That’s just their opinion of your work. Making sure you trust your source for constructive criticism is key.


What camera do you use? Favorite lens?

D4 and D700 My favorite lens is the 85mm 1.4 but more recently the 16mm Fisheye!

What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?

One of my first family newborn images I sent to be judged for a competition was of two parents and a newborn. It was beautiful in color, perfect exposure, I thought it was fabulous. Well, they told me it looked like they were falling off the earth! Ever since then, those words stick in my mind. I have since seen the same pose by SO many photographers. You know, then ones of the mom and dad lying on the ground with the newborn. Yep, apparently everyone’s falling off the earth :) Since then, I shoot at a different angle :)

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What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

Real, ethereal but fun

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

I try to get most of my inspiration from each client. Sounds boring I know. But when we photograph children, we want to photograph that CHILD. What is the child interested in. What fun faces does he make. How does he interact with his surroundings. Those are all moments that the parents will want captured. I also pull from the interaction within the family. Families don’t see themselves from the outside like we all do. The way they look at each other. The way the sun hits mom hair bouncing onto her child to create something magical. All that to me is inspiration.

When I photograph for myself, I try to shoot in as many types of light as I can. I pull from the color I see occurring at the moment to create the shot. I don’t allow my camera to tell me what needs to be done, I look at how the world looks at that moment, and capture it as is.


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

This is a never ending battle for me. I still have yet to figure it out. When you photograph so many newborns, it’s hard to pick certain days to work, get childcare (aka Grandma) etc. I only shoot sunset outside so I do have set days I shoot. Two full days a week I edit, then throw in my newborns when they decide to arrive. I have been TRYING to not work at night, but when busy season is happening, it’s pretty difficult. Plus, I am SO blessed to be able to be in a job where I am home with my two little boys, that I just kind of deal with the craziness so I can spend time with them. Once they are in school, I will have more of a set schedule. Now as for my poor husband, ONE day I will have time to cook him dinner again… day :)

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Best biz/photo advice?

To try EVERYTHING. If you like shooting into the sun, try it! If you think dramatic black and whites are cool, go for it! You won’t know if you like something until you try. If you decide it was not for you, move on and try something that IS you. I tried SO many types of editing, so many types of shots, different lenses, different poses, etc. until I found ME. Not anyone else. I know what I love now, because I was not scared to try. Also, I shoot what I love. I stay true to what I love but I am not scared to try new things.

What have you learned the hard way?

That starting a business takes a massive tole on your family life. Everyone thinks all we do is pick up a camera, take some shots, send them off to our clients. Running a photography business is insanely crazy. I jumped in with two feet and took off swimming, but I messed some stuff up on the way. That’s for SURE! :) Such as, I started off WAY too cheap. I was WAY over worked and got burnt out. Now I am priced more appropriately and don’t dread one single second of what I do. Ever. There is so much I wish I could have told myself, as me now, when I started.

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

My business has really been affected by the rise in photographers. Sadly, there are many people out there buying nice cameras and becoming photographers over night without training, while shooting on auto and charging penny’s. It’s creating a false sense to consumers that stand out and excellent photographers are over priced. It’s a touchy subject because we were all there at one point. We all start somewhere and it’s our job as the more advanced photographers to help educate the new ones so the industry does not go downhill. Here in St. Louis, there is a HUGE group of new photographers and not quite as many of the ones who have perfected their craft and been around awhile. We (the ones whom have been in the industry a bit longer) have all sort of united here to keep our prices even so we are not competing for best price, but allowing consumers choose us for the style they like the best. Not everyone can afford higher end custom photography. There is a need for ALL types of photographers. What I do, is do the best work that I can do and just hope someone out there appreciates it :) I won’t change to be what someone else would want me to be :)

Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?

Facebook! I have to say, as much criticism as Facebook gets, I think it has given small business a


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

Honestly, the FIRST class I took was in 2010 after my son was born. I wanted to learn how to use my camera. Amy Tripple had recently started her photography classes, and she gave me the excitement to really do this. I was full blown shooting 6 months after I learned how to use my camera and I give her so much credit for teaching newbies like I was. Hence why I now do it too. Why have a fancy camera if you don’t even know how to use it! :)

What is your most popular product?


Sign up to get your images critiqued by Emily Lucarz this January. Only 2 Spots Left!





Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega


SparkleSunday_12-1-13 ___________________________________________________________________________________

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




Here are our 5 Faves from our Winter Photo Contest on Facebook:

They each won a 3 month  membership to Chic Critique Forum

Email us at to redeem your prize


1. Fairytale Dreams Photography



2. Adriana Kyan Photography



3. Julie Leonard Photography



4. Euphoric Shutterbug Photography



5. Carrie Tungate Photography




FREEBIE FRIDAY | Vintage Chic Biz Kit

Another benefit of being a Chic member is that you get a FREE Biz Kit every quarter to boost your business! The Biz Kit for this quarter is this cute Vintage Chic set {value of $40} that we purchased for each of our members from Jamie Schultz Designs. This set is jam-packed with business tools and you can even change the colors to match your branding!

GET YOURS HERE IN THE FORUM! Not a member? Join now >>



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Business Kit: Vintage Chic {$40 value!}

This pre-designed kit allows you to present your materials in a way that is sure to impress your potential and existing clients!


  • 8.5 x 11 Welcome Letter (use to print or to create a pdf)
  • 8.5 x 11 Price List Sheet (use to print or  to create a pdf)
  • 8.5 x 11 Collection Sheet (use to print or to create a pdf)
  • 8.5 x 11 Order Form
  • Business card
  • 4×5.5 fold-open thank you card
  • 4×6 postcard
  • 5×7 gift certificate
  • Return address sticker
  • Wallet sized brand sticker
  • Disc label
  • Digital file client tri-fold (adhere a hub in the center panel to hold the digital file disc)
  • Splash page design (does NOT include installation)
  • Blog header (does NOT include installation)
  • 4 optional color options display sheet with color blocks
The templates are designed for use with Adobe Photoshop CS2 or higher, but are compatible with most versions including Photoshop Elements. User should have working knowledge of layers, clipping masks, text, etc.



TOP TRENDS | Magazine Mama

Guest Contributor | Magazine Mama

10 Tips to Getting Your Wedding Photos Picked Up & Published Fast


Wedding photography is a competitive business, and leveraging a few published pieces will help your studio cut to the tops of brides’ must-book lists.   Here are some tips to get your wedding photos picked up and published fast:



  1. Start with blogs: Because they’re updated daily—and often even more frequently—and incur little or no cost for publishing pics, blogs are a good place to start.
  2. Then think local: Local and regional magazines don’t have the kinds of big budgets national publications do, so you’ll have an easier time getting editorial pick-ups.
  3. Submit as a photographer: Many outlets are wary of submissions from vendors, mostly due to potential copyright issues. However, as the photographer you own the images, making the publishers’ lives easier.
  4. Stay current—and real: Wedding guides need to be up on the latest trends, and are particularly interested in real weddings. Be sure to include gorgeous detail shots including the shoes, plates, jewelry and flowers. Do not submit black & white or sepia shots.
  5. The hows of submitting: Most publishers have an email or online submission process. If you have a number of huge files, for example, don’t clog up their inbox and, instead, send a customized DVD or flash drive. No matter how you submit, make sure everything is labeled, including your name and contact, and that there are no watermarks. And remember, be sure to check any exclusivity clauses and issue close dates.
  6. Write if you can! A writer/photographer is a huge asset for smaller publications. If you can deliver a polished, professional article or post to go with your work, let them know!
  7. Get on the list: Most publications keep a running list of photographers to whom they reach out for editorial submissions—get on it! Try coming in as an advertiser and leveraging your buy for editorial inclusion. Or reach out to the junior editors and assistants who can add your name to important listservs.
  8. Share, share and share: Once you’ve been published, post it to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your blog. Send tabbed copies or emails to the couple, venue and vendors. For national publications, you may want to develop a press release and submit it to local outlets. And be sure to include all published work on your website in a section clearly labeled “PRESS.”
  9. Remember, ask about shared permissions: Let couples know you’re frequently published, and make sure they’re comfortable with any shared permissions. Most brides love to their photo in print or online and—bonus!—you’ve found a way to tout that you’re an accomplished, published photographer.
  10. Respect clients’ wishes not to be published: While copyright laws heavily favor the original creator it’s an emotionally charged issue and you’ll likely wind up with negative reviews or, worse, a lawsuit should they be published without couples’ knowledge.

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Having your photographs published brings a level of prestige and can give your studio the edge among discerning brides who want the very best. Now get shooting—and start submitting!



Magazine Mama helps photographers “turn pages to profit” with beautifully designed studio magazine templates, professionally written articles to promote their studios, and workshop curriculum to teach basic DSLR photography to kids and adults.



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