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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!

Then & Now, Part 9 | See How These Photographers Have Evolved

We asked our blog readers to send in Then & Now photos to see how they’ve evolved. The slides below show photos of photographers’ photos from when they first started out compared to where they are now.

We wanted to show how much you can improve with hard work and persistence. Thank you everyone who was brave and sent in photos for us to use.


Simply send your Then & Now images to We’ll be featuring different photographers each week.

CHRISTINA HARTMAN of 2013-11-08_0001

MARYBETH SMITH of 2013-11-08_0002


Please send your Then & Now images to



Freebie Friday | November Style Guides

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.


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 November WTW Guides by November 30th!

Download yours HERE in the forum.




The images from this session are GORGEOUS!  Thank you Jean Smith of Jean Smith Photography for allowing us to share.

jeansmith_erin1 jeansmith_erin2 jeansmith_erin4 jeansmith_erin9 jeansmith_erin12 jeansmith_erin13 jeansmith_erin14 jeansmith_erin15 jeansmith_erin16 jeansmith_erin17 jeansmith_erin68 jeansmith_erin69 jeansmith_erin70 jeansmith_erin75 jeansmith_erin80





Learn from the best. . . in your pajamas!

Live Event: FREE for forum members!Hurry though, seating is limited!


seniorologie image 700

In this 90 minute LIVE web event, you will learn:

  • Getting to Know Your Senior Market
  • What Research to do
  • Create a System that Creates Buzz
  • Creating a Memorable Senior Experience

WHEN: Monday, November 11th 2013 @ 8 pm Central (6 Pacific, 7 Mountain, 9 Eastern)

Can’t watch the LIVE event? No worries. A downloadable video recording is available for pre-purchase (below) & will be sent to you 48 hours afterwards.

Live Event: FREE for forum members!
Hurry though, seating is limited!

Live Event + Video Recording Download:

$39 for forum members. Price will increase to $79 after the live event

(must join forum first)

$59 for non-members. Price will increase to $79 after the live event

You can check out more of Leslie’s work at: and on Facebook here.





Guest Contributor | Abi of Vanilla & Lace
Somewhat recently my camera bag was stolen (luckily JUST the bag, not my camera) and I was bummed since I would have to re-buy but I also saw it as an opportunity to get a better (read: cuter) one. I often would not bring my camera places because I didn’t want to carry around a camera bag with my purse and whatever else.. Either that or wrap egg crate or scarfs around my camera and stuff it in my purse. Neither were cutting it for me. I looked online and i found some good non-traditional camera bags that look like purses, but all of them were well over $100 and up to $300.. (if you put all the purses i’ve ever bought in my life together it still wouldn’t come close to that total). Procrastination eventually lead to an idea in the back of my head of just making one myself. And after christmas I found the ideal shape/size purse at target on clearance. I got the rest of the supplies at joann fabric and made it in a night, while watching the beauty and the beast blu-ray. This purse probably wouldnt have been my first choice if I were just picking it out as a purse, but it looks a million times better than any plain camera bag so i’m very pleased! And it all cost less than $20.

(Edited to add updated pictures and note: December 2011
p.s. This has held up surprisingly well.. i’ve been using it for exactly a year now. I use it daily and have also taken it on MANY trips and its still in great condition.. no wear on the padding, no tears or anything. easily one of the most useful and fun projects i’ve done!)
camera bag update
camera bag update
camera bag update
camera bag update
camera bag update
a better picture of the inserts out of the purse ^
camera bag update
camera bag diy
camera bag diy
camera bag diy
camera bag diy
and a photobooth picture to show my camera inside

Here we go, I’ll try to explain this the best i can..

You’ll need:

a purse/bag - i wanted something very just tall enough for a DSLR, just wide enough for the camera to sit flat, a tapered top so its easy to carry, zipper closure, room to fit other lenses and camera equipment and also room for a small wallet and other everyday things.

3/4 inch foam – 1/4 yard
1/2 inch foam – 1/4 – 1/3 yard, depending on how many inserts you want.
1 yard of fabric to cover foam – you might not need a whole yard, but i wanted to make a whole bunch of extra inserts just in case some get lost.
Velcro - one package should do

Opt: velcro glue

I measured the inside of my bag, and decided i wanted foam on all sides (bottom, both long sides and both short sides).
These are the measurements i used for my foam, yours will probably be different but overall it should be around the same size.
Bottom pad: 13 1/2″ x 4 3/8″ using 3/4″ foam
Short sides: 4 1/2″ x 4 3/8″ (make 2)
Lens dividers: 7 1/2″ x 3″ (make atleast 3)
Straight divider: 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (make 2)
Long side pads: 10″ x 4 1/2″ (make 2)

Now, use all these foam pieces as a pattern for the fabric, adding about an inch to all sides for seam allowance. Cut two pieces of fabric for each foam insert (obviously!)..
Note: For the lens divider, add 2 inches to the short ends so you have little flaps to sew velcro onto.

Decide where you want your velcro and cut to size and sew onto right side of fabric.
Now, sew three sides of the fabric, and stick the foam in, making a pillowcase type thing for the foam, then fold in and pin the opening closed and sew shut.

(Alternately, you could use velcro glue to glue the velcro anywhere you wanted to save you some trouble.. but i opted to sew my velcro on)

When you are done sewing all your pieces together use velcro glue to put velcro on the inside and bottom of the purse to keep your main foam pieces in place. Add your dividers and you’re set.

If you have ANY experience sewing you can definitely do this, and even you don’t, i bet you could. I just made it up as i went along and made it work and it turned out extremely well!

There are so many little parts to it, it can seem overwhelming but it was actually super easy and quick. I have a hard time explaining things like this all at once, so if you have any questions, feel free to email them to me.


7259313762_9c0d2e28ca 1bloghead

My name is Abi.

I live in Portland, OR with my husband and our two kitties.



When I’m not doing those things I enjoy baking, running, crafting, and exploring new towns.




Top 10 Finalists | Photography Idol 2013

Welcome to our annual Photography Idol Contest!

This year we’ve had 40 contestants enter to become the next Celebrity Photographer and to be featured in the next CHIC Magazine + get a $1000 prize pack.

Our Celebrity Judges have narrowed it down to their Top 10 based on image quality and memorable impact.


claire-dam-bio   karamay  

Spanki Mills Celebrity Photographer Chic Critique Forum     

Our Celebrity Judges have chosen based on image quality and memorable impact out of 40 contestants.


(in no particular order)

1. Bloom and Grow Photography



2. Amanda Star Photography


3. Andrea Surak Photography



4. DSisk Photography


5. Lindsey Pantaleo



6. Anna Pociask Photography


7. Timeless Keepsake Photography 



8. Kristie Bradley Photography




9. Tabitha Patrick Photography


10. Taken by Tasha



  • Please email your contact info (including phone #) to to confirm your that you know you are a contestant and that you got your first assignment. If we DON’T hear from you in the next 48 hours, you will be replaced by a Runner Up.
  • Do the first Assignment that is posted on our blog & email a full resolution image & a web image sized at 700 pixels wide to by Friday, November 8th at midnight

DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE TOP TEN? There’s still a chance to win as a Wild Card Contestant! 

  • This is open to all 40 participants who initially entered the Photography Idol contest
  • STEP 1: Do the first assignment that the Top Ten contestants will be doing
  • STEP 2: Post your image in the forum section titled “Photography Idol 2013 > Assignment 1” along with your contact info & phone # by Friday, November 8th at midnight
  • STEP 3: Wait for the judges to choose one Wild Card winner from the assignment images that were posted in the forum as our 11th Finalist. Your image will get critiqued on the blog and will be included in the voting ballot along with the Top Ten Finalists. Then, if your image gets the most votes, you will make it to the Top 5 Finalists.
  • Wild Card Winner will be notified November 11th in the morning via phone


  • Nov. 11th: We’ll showcase the Top 10 Contestant’s Assignment Images along with the Celebrity Judges’ written critiques AND allow the judges & public to vote for their fave for 24 hours
  • Nov. 12th:  We’ll announce the 5 Finalists and give them a different photo assignment to complete within 4 days
  • Nov. 18th: We’ll showcase the 5 Finalist’s Assignment Images and hold a LIVE Critique (1 pm Central Time)
  • Nov. 19th: We’ll showcase the LIVE Critique video and allow the judges & public to vote for their fave for 24 hours
  • Nov. 20th: The Photography Idol winner will be revealed on our blog & will be crowned our newest Celebrity Photographer
  • Celebrity Judges will vote for the Top 10, then finalists will be selected (from 10 contestants to 5, then one winner) by a combination of popular vote and votes by Celebrity Judges
  • All finalists will be announced on the blog, Facebook, and in our newsletter so be sure to subscribe to those to find out who made the cut
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1 Comment to “Top 10 Finalists | Photography Idol 2013”

  • Tatyana Sandulyak says:

    Kristin, you can join for free for 10 days.

    November 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm