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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!


Foreward by Kelli France | Editor in Chief

Heidi Hope is one of the most giving, positive, well-balanced people I know in the industry. I KNOW that her www.photographerrising.com workshop will BLOW YOUR MIND! When she spoke at the Chic Retreat, I took pages and pages of notes. She is SUCH a talented teacher and always gets rave reviews on everything she does. Because she is a dear friend of mine, she hooked me up with an exclusive coupon code for Chic fans!

For the next 48 hours GET $100 OFF USING CODE: "Chic100" Registration closes on Friday, peeps! 


Guest Contributor | Heidi Hope of Heidi Hope Photography

The dirty little secret about my competition.

There are just 3 days until registration closes for the Photographer Rising class of 2015.  I am so excited to see the registrations coming in and getting to know you all.

If you haven’t registered yet, I want to address a question I’ve been hearing concerning the workshop.  You’ve asked:

“Heidi, I have taken so many workshops.  I’ve bought just about every template, marketing plan and price list out there.  Nothing is working for me.  I need paying customers.  I want people who value my work.  I’ve followed everyone else’s advice, raised my prices and now I hear crickets.  How do I know that Photographer Rising will be any different?”

Great question.

I’m in this to see you succeed.  To prove it is possible.  To quiet the naysayers and doubters.  Not by fighting them, but by simply letting the truth shine.  I want you to let that creative spark within you take over and pour out of you into all of your work.  I want you to give others permission to do the same.  I’m also a realist.

The photography industry has changed.  The face of business has changed.  No one needs to tell you how tough things have gotten for photographers who are playing by the rules.  We all know it.  But despite what you may be hearing, it IS possible to be successful in the current state of the industry.  It is possible to build a healthy, profitable business.  I know because I’ve done it.

Over-saturation, price undercutting, theft, copyright infringement, competition, unregistered businesses, unfair business practices… these problems exist in our industry.  They are real and they are hurting real businesses.  We can’t make that reality go away.


We have to make our business model work within that reality. 


That is why I created the Photographer Rising Workshop.

We must change the way we look at this industry.

If we continue to focus on the bad stuff, the bad stuff is all we will see.  What we give our attention to becomes our reality.  I know it can be challenging to look away, but it is necessary if we want to move forward.

We all know the problem.  Let’s stop talking about the problem.


Let’s start talking about the solution.  


There is a way.  I’ve walked it.  And I’m sharing it with you.


I know what you’re saying, “This sounds great Heidi, but how would you know my struggles?  You have a million dollar studio, a staff, and celebrity clients.  It’s pretty easy to be positive in that situation!  How would you know what I’m going through?”


Well, just incase I haven’t dished every dark secret of my past, here is another one to illustrate my point:

2 years into my business (not so long ago) we had created quite a name for ourselves.  All of a sudden, a little spotlight was cast on my work.  On my “creative ideas”.  I used these “ideas” to define myself.  It worked and our business took off.

You can guess what happened from there.  People saw a successful business and they want to replicate it.  Sound familiar?

My bio was copied word for word on hundreds of sites.  My photos were stolen and the watermarks were photoshopped out.  Fake accounts were created with my daughters pictures (super creepy).  Studios in my area were copying every background, prop, and sentence seen on my website and offering it for a fraction of the price.  There were actually photographers sending direct messages to my clients online and proposing to do their photos for less.  They were having friends pay my session fee just to get my marketing materials.

I took it all very personally.  How could I not?  They were messing with my livelihood and my kids.  They weren’t playing fair.

The more outraged I became, the worse it all got.   One problem would dry up and another would surface.  In unbelievable proportions.  My lawyer was a busy dude.  What they were doing was illegal after all.

Competition was everywhere I turned.  Competition was all I could see.

Then it dawned on me.  When competition was all I thought about, competition became all I saw.  The more I tried to fight the problem, the bigger the problem became.




It all started with me.


I believed the situation existed and so it did.


So I began to think…. “what if I place all of this attention on my dreams rather then what I believe to be holding me back from my dreams?”


What if I stop looking, stop thinking, stop believing that these challenges can affect me?


“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau


What if I go confidently in the direction of my dreams and DARE to live the life I imagine? What if I really do create my own reality?  What if there is no one holding me back but my own self and my own perception of my world?

So I did.

Can you guess what happened next?

When I stopped looking, it all disappeared.  For real.

Like magic.

It disappeared.

All of that energy that I once wasted worrying over the reasons that I wasn’t succeeding became the energy that propelled me forward into a level of success that I never even had the courage to dream for myself.

So I do understand.

I have been there.

And I built a damn good business while everyone else was saying, “it can’t be done”.

I believe the future of this industry will be built on collaboration, not competition.  The old way of doing things isn’t working.  It can be seen in the fall of Wall Street, in failing governments and in every industry.  Our world is changing.

Evolve or die.

Is Photographer Rising different from what is out there?  I don’t know enough about what is out there to answer that truthfully.  Everyone has different business needs.  I do know this: it is working for me.  Right now.  In my own business.  And I want you to see the same success.

No one understands your challenges as a photographer and business owner like those who are walking the same path.

We need to begin to walk together.  We will get farther then we ever dreamed.

There are 3 days left to register.  I want to see you in 2015.

Your friend,


Ready to register?  Click here!


PS:  Thank you to Megan for this awesome workshop feedback you sent me this week.  It makes me even more excited to continue teaching in 2015… if that’s even possible!  You have earned all of the success that is coming to you and more.

“Heidi’s workshop was hands-down the BEST workshop I’ve ever attended. Heidi and Shaun have an answer for every business question/situation/problem you’ve ever had and are so business savvy, have a great handle on marketing, client relations, not to mention the actual photography. She just “gets” how to work with people, clients and photographers alike, and has that rare knack of being able to zero in on the trouble areas and come up with a solution.  I’m thankful that Heidi kicked my butt into shape because I actually TOPPED my best month from last year and have raised my monthly average by nearly a $1000/month. And it was the perfect timing, too, because unfortunately my husband was laid off last month, but my income is meeting all our needs, and then some. It’s crazy to think that I went from being excited about someone paying a whole hundred dollars for a CD of images to something of this magnitude, providing for our family and paying an entire mortgage. That’s just self-inspiring, if I can even put it like that.  If I could recommend only one workshop, online or in-person to attend, it would be Heidi’s.” ~ Megan

header_lg Heidi Hope Photography  |  Photographer Rising








Guest Contributor: Claire Anderson of Clara Bella Photography

Hi there! I'm excited to talk with you about getting it right in camera, and why it's so lucrative for your business, and for your sanity!

I remember when I first started out I was so overwhelmed with all of the buttons and functions on my camera. One of the best pieces of advice an experienced photographer gave me at the time was to shoot in manual mode from the beginning. As someone who had never picked up a professional DSLR - that was a lot easier said than done! But I ended up taking her advice and to this day, I have never photographed any other way. Not to say the other modes aren’t as good, but I do believe shooting in manual forced me to better understand my camera and how to work with any lighting situation.

The first step of getting it right in camera is also probably the most obvious - assess your surroundings! I taught myself to think of a 1,2,3 step process before I begin any shoot:
1. ISO - I like to shoot as low as possible. The brighter it is outside then the lower you can keep your ISO.
2. Aperture - I like to shoot as wide open as possible so anything below 2.8 is what I will set it to.
3. Shutter speed - depending on the first 2 variables and time of the day. ClaraBellaPhoto3

Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 85 1/2 L
ISO: 400
Shutter Speed: 1/1600

I am all about that dreamy bokeh, so I always want to shoot as wide as I can while keeping my ISO as low as possible to avoid any additional noise. Typically I can depend on 100-400 ISO, f/2.0 - 2.8 and my shutter speed of course varies depending on the time of the day.

Since I am a HUGE lover of backlight I also always work with a reflector (or other light modifier) to bounce as much light as I can back to my subjects face. Since my move to LA I have been doing a lot more shoots on the beach, and although it can have it’s challenges - I absolutely love the natural reflector I get from the white sand!


Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 85 1/2 L
ISO: 125
Shutter Speed: 1/320

As much as I wish I could say I get to stay at those settings the whole time, the truth is when your shooting on location you have all sorts of variables including but not limited to: a cloud, sun setting faster than you can blink, wind moving tree branches around etc. etc. I have been so carried away going off of what I see through my viewfinder then 10 shots later noticing I was completely blown out the whole time (the worst!) so now I make sure to take a peek at the back of my camera at least every 3- 5 shots. Doing so also reminds me to let my client see my face to let her know, "hi! I'm still back here!" :)


Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 85 1/2 L
ISO: 400
Shutter Speed: 1/400

Another mistake I made first starting out was buying every set of photoshop actions known to man - then wasting hours upon hours testing and trying all of them! Nothing at all against actions, because I did eventually end up using two that I love from the Florabella collection, but as the old saying goes - less is more! Luckily, getting to the point where I was so busy that I was working over 60+ hrs a week, it forced me to streamline my editing process. I now have a 'Clara Bella' action that I use on every single one of my images. Creating your own go-to edit will also help create a consistent look throughout your session, and also really help define your style as an artist!


Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: 85 1/2 L
ISO: 160
Shutter Speed: 1/500Once I learned to get it right in camera, it honestly made my editing process (and life!) so much more efficient. I remember I used to say to myself, “Oh, I'll just fix it in Photoshop later." *cringe* as I'm sure most of us in our busy season know, time is precious! Saving time on redundant tasks, such as editing, gives you more time to focus on more important aspects of your business!

Hopefully these tips will help you or inspire you to really focus on getting it right in camera!

Happy shooting!


Join Claire this month in the forum where she has posted an amazing video and is answering your questions!




Chic Critique is so excited to have Claire Anderson of Clara Bella Photography  as our Monthly Mentor this month!  She will answer any questions you may have regarding her video & business ALL MONTH LONG exclusively in the forum!


ClaireAnderson_155x210 CBP Logo-150x150

Claire Anderson is the owner and lead Photographer of Clara Bella Photography, and has been a professional photographer for the past 6 years. Having photographed everything from weddings to babies and families, she now focuses on Fashion, Lifestyle and most notably, Senior Portraiture. Her work can be described as natural, soft, beautiful and infused with nature and sunlight. She is also a frequent blog contributor for Seniorologie, and her work has been nationally published in various publications including Senior Style Guide Magazine, and Vogue Magazine. She has recently expanded her business from her hometown of Dallas, Texas to Los Angeles, California where it is currently operating in both locations.

ClaraBellaPhotography_Collage Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?


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

Honest critique on images is important because it is the only way you can improve!


What camera do you use? Favorite lens?

5D Mark III & 85 1.2L

What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

Natural, soft, beautiful


Where do you pull your inspiration from?

Nature, High Fashion Magazines, pinterest 

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

Sundays are reserved for family. No shoots and as little as technology as possible! 

Best biz/photo advice?

Persist towards your goal, always believe in yourself (because if you don't, who will?) and always set bigger goals than you think you can achieve.


What have you learned the hard way?

You can't do it ALL.  

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

I focus on my clients wants/needs and give them 110%. When you do that you don't have time to focus on anyone or anything else! Also by always being kind, and not entertaining gossip. 

Where have most of your 2014 clients come from (besides WOM)?



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

Imaging USA pre-conference classes

What is your most popular product?


CBP_2029-Edit copy


Go meet Claire and ask her any question you have HERE in the forum all month long!