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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!


Contributor | Shannon Kaeding

Photographers always need inspiration…especially with posing.  Here are some gorgeous poses that can help you out when you are in a bind and need some inspiration for those extra hard couples!



{Image Via Valentina Glidden Photography}



{Image Via Pinterest}



{Image Via Pinterest}



{Image Via Zach & Jody}



{Image Via Style Me Pretty}


{Image Via Arrow & Apple}



{Image Via Magnoliarouge}



{Image Via Jose Villa}



{Image Via Tiffany Jane Photography}





We are so excited to have one of our Vogue Vendors spotlighted today!  Fotovella, designer templates for  Pro Photographers.


Janet, please describe your business for us:

FOTOVELLA is a new boutique design studio with a growing line of designer product templates and studio marketing templates for professional photographers.

I work together with my husband Scott, who handles most of the marketing and all the “web stuff” (thankfully!). We’re somewhat new to the market as a brand, and we’re having so much fun, both developing the line and meeting new photographers. We both love being around creative people.


What Makes Your Product/Service Unique:

I think our focus on quality and attention to detail.

Scott and I are both big on “getting it 100% right the first time”. We really try to inject as much quality and value into our templates as we can — how they’re presented, creating instructions that make sense — everything.

We believe small things; like color-coded layers, built-in clipping masks, alternate layouts, and “super thorough” user guides all add value to our templates and make them easier (and maybe even more fun) to use. We recognize that time and money are both hard earned in this market, and we want every photographer who uses our templates to be “insanely happy” with their purchase.

I think all designers, like photographers, are artists who put a lot of heart into their work — basically “perfectionists who care deeply” — we’re no different.


How Did Your Business Come About:

We’ve both been in advertising and marketing (in ad agencies and in corporate marketing) for years — working with clients on their branding, promotional materials, and web projects — but we wanted to do something entirely driven by us. Something where we could develop a brand, design products, and offer our experience and skills, and bring value to help small businesses grow.

There is NOTHING we love more than being part of helping a business owner see success. We both love photography (Scott even studied it in school as part of his advertising undergrad) and we see FOTOVELLA as a combination of our skills and passions. I can’t tell you how much fun we’ve had getting things started.


What Is Your Most Popular Product:

Our marketing templates as a category have been well received, and we’re of course continuously working to grow that part of the product line, along with the product templates. But more specifically, our “Love Story” wedding marketing suite has been a big hit, which was very exciting for us. Even with years of experience in marketing, you’re never truly really sure. You just have to “put it out there”. So it’s been very heartwarming to read emails from photographers telling us that the “Love Story” materials have helped their studios in meaningful ways. That kind of feedback is creative fuel for both of us.



FOTOVELLA has decided to be very generous and gave Chic Critique Readers a coupon for their templates!  Make sure to visit their Facebook & Etsy Shop.





Learn from the best. . . in your pajamas!


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

  • Define & attract your ideal “Lovemark Clients”, the ones who are most likely to rave about you in the first place.
  • Give those clients the stories you actually want them telling with a remarkable “Purple Cow” experience (because it’s not that they’re talking but what they’re saying)
  • Move on to building your “Secondary Circle” of followers in your tribe- an army of evangelists thousands strong out there saying your name, and
  • Become a company worth believing in by having something that you stand for
  • Plus, ask Mary questions during the Q&A AFTER PART-AY!

WHEN: Monday, September 23rd 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>>REGISTER HERE!<< Hurry though, seating is limited!

Live Event + Video Recording Download:

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

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

Sign Up HERE to watch Mary Marantz Live Web Event!



Ever wished that you could just hang out with some of your favorite Celebrities Photogs?  Tired of stalking their blogs because you just want to chill with them. Well now you can! Each month we’ll have different Celebrity Photographers floating around the forum answering your questions, giving critiques, talking about business and posting inspirational images. This month’s Celebrity Moderators are Lindsay Silsby.





Guest Contributor | Meghan Newsom

Food is one of my trickiest subjects. To me, food is harder to capture than a squirming baby. Every one loves photos of their little one smiling and giggling no matter the angle at which you catch them, but a photo of food in the wrong light or at the wrong angle can make for an extremely unappetizing picture.

I stumbled onto food photography by accident, hoping to always capture the essence of the dish I created to share with my blog readers. I soon began to learn the art behind food photography, learning that it is by no chance you see beautiful photos of food gracing magazine and cook book pages.

 Just like portraiture, photographing food requires an understanding of your camera’s settings, correct white balance, and most importantly, light. It also helps to have some great props on hand to communicate the feel of your dish.

There are four key elements I use when I set up a scene to be photographed. Let’s dive into them one at a time.
1. Find a light source-
    Often times I am tempted to photograph a delicious dinner I made right out of the oven. Usually this means I am trying to take a photo of my food at around 7 pm, when the only light sources I have are incandescent lights in my kitchen. When I do this, the light always reflects poorly off of my food, leaving my food with a yellow cast.. even when I’ve adjusted my white balance. My food is usually steamy right out of the oven as well. The steam fogs up my lens making it impossible to get a sharp image.
Instead of trying to take a photo of your dish right out of the oven, wait until the next morning and capture your dish while the morning light is spilling in through the window. This will give your photograph a beautiful feel, and will make your food much more appetizing than it would have been the night before. Always try to stay away from flash when taking photos of food.
2. Choose a great lens-
    Your lens will determine how detailed you want your food to be in your photograph. If you want to take a photo of a meal scene, you may choose an 18-55mm lens. This lens will allow you to capture different elements of your table all in one frame, including your food and your subjects. I always get great inspiration from photographs in Kinfolk Magazine. My go-to lens for food photography are my 50mm and my 85mm lenses. These lenses allow me to get detailed shots of my food, while keeping the image crisp and clear. I love dropping my aperture low so that I can blur the background and allow the food to be the main focus of the picture.

3. Add props-

    Some of my favorite props for food are ingredients that go into the dish I have cooked. I really enjoy the “deconstructed” look of food photography. Taking each element of the dish and photographing it by its self. This allows the viewer to really understand what goes into the dish, and always creates a clean and natural element to my photographs.

  Serving plates and utensils make a big difference in the way your dish will be conveyed to your viewer. Choose those props wisely. You may choose napkins that evoke a “summertime” feel, or choose plates that coordinate with your dish. My rule of thumb is to always keep it simple, and never have a dish monotone in color.

4. Always overestimate-

    When it comes to photographing food, you only need one perfect shot. Sometimes it may take 100 frames to get the perfect frame you need. My philosophy is to always overshoot. You just spent a long time cooking your meal, prepping your scene, and making sure the light was perfect. It would be a shame to spend all of that time getting things ready, and only take a couple of shots of your food set up. Try out different lenses, change your camera settings, adjust your aperture, just make sure you are getting a variety of shots so you results will be perfect!

Like anything, practice makes perfect. Look around in your cookbooks and magazines and see what photographs are appetizing to you and try to recreate them by putting your own spin on them! I’ve started a great board on pinterest for great food photography inspiration.

Meghan is a professional photographer based out of North Alabama. When she’s not taking photos, cooking up a gluten free meal, or creating things for her home you can find her hiking around with her husband and lovable dog Dakota.




We are so excited to have Jackie Jean as one of our October Celebrity Photographer.

Sign up to get your images critiqued by Jackie Jean this September.  Only 10 Spots Left!

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Jackie Jean is a proud mama of four incredible boys, married to a rockstar, a self taught 100% Natural Light Portrait Photographer, and a lover of old school coffee houses.

She specializes in children & family portrait work and is in her ninth year of business. She is known for her perfected black and whites, her deliciously rich muted vintage tones, and her creative eye in post processing.
In recent years, she has offered mentoring programs for photographers as well as resources for post processing. Jackie Jean loves to see others grow in their passions!

Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?


Why do you think honest critique on your image

To pay attention to the details and composition. I started out rushing my shoots because I was nervous. Slowing down and being thoughtful about what I want to produce has made such a huge difference.



What camera do you use? Favorite lens?

Nikon D800 , 135mm



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

To pay attention to the details and composition. I started out rushing my shoots because I was nervous. Slowing down and being thoughtful about what I want to produce has made such a huge difference.



What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

creative, fun, emotive

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

It really varies, but the best pictures come when I am rested and make a point to sit down and write down ideas. I love antique shops, the outdoors, my kiddos, music, there are so many things that inspire!

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

I’ve learned to say “no” over the years which is so important! Also, after my fourth son was born, it was a bit chaotic, so it kicked me in gear as far as organization. I haven’t arrived yet but am working on it!


Best biz/photo advice?

Find what you love to do most and do it!

What have you learned the hard way?

While sometimes it is a process to find exactly what you love doing, I never said “no” and was shooting everything from sports events to head shots to weddings to families, it burned me out so quick!

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

I try to focus on just being me and not worry about the rise of competition, there’s a lot of photographers but there’s only one me!


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

Well, WOM is definitely the main thing. I have never had to advertise and will say that most of my clients I view as friends now. I think it’s vital to treat clients more than just clients, this is a relational business.

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

I haven’t attended one…..yet :)



Sign up to get your images critiqued by Jackie Jean this September.  Only 10 Spots Left!




Congrats Christina Skinner! Your image is so adorable that we had to feature you as the Chic of the Week.

Reed Schuster newborn IMG_01 chic

Loved the use of the vintage box with the word squirt” describing that cute little baby, there was no way I could let it slip by without sharing it in a CHIC of the Week post.

Congrats again to Christina Skinner of Christina Skinner Photography!  You’ve been awarded a gift certificate from one of our vendors for being selected as Chic of the Week!

Which photo of your own would you like to see featured on the site?

If you upload your favorite photos to the forum, we just might feature yours next.

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I’m wife to a wonderful husband and a stay at home mother to a 2 and a half year old rambunctious little girl, and a silly 13 month old baby boy in sunny Orange County, California. My love for photography started when I was a child. I would make my tomboy little sister dress up in my ballet costumes and pose for me (love you sis!). I took a few classes in college where I learned to shoot on film and work in the dark room, but it wasn’t until I had my first child that a hobby I dabbled in occasionally became as necessary as breathing. I’m on my second 52 week project and have found that my style is a mix between lifestyle and traditional portraiture. I LOVE working with kids and find it insanely satisfying getting those shots that make their parent’s hearts skip a beat. I’m making the leap from hobbyist to professional photographer and although it’s very intimidating (not to mention crazy with two little ones), I’m loving my photography journey.

Image Stats:

F 1.4, 1/800, ISO 100, Shot in RAW on Canon 5D Classic, 50mm 1.4
This was shot in the family’s front yard under a large tree at about 1pm. They live on the beach and as usual it was very overcast but very warm. I edited in Photoshop with My Four Hen’s “Happy Helpers” set and few hand edits.

What critique from Chic Critique Forum did you find helpful after sharing this image?

I always appreciate the constructive criticism on Chic Critique. I know that it’s being said in love so that I can be better at my craft. There is a fine line between being technically correct and personal preference so hearing everyone’s opinions on my images really helps me improve and see them in a new light. I so appreciate this forum!

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