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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!

Blog Love Week 11

Chic Critique Forum Blog Love

Do you post on your blog only to hear crickets? Do you sometimes feel like you are talking to yourself (and maybe your Mom) on your blog? Do you need some LOVE?

Chic Critique is here for you, girl. In 2013, we are doing a weekly feature on our blog every Saturday called “BLOG LOVE” where you can showcase your  blog posts on Chic Critique for lots of love.

SWEET BENEFITS:

  • Use this as motivation to blog at least once a week
  • Boost your SEO: your thumbnail will link back to your own blog for lots of publicity and SEO lovin’!
  • Get blog comments from our fans
  • Show off your work
  • Get published! One of your images might be featured in an upcoming issue of Chic Magazine

It’s so easy! HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

You must be a member of Chic Critique forum to participate 

  1. Post some pics on your own blog with a link back to Chic Critique
  2. Every weekend, submit your permalink (not your main blog address) from your own blog post to the frog icon (see sample below) to our weekly Saturday “Blog Love” blog post
  3. Your image will then show up as a thumbnail on OUR blog and allow our readers to click on your image to check out YOUR blog.

Need a reminder? We’ll help remind you in our weekly newsletter and on Facebook so be sure to become a fan and subscribe to our newsletter.

ENTER YOUR BLOG POST IMAGES FOR THIS WEEK BY CLICKING ON THE FROG BELOW:
Don’t forget to leave a comment on the other entries because that is half the fun! Also, submit your photo early since those seem to be the ones who receive the most comments.


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Senior Rep Cards | from Prairie Sweet Boutique | Friday Freebie

Spring is just around the corner!  Time to start gearing up for the Senior Photography Season.  Our friends at Prairie Sweet Boutique have just the thing to help you spread the word about your Senior Photography Business:

a Set of 4 Anna Senior Rep Cards  {$24 value!}

These Senior Rep Cards are FREE to all Chic Critique Forum Members.   Get yours in the forum:  MARCH FREEBIE

Prairie Sweet Boutique Freebie

photography by Jill VZ Photography

HOW TO USE:  Create Senior Rep Cards for each of your senior reps for them to give to friends and classmates.  Include your studio’s logo and contact information as well as one or two gorgeous portraits of the senior.

SWEET TIPS:  Put the Senior’s contact info on the card as well so they can use it as their very own calling card ~ makes them even more likely to hand these out to all of their friends!   Another tip:  Give a set to ALL of your seniors (not just reps) and create an incentive for when one of their friends books with you.

For more SENIOR TEMPLATES and other sweet designs from Prairie Sweet Boutique, Visit:  www.prairiesweet.com and www.facebook.com/prairiesweet

Prairie Sweet templates for photographers

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5 Tips for Gorgeous Rainy Day Images

by Jamie Rae, Contributing Editor

I should have webbed feet.  I am Oregon born and raised, and live in an area that is often referred to as a temperate rain forest.  I am not sure where the temperate part comes in, but we sure get a lot of liquid sunshine- and I have never learned to love it.  Since I live in such a saturated part of the world, you would think that I would have a natural penchant for shooting in the rain.  Not so!  For a long time when I saw those storm clouds coming you would be more likely to find me curled up with a good book and a cup of tea than outside braving the storms.

It wasn’t until I was forced to shoot a wedding outside under rainy skies that my web feet finally found solid, if not soggy, shooting ground.  Being forced out into stormy weather emboldened me and opened me to the creative side of stormy shooting.  Below find five tips to help you find your own webbed feet!

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1.  Be brave

For yourself and your client, reach down inside and squash that stormy weather squirm.  What feels like misery can turn into adventure with the right attitude.  Put on a cheerful face, be determined and positive, and your energy will ignite as enthusiasm from your subject.  Remember that while most people are huddled away inside beneath wool blankets and boredom, you are the one out there still creating.  Your attitude is your number one asset, so keep it positive and embrace the adventure!

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2.  Use Your Surroundings

Enlist your creativity to find shelter from heavy rain.  Just because it’s pouring doesn’t mean you can’t shoot outside.  I have used bus stops, overhangs, porches, umbrellas, bridges, groves of trees and parking garages.  Just make sure you choose a location that allows ample light to stream through the clouds and onto your subject.  rain1 (1 of 1)

3.  Create A Story

How many amazing movies and books start with moody, interesting weather?  A lot do!  That’s because stormy weather inspires a variety of moods.  Take advantage of your unusual backdrop and use the movement of the clouds and shifting light to inspire your creativity.

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4.  Find the Light

Even during stormy weather you will find that there is a direction to the light you are using.  The sun is still hiding up there!  The light will filter through the large, natural diffuser up above and provide even light for your subjects skin as well as catch lights for the eyes.  If you are seeing that spark of light in your subjects eyes, move them (slowly) in a circle until you see the light brighten their face. 2013-03-06_002

5.  Protect your equipment

Professional cameras and lenses can withstand some windy and wet weather.  I always am sure to carry a towel with me though, and dry off my equipment frequently.  You can also purchase plastic covers for your camera that will protect your camera and lens from the elements.  As a true Nothwest native, I never have.   As a last resort, bring along an assistant and an umbrella!

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ABOUT JAMIE:
Jamie Rae is a natural light photographer in Portland, Oregon.
She loves helping women tell their unique story of beauty through photographs and does so through portrait and wedding photography.
She lives for learning, lovely light, and the occasional daily chocolate.
blog|websitefacebook

 

 

 

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Monthly Mentor on OCF & Chic Challenge

Did you know that we have monthly “Chic Challenges” in the forum to help you advance as a photographer?

This month’s challenge includes a $200 Gift Certificate to Bellevue Avenue! Plus, we will publish one of the winning entries from the last 4 months in our Summer Issue of CHIC Magazine!

ENTER THE CHIC CHALLENGE HERE IN THE FORUM.

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NEW! We have a Monthly Mentor every month who shares expertise exclusively in the forumEach Monthly Mentor creates a video just for you and will answer any questions you may have regarding my video & business ALL MONTH LONG…so bring it!

MARCH MENTOR | CLAIRE DAM OF CLAIRE DAM PHOTOGRAPHY: 

I have over 10 years of experience in the field of photography, and am now in my 6th year full-time as part of the thriving professional photography community of Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Although my post-secondary training was as a midwife, I continually work towards technical and creative photographic excellence through continued education, community roundtables and on-location experience.

I have been an affiliate photographer for the bereavement photography organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for two years.  I feel like my photography experience along with my midwifery education helped prepare me for this difficult and rewarding position.

I operate a fully-equipped photography studio in a 19th-century cotton-mill-turned creative industries complex in Hamilton’s industrial district, and I specialize in portraiture: engagements + weddings, and bumps to babes to graduates!

My most recent notable is that I am the Reigning Queen Supreme of the Chic Critique Photography Idol Contest 2012!    (Aka: the winner).

MY PORTFOLIO:
*all the images here are shot using off-camera flash (OCF) which is the subject of my vidayo!  So even though I don’t shoot OCF that often it’s a skill I’m proud and thankful to have in my back pocket!

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 A VIDEO FOR CHIC MEMBERS ABOUT “OFF CAMERA FLASH”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Claire a question HERE

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Crazy, Sexy, Cool Photoshop 101 : Teaching Tuesday with Alex Beadon

by Alex BeadonTeaching Tuesday Contributor

You know when you hear people saying bad things about a good friend of yours? It doesn’t feel great, does it? You get all protective and angry because they don’t really know her like you do. They haven’t really given her a chance, and if only they’d take a little bit of time to really understand her? Well …

That’s exactly how I feel about Photoshop. I’ve had a love affair with it for what feels like forever, but I feel like for the most part it’s something people try to avoid at all costs.

So I’m here today to scream loud and proud that not only is Photoshop sexy and not only can it be a photographer’s very best friend – but it’s FUN.

Step by step I’m going to walk you through a few of my favorite things, the ones I use most in Photoshop. It is my hopes that this will help point you in the right direction.

Let’s start with the image above. Here you can see the four most important things I focus on:

1) the tool bar - the tool bar gives you brilliant control over your image. 

2) the image - where your beautiful image is displayed.

3) layers - layers allows crazy creativity to be added to your image.

and 4) photoshop actions - i’m biased, but there’s no denying that high quality photoshop actions save you time and sanity when using Photoshop. 

 

Today I’m going to be specifically explaining the toolbar, telling you which two tools are the most valuable to me and why, along with how to use them:

As we deep dive into the toolbar, notice that the five highlighted tools are the ones I use the most. The first few are obvious, the last two are the ones I really want you to really understand and benefit from because they are my absolute favorites!

1) The (sexy) patch tool 

The patch tool is a brilliant way to remove any blemishes on the skin of your subject. Here’s the process:

ONE. select the patch tool (by clicking j on your keyboard).

TWO. draw a circle around the blemish on the skin.

THREE.  drag the selection to a cleaner area on the skin.

FOUR. let go of your mouse and watch as the blemish magically disappears.

Lifesaver, right? Right.

2)The clone (copy&paste) stamp tool 

The clone stamp tool allows you to copy certain parts of your image and paste it on other parts of your image. I use this to get rid of distracting elements like branches and random poles in the background. Here’s the process:

ONE. select the clone stamp tool (by clicking s on your keyboard).

TWO. adjust your brush size to suit ( I recommend a soft brush [hardness:0%] )

THREE.  hold down the option key on your keyboard, while clicking on the area you want to copy.

FOUR. draw over the specific area where you want to paste what was copied and OUILA!

 

And there you have it. I hope that this has helped to point you in the right direction and that you learned a thing or two :)

 

 

If you want to discover more on these topics (the whys or the hows), take the time to do some research on Google. But if you’re too lazy to do the google research yourself, here’s a great place to start: four free photoshop tutorials which will walk you through my three top secret weapons when it comes to Photoshop and how to use them!

I hope this has helped put you on a closer path to falling in LOVE with Photoshop :)

Big hugs,
xoxo
Alex Beadon

Alex Beadon is a creative portrait photographer, blogger, and creator of Dress to Impress and  The Inspired Store. Her number one mission is to inspire those around her to creatively live an inspired and passionate life. That means doing what you love and loving what you do every step of the way. You can learn more about her and what she does here on her website.

BlogStore.

 

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CELEBRITY SESSION | ERIN YOUNGREN (THE YOUNGRENS)

 

Introducing Erin Youngren of The Youngrens.  Erin will be providing critique as one of our April Celebrity Photographers.

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Erin and her husband, Jeff, are international wedding and lifestyle photographers running three of the fastest growing boutique studios that cover the full range of wedding, portrait and corporate photography in the competitive Southern California market. Although based in San Diego, their deeply emotional style and passionate partnership has taken them from the beaches of Costa Rica to the vineyards of Tuscany to the streets of Sydney to photograph extraordinary weddings and incredible couples. As leaders in the photographic community, they are passionate about using their experience and success to help other photographers create healthy viable businesses while investing in a photography community built on integrity and authentic leadership.

Erin, what camera do you use and what is your favorite lens?

Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm f/1.2

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

Honest critique is incredibly important for artists and creatives because it’s when we see our work through the eyes of others that we can know how our hearts are impacting the people around us. It also helps us develop powerful artistic focus when we know what we’re good at and how to leverage those abilities to master our particular style.

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

Fill the frame with your subject and eliminate unnecessary dead space. This was a big problem of mine when I first started shooting and my photography dramatically improved once I paid attention to the dead space in an image and became intentional in my composition.

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What 3 words would you use to describe your style?

Emotional, Authentic, Natural

 I love my Anthropologie and Free People Catalogs. They help me think of new ways to naturally light a subject as well as discover different posing. For inspiration on details and food photography, I absorb my Martha Stewart magazines and Pottery Barn catalogs. It’s kind of ridiculous how much I love them!
What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
Jeff and I make office hours and stick to them. I shut the office door at the end of the day and don’t respond to emails on weekends that we have off. You have to be super strict about your boundaries in order for them to work!In reality, the best way to find balance is to be organized in the little tasks, efficient in the big tasks, and outsource what you don’t enjoy. The less time and energy you need to spend in your business to be profitable, the more balance you’ll find. We’ve been restructuring my roles and taking more off my plate this past year as we prep to have kids. As I’m sure all of you moms already know, I’ll be a bit busy with little ones running around! Ha!
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I have two pieces of advice. First, read the E-Myth Revisited and build an organizational chart of your business that charts out all of the different roles and jobs. Once you know what roles exist and how they interact with each other, you can begin to tackle any bottlenecks and build a much more efficient workflow.Second, figure out who your ideal clients are. If you know who it is that you want to photograph, then the roadmap will lay itself out on how to build your brand, marketing strategy and photographic style in order to attract them.
What have you learned the hard way?
Start writing a studio manual for your business immediately! We were given this advice years ago, but didn’t start writing one until we hired interns and employees. We’re in the middle of writing one now and life would be soooo much easier if we had put in the hard work earlier!
How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?
I think that the large increase in photographers has made our industry SO MUCH BETTER. In order to survive, we have all been forced to build more solid brands and provide higher quality services and products. Jeff and I own three photography studios in San Diego that photograph weddings, portraits, and corporate events, and all of them are extremely successful in this saturated market because each one has a highly defined brand and clientele. The key for anyone to stand out in this crowded industry is to know who your ideal clients are and intentionally go after them with your branding, pricing, marketing, and shooting. Everything must be intentional.
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Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?

Referrals from past couples. Someone refers us to someone else, they fall in love with our website, and get hooked on our blog. Referrals won’t do you any good unless you have a brand or website that will hook the people you want to photograph and turn off the people you don’t want to work with. We also get referrals from other high-end vendors quite a bit and from our favorite venues that we love working with. A few weddings come from our features on Style Me Pretty, but it’s minimal. Taking insanely great care of your current clients is the best investment you can make in your marketing strategy, hands down.

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

The best convention was always Pictage’s PartnerCon, so it’s a bummer that’s it’s no longer around! I’ve heard amazing things about the Rebirth Workshop (rebirthworkshops.com) and would totally recommend it. And I’m completely biased about this one, but the For the Love spiritual retreat and workshop for photographers is DA BOMB. It’s a weeklong Christian retreat to reconnect with creativity and the heart of the Creator. It’s the best week of my entire year!

What is your most popular product?

Our KISS Wedding Albums – love!

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Want Erin Youngren of The Youngrens Photography to critique your images? Sign up for a 4-week Critique HERE

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