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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!



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




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



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.


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!
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.


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 ( 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!


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




Our Chic of the Week is Michelle Letherbarrow of Blossom Tree Photography



Tell us a little bit about yourself:

Newborn, Baby and Child Photography. Central Coast NSW Australia

Image of the week:



Image stats:

f 1.6, s/s 160, ISO 50, taken in the morning, RAW edited in ACR then PS5.
These gorgeous Twins were triplets in the womb but sadly 1 little precious did not make it :(
They were so good for me on this day – I was one very happy Photographer!!

After sharing this image in the Chic Critique Forum, what critique did you find helpful?

This comment made me smile :) – “Stop it right now!!! If this mama doesn’t blow this puppy up massive she’s crazy!! I’m totally in love with this picture!!! Fabulous job!!!!”

Congratulations Michelle! You’ve been awarded a gift certificate from one of our vendors for being selected as Chic of the Week!

Are you interested in being the Chic of the Week?  Just become a member of the forum, submit an image for peer critique and each week someone will be chosen and featured on the blog!



Blog Love Week 10

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.


  • 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.

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.





Mad About Colour wide collage

Thanks very much to CHIC for this opportunity to share a bit about myself and my work. Joanne Scantlebury Muckart here  - Owner/Operator of Mad About Colour – home of Original, Quality, Unique, Whimsical Baby and Kiddie Props handmade by myself with Love and Care.  I am a mum, grandmum, step mom, step grandmom and step greatgrandmom, so I know a bit about babies and kiddiesJ. My “retired/retread” Scottish husband and I live on tiny Prince Edward Island (on Canada’s east coast) in our beach house that I designed and built in the woods overlooking the ocean. From my studio loft I find endless inspiration in the ever changing beauty that surrounds us.

 Mad About Colour Pocket Pants & Munchkin hat SET

I come from a long line of colourful artisans who have made producing and selling their work a lifestyle. We take pride in producing quality custom work, and share our time and talents with our community. Mum taught me early on to knit, hook rugs, design patterns , and sew etc. Dad taught me painting, wood working, designing, people and business skills. In my teen years I added sign manufacturing,  jewelry, leatherwork, pottery, spinning and dyeing, taught and led workshops, and started my first business. I am a color theorist, master weaver and tailor. 

MadAboutColour dresses bonnets panel

Over the years I have owned and operated successful fiberarts and graphic businesses. I have been fortunate – my work has  won national and international awards , been exhibited and featured in mags, blogs, websites and tv around the world, and is owned by royalty, private collections, galleries, and celebs. Several years ago I started selling my work at farmers markets again and fell into selling my baby and kiddie props online via etsy shop. Now it is a full time love affair :)

  MadAboutColour Spring CHIC Mag Ad  2013

I DO LOVE what I do – and every item I produce is created with quality supplies and my best efforts. I am very aware and always concerned about comfort, practicability, longevity, affordability and safety with baby props, while keeping items playful and fresh. I work hard to supply “rush” product, at no extra charge. I relish Custom Orders! My photographer customers reaffirm my work principles with thanks for producing versatile, lasting product that is most often requested by their clients over the years. I truly feel honoured to play a small part in the excitement of “shooting” babes and kiddies to make “forever memories” for families to cherish.


My etsy shop proudly offers my Newborn, Toddler and Kids Knits and Photo Props. These include Fashionable Hats, Diaper Covers, Eggs, Pouches, Nests, Wraps, Hammocks, Fringe Props, Blankets, Dresses, Skirts, Pants, Headbands etc. I favour Stripes, Textures, Flowers, Rainbows, Neutrals, Tassels, Buttons, Bells, Poms, Fabrics, Quilting, Found medium, Shabby Chic, Ethnic looks etc. I offer my items in most sizes – priced accordingly – in Custom “Pick Your Color” and “Ready to Ship / In Stock” listings. Photographers like that they can purchase a great selection of hard working props in one order. I do my very best for ever customer and I really do aim to please:):)

Mad About Colour Joanne 

My very best long selling item is still my 2 color striped long tail “Munchkin” Hat – super for single, twin, triplet, quint etc shoots, and available in unigender, pastel, bright combos in ANY color combo you can dream of – and whose prices for sizes from preemie to adult have not gone up since I first offered them for sale online in 2007:) They are machine wash/ dry. Through the years they always look fresh and are a photographers dream:) You can see my  Munchkin Hats from “Quints By Surprise” TV show here


Recently I have added my Shabby Chic sewn bonnets, dresses, pants, sets, etc to my Mad About Colour line. Looking forward I have an unending, steadily growing list of items yet to offer in my shop. There are millions of color combinations yet to try and not enough hours in the day…..:)

  Mad About Colour SKY PILOt AVIATOR CAP

Please drop by my shop and feel free to contact me with any questions, requests, comments on my work. I have an opinion on everything when asked:) and share what I know when I can.  I will reply back as quickly as humanly possibleJ

Mad About Colour STORK POUCH sheet

Thank you for checking out my first blog! “ Seize the Day – Every Day is a Gift “


Many blessings,


Joanne Scantlebury Muckart


Here are 3 MAD ABOUT COLOUR modest tip offerings for shooting with hand knit props.

Mad About Colour FCN HATS

Tip #1 – for keeping knit props with tassel, fringes, tails etc looking great between Generally photographers are under time constraints when shooting babies and kiddies – working their way thru props and poses.. often props are tossed aside between uses, piled up, dumped into baskets etc until they are next needed. I suggest simply hanging hats, fringed pouches, blankets scarves etc upside down from easily accessible hangers with clothespins. It only takes a minute to clothespin a hat, blanket etc to a hanger so your fancy tails, tassels and fringes are hanging gently down and shake out easily – then place hanger asap on a clothes rack of hangers doing same duty, or hat hooks etc lined in rows on wall etc– props ready to be used again at a moment’s notice with no worry of entanglements or wear and tear – it is easy to sift thru hangers and spot your goodies quickly.


Tip #2 – to make best use of your hat props – you can easily make a “too large” hat down size with a simple, artful tuck in the back of the hat with a good old fashioned safety diaper pin. A couple of pins will easily do a great sneak job on a large hat and do no damage to hat. Works great with other props a well. Keep Pins pinned thru hanger until needed and always put back asap.  For multiple baby or family shoots where you use them always make sure number you took off match number you put back.

Mad About Colour BABY OZ HAT

Tip #3 – Take a second extra and make sure when you are putting prop on baby/child etc, that if there is a seam in prop you are shooting with – hat, cocoon, etc – try to place seam in back or where it will not show in image . Most photographers are not aware of the seams but even the best made seam is often quite obvious to viewer in actual image, especially if a large nursery or family portrait etc. I have begun to sew color coordinated shop labels over any seams on my props to attract attention of photographer when they are placing prop on baby/toddler etc.  It saves photoshopping seam out after.


GIFT CARD COUPON CODE – For a limited time I am offering CHIC readers 10% off purchases made directly though my Etsy shop. Enter code CHICSPECIAL2013 on checkout page when placing order. Happy shopping!:)

Mad About Colour Stork Egg




Senior Photographers always need inspiration…especially with posing.  You can get inspired by anything.  Here are some gorgeous poses that can help you out when you are in a bind and need some inspiration!

Up Close and Personal



{ via Skai Photography}



{via Beautifully Bohemian}

Bringing Back the Skates



{via Krista Manthe}

Grab a Chair



{Via Trevor Hoehne}




{via Paper Deer Photography}

MOD, CHIC, SOPHISTICATED…Inspiration from clothing stores.



{via Bohme}






Wanna hang out with our Celebrity Photographers? We now have Celebrity Photographers as Moderators floating around the forum each month. They are here to answer your questions, give peer critique, and post inspirational images. This month’s Celebrity Moderators are Michelle Huesgen of  Untamed Heart Photography and Kara May of Kara May Photography.

Go see what the buzz is all about! Not a member yet? Join now!

karamay    michellehuesgenpic


Also, for one night only, on March 18th, Lena Hyde, owner of Design Aglow, will be sharing studio workflow in a “Celebrity Secrets LIVE” web event.

Live Webinar Lena Hyde Chic Critique Forum

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

  • Lena’s simple, yet effective system for keeping her studio at the top of her Palm Beach market for the last 10 years.
  • Best practices for studio forms and emails with samples shown and discussed.
  • How to set boundaries and prevent client problems with a smart workflow system.
  • A complete guide from first client contact to final product delivery.

WHEN: Monday, March 18th 2013 @ 8 pm Central (6 Pacific, 7 Mountain, 9 Eastern)

If you can’t attend the live event, a video recording will be sent (48 hrs afterward) to all those who paid

COST: $39 for Chic Members, $59 for non-members. Attendees are limited so reserve your spot now! 

$39 for Chic Members:
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE (must join forum first to get this discounted price)

$59 for non-members:

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