Rachel & Kevin | Married

Elizabeth Craig Wedding Photography-126Wow I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I posted a wedding! Sheesh! Well, I have to say, this is a great couple to get back into the game with.

Rachel & Kevin were such a laid back couple…in fact I think this is one of the most relaxed weddings we have covered in quite a while! Everything ran on time, and I know you’ll never believe me, but everything turned out perfect! Really, I mean it. Rachel was the most graceful bride I’ve seen. So beautiful and quick to smile. Chris was the ever-present gentleman standing right behind her, guiding her through her gorgeous wedding day. The families were lovely, the bridal party right there for both their bride and groom for the day.

It was a beautiful, quintessential wedding day! What more could you ask for? OH! And I’m not sure if you remember, but they also had a killer e-session if you want to revisit that.

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Boss Ladies

In light of history being made last night that was specific to the female population (WHOOT!!!!) I decided today would be a great day to write about a few pret-ty impressive women I have had the absolute pleasure of working with. Each of them is a powerhouse of their own making. Each of them has affected my life in a positive way. Each of them is an example of fearlessly believing in your own talent, smarts, ambition and superpowers.

Each of them should be an inspiration to each and every one of you. And that’s for girls AND boys.

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Laura is one of those women that when you meet her you can instantly see the passion in her eyes. I mean, yes, she has a passion for fitness and keeping your one body for this one lifetime at its optimal performance, but this passion goes far beyond that. Laura struck right through me, and even identified herself as a kindred spirit of mine, when she talked about emotionally connecting with your body. Her message is one of self-love, introspection and deeply understanding that the intertwining of mind, body and soul is a real, living thing. She owns Meraki Studios, which is a BarreAmped studio, and she made it very clear to me that when she decided to go for it and make that leap into becoming the owner of a female-driven business, she had no interest in creating an atmosphere of “skinny is better”. Her studio is one of self-acceptance, patience and most importantly, feeling good about yourself while also taking care of yourself. I can get on board with that.

Here’s to you, Laura, for infusing power back into every single female that walks through your door. Cheers, my friend.

Ashley
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Ashley is an über-talented painter that I recently started stalking. She’s that cool girl that doesn’t even know that she’s cool and you secretly hope that just by hanging out with her, you get cool too. Oh, and she can paint like a mofo. Beyond walking into her studio and just letting my jaw drop at her work, what really struck me about Ashley was her drive. It was very clear to me that Ashley has a very successful business as her work is highly sought after and she is commissioned regularly for unique projects, but during my time photographing her she talked excitedly about ongoing ideas on how to open up her work to other populations that others wouldn’t even think of (like appealing to the bridal population by painting absolutely breathtaking paintings of their bridal bouquets). I could see her wheels turning throughout our entire conversation and my thought was. ‘Holy moly…this woman is a badass boss lady.’ As you can imagine, being a badass boss lady myself…r.e.s.p.e.c.t.

Lastly, be sure to follow Ashley on her many social media platforms, as she has also made it a very smart business practice to open up her works-in-progress for everyone to enjoy.

Glasses raised to Ashley: making the world a much much much more beautiful place and kicking ass at the same time.

Kathryn
Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.13.20 AMKathryn saw a need in others and she took a chance and decided to branch out and fulfill that need. Kathryn is the owner of a gym and also works as a trainer. It was during these times that Kathryn would meet people that had the unfortunate experience of allowing food to become their enemy. Seeing that mind/body/soul disconnect in each of them, she set out to help individuals, like me, develop an entirely new, and positive, relationship with food. Kathryn changed the way my brain works and here is her own intro to who she is that explains why I love her so much:

“I am a Holistic Life and Eating Psychology Coach. But really, I’m a Pirate Queen committed to strengthening your conviction in your own worth. I want to help you develop the mental, physical, and emotional strength to use and trust your body, mind, soul, and world.”

Yeah…right?!? How can you not fall instantly in love with a rockstar like THAT? In getting to know Kathryn, I got to know me better. I got to inspect and learn how my brain works when it comes to food. I got to learn how to be more forgiving of myself, my choices and eventually shift that focus on other, way more important things in my life. And you know what makes Kathryn what I like to now call my Cyber Bestie?? Every so often, I get a love note from her. Yep–Kathryn sends out the most inspirational emails to her clients that are full of awesome info about your body/mind/soul connection in relation to food. Typically there is a link to a video she has made where she goes into specific topics, but what I love most is the super-supportive tone of every single email. It’s like she’s talking right to ME!

Big wet sloppy kisses to you, Kathryn: in a world where we are incessantly bombarded, daily, with messages of self-hate, keeping up with the Kardashians, and 50 ways to lose that baby weight, I wholeheartedly applaud your decision to start a new business that’s sole purpose is to help people to not only take control back into their lives, but to also see themselves for all the buckets of beauty they truly are. Bravo!

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Paula, simply put, is a powerhouse of a woman gettin’ shit done. I met Paula a little while ago when she came to kinda interview me as her new business required a very specific kind of photographer (more on that below). And honestly, it was kismet when we met. She’s wicked smart, talks and takes no bullshit and is f***ing hilarious. She really is the epitome #bosslady. Paula and her husband opened a business years ago that serves individuals with both mental and physical challenges and now employs over 300 people. But here is the story that will pull you in.

Knowing that she was ready for a huge shift in her life, she wanted to figure out what new venture she could create to open that door. Most would have daydreamed about it for a few years, then came up with a business plan over the next few years, then spent another few years figuring out the logistics, financing..blah blah blah. Paula rented a hotel room for 4 nights, going in with not one idea in her head, and coming out 5 days later with an entirely new business to get up off the ground. And that she did. Paula, and a few other women not to be taken lightly, opened 7 Charming Sisters, selling highly fashionable jewelry, and still haven’t looked back.

But wait, there’s more.

If that story isn’t kickass enough, how about the intertwined and pervasive message of “real women = real beauty” woven into their business practices? Paula and her gang of making-shit-happen-while-you’re-all-sleeping women decided that they would not hire models to wear their jewelry for marketing and advertising. They were very adamant about each of them being photographed wearing their own line of jewelry so that women considering their purchases would see real, everyday women wearing the very jewelry they were about to spend their money on. And that’s where I came in. They wanted a photographer that could photograph everyday women, which is a huge difference than working with models. How can you not be on board with that??

High fives and fist bumps to you, Paula, and every single one of the 7 for being kickass, take-no-prisoners, don’t-tell-me-what-I-can’t-do women.

So what’s the purpose of a blog post like this? Women supporting women. That’s what. In the last 6 to 8 months I have met each of these women and am a stronger, better woman for it. In talking about these women, I hope to inspire each of you as a reminder of how awesome you are. How smart you are. And that you can do anything you want to do in this life.

You’ll have to excuse me…I seem to have to run for cover as the shards of glass coming from the ceiling seem to be falling with evermore ferocity. #dropthemic

The Girl Next Door

Elizabeth Craig Photography Boudoir Photography-3I am lovin’ this white on white thing I got goin’ on lately. J here had “girl next door” written all over her. She was funny, quick to give a big laugh and it seemed to me a set with a more casual and flirty feel would fit right in with her. And it did.

Lots more to show you but how much do you love her freckled face?? Just so stinkin’ cute. What do you think of that last shot? It was taken with my new lens that I haven’t really had a lot of time to play with. It’s the Petzval 85, which is a super soft lens that gives a photo that yummy, milky, blur kinda thing. I think I’m smitten.

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Letting Your Walls Crumble

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.07.37 AMI hear this from almost every client before their session: “I’m so bad at getting my photos taken. I can’t do that ‘sexy’ face thing.” And I giggle. It’s not a ‘sexy’ face thing, I tell them; it’s a connection with the lens.

That usually elicits a wee bit of confusion because…really…how does one connect with a lens?? Well, for some it’s no easy task. For others, they just slip right into being that woman they came there to be. So let me explain to you how to do just that.

But before I dig into that, would you like to know what is one of the most interesting things I’ve learned? The women that come into my studio for a session for no one other than themselves seem to have an easier time with it. I think because they are so excited to treat themselves to something that will challenge them a bit and get them outside of their comfort zone. But I think the real reason is that there is no one to please but themselves with the outcome. The pressures off. They’re there to have a good time. A party for 1. Don’t underestimate how much it means to take care of yourself and treat yourself to life’s luxuries when you want to and only for you. It’s quite empowering and that’s exactly what those women strutted into my studio with: confidence and power. No nerves, no concern with what he’ll like, what outfits he would want, what photos he would like best. The only reaction to be concerned with is her own. I love that.

That’s certainly not to say that you won’t get good photos if you’re there for your soon-to-be-husband or any kind of significant other. I promise you that you will be happy with the timeless art you envisioned; I’m just saying that when there is no one to please but yourself, the pressure just fades away, leaving a woman that’s ready to challenge herself, for herself. And these concepts are not mutually exclusive; I have a lot of women that fit both of those types: she’s here for her, but she plans to allow him to enjoy the fruits of her fun.

That’s a win/win!

So, let’s get down to it. How do you get that connection you need to get the photos you want? It’s a simple concept that you have to let sink in, accept and let go.

Vulnerability. That’s it. That’s the whole of it. Easier said than done so let me go a bit more in-depth.

Vulnerability is allowing yourself to let those walls of comfort and security crumble down so that your inner rawness of the real you can be let out to play for a bit. Honestly, in my studio it’s a bit of role-playing and acting all mixed in with your own raw bits and personality. And that recipe results in a sort of fearlessness and abandonment of shyness and embarrassment during your session.

It’s all of that and a huge heaping bucket full of trust from you to me. That’s a big thing to ask of a woman, you see. We have worked years at putting up walls of strength, independence and our own teflon brand of bravado. I wish we all lived in a world where we had the gumption to be superbly vulnerable all of the time, but we don’t or my job would be a whole lot easier.

What I ask every client to do when our session begins is listen to me, trust me and do what I say, let your walls down and allow yourself to step into the role of that part of yourself that wants to be photographed. It is very important to note that the only clients I have to really push push push hard during their sessions are the ones that cannot let their walls down. They resist it and as such are resisting me. The truth is, they are too focused on feeling silly, rather than being focused on engaging emotionally with me and trusting that I am leading them somewhere that is safe, fun, soulful and artful.

You can’t feel silly in front of me. First of all, I’ve been a photographer for 12 years and this is what I do. I wouldn’t ask you to do something that was going to expose your emotions in a negative way to anyone. This isn’t the dream where you’re at school and you realize you’re walking down the hall with only your underwear on. I’ve done this time and time and time again. You went looking online for a photographer whose work speaks to you and you found me. Because of my experience I get what I need out of my clients and I do over and over and over again. It works. I’m doing something right. Trust me.

Second, and so importantly, I do this with you. I don’t ask you to do anything I don’t do with you or show you ahead of time. I am your mirror. I show you what emotion I want on your face by first showing it on mine. I use my body to show you poses and I touch my body so you know how to touch yours. So I don’t put you in the spotlight for entertainment. I don’t put you in the spotlight at all. You and I work together combining our superpowers to get you to engage and bring forth that confident, non-apologetic powerhouse that you are. And don’t tell me you can’t do it. Just about every woman on my blog said that and you see the result of that statement. Yes. You. Can. You can either make it easy or hard on yourself. The quicker you trust me and realize I got your back, the quicker you can start to enjoy your session and have confidence in the photographs we are creating together. Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this: did you know that even Kate Moss needs a built character for her to become for all of her shoots? That’s right. I read that she needs someone to create a character that she can embody for each of her shoots so that she can step out of her shoes and into the shoes of another to become her. That’s brilliant.

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen | John Craig Media-003What can I say about Copenhagen? It’s always a complete joy to immerse our family in any other culture. It’s a feast for all of the senses, and sometimes all at one time.

I think what I noticed most often was the grace of the Danish daily lifestyle. Calm, peaceful, quiet and always always always kind. All of that and feeling completely safe and comfortable in a country I have never visited. It was epic.

So, why do we travel? John and I agreed a long time ago that to be fully engaged in the art we are attracted to, we had to travel. My excitement comes from taking in the fashion, the food and the energy of the locals. For John, it’s about architecture, sunsets, the sites and everything that is anything worth photographing. For both of us, it’s about trying everything we can that we can’t try at home.

I’m really excited to share some of John’s photos with you. Giving John the chance to bring home an entirely new  portfolio is always one my favorite highlights of traveling. I never know what he has actually come up with until we get home. And I’m very pleased to say I can’t wait to get 2 of his photographs printed on giant canvases to hang in our home. He even had the idea to get my absolute favorite printed to make a big backdrop for my studio. Can you guess which one?

Also–I love taking a moment to not only celebrate John’s beautiful photography, but also to highlight his wonderful (and brilliant…but I’m biased) writing. So make sure to pop on over to John’s site and give a read to his interpretation of Copenhagen.

Here’s a teaser from his writing:

“Time has no meaning when there is only light. Three hours of dusk, the light is ever present. You can not see the dome of the sky. It’s as if the far left and right corners of the sky are being pulled infinitely upwards. A sheet of sky that is ever-reaching. The cityscape below is small, pushed into the earth, barley kissed by the sky.” 

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Talking Portraits

Pittsburgh Portrait Photographer | Elizabeth Craig Photography-1That’s what I think portraits should do, don’t you? When you look at them, they should say something to you. Do I mean literally? No, although I know that’s the new thing on the newest phones…but I think in this instance that would be a little creepy.

What I mean is, a photo should tell a story to you, or in the least, it should speak to you on some level. It should encourage some kind of reaction, whether it’s a smile, a tear or even just staring into the eyes of the person that is looking back at you from the photograph.

That’s what I see when I look at these 2 photographs. I feel a connection to both, but in very different ways. In the 2nd photograph below, it’s the connection in her eyes…and oh my gosh…those freckles. Those freckles!! The 1st above, it’s obvious, but if it didn’t make you smile there’s something wrong with you.

If your photos don’t give you a reaction, it’s a clear missed opportunity to encapsulate a true moment in time. And, well…that’s just boring.😉

 

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