That One Photograph

Elizabeth Craig Beauty Boudoir Photography | Pittsburgh-001Sometimes I just fall in love with a photograph and I can’t put anything around it. This is one of those photographs. Something about it drew me in and that’s really all you need when looking at a photograph. If it has to be explained to you, walk away from it. Otherwise, stare in all your glory (at least that’s what I hope you’re doing right now….not walking away ;-))

Gorgeousness above provided by Hannah Conard of Hannah Conard Beauty.

The Light…

Pittsburgh Beauty Boudoir Photographer-004…will always be what attracts me most about photography. It truly fascinates me to bend it, subdue it, give it power…it’s the most artful thing you’ll never notice in a photograph, but it’s the most important aspect of photography.

Photograph the light first. Compose the subject second. (Fabulous quote by John Craig…my other half and the cutie that taught me everything I know ;-))

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Brilliant makeover by Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified.

Pittsburgh Photography Studio for Rent!

That’s right folks. I’m on the in. I’ve got the 411. I’m in the know. I just so happen to have some good info on a gorgeous, naturally lit studio space that is just ripe for the renting.

If you happen to need a studio space to photograph in, I’m pleased to announce that Hannah Conard, of Hannah Conard Beauty, has just opened her new space on the North Side. Interested? Contact Hannah for rates!

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An Update on the Business of Boudoir

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer Elizabeth Craig Photography-1Hello lady folk out there! I hope this blog post finds you well and kicking ass. I just wanted to let you know all that is and will be in the next few coming months.

So, wow…what a year so far. Right out of the gate it’s been go go go and I’m thrilled that the holidays didn’t slow any of you ladies down. I’m happy to say that it’s already been a year of Generations Sessions, Gal’s Days (blog post coming soon) and single sessions of all you righteous ladies out there either treating your man to the delights of your loveliness, or better yet, treating yourself.

I’m very happy to say that I have opened up my schedule like never before to give me more time to work with you gorgeous babes. Unfortunately I am still only one woman (to  my husband’s pure delight) and have limited availability each month. As of right now I am fully booked for February but still have a few openings in March. April is beginning to fill but the summer still has lots of availability.

So whether it’s your family of ladies you want to celebrate, your best friend or just yourself, I’m here waiting.

When your ready you can find me at elizabethcraig@me.com.

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Lovely makeover by Justine Lynn of Beauty Justified.

An Event for All Women (and you can hear me speak!)

BeautyInsteadofAshes_Flyer_CCI am over the moon to tell you about an upcoming event that I encourage every single woman out there to attend. The Arise & Live Women’s Conference: Beauty Instead of Ashes is an event not to be missed because it is a 2-day conference completely devoted to honoring women, building strength in our female community and celebrating our gender, all while offering powerful stories of women in our communities and support for those needing a spiritual lift in their lives.

What I am also so thrilled to share with you is that I have been asked to speak as a representative for The Beauty Within Foundation. I cannot begin to tell you how honored I was when Monica Hawkins, of Monica Hawkins Ministries, called to ask if I would like The Beauty Within Foundation to be a featured community organization! I think I peed myself a little bit when realizing that meant I had to stand up in front of a large group of women and….you know…actually speak…but it’s worth it. I’m ready! Now, just so you know, my speaking event will be very brief (thank goodness) but Monica has been kind enough to allow me to set up shop so that I can be readily available to talk with anyone interested about our foundation.

You may remember Monica, as she was our very first recipient for The Beauty Within Foundation. Her ministries have touched so many lives and her Women of Strength ministry just keeps reaching and going wherever women need support and strength (which is, you know…everywhere). And yes, there is a Pittsburgh chapter!

I hope you’ll join me. I hope you will take some time to come down to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater on one or both days and take some time to celebrate and support womanhood. Tickets are incredibly modestly priced at $25 until February 29th, with the fee only rising to $30 after that. Grab your besties, your mom, favorite aunt, your daughters, nieces…hell grab the old lady living next door, and make your way down to an event that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed, revived and ready to take on the world!

There will be many wonderful women speaking and offering workshops so if this sounds like something you and every single woman you know might enjoy, then make sure to register today and support your local community of women giving back!

 

What to Wear for a Beauty or Boudoir Session

So, earlier I put up a post talking a bit about wardrobe. I’m going to continue that a bit with you all. I’m a very visual person (duh) so what better to explain different types of wardrobe for a session than through photos??

As I’ve said before, one of the most important things to keep in mind while trying to decide what to bring with you for your boudoir session is what you feel like when you put something on. Do you feel sexy? Frumpy? Too skinny? Too chubby? Do you feel like you could levitate in joy over that article of clothing, or that gravity has now become your worst enemy?

The point is: how you feel in your wardrobe will not only directly effect how you pull off your photo session, but also your overall experience.

I have seen it so many times. A woman brings what she thinks she should bring to a session, only to discover later that what she brought didn’t align with her own style or didn’t even make her feel as if she looked good. Both of these things can make or break your session for you.

Listen: I love what you call your saggy boobs. They are sexy, can nourish life and make a population jealous that you can fill out a bra. I love your big bum. It’s curvy, shows me who’s boss in a photo shoot and makes you look like a woman. A w.o.m.a.n. Your big thighs demand respect and convey power. Your belly is your epicenter and it hurts when you laugh too much, lays satiated after a fine meal with friends and yes, occasionally gets in your way while bending over to zip up your designer boots. What I’m saying here is I have absolutely no problem with any part of your body. If none of these things above is important to you, then it’s not important to me. I’ve had size 2’s in my studio drive me insane over a fold of skin in their side when they bend. I’ve had a size 22 in my studio that could not get enough photographs of her butt in a thong. Which do you think I enjoyed more??

It’s about ownership, self-acceptance and feelin’ damn fine about yourself.

With that said, I am perfectly aware that accepting one’s perceived flaws is a difficult task at hand. Thankfully, I have some magic up my sleeves (or….super simple advice to give) when it comes to setting yourself up for success.

I like that: Setting Yourself Up for Success. It’s a very important concept to keep in mind when choosing a wardrobe for your shoot because I cannot begin to tell you how many women completely sabotage themselves by very simple mistakes. As such, I’m going to list every comment that lead to me trying to avert disaster in a shoot. I’m following this up with a bit of advice and a visual or 2.

**Note: This section below is ONLY for the women that find these areas on their bodies in need of some TLC. Do not mistake this for me telling you that if you have areas on your body that do not conform to society’s ridiculous barometer of what is sexy that you should cover them or change them. If it were up to me, I’d declare all cellulite, wrinkles, blemishes and wobbly bits sexy as a mofo…god knows I’d be one badass sexy powerhouse if that were true. This is only for those looking for some advice on how to accentuate what you love and camouflage what you don’t.

My arms are fat. And then they pull out their strapless bodysuit, tank top, bras and ask to do nudes. Oy. If you don’t like your arms, you really do need to bring things to help me help you. And there are so many articles of clothing that can help. Blazers, cardigans, robes, wraps, scarves, shirts with short sleeves, lingerie that has sleeves.

I don’t like my bellyAnd then I get shown 5 bra and panty outfits. Ladies–there are so many sexy, gorgeous clothing pieces out there for this. Bodysuits are way in AND with the whole vintage craze still going strong, shapewear has become uber cool overnight. There is no reason, should you feel your belly is your worst enemy, that it ever needs to see the light of day in your session.

My boobs are saggy. Or I don’t have any boobs. And I’m treated to an array of clothing pieces that offer zero bust support. So, first, we all know that all you have to do is keep one word in mind for both of these issues: support. If you support larger breasts, they will rise to attention. If you offer a boost of support to smaller breasts, you can bring them to places they’ve never been. Illusion is your friend in every area here. Some of the photos below will be same as above because as you’ll notice, the ones I reposted below offer lots of support in the breast area. And I love the under bust bodysuits because you can wear any bra you want with them, which gives you the most power over your girls!

I hate my thighs. And I look at the pile of thongs before me that she brought. Ok. So we want to minimize here. In order to do that we can use robes, pants, skirts, dresses, long nighties and low cut panties.

My butt. Ohhhh my butt. Again, with the thongs. Here we want to accentuate the curve of your beautiful bum. Boy shorts, low cut panties, pieces that draw the eye to the waist and chest. Your friend here is to create an hourglass because no matter how big the bum is, the hourglass will absolutely make it look sexy. It’s the curves we crave. Why do you think a brainless chimp like Kim Kardashian got famous. It wasn’t just the sex tape folks…those butt injections don’t come cheap.

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And remember….and this is so very important: you do not need lingerie to be sexy. I know that is the go-to when considering a session but you have to know that clothing can be just as sexy, if not sexier, on a woman. Just pick up any Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar and you’ll get it. And just in case you need help with that realization, here you go:

And if THAT doesn’t convince then watch this plus-sized model bang out this shoot fully clothed like she rules the world (and she does…by the way…she’s Justine Legualt).

Moral of the story?
~Love yourself. We’ve all heard it before: if you don’t, who will?
~Be good to yourself. And that means being grateful for who you are on the inside and out.
~Treat yourself…I mean it…really treat yourself. To treat yourself is to pamper your soul. If you love it, the price tag will pay for itself in a million ways.
~Wear clothes that represent you in a real way. Wear clothes that make you feel powerful and beautiful.
~Your size, nor your body type, defines you. You are the person solely responsible for writing your own definition.

I always like to ask the question “What legacy will you leave behind.” But truly, today I’m going to amend it….

What legacy will you live each day?

What You Wear = How You Feel

Pittsburgh Vintage Boudoir Photography-6My goodness…how in love with these photos am I?? It’s been a while since I’ve had a woman in my studio that wanted to do something with a bit of a theme. But once I saw what J had in mind…well, there was just no turning back.

What was really interesting was that we started with a traditional boudoir outfit. It was a lovely black lace, deep cut body suit. It looked gorgeous on J and the photos are amazing (if she will let me show you ;-)) but I could tell that J just didn’t “feel” it. However, as soon as she put on the wardrobe that was very much more vintage, I realized how much it was very much her style, because instantly she was totally transformed. She was much more confident and much more relaxed. She really allowed herself to feel and act as she clearly looked: sexy and beautiful.

Goes to show you how much wardrobe plays a role in your own session. Always make sure to bring what you like and whatever is your style. J’s experience is interesting, but it’s not new. I get this a lot. Women think this type of shoot has a predetermined wardrobe checklist and it definitely does not.

The most important things to keep in mind when considering wardrobe is:
~Do I like it (so simple and yet so complicated all at the same time)?
~Is it my style and, if it’s not, is it a place I want to be pushed to go (how small is your comfort zone)? Or is it a place I will regret?
~If I look back in 10 or even 50 years, will I cringe when I look at myself in these photos in this outfit (one decade to remember here: 80’s…am I right??)?
~Am I choosing this outfit because I like it or because I think he will like it (let me let you in on a teensy secret: he’s looking at sexy, confident, kick-ass photos of you. Do you think he gives a rats a** if your outfit is black or red, or lace or satin, or….whatever?!?!)
~And the most important thing you should consider when choosing clothing for your boudoir session is……Does. It. Flatter. You. I think you might be super surprised at how many women bring clothing with them and upon pulling it out of their suitcase say “I really didn’t like this on me but….” Ladies: if you don’t like your wobbly bits, don’t bring clothing that shows off your wobbly bits. If you don’t like your breasts because you think they sag, make sure to bring clothing choices that support the sisters. If you tell me you are petrified of your belly seeing the light of day, do not bring a bra and panty outfit that’s made out of dental floss. If you don’t like your arms, don’t bring clothing that shows your arms…etc etc. And let me be clear: it’s not because I won’t like what you have brought with you. It is 100% because when you put it on, you will feel uncomfortable and un-sexy (is that a word??) and how do you suppose I’m going to take killer sexy photos of you when you have a look on your face like you could go run and hide in a dark, shadowy corner? When you put something on your reaction should be “Holy moly. Whoa! I look incredible!” Not, “Well, she can probably photoshop that.” No no no no no. No.

In J’s case, what she brought was lovely, it just wasn’t her style. Which was totally fine because we were able to coordinate to bring her style to life. However, follow that checklist above and we’ll make magic!

As you can see below…I am queen magic maker. ;-)

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And when you’re ready…elizabethcraig@me.com.