Michigan Fall

I get so very lucky with my wonderful family customers/models. Here are some of my most favorite fall family photoshoots.

 Teagan, the precious curlyhead

Teagan, the precious curlyhead

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 Leah and Emma were so much fun to photograph. If you managed to catch the moment while they ran and jumped around.

Leah and Emma were so much fun to photograph. If you managed to catch the moment while they ran and jumped around.

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 How cute are they with their little brother Joey?

How cute are they with their little brother Joey?

 My favorite sibling photo as of now

My favorite sibling photo as of now

 Dad got dragged into the leaves too

Dad got dragged into the leaves too

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 Leah, little autumn elf

Leah, little autumn elf

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 Henry, my most stylish little male model

Henry, my most stylish little male model

 When your son is a ray of sunshine. Henry with his parents Catrina and Steven

When your son is a ray of sunshine. Henry with his parents Catrina and Steven

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 Love is looking together in the same direction. Gorgeous Catrina and Henry

Love is looking together in the same direction. Gorgeous Catrina and Henry

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 That laugh though! Contagious even in the image.

That laugh though! Contagious even in the image.

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 Indian princess Yuktha

Indian princess Yuktha

 Look at this regal posture and glance

Look at this regal posture and glance

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To book your photo session: ellena@ellenaphoto.com

boudoir photography: How to do it, where and who with

Boudoir photography is not only a great Valentine’s or anniversary gift; it is also a perfect treat yourself session or a self-esteem boost. If you are attracted to the idea, but keep hesitating due to anxiety or shyness, I feel you. It is natural to feel tense doing something outside of our comfort zone. Virtually every boudoir client I had went through the same feelings sequence: shy in the beginning - at ease during the process - proud afterwards - and smitten with the results. Sounds worth a try, doesn’t it?

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Let me address some of your concerns by answering most frequently asked questions.

Q: My body is not perfect, is boudoir right for me? If I do this, how do I make sure my flaws are hidden?

We always find something we don’t like in ourselves. Even most beautiful models I worked with had their own “ugly duckling” issues. Well, guess what? You are the only one who sees you every single minute of every single day, and are so used to yourself that you forget there is no one in the world exactly like you, and that people around tend to see only the best and most interesting side of you.

There is no such thing as perfect size, shape or age for boudoir photography. This experience is a form of self-love and self-acceptance, the same way a day in with a book/Netflix and wine/ice cream can be. With the only difference that it will make you feel truly good about yourself!

If you still feel strongly about something specific you want to hide, don’t hesitate to share it with me, so I can find the most flattering pose and angles for you. I will also make sure to take care of everything during post-processing. As a woman, I do understand these issues quite well. My main priority is to make you love yourself in these images, and cherish them for years as you would a piece of art. Or have someone love and cherish them for you ;)  

Q: What do I do with my face? What if I simply don’t have Scarlett Johansson’s bedroom eyes?

 A: Let me tell you a secret not many people know: the hottest thing in the world is not sultry glances, or pouted lips, or even a half-eaten banana. The sexiest things to capture on photos are confidence, joy and a candid smile. So start the session by being completely yourself: smile if you feel like it, be serious if you feel like it, or even give me a nervous look if that is how you feel. In fact, do get it out of your system, give me all your nervousness. :) We will go from there, and soon you will be laughing about something we are discussing, or feeling sexy, and we will get the perfect shots we need without you even realizing it. You can never go wrong with being yourself in a photoshoot!

Another way to ease yourself into the session is to turn your head away from the camera at first. Just sit or lie down, stroke your arm or leg, and slowly stretch in different poses. Channel your inner cat. Focus on yourself, your comfort and your breathing. That way you can start ignoring the camera and act naturally, which makes stunning images.

Q: How do I strike a pose if I’ve never done it before?

A: If you are not a professional model, you don’t have to worry about posing. We can discuss all the details in advance over the phone, and I will give you tips depending on what kind of images you are looking for. During your session I will guide you from start to finish, from where to look to relaxing your fingers. We will work through a variety of poses that you might have chosen, as well as poses that I know will look gorgeous on you. All you need to do is trust me, breathe and enjoy your wondrous sensual self.

Q: Do I need a MUA or a hair stylist?

 A: It depends. If you want a glamorous or pin-up look, you might need a professional stylist. I can recommend you one if needed.

If you are not hiring or bringing a MUA, I suggest going with the look you usually wear to events and are most comfortable with. Or choose a natural look (a bit of blush, mascara and nude lipstick). Together with clean slightly tamed bed hair it can make some of the most romantic and hot boudoir photography. Here are some easy tips for a perfect bed hair from Bridal Musings.

Q: What should I wear?

Apart from standard lingerie or nude, it can be a man's shirt, any plain T-shirt, a bathrobe, small pajamas, or anything sheer. You can have high heels on or be barefoot. The most important thing is to make sure your movements are comfortable and you feel good in the outfit or lack of it.

If you prefer something brand new (i.e. you are a shopaholic like me) and want an advice on lingerie shopping, get a negligee – few people have them handy, yet they help create some of the most sensual and feminine looks.

Q: What is the best location for boudoir session?

A: A studio with a bed and daylight is a perfect option.

The photographer’s home is technically convenient, as it’s usually preset for the shoot.

If you are feeling too anxious, your home can also work well. Your own environment can comfort you and help you feel safe. Don’t worry about the furniture or the size of the room, anything will work fine as long as you have daylight. It's useful to have a bed, a mattress or a cozy armchair, some furs, satin, silk or laces to decorate the space, although none of it is crucial. Fabrics or bedding should be solid color, without patterns, so the focus is on you.

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It’s good to have a large source of daylight, as it’s very flattering for any skin tone and any shape, but even a small window can work wonders, as it will create intimate shadows and magical mood in the images.

Outdoors boudoir is another good option. You might want to choose early morning time on weekends when parks, beaches and other public locations are empty, and have a friend assist you with changing. Bonus for early morning sessions: beautiful golden hour light. 

Q: Isn’t it awkward to pose nude or semi-nude for a stranger?

A: Not if a stranger is an artist. Remember all those classical paintings with aloof-looking nude models? Imagine being a muse and an inspiration like them. Because on the day of your session you are the muse and the most important person to your photographer.

Besides, we won't be strangers for long. Before we begin, you can have some champagne or wine, put on your favorite music, and we’ll have a little chat while I am setting up and adjusting the light/you’re getting your makeup and hair done. Generally, my models relax within the first few shots. In 5 minutes it will feel completely natural, like chatting with a best friend while trying clothes on in a mall.

Q: Will my photos be shared online?

A: Never without your permission. If you prefer to keep them confidential, that is how they will remain. And even if you are OK with them being posted, you will be in control of which ones can be shared.

 

Got more questions or ready to book your session? Shoot me an email: ellena@ellenaphoto.com

Feel Good "Photo Spa" package

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This February, in time for Valentine’s Day, we are presenting a brand new Feel Good photo package. It is a day spa and yoga retreat type photography experience, where you hire a photographer for an hour or a full day, or any other number of hours you’d like, and have candid reportage of your day and your portraits, outfits, funny faces, meeting with friends etc. Feel like a movie star in the center of attention, see how you look in different outfits or simply lift your spirits up on a gloomy rainy day.

 

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The photographer will be your best friend for the day or a silent paparazzi (with the only difference that only your best side will be shown) depending on your wishes. You can combine portrait, boudoir, beauty, couple session all in one day or even several hours. You can purchase it as a gift for your loved one, or treat yourself. The day can start at your home in your pajamas with coffee, or after you leave your favorite salon with a new haircut – you can decide the timeline, the start and the end, the location, the number of family members involved, and have fun!

 

Or you don't have to think of anything, just set the start and end times, and live your day the way you regularly do. The photographer will suggest best angles and outfits or simply snap beautiful candids away. 

 

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The photos will be published only if you approve, so if you’d like to keep them confidential, that’s how they will remain.

 

The result will be a portfolio of digital images or a beautiful photo book about a very special day and time of your life, the day you are the youngest you will ever be, the day you love and appreciate yourself just as you are. Contact for details: ellena@ellenaphoto.com

Happy Bride Happy Life or Let's Fix Your Bad Wedding Photo Session

Attention! Freebie alert below! ;)

Stories like this are at the same time hilarious and sad. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime experience, it's worth a good professional photographer. Ask around, look at their works, don't try to cheat yourself of this quite possibly most important part of your wedding. No one will remember much from the event itself, yet you, your guests, and later your children and grandchildren will enjoy beautiful images of you at your happiest for many, many years.

As a passionate advocate of fair play and of all the brides out there (after all, I was a photo-less bride myself), I offer to fix such mishap for all the unhappy brides in Metro Detroit or Ann Arbor area. If you have made a mistake of hiring an amateur photographer, or had only relatives-taken phone shots, like this post and send your story with a couple of images to ellena@ellenaphoto.com

I will retake your photos for you and your husband free of charge in your wedding outfits and at any location of your choice (within one hour from Detroit). You will receive high resolution images with print rights. A makeup artist will be available, if needed. Hurry up, the offer is limited to my booking schedule and is on the first come first served basis!

Share this with other brides who might need this. Everyone deserves great memories of their wedding day! 

Things to do when working with a hired photographer 

Sometimes we do everything right, we do the research, ask for referrals and we hire a professional, yet the end result turns out to be not what we imagined or wanted. To help you avoid this problem, here is the list of things to do and keep in mind when working with a creative professional, your hired photographer.

Before the photo session

  1. Agreement. Sign the photographer's agreement. It protects not only photographer, but also you, your time, investment and the result product. So for example, if the photographer becomes ill on the day of your event, they offer you a backup solution at no additional cost.

  2. Processing. Discuss the style of the photoshoot. Many photographers can work in several styles, like reportage, portrait, editorial (posed, artistic images), and many use both color and black and white options, so if you don't specify what exactly you want to see in the end, the artist will do what the artist is inspired to do. Also specify if you do not want the photos retouched or if, vice versa, you need someone retouched in all of them. A photographer might not see the flaw where you see it. For example, one of my colleagues had a client who considered a birth mark on her cheek a serious defect, while photographer found it beautiful and left it untouched. The girl only needed to mention that she wants it deleted in all the photos. People rarely see our flaws the way we see them.
  3. Payment. Make sure that you are clear about what end product you want (images, prints, albums), the payment and what is included. There shouldn't be any hidden extra costs for the end product. Most of the times there will be a booking fee to reserve your photographer's time. This is a necessary measure, as your photographer is declining all the other clients who wanted to hire him/her on your day. 
  4. People. If the photo session has multiple people, let the photographer know whom you definitely need in the shots. Some people are not fans of being photographed, so they might try to hide away if you don't tell them what you want. A photographer is not a paparazzi, so he/she won't chase them. His/her priority will be you and anyone else you point out.

During the photo session

  1. Guests. Make sure your guests know that you hired a photographer and they need to let the pro do the job. If they want to snap your event, they need to do it after he/she has finished shooting (the best way to make sure is to ask).
  2. Directions. Follow your photographer's directions, not your family and friends calling you to turn here or there. You'll be much more satisfied with the images if you do.
  3. Time. Value the photographer's time. It's a job, just like any other, so if your event doesn't start on time or if you are not ready by the time you agreed to start on, it will be counted as work hours, as the photographer allocated the time for you that other people might have been interested in. 
  4. Fun. Don't be shy and have fun. Remember, you are the star of this day, and you are the most favorite person for your photographer this day. Enjoy yourself, feel yourself, show your best self to the camera. Trust me, it loves you. ;)

After the photo session

  1. Patience. Give the photographer time. Processing multiple images is a time-consuming work, and could easily take a day or several days, depending on the amount. Considering that your photographer probably has more photoshoots lined up in between processing, he/she probably won't process all the images in one or two days, so this could take from one to three weeks, depending on their schedule. 
  2. Priority. Remember that a good photographer is first an artist, and only after that a business person. Her/his main goal is to create beautiful images that make you happy. Be polite. Even if you are unhappy with something, try to first communicate your concerns politely, don't act like at a southern grocery market. My bet is the photographer will do everything they can to make you satisfied. 
  3. Appreciation. If you are happy with the images, credit the photographer when sharing them on social media. They've put their heart into this, spent nights lovingly editing and composing for you, appreciate it. If you want to say something nice to them, say it in the reviews, that will be the best thank you. This might be your family photographer for years to come, and maybe even a new friend. 

Hope this list helps both photographers and clients have a more enjoyable and happy photo experience. If you have any more tips to add, leave them in the comments, or send them to ellena@ellenaphoto.com