Category Archives: What to Expect

How soon do you get your photos?

If you got them to you any faster it would be because we figured out time travel and could get them to you before your session.

When you shoot with us you get your photos immediately. Michael/Victor uses a professional camera with 2 card slots. Pro camera bodies do this for redundancy. At some point photographers who rely on their equipment for their livelihood began demanding multiple data card slots in camera bodies. Michael shoots to a compact flash data card for his archive files as well as a second SD card for backup. This SD card is handed to you quite literally seconds after the last photograph is taken. (and you get them in these darling manilla envelopes we rubber-stamp the logo onto – people just love them and it’s nice to leave with something in your hands after you spent a nice bit of money on an indulgence)stamp2You go home with EVERY SINGLE IMAGE shot. All of them. None are kept from you. Michael doesn’t decide which images he thinks you’d want to see. That’s pretty fast isn’t it? Why do this? We know you want to see them as soon as possible. You also have full copyrights to the images. We share it, but this is rather uncommon as a lot of studios retain full rights and often have to be contacted if you wanted to make prints or submit for publication. Often they will want you to make prints through their service at marked-up pricing. We don’t do that. You hired us to create images for you, we think they are yours.  We’re pretty sure this is a popular aspect of our services too. How do we know? Well how about a session we just had in the studio where 10 ladies joined us for a day of laughter, shenanigans and photos and as we were still shooting during the day… models who visited earlier were already posting photos! Several even changing their profile images to photos we shot only hours earlier. We think that’s a pretty good indicator. Another part to consider is this… posting those shots from the data cards means they were sharing UNEDITED photos… they were proud enough to share the images as shot, not retouched. THEM.  That’s pretty powerful. It’s also a reason we offer group sessions in addition to private one on one sittings. We want to empower as many women as possible. Give more people the opportunity to get images they can share immediately with no re-touching. There’s only so many weekends in our lives and we know that’s when most of the rest of you (hey we’re in the studio) have time to get a session in.  Take a look at some of those very posts:

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What are you waiting for? Certainly not your photos when you book a session with us. Check out our upcoming sessions here. And for the most up to date list and to book you session go here.

 

 

Old Hollywood – What a great group of ladies!

What a wonderful stretch we had here in the studio between Thursday and yesterday (Sunday). In all there were 17 shoots in those 4 days.  We were re-visited by Cherry Von Sweets on Thursday who travels around 2 hours to work with us. She did another private session where she actually got in the Old Hollywood special we hosted this weekend as well as another look that we love so much we’re actually going to do a special for it as well. The graphic for that shoot links to the event page for it. All images in this post can (and should be) clicked for a larger version. Not every model is shown here as some were doing the sessions to surprise a significant other.BANN0180e BANN0938e CrimsonBoudoir

Friday saw 4 session in the studio, 3 for the Old Hollywood special and two very special little visitors who did our Bunny Basket Kids. The first model for the day was someone who was doing their very first shoot. She told me she was super nervous but I couldn’t tell. In short order she was moving so fluidly I knew she was having fun. Later that night she already picked which shots she wanted edited (like every other client of ours, she went home with all her images and saw them immediately) and I got to work on them right away getting her a link to gallery within 12 hours of her making her selections.  Here’s one in the classic black and white style with her very own signature added:BANN0478ecropbwAs I was working on another edit of hers, there was something about the wardrobe that bothered me… (the first image is a crop)BANN0098eThe strap between the robe and the pearls. Once I saw it I couldn’t un-see it. I tell clients all the time that I take a lot of photos for several reasons. One, it gives them plenty of options as far as how they look. It also keeps the shoot flow very casual as we aren’t posing for 5 minutes to take 5 shots and hope they have that “something”. Another benefit is that in cases like this, odds are good I can find an image nearby that may have some element about it that I can use to easily “fix” something that bothers me in another shot. Just like it worked here.  I looked around this file and found one where the strap was more in line with what my head wanted to see. So some grafting later and this is what I had:BANN0098ebQuite often I will do work on images that most clients will never see. Things that when summed together, produce what I find to be high quality images. It’s almost like that old saying “I don’t know if it’s art, but I like it”.

Next we had a gal who first shot with us during one of our seamless specials. This made me happy that now I could get some images for her using my more dramatic lighting. Kelsey was a treat and I loved the hat she added to her wardrobe.BANN1032ebw

Our next sessions were with some ladies who came up from Fredericksburg and Richmond Virginia. Mary Padgett who formerly lived nearby in Jim Thorpe PA and Sheri Baby who was crowned Queen of the 2015 Rockabilly Rumble which we attended and did a super quick session with her there.  I shot Mary and her guy Jay at Sled Fest in Duncannon last year. Prior to that Nicole had worked with Mary via Relentless Photography some time back. It is always such fun to meet new people and get to know them through a shoot, or as in this case catch up with friends you’ve known for some time.BANN0725eAnd then came our pinup queen. Come to think of it I believe I have photographed more Rumble Queens than I haven’t. Of the 2015 Queen though, Sheri was divine in her outfit. The colors were killing me.BANN1462e

Saturday was the biggest day of the bunch. 6 ladies joined us and again some from states away.

First up was Dottie Mae Divine. Dottie took part in our first Classics Recreated session and turned in some adorable re-creations. It was nice to have her back for this more glamorous theme. She was like a different lady!BANN0039e

Next we had one of our favorite Latinas from New York City visit us and I am always amazed at her transformation. You can even see this in the two examples here, the first with such an elegant look contrasted against the feline temptress of the second outfit she chose (all from our collection in the studio).BANN0101e BANN0840eNext we had another first-timer. Ruby Red. She opted to pay homage to I Love Lucy and the dress and apron combo certainly pulled that together.  She too was nervous but that quickly passed.BANN0017eBWOur next client was another first timer. She too claimed to be nervous but it sure didn’t show. Joline is a friend of another repeat client of ours Devyn Dixon Pinup. Joline told me Devyn talked us up so much she did feel a level of comfort she might not have had walking into someplace completely foreign. What I like about her session is that her look was not decidedly “pinup”. Yet her styling and wardrobe were no less spectacular in this setting.BANN1318e BANN1754eSunday we still had 5 sessions and kicked off with a gal we shot some time ago, Kara Kupcake. Kara is quite animated and has one of the biggest smiles and contagious laughs you’ll find. Again it was like a party catching up with old friends, oh and photos too…  Even though the Old Hollywood sessions are themed for black and white I still edit and shoot in full color and provide both versions. A bit of a bonus really. But seriously, the color shots are so rich, you just can’t not share them too.BANN0007e BANN0007ebw

Next up we had a gal who recently shot with us, in fact she was one of the first models to take part in sessions in our new 2000 sq. ft. studio. Ki Ki Vengeance also attended our open house last week which permitted her to pick up her “I’m a Devilbliss Girl to shirt”. I have to admit I was really excited to see her walking into the studio wearing it!!!  You rock lady!!! BANN1467e

Our next to last client came from nearby Berwick PA. Kaye Von Davis stopped by the old studio last year while some friends of hers were there. She immediately took to my furniture collection and I learned she has an affinity for the stuff as well. We had a great conversation and then later, the day after Pinup Prom 2015 she and her guy and quite a few others met up at a shop where I get a lot of my items. Some weeks later I became kinda obsessed with Schaeffer Beer… recalling how they had a brewery outside Allentown PA (later owned by Stroh’s and now Sam Adams) well anyway, I learned someone was brewing it again and on the website searched for distributors… the closest listed was in Berwick PA…  so I sent Kaye a message asking her if she knew of the distributor … of course she did. About a week or so after that I met up with her and her family at an auction near my home and had a fresh case of Schaeffer in the back of my car. It nearly felt like being a rum-runner or something. So all this long winded build up for this, as she was with Nicole in makeup I ducked into the dressing room where some remnants of the Open House we just had were and proceeded to offer her a Schaeffer Beer on the antique Schaeffer Beer tray I just got at a shop Ki Ki Vengeance (above) turned me on to. How wild is that? So I am posting a few shots of Kaye here because they’re pretty swell, and not coincidentally so is Kaye.BANN0768e BANN1005e BANN1057e2And last but not least we have The Batlady! I love this shot because I was telling her how in Studio-C we have a photo of Steve  Buscemi on the ceiling that I ask people to look up and laugh at. Something about that head position, the eyes looking up. Batlady and I were discussing furniture because she has some fine pieces herself. I am still not sure if I forgive her for painting a vintage shadowbox all black, then again in my youth I did that to an old cabinet radio. Another interesting point. This was the first time I shot Batlady, but Nicole has worked with her before and as a matter of fact once at my old studio, Shangri La for the visiting photographer Va Va Voom who was in from Florida shooting at my place.BANN0312e

SO, I hope you enjoyed this peek into several busy days in the studio. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, don’t wait, you have no idea what you are missing out on. There’s a lot of community at work here and if you want to stick your toes into that a bit, send us a message on FB and we’ll point you to a group that’s been started that might help you decide it’s time to do a shoot of your own.

 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SHOOT

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SHOOT

First of all, take a deep breath and relax! This is WAY easier than you think! We are going to make the whole experience pleasant, fun and easy.

These are just a few things for you to do before you arrive!

You’ll want to arrive with a clean, moisturized face, and clean, dry hair. If you can manage, day old hair is best! Decide on a manicure! To paint or not to paint…that is the question! We like it all, painted, natural…BUT, please pick one! Chipped nails might show in your final shots.
BANN0001 While we have a great and ever growing selection of wardrobe (over 500 pieces, 100+ pairs of shoes), we always ask that you bring one thing that you really love and feel comfortable in, so that we are confident that you have something to work with that makes you feel great! Assorted bras, panties and stockings are also helpful! Forget something? We have a courtesy basket in our second dressing room filled with nail polish and remover, nail files, tampons, deodorant and body spray…you name it!

HOW IT WORKS
People always want to know how we accomplish so much in one day! Organization is key! When you arrive, you will be shown back to the very end of the hall to our hair and makeup room. We have 18ft of wardrobe double stacked, so arrive a little early to take a look. You’ll meet with Nicole and discuss your looks and get started having your hair set. While your hair sets, you’ll have your makeup applied. Fear not about having your shade…she can custom blend foundation to meet your needs. False eyelashes are also included in your package! Once your makeup is perfect, it’s back over to the hair station to create an amazing vintage style! When you are done, you can head  to our second dressing room to put on your first look in privacy. There’s a rack for wardrobe you may have brought and a steamer to whisk away any wrinkles.  There is room to store your belongings here too. You can also choose some jewelry while here.BANN0004Then you’ll head down the hall to start your shoot with Michael. For some discount sessions there may be multiple clients in the studio, your privacy is always respected, and your time is one on one! When your shoot is over, you will be given an SD card with every single image that we shoot on it. These are yours to do with as you please. Take these home and view them, share them…get opinions! From these you will choose your edits.

Cherry Von Sweets’ Private Session – the differences in our sessions.

I recently had the pleasure of working with a model for the second time. Cherry Von Sweets first shot with us in August of 2015. It was during one of our super specials we run where it’s all traditional studio style pinup shot on paper backdrops of various colors with props from our collection. The shorthand for this sort of shoot is “seamless” because the paper has no seams. The lighting is what is known as high key. Or in everyday terms fully lit. Big soft boxes for the lights and even lighting all around. Classic. This sort of style of shoot means virtually anyone can walk onto the shooting area and nothing from the first photo to the last will need to be adjusted lighting-wise. It means if we shoot a few people in a timeframe an economy of scale allows those shoot prices to be greatly reduced compared to other styles of lighting. These shoots have been wildly popular for a number of reasons like pricing which means people who always wanted to try it aren’t risking nearly as much as if they booked a private session. It’s not so stressful. With basic props and keeping it simple clients don’t have to wonder if they are “doing it right” (something we hear a lot). It’s easy for ladies to find something appropriate from our ever expanding wardrobe collection. It’s also a great way for them to see how they feel working with us. With as many return clients as we have we like to think we are doing something right. These basic shoots are also supported again and again by those return clients. Why? Well because it’s the best way to add fresh images to your portfolio for a fraction of what a private or themed shoot can cost. These are so popular that right now in our studio there are 5 rolls of different colors permanently mounted on the wall ready to be pulled out for these or any session where they are the foundation of the look.  Cherry’s first shoot with us was one of these sessions. She traveled 2 hours to do it too.
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During this special Cherry ended up with four different wardrobe changes and as you can see above she had unique backdrops and props with each.  This shoot was one where over the course of 2 days we shot 21 clients. Cherry was early on the first day but if you take a look at this entry talking about the session of our 20th client we’re sure you’ll agree that person’s photos have no less attention to detail or quality than these here. If you read that model’s story you can also see her experience was exceptional to her. We do budget shoots like this to give people a chance they might not get otherwise. Yes we have bills to pay but this art for us isn’t just about the money. Uplifting people is why we can justify what ends up being low wages compared to most professions. These group shoots let us share it with more people than would be cost-effective to do otherwise.

Now this isn’t the only sort of shoots we do. We also shoot on location where we have some amazing backdrop that’s perfect for the sort of imagery our clients love most. We also do private sessions where we spend the better part of a whole day with just one model. With these we will plan the shoot weeks and sometimes months in advance.  Cherry saw some sample images from a shoot we offered where we recreated some classic pinup paintings. She reached out to us about doing a specific one and she  booked a weekday session.12510133_10102681120714504_1920541200_o

This is what Cherry wanted to recreate. Balloons are easy enough. We have chairs even though not exactly as in this painting by Elvgren but the helium tank, those are not a standard studio prop. We’d have to rent one. I made some calls and got some prices. When I went to pick up the tank I mentioned why I needed them and noted I didn’t need all the gas for the limited balloons we needed to fill and the rep offered to rent me a large empty tank and another smaller one for my actual gas needs. Awesome, that saved $25 I could deduct from the shoot total.

The shoot day came and we all arrived at the studio. As Cherry and Nicole of Making Faces Professional began the styling I went to work blowing up the balloons that Cherry hand picked and brought. She and I got some ribbon and the ceiling of the studio soon looked like a birthday party would erupt at any moment. As I studied the original painting I was happy the tanks I got were gray. But noticed the yellow stripes. I then recalled that among the rolls of ribbon I had on hand there was some yellow/gold. I snipped off some pieces and taped them to the tank and thought “score”.

When Cherry was ready we got her into general position. We then began positioning the gallons and ribbons to follow the painting as closely as possible. A red ballon was caught under her heel so we got that one into position. She was holding a red one too. We tried for a color mix with the others that got us into the ballpark of how they were in the painting.  After we were set I began some test shots. Each time comparing it to the original. Then something struck me that bothered me. As I looked at the “scene” with Cherry I noticed the balloons were doing what helium balloons will tend to do… they were all bunched up trying to go straight up. Often with classic pinup paintings the artists will exaggerate things or make them look a certain way to be more appealing than what happens naturally. If you look at the example above you’ll now see how those balloons fan out. It isn’t like they are windblown either because they aren’t all “leaning” in the same direction. It makes for a great “balance” in the image but that particular arrangement wouldn’t happen naturally all too often (if ever).

It really bugged me.

I also knew I would not be able to do this well enough in photoshop to be satisfied. So… some time tested studio accessories came out of the drawer. Fishing line and painters tape. I can’t tell you how many times these two items saved the day.  They, gaffers tape and clamps are like duct tape to any handy person.Line2It may be hard to see the line here but you can see the tape still visible on this balloon. They’d be retouched away in editing.

LineHere’s another view where you can actually see the lines off the edge and over the one red ballon. There were so many that at one point I went around Cherry and ran into a few of them even though I thought I ducked low enough.

So now that the balloon issue was addressed it was time to shoot.

Below is the final image with the original inset. I did treat this with a painterly quality to the balloons and backdrop to give it the same feel. For this my own watermark is modified to mimic the original. You can click on this for a large sample.BANN0016e1Cropped

Of course we didn’t just do that one pose. Cherry has a great smile so I actually like this shot even better:BANN0086e2cropped

The recreation wasn’t the only thing planned for her private session. We also did some shots with our 10,000 silk rose petals ala American Beauty. This crop is my favorite from those images. I put it on the FB page as our banner for a time actually.BANN0522e2aCrop

While Cherry was here she walked by the giant Bunny Basket we just finished for some upcoming Easter themed sessions. She couldn’t resist and asked if she could add that while she was here. Of course! And for a fraction (nearly half) what we are offering that shoot alone for she got her hair redone and in short order we were shooting!BANN0105e

When we finished I ventured to my editing area to begin downloading all the files. Cherry was instantly handed a duplicate SD card with every single image, I shoot to two simultaneously in my camera. My clients get all the files. Every one. Her session included a dozen edits and normally the model checks out her files and in a few days will send me a list of requests.

While I didn’t have these cute little envelopes when Cherry was here, these are what every client gets when a shoot finishes. It’s nice to have something tangible to go home with when you just splurged on a luxury.stamp2

After Cherry got back into her street clothes she asked me if we could review the images and make her edit selections while she was still here. Since I blocked off the whole day for her I said of course.IMG_9448

We sat down and went through her photos, marking those that jumped out at us. We narrowed it down and she was on her way. Her session was on February 10th. She got here at about 8 a.m., we made those selections by noon and less than 24 hours later I was uploading the bulk of the edits for her and sending her a gallery link (private, password protected).

Cherry had such a good experience that the same day I gave her the link to her files she booked another private session.

So, join us and a whole bunch of other great women for one of our budget sessions or block off some me time and let your imagination run wild where it is just you and us, you can even get the edits while you wait. You choose. Message us on FB with questions or to schedule your session.

 

 

 

 

The day of your shoot

If it’s your first time working with us, and especially if it’s your first time doing something like this prepare yourself to have a lot of FUN!

We think it’s as important as the photos themselves and are so delighted that so many of our clients gush about how much fun they have during our sessions.

We will have chatted with you ahead of your appointment about wardrobe and of course shoot theme and anything specific to that you’d need to plan for. You are more than welcome to bring guests for your session to include sitting in as we shoot and prep as long as they aren’t a distraction for you. We’ve never had it happen but we also reserve the right to ask anyone joining you to mind their place during your time. If you feel your significant other would help you throughout the process please do bring them. If you think they might be a distraction it may be best for you they don’t. You decide, we accommodate.

The studio address is:

104 North Centre Street, 2nd Floor
Pottsville PA 17901

 

Click here for full directions:

http://retrolovely.com/victordevilbliss/blog/?page_id=698

 

 

What to expect

Custom one on one shoots with Victor Devilbliss are all about you.

We discuss what it is you want to accomplish ahead of time and work towards exceeding your expectations. A private 2 look shoot will typically last 4 hours from the time you arrive until you are ready to leave. This will consist of about an hour plus in makeup and hair initially. We will then shoot one look for approximately an hour or so. A modification to hair and wardrobe comes next taking about half an hour and then we move on to your second look. This next session also lasts about an hour. The other 30 minutes is spent on in-between things and getting you all packed up for your departure. One look sessions run about 2 hours total when it’s a discount theme and about 2.5 hours when it’s a weekday appointment.

Virtually all of the clients I’ve photographed have commented afterwards about how much fun the sessions were. We like them to be easy going. There’s a lot of laughter and often they feel like a fun dress up get-together of old friends.

The actually shooting part of it is also very fluid. I am not going to pose you to death and make you stand like a statue for periods on end. I shoot a lot of images (you will have several hundred to choose from), I do this so it’s not a stiff and arduous experience. We get in a grove and I capture things we tried for, and things we didn’t plan at all. We spend a good bit of time on your makeup and hair as well as getting the lighting just right. What this means is that when we finish your session and I remove an SD card right out of my camera and hand you every single photo we captured in high resolution, many you’ll see as soon as you get home will be so good you’ll want to share them immediately. That’s ok by me. We work for this. We don’t rely on “fixing it” in editing. While this is true I also do include with all private sessions 8 edited images of your choice. You review all the files and let me know which you’d like polished. With these I do not batch process them through a program, rather each is individually adjusted by hand, one at a time. I can accommodate most editing requests from the basic to the complex. “But you gave me the data card with all the files, how can you edit them?”… Well that’s not a problem as I use a professional camera with dual card slots, one is my set, the other is yours. This also means we have redundancy on the files. It’s a safety net when we both have a copy of them. Of course I archive them all on a hard drive and will always have them available for the future.

As you have contracted me for this service I also assign you full copyrights to the images without restriction. Many photographers do not do this and retain the copyrights and limit your use of them.

Check out the testimonials to hear firsthand how others have felt about their shoot experiences.