Mimzy’s First Shoot – A must read for those on the fence about doing a session.

BANN1092Yesterday we worked with a terrific lady who did her first shoot with us. She traveled a few hours from New Jersey and did her first boudoir session with us. Her first ever. I nearly got into trouble when we were just about to start and I learned she was a music teacher. I mean here she is, all ready to go, sitting in the studio in her underpants and we got talking about music. Anyway. Rather than detail all the things we learned during the session. I will let her speak for herself. This morning she did our survey (that’s on the victordevilbliss.com website by the way) and Nicole and I were pretty floored by her story and comments. We appreciate her compliments on what we do and how we do it. BUT the bigger thing is what she has to say about her journey. The self doubts we all have that keep us from doing things that would empower us. It’s a long read, but a great one – the photos below are unedited. I love the smile. There was a lot of laughter (as usual).

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Before this shoot, I had been wanting to do a photo shoot of some kind for YEARS. It didn’t even seem to be a consideration, though, because of the usual excuses: “when I lose the weight” or “when I have the money” or “when I find a photographer I like enough or trust” or “well maybe someday, but today isn’t that day”. I also had reservations about not having my pictures come out as well as others did – “they’re so pretty and I don’t think I am” or “I don’t think I can do it” or “it will not be worth it in the end, I’ll be disappointed”.

I finally stumbled across Devilbliss in my internet travels through some pin-up or burlesque cross-post. Every picture was stunning, beautiful, and well-executed, and that first little tickle of “maybe this, maybe soon” blossomed from all the excuses. Every girl – professional model, first-timer, or somewhere in between – had beautiful pictures and was so proud to show them. I was consistently both amazed and bewildered: how could this be? All of these women with all of these beautiful, elegant, sexy shots, there must be some sort of magic going on.

Well, I finally found my excuse. Not to keep putting it off, but to make it happen. I was going to do a boudoir shoot for my fiance…. and for me.

I spent the few days before panicking about what to wear, what to bring, would it be okay, should I bring more, but when I arrived everything seemed to fall into place. The “magic” of seeing all the backdrops, pictures of past clients, props, set-ups, and wardrobe put me right at ease and (almost) all of my nerves melted away.

Nicole was amazing with MUAH. I’m not usually comfortable letting other people do my hair and makeup, since I’ve been disappointed in the past, but I gave her an idea of the look I’d considered and she got right to work. She was also amazing with recommending hair and make-up tips to embellish what knowledge I had. Hot rollers and alligator clips are on the top of my to-buy list now! It was amazing to see the transformation from average human to bombshell. The only disappointing part was having to take off her beautiful make-up job at night.

Working with Michael and Nicole during the shoot itself was so great. They were both amazingly supportive and make an incredible team, operating seamlessly to find the best shot and angle for every pose. There’s something to be said for hearing it from others and then actually SEEING it work. Their constant guidance and support made me feel like I was really “doing it”, which as a first-timer (especially in a boudoir situation) was really important. I knew that if I wasn’t comfortable that the pictures wouldn’t come out well, so I took all of the comments, critiques, and compliments to heart to really get the most out of the shoot.

At a few different points in the shoot, Michael stopped and showed me the shots that had just been taken. It took all of my self-control to not squeal in excitement and jump up and down on the spot. That didn’t look like me! Did it? That’s too pretty to be me!

When I finally got home, I took a few minutes (which ended up being an hour) to look through all the shots. Some were instant favorites and I squirmed for a while, since I couldn’t show them to my fiance. He eventually agreed to take a peek at one, and I picked one that I liked but didn’t particularly love. His words: “This is how I see you when I look at you. You see all your imperfections. The rest of the world sees this gorgeous girl.”

And that idea of the ‘magic’ popped back into my head. That’s what the magic is – being able to see the most beautiful side of yourself. Taking away the little imperfections and stepping back to look at the bigger picture. Having the support and expertise of two professionals who REALLY know what they’re doing and are so passionate about making everyone have a good experience. Being able to feel like a goddess, regardless of the reservations and self-doubt.

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: EVERY. SINGLE. GIRL. Yes, even you. I know you don’t think it will be good for whatever reason. Just do it. Wear what makes you happy. Be in your own skin and love it. You deserve to see yourself as the rest of the world sees you, as a beautiful elegant woman. And, for the love of all that is good, do it with this duo. Trust them to show you that most beautiful side of yourself. Michael and Nicole will give you a truly memorable and uplifting experience.

Thanks so much for making my first photoshoot experience so great. Words cannot express my gratitude and happiness.

2017 CALENDARS – NOW 3 OPTIONS!

2017 is even closer than when we offered our Christmas In July Calendar Special.  We also have 3 new options to allow Calendar Sessions to be within reach of even more people!

Our most exclusive package is on sale for as low as $650 if you get a deposit in by September 15thA full year of nothing but you! And with great variety. This session takes the better part of a day, includes 2 completely different makeup and hair styling treatments plus a light variation on the hair so that your 12 month calendar doesn’t show you looking the same in every image. These sessions take 4+ hours to execute so you’ll need to plan for the better part of a day in the studio. In addition to the calendar itself you’ll have a terrific time, hundreds of photos and when completed a calendar of your very own. Additional copies are available for gift giving from as low as $10 each. DON’T WAIT, PRICING GOES UP ON SEPTEMBER 16th! *Pricing with $200 deposit made by September 15th 2016. Deluxe calendar available with 2 images per month at additional cost. Ask for more info.

Message us on our Facebook page for more info and to book your session.

Pinup For A Year2PINUP FOR A YEAR

Some of our clients who’ve taken part in some of our Seamless Marathon Sessions have been able to do 4-6-8 even 10 wardrobe changes in the course of an hour long photoshoot providing them a huge number of photos to have and share. We thought “Why not increase the time so someone could do a calendar in this way”. SO we are very excited to offer Pinup For A Year. Think of it as our wildly popular Seamless Package that’s $250 regularly itself. Those include 4 edited images. Additional edits are always available at $15 each… So, 8 more edits would cost $120. A person doing a seamless session with 12 total edits would cost $370. So for $375 you get all that, PLUS additional shooting time with up to 4 different background and wardrobe changes PLUS a vertically formatted 2017 calendar of your very own! These sessions are limited to weekday appointments and those rare spots on weekends we might be able to fit you in will be priced at $425.

Message us on our Facebook page for more info and to book your session.

 

BOUDOIR CALENDARS!

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What a great gift to present that someone special in your life. And that works both ways. Ladies as a gift for him (or her) it’s something they will see month after month for a whole year. Gents (or ladies) it’s a wonderful gift for that special lady in your life that is also a present for you.

Message us on our Facebook page for more info and to book your session.

New Orleans… I shall return.

Man. What a place. It was too long since I had been there. The architecture, the food, the music, the people. What an amazing place. Last week I traveled to New Orleans and stayed at what was very appropriately called The Castle. I found it through AirBnB and what a fantastic experience. It’s like going to another city where you have a friend and they give you the keys to their house for a few days. Very easy, relaxed, laid back. Great parking and the place itself… well it was hard at times to actually leave. You just wanted to stay there. It literally faced Audubon Park. GORGEOUS.

Here’s some shots of the home. It’s the white one with the three arched windows. The property to the right belongs to the same owner. Who knows how amazing it is in there.2016-08-18 13.04.34

I didn’t go crazy shooting every room in the place but it was HUGE. Here’s a few I did take:BANN0005BANN0002BANN0001Something I loved about this location is that it is on a dead end street. The address for the property is technically such that you can’t get to it by car. It seems there used to be a street traveling in front of it but at some point in the past, city planners elected to give that up and let it be reclaimed by the park. There’s a never ending stream of joggers, runners and cyclists riding in front of the house on what was once a street. So given that the adjacent home has few full time residents, and that the property on the opposite side of the access street has no “frontage”, that dead end street is pretty much an open, private parking area. I was always able to just drive up, turn around and park. From previous trips to the city with car or rental car… parking can be a headache. This was so easy. That’s my silver Forester in its “spot”.2016-08-15 14.44.40

I did go mainly to vacation. My first day on the ground I hit the WWII museum. I’d seen it for years and years and finally took it in. Whenever I go to a museum with anyone I tend to be the one nowhere near finished when others are ready to leave. So I went into this one myself and spent quite a few hours there. It was really amazing on a lot of levels and the exhibits were really powerful. It was moving.2016-08-16 10.09.47In no time I was joined at the Castle by Jackie Winemixer and her family. Jackie, Jose, Manda and Layla traveled down from New York to vacation themselves and take part in a shoot north of the city at Oak Alley plantation. I had learned you could get photo access to the grounds at a very reasonable price. I think it was one of my earlier posts about this very location that caught Manda’s eye as I touted it as being my visiting “The Land of Lestat”, you see this plantation was featured in the opening sequences of Interview With The Vampire. One thing led to another and they traveled down to join me. Jose had been there once before but it was the first time for the girls.

Before that shoot occurred though I did manage some other touristy things, really pilgrimages on my part. First I hit a place on St. Charles, the name escapes me now but it was a restaurant specializing in seafood. I had a terrific lunch and got chatty with the bar tender Katie. Another guy arrived and sat 2 seats away, he must have been there previously as he and Katie were conversant too (Katie was an excellent server) Before too long it was a group discussion and I got to know Javier. Alcohol was involved of course and what started as me getting an early lunch turned into a 3 hour stay at the bar chatting with Javier who hailed from San Diego. It was really cool when he knew the name of the place I remembered from a trip there where I got this amazing steak, and the walls of the place were covered with cases holding nothing but different tequilas. He knew it and named it. What was really heartening for me with our chatting was that when we got into some political discussions it was evident we were not in agreement on some things. On a few things we couldn’t be more polar opposite. BUT… we listened to each other, neither of us were so set in our ways or thoughts that we didn’t hear the other out and consider the opposing viewpoint. The discourse was courteous and non-combative. And with that we actually noted that and shook hands each supporting our own rights to our opposing positions. Then we sang Kumbaya. Not really but it was close to it.  After this I went back to the castle to chill, I walked the park a bit and explored  the neighborhood. Eventually I decided a traditional New Orleans dinner was in order and went to Fat Harry’s. This is the place I first had the classic dish Read Beans and Rice. What threw me was seeing Yuengling Beer on tap and in bottles in the cooler. WHOA. Turns out it just debuted there at the beginning of the month. When I ordered a Black and Tan the girl asked me if I’d ever had it before. Please. I told her the brewery is just a few blocks from my studio in Pennsylvania and then she gushed at how well it’s been doing there.2016-08-16 19.12.29-1By the way, the Black and Tan is an excellent pairing with Red Beans and Rice (With Crystal hot sauce on it).

Eventually it was time to head to Oak Alley for the shoot.

It was HOT. Let me stress this. HOTTTTTTTT. Lordy it was hot. And let’s not get into the humidity thing… Anyway, it was a beautiful day otherwise. Though several people texted and messaged me concerned for my safety because of the flooding in Louisiana I was nowhere near that tragic storm. New Orleans and it’s immediate vicinity were perfectly fine. Here’s a view from the plantation parking lot.2016-08-17 10.42.49I love clouds in general but the ones around the gulf coast are always so big, and so plentiful. YES.

Now I am going to share a mess of photos from Manda and Jackie’s shoot here. Click on them to see them large. Keep in mind that while we had access to shoot here it didn’t mean they shut down the plantation just for us. We had the task of dodging other tourists (at any point I’d wage close to 100 were on site with us) who also wanted photos from the same vantage points as us. Or milling about the house while we tried for picturesque shots where it looked like Manda and Jackie were the only ones for miles.  Some of these edits also benefit from my photoshopping out some of those other tourists. (Some photos are crops)

BANN0226ecrop BANN0226e BANN0201e BANN0201ecrop BANN0190e BANN0169eBANN0043eThis was the “path” Brad Pitt rode a horse on in the movie.

Below are some shots with some of the Live Oaks as a focal point. It’s one thing to see the photos, another to stand near these giants.
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BANN0306eAfterwards we got a group shot. Thanks to Manda for that.2016-08-18 20.28.59It was also time for some lunch. We ventured to a local spot nearby and had a terrific meal at a great price. I ended up with this andouille sausage salad. It was excellent.2016-08-17 13.58.43

I went on to visit one of my favorite cemeteries. Lakelawn in Metairie. I am not p opting any photos here as there’s too many. Built on a former horse track, this cemetery features many amazing and curious tombs and vaults.

I will however post a shot of the creme brûlée that followed one of the best New York Strips I’ve ever had at the Garden District establishment Torch Light.2016-08-17 19.08.30I will confess I did run my finger along that ramekin to pick up some of the powdered sugar that was everywhere. It all excelled.

The next morning I was up early and hit the French Quarter. I saw more signs of Yuengling:2016-08-18 07.59.33 And then followed that with breakfast very newer Cafe Du Monde. Mimosa was the obvious choice to drink.2016-08-18 08.24.38-1I would make a stop at Central Grocery. Muffalettas are an essential requirement of any visit to New Orleans. Once, some co-workers and I ordered and had Fed-Exed several of those legendary sandwiches from New Orleans to Washington DC later that day. #firstworldproblems I did NOT take photos of the Muffalettas.

2016-08-18 09.30.38 2016-08-18 09.31.07Then I returned to the castle for a session with Tara, a young lady who it turns our dances at a club on Bourbon Street. It totally showed in the way she moved that she was some sort of performer. I was very excited to shoot her in this amazing space. As part of the session she asked if a friend of hers, an aspiring photographer could come along and get some pointers. I’ve never done a one on one workshop and was actually kind of excited to work with someone in this way. We agreed to terms and all met later that afternoon. Again click on the photos for larger examples.2016-08-18 14.49.12 2016-08-18 15.01.09 2016-08-18 15.03.13 2016-08-18 15.25.09 2016-08-18 15.43.07 2016-08-18 15.45.31 2016-08-18 15.47.42-2 2016-08-18 15.51.38

Here and there I felt I was working with Angela Bassett’s niece or something.

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I feel terrible I do not recall Tara’s friend’s name but here I captured him shooting on the stairs.

We also did some work in the one bedroom that was bordered on three sides by windows. Can I tell you how awesome it was having light hitting the subject on three sides like this? 2016-08-18 16.10.31-1 2016-08-18 16.09.35 2016-08-18 16.09.33 2016-08-18 16.07.24 2016-08-18 16.04.56-1 2016-08-18 16.03.18 2016-08-18 16.09.28

I love it when I can catch a model laughing. This gal had a terrific smile to begin with but her laughter was contagious. I had a message from Tara yesterday asking me when I was coming back to New Orleans. It seems she shared the photos with some other ladies she works with and quite a few asked her where she got them done. It won’t take much to convince me to return. That’s a fact.

If anyone reading this wants to visit and perhaps shoot in this amazing city, let me know. I am actually going to return before too long.BANN0190e

Clients first. Choices. Accessibility.

This past weekend our studio was buzzing, as it often is daily.

We hosted 6 terrific ladies from all over the map.

It wasn’t one specific theme either, wasn’t one single type of discount session. One session was with our life-sized Keyhole Cabaret prop and a great gal from New York who has worked with us 3 times now and brings friends and her yummy cake balls!  Another session was a first timer who turned in a terrific classic seamless set. Two of our visitors shot with our gorgeous flower wall and two others did some Natural Light Boudoir.

With this post I am going to focus on one particular lady. BANN1409e

She first worked with us earlier this year and within short order returned with her kids for an adorable Mommy and Me session. She’s worked with other studios, mainly doing pinup style shoots but on this visit to us she ventured into a natural light boudoir style. She also brought a good friend along as a cheerleader-helper.

The title of this entry, Clients first. Choices. Accessibility came to mind while thinking about this lady’s session.

The first thing about it that struck me, was yet again affirmation as to why I provide my clients all their photos with every session. Immediately upon completion I hand them an SD card with all their files. Proudly too, I don’t just throw them at them on their way out the door. Nope… when I finish a session I take their images on that card and put it in these little envelopes I have which I rubber-stamp my studio logo on. In with the card is a note with guidance on how to let me know what images they would like edited. There’s usually a discussion about how to best review them and what I can and will do edition-wise.  I’ve seen clients actually photograph these envelopes and post them with excitement!Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.47.06 AMEvery studio has different policies. Many treat the images you paid them to create as their’s alone with rather restrictive use agreements. When I hand you your photos I also hand you full – joint copyrights. Something that others charge for at sums of money several times the cost of the sessions themselves.  My clients come first.

Choices. After we finished our day in the studio I went through the sessions and made selections of my own. For the boudoir client who is shown below I ended up tagging a few dozen images. Those I felt where she looked her best. What I thought were the best images. Now here is the thing I stand by, the thing I’ve seen time and time again which has me convinced clients should see all THEIR images. The subject herself got back to me with her choices for what she wanted edited. Her favorites. Of the 2 dozen or so I earmarked only one matched her choices. We see ourselves differently than others do. I am not psychic. And I want my clients to have the opportunity to decide what images are their favorites. You won’t know if the images from your session are your favorites if you don’t see them all. Sure you may have favorites of what you’ve been shown, but imagine all the wonderful images people might not get to see because someone else decided that for them.BANN0467ecrop

Conversely, if you want me to review your session and make selections for you, I’ll gladly do that as well. CHOICES. You have them with Devilbliss Studios.

Another matter is that some studios will retouch images with software and practices that are completely at their discretion. I edit to client requests. It’s my art sure, but I also consider customer satisfaction to be an art as well and I put you first. By having all your images and then making selections you also get to ask me to take care of things important to you. Maybe you were on vacation before your session and got some tan lines you didn’t count on… maybe in some shots it’s not noticeable but in another distracting for you. If I chose your edits for you, edited them and said “here you go” you wouldn’t have the opportunity to ask for certain things to be addressed. CHOICES.BANN0986ecrop

Accessibility. It’s true, Devilbliss Studios has had days where we’ve worked with a dozen clients.  We’ve had others where we work with 1. Some times we hire assistants where it’s a location or event and we know for a great and smooth experience we need help with things. We do not shy away from working with 2-3-12 people in a day as long as we know we can manage it. The reason for it is two-fold. One being that some sessions are on location or can only really be done if there’s a number of people taking part in them. We want to be as “inclusive” as possible. If it’s a great location or theme we don’t want to have it be that only a select few can take part. By having more people take part we can also keep the pricing per session much more accessible to many more people. Photo shoots like these can be very empowering for people and we don’t want them to be only within reach of a very small portion of the population. We have an excellent track record of scheduling sessions so that no one gets anything less than our full attention. Many many clients who have taken part in days where there’s  more than 2 or 3 people in the studio have come back time and again.

The lovely lady here being one of them. She was also our 4th session this day. She’s told us a few times how she can’t believe these photos are her.BANN1422ecrop BANN1262e BANN1161e BANN0849e BANN0698e BANN0594e

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