Retro Lovely Studios – Curated Photo Sessions – Guaranteed Publication


A once in a lifetime session. Retro Lovely Magazine broke ground on so many levels. It shook the industry when it first launched on March 23 2010.  While no new physical issues h ave been produced since 2013 the brand has remained one of the best known in Pinup and has maintained something of a legendary place in the genre. On July 5th we relaunched as we released issue No.12

See for yourself. Click the graphic to order a copy. You will instantly see the quality of images we select as well as our highly regarded professional design. This is a publication you’ll be proud to show people.

If our cyber presence is the yardstick to measure the brands position, our 2+ million fans on social media places us as the 2nd largest name there is. While the #1 brand has leveraged the social media environment very well over the past few years and enjoys nearly twice as many followers (we didn’t become a “share site” until much later), Retro Lovely has 10 times as many as the title that would hold the #3 spot.

The relaunch issue has already created a near flood of new submissions for upcoming issues. There is no shortage of people who want to be published on our pages. While content is unlimited, time unfortunately is not. There are only so many we can process and get into an edition.

Something that Retro Lovely was known for was our layout and design. Have you been published in a magazine (of course you have, there’s tons of magazines rotating all the time)?  You have probably experienced this; you do a photoshoot, create some great images and then you submit them to a magazine. It’s ready from the publisher and you purchase a copy. You are so excited when you get it in the mail and hurry to open the package and find yourself. It’s thrilling for sure. But then you study it more and notice things. Some of the work near yours doesn’t look like much care was taken with it. Some images look basic or amateur in comparison. And then some things about the layout are curious to you. You notice pages where someone’s head or feet are cut off (hopefully not yours). Or images look fuzzy and you see little jagged edges on the details. Or the text, if there is any is confusing to read because it’s so busy or not well defined from the images.  Soon your excitement is muted because this magazine you’re part of isn’t all that polished. Retro Lovely’s image selection and layouts are a big part of why it is so well known. As the relaunch has been  underway other photo studios have contacted me to say “so glad you are back” for these very reasons. They are in a position where it’s hard for them to tell a client of theirs “no I won’t approve your photos to be in this magazine”. Many of these studios who have reached out have indicated they personally will be submitting material. What this means is that space in the issues is already tight. It means a lot of great work will be competing to be included. It means a lot of perfectly excellent work might not make it simply due to the numbers of it.

And so, I and several select studios will be offering Curated Sessions.

These sessions will serve 2 purposes. First they will be able to offer Guaranteed Publication. Second I will be working with these studios to actually plan the sessions they do for this. I will guide them in a way that they not only create great images for their clients but capture images that provide me an opportunity to produce exceptionally crafted, design rich, multi-page features.  What does all that mean exactly?  Well here’s a few samples of layouts I am incredibly proud of. I will point out some details as to why they are different than most publications you can be in.

2 page spread of Miss Agavi from Retro Lovely No.12. Photo by Coastal Expressions. Click for a larger view.
Original photo. Not nearly large enough to span 2 pages and several elements would be cut off.

The two page spread above is nice isn’t it?  You have an image fully sweeping from left to right creating a backdrop for the layout. The model partly spanning them. The text is clean and legible as well as flowing around her figure. The original photo was not ready to use like this. It was angled, there were other elements that would not work well in the layout. Had the entire clock been included I would have left it in the spread. For curated sessions I and the partner studios I work with will be tasked to capture some images that provide options for this sort of advanced design. Yes we will take great photos for you, but we will also work to create great photos for you that will produce the best layouts you’ve ever been part of.

Here are some other 2 page spread samples:

Now this isn’t a 2 page spread but it isn’t just a simply page, for this I took an old pulp novel and placed it on a typewriter in the Devilbliss Detective Agency where the model photos were taken. A vintage novel cover was created and then inset onto the actual book. The sort of thing quality publications used to to. This layout took as much time to produce as 6 basic ones. But this is the Retro Lovely Curated Session difference.

Curated Sessions. What does that mean really?  Up until now I have offered photo sessions to people and placed myself at their disposal. To produce for them images they wanted. I did the best of my ability to provide them what their vision was. A curated session is where my other “self”, my publisher “self” is involved in the process. One of the things I say to clients as to the reason I give them all their photos is that I have learned very often the images they love most are not the images I think are the strongest. But as the client, their wishes trump mine. I have worked with many clients who have decided what sort of wardrobe they wear, what sort of styling they want, what sort of theme they think best for them. Again I serve them. When it comes to being published in Retro Lovely however I will take more control as a creative director. What I chose to publish in Retro Lovely was as crucial to it becoming as highly regarded as it was. I recall after working with Robert Alvarado in Hollywood shooting Claire Sinclair for Retro Lovely No.7 asking him if he wanted Claire in on the photo and cover selection process he said “absolutely not”. Ultimately he deferred to me and my choice.

So a curated session for inclusion in an issue will begin with a model application. I will require you to provide me several sample images from past sessions you have done. Work with any photographer you think has the most value, or those you think will catch my attention. I will be posting a selection of images from past issues of Retro Lovely that I feel were the best of the best I ever included. Use them as a guide. I need to see your comfort and ability in front of the lens. I will also do a review of your online portfolios. Ideally you will be able to visit the studio for an in person consultation or if not something via video chat. Sometimes when I meet someone in the studio I know quickly how things must be approached by how they carry themselves, how animated they are. I will say to some “you aren’t ready yet”. Just because we want something badly enough it doesn’t mean we are ready for it.

If between your portfolio review and consultation I believe this is a good fit I will then propose a session for you that will put you in your best light and permit us to create images I and you will be proud to include in an issue. I insist on this creative control over your session as in this instance I will say I believe I know better than you what will achieve the best results what you think looks amazing on your smartphone screen will not necessarily look amazing in print. This is one of my tasks. I want my clients to look their best. I have in the past felt some have attempted styles of photography that were not the “best fit” for them. I will provide you with example images of what I think we should strive for. I will ask you to share with me wardrobe you propose for the theme. While the studio does have an in-house wardrobe that would be enviable of many studios I HIGHLY suggest you obtain something well in advance that is WELL FITTED, please do not do yourself the dis-service of wardrobe that is not well fitted. Once I photographed Clinton Kelly at an event. They had these wardrobe specialists helping ladies with bra fittings. It was astonishing to me as to what a difference a well fitted garment made in the appearance of everyday women. I will ask you for selfies in your proposed wardrobe. It is that important.  I will then consult with one of my licensed cosmetologist from among my team as to what sort of makeup and hair style we will suggest for you and provide you examples of that.

With everything in place the day of your session arrives! Expect to be in the studio anywhere from 3-5 hours. I will not do any more than two such sessions in a day. These shoots will consist of anywhere from 1 to 2 hours in arrival and preparation, styling and wardrobing. Once wardrobing is completed we will begin your primary session, this is where we will meticulously work for several poses to create your photo for publication. The stylist will be on set to assist me with on the spot touchups and wardrobe finessing. I will be shooting tethered to a laptop/ipad  which I will use to review images real time with the scrutiny of a publisher and make necessary adjustments. We may even shoot some 4K video footage of you review frame by frame looking for that “sweet spot” pose to photograph several variations of.  Once I obtain a selection of images I feel are suitable for publishing we can then resume your session as I normally shoot with a lot more variety to provide you with a large number of images to have for you from this once in a lifetime experience. After your session concludes, schedule permitting, we can break for lunch or dinner and discuss with you the ways with which being in an issue of the magazine can be used to your advantage.

What does all this cost? Remarkably these sessions have an introductory price of $500. This is just $100 more than my pricing has been for a session of this type that is much less “hands on” with art direction by me, in fact in time alone I am actually working for less money with a session like this. I want to facilitate creating something great that much. PLUS in addition to the 6 edits I included with that $400 session I will add two more images that I choose for publication that I will likely spend several hours obsessing over because my skill and commitment is on the line to “deliver”. If you hired me for this level of editing apart from this shoot I would be talking $40+ per image. If you are able to do lunch or dinner during your session, and consider the extra edits and the copy of the issue, the $100 more that this session costs over my original $400 shoot package you will easily see how this is an even greater value overall. Again this is an introductory price.


FEATURE SESSION $500 + Tax  Includes:

  • Application and Portfolio Review
  • In person or video consultation
  • Acceptance for Session
  • Proposal for Styling and Theme
  • Wardrobe Review
  • Session at our headquarters in Pottsville PA, approximately 3-5 hours
  • Stylist on hand during the entire session for touch-ups and changes deemed necessary
  • Lunch or dinner nearby included in session, model’s schedule permitting
  • All photos to take home after your session
  • 6 edits of the models choice, edited to their requests plus two deluxe edits by Michael Bann, publisher, Retro Lovely for the inclusion of a four page feature in the next available issue
  • 1 copy of the issue included with session
  • Book for $250 with an additional $250 due upon shoot completion

DELUXE SESSION, Starting at $999 + Tax. Includes everything from the base session PLUS:

  • 12 edited images in total, 6 chosen by the model, 6 by the photographer.
  • Seven page feature minimum
  • 5 copies of the issue (you may want more)
  • Something else “squeal-worthy” I will only discuss during a private consultation.
  • This session fee can be broken down into 3 parts. $400 to book. $400 when the session is completed and $100 when the issue you’re in is ready to publish.
  • Pricing at boudoir studios approaches this sort of pricing for the session and some products alone.

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