Back in 2002 Alexandra Burns wanted to take the age-old concept of photographing women with not many clothes on and turn it into something which would empower and make a women feel gorgeous. Her vision was to create an experience which combined a classy, salon style environment with a life-changing, photographic experience and seven years down the line her business is still going strong.
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“It was hard work but lots of fun! I gave up my old wedding photography business and put everything I had - money and energy, into this idea - working 24/7. I had my work cut out as not only was I building a business, but also breaking a new market – I had no formula to follow so I wrote the rules from scratch.”
This sort of photography is something which can and often does make the sitter feel uncomfortable but an all female team (FYEO portraits™ have 12) and a relaxed atmosphere is a good way to put clients at ease. If you're really friendly and down to earth you will find they're soon put at ease.
“The client maybe a school teacher / PA/ lawyer or full time mum, doing something out of her normal comfort zone and our photographers know you need to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible.”
Alexandra believes in empowering the sitter making them look confident, showing only parts of their bodies they want the viewer to see is very important. You need to make the shoots tasteful and not explicit. As Alexandra said: “It's a tasteful celebration, not gratuitous pornography.”
How confident the photographer is and their ability to direct their client is something that can make a shoot great. The photographer directs the client throughout the shoot into these poses. The process of being directed in the studio adds to the sitter’s confidence because if you stand confident - you feel confident. Another good idea Alexandra has is to have a book full of already used, successful poses, which the photographers can choose from depending on the clients requirements.
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Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try with poses, lighting and styling there will always be something that wasn't quite right and Alexandra's company is no exception.
“We do some post production work, but not loads. What we do is to exaggerate the highlights and shadows created by the lighting in the studio, and then smooth the skin a little with the cloning and blurring tools. All our photographers do retouching for their clients personally, so the more they can achieve with the lighting through the camera the less time they spend in front of the computer!”
Alexandra describes this type of photography as a “rite of passage” where they experience a “metamorphosis of the mind from a moth to a butterfly” and often end-up floating out of the door.
“This type of photography is a great way to boost a client's confidence, often they are tearful and grateful before they have seen their pictures. Working where I do is fantastic! We get huge amounts of presents. I'm not giving any of our secret tools away though!
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™ for more information.