Lorna and I have been firm friends for years (I’ve known her longer than my husband, and we still remember my giggly tales about how Dan & I met 😉 ). For the last six months she joined us in Vienna, assisted me for photoshoots and worked with me on and in my business (she’s a great marketing whiz and wordsmith!). So you could say she has seen pretty much all aspects of my work as a women’s portrait photographer. Yet, one piece of the puzzle was missing: being treated to the whole pampering photoshoot experience, just like any other client.
Read on for Lorna’s account of being turned into not only Snow White but also Glamour Queen by Chrissi (HMUA) and me…
Lorna: My Beauty Shoot Experience
Over the last 6 months, I’ve seen a lot of beauty shoots. You therefore might think that there’d be no surprises, as I’d seen it all before. To some extent that may be true. Yes, I knew that I would spend about an hour having my makeup and hair done. And then, about 2 hours being posed by Carola, while she snapped away. But what I didn’t have any idea of was:
How the experience would make me feel
How easy or hard it would be to pose
How the final images would turn out (and would I actually like them?)
My shoot day
When I first arrived at the studio, Chrissi (a hair and makeup artist extraordinaire) asked if I was feeling nervous. In all honesty, my answer was no. Having seen so many women enjoy the pampering experience and the amazing portraits they had together created, I knew I had nothing to worry about. Carola and Chrissi are both masters of their arts.
My turn in the make-up chair
My first confession – I don’t usually wear makeup. I might wear it for an occasion like an evening out, but that’s about it. Therefore, having my makeup done professionally was sheer heaven. There’s something really lovely about having someone else do your makeup. It’s the delicate touch, and the gentle sweep of brushes across your skin which feels so relaxing. Generally, I just felt completely taken care of. And as a girl who always has naturally straight hair, I LOVED having it curly! 🙂 It was a really enjoyable and relaxing start to the experience.
On with the shoot
Into outfit #1: a Carola-crafted outfit, made of a creamy-white tube dress going all the way down to my feet, an organza wrap, and a flower crown. As Chrissi named it, this was my Snow White look. 😉
Now came the interesting bit. For this part of the shoot, Carola asked me to lie on the floor, propped up on my elbows. Rather than Snow White, I felt more like an oversized white slug, with my lovely fluffy slippers on my feet to complete the outfit, making everyone laugh! 😉 (Top Tip: Carola never shoots down to your feet, so wearing your comfy slippers is definitely A-OK!)
Admittedly, I wasn’t all that comfortable on the floor. In fact, my shoulder was so tense at one point, that my shoulder muscles began to spasm! It’s incredible – you look at models and you think it looks dead easy, but it’s actually a lot harder than you’d think, and definitely tests muscles that I didn’t even know existed! (Surprise, surprise, says the girl who never goes to the gym… Ahem!) But hearing Carola’s shrieks of delight on the other side of the camera, I guessed that things were going well. I, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue. I’m pretty blind without my glasses on, so a peek at the back of the camera didn’t help me much!
More glamour please!
Onto outfit #2. This was something Carola and I had been planning for weeks. If the Snow White (or the white slug!) outfit wasn’t different enough to what I usually wear, the next outfit most definitely was!
I’m not actually sure whose suggestion it was now, but we both thought it would be fun to try something really glamorous, and that’s when we decided that I’d wear a corset and a black tulle skirt.
I’ve never worn a corset before, so didn’t have a clue what it would feel like to wear. Surprisingly, I found it quite comfortable, and really good to wear for a shoot because it shapes your figure in all the right places. 🙂 In the full outfit – complete with bright red lipstick – I felt like a film star, striking those poses! 😉
My last outfit was my sparkly grey crocheted dress. This final part of the shoot was really just for fun, with me blowing sequins out of my hands. The sequins went absolutely everywhere. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if we were still finding them in random places in the weeks to come! But I really love the effect!
So, how did I feel during the shoot?
In all honesty, I didn’t really have a huge amount of time to think during the shoot itself. A lot of people hate being in front of the camera because they feel so self-conscious and/or a bit awkward. But I didn’t feel anything like that. Carola put me at ease and directed me every step of the way – how to stand, where to put my hands, how to tilt my head etc. – that I didn’t really have the mental space to let my emotions get in the way. Hats-off to all those top models, though! Posing is hard work!
Ultimately, I felt like a little girl again. It was loads of fun playing with makeup and dressing up. Whatever your age, it’s still heaps of fun, right?! 😉
My reaction to the images
Since I didn’t have my glasses on during the shoot (and let’s face it, I’m pretty blind without them!) it was only after the whole shoot when I had my glasses back on that I could properly see the photos on the back of Carola’s camera. My first reaction? I was AMAZED by the photographs. I had no idea I could look like that. In fact, the portraits captured a whole new side to me that I’ve never seen before – and a side that I certainly will LOVE seeing again and again! And (my final confession!) I was so overwhelmed that I even cried, just a little bit. 😉
A Day of Firsts
So, looking back on the day, I realise that it was a really big day of firsts:
I have never…
been photographed so much without my glasses as an adult
posed for photos in this way
had 3 outfit changes and hair/makeup in the space of 3 hours
dressed in seemingly random pieces of material (Snow White), yet LOVED the results!
dressed in a corset and black tulle skirt
been photographed wearing a beautiful dress whilst at the same time wearing slippers (teehee!)
had a twitchy shoulder while having my photo taken (posing is no easy business!)
realised I have the tendency to tilt my head to the right (Carola was forever directing me to tilt my head back to centre. Maybe one ear is heavier than the other?!)
cried (joyfully!) at seeing photographs of myself
felt so feminine and beautiful
And there you have it! As you now know, I am not a model. I don’t have a perfect body, and there are parts I really don’t like. Striking flattering poses in front of the camera doesn’t come naturally to me, and I don’t know how to apply makeup properly. But the combination of Chrissi’s makeup and Carola’s flattering posing and photography is stunning.
To Carola and Chrissi – thank you both SO much for this wonderful experience, and for these portraits: a gift I will treasure always.