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Working with Women

Lesson 4 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

Working with Women

Lesson 4 from: The Boudoir Workshop

Christa Meola

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Lesson Info

4. Working with Women


Class Trailer

Day 1




Let’s Get this Party Started Right!


Redefining Boudoir: YOUR Brand & Style


Working with Women


Creating Relaxed Clients


Posing and Anti-Posing


Flattering All Body Types


Lesson Info

Working with Women

Working with women honestly, whether they're your neighbor or someone doing new favor for free or their professional model there figure model a fashion model or you know your mom I've shot my mom there all women who very different on dh who you know deserve celebrating so but I'm going to categorise them into three different types of woman ones the artists figure model I love shooting with figure models I was a figure model at one time I grew up around fine art that was my first love before I knew how to read or write my dad taught me howto draw like light and shadow and haddock create shapes and so it's just ingrained in me and I have posed for artists before and I have extreme respect for um fine artist sculpture uh sculptors and painters and, um I just think every every photographer should work with with these models because you will learn so much or go to museums and look att sculptures and see how like, you know, a single finger change makes something so much more a motive and can...

change something too from erotic too modest just based on your angle um, so I could talk all day about sculpture, but what I do want to say today right now is that we're going to work with a figure model tomorrow well after dark um you can find them at art schools and art galleries there posing for students and painters so find your local art school and hiram that way and um I think they're great because they give you an opportunity to learn have fun and expand your portfolio this is something you know, that I started doing because I just love nude photography and I got into it and I started folding it into my block and now women really want what that blends that ideo um and you will learn a ton from them because they are exceptional at moving their bodies you're not going to have to okay real women you have to coach down to the finger tip right? Well get like the claw you know but like the figure models no, that every little cell of their body is communicating something and you'll be able teo, you know, flex different muscles you like when you're shooting a real woman you're like, so focused on like every you know, hair on her head and doing all this stuff, but when you're photographing a figure model you can like go out there more creatively, you don't have to necessarily coach her as much, especially not in the same way um so I definitely think their vitals tivoed our photography they require the least amount of direction of all the groups of women I'm going to talk to you about and they're more likely to pose nude for you and sign a model release even if you've never done it before so that's huge you know sometimes it's chicken or the egg situation and a lot of people struggle with that hire some models bill signed model releases for you they're real women to um ice I do at least once a month seriously this is your art there's your practice uh this is what you should be practicing not taken our off of geeking out on facebook and go shoot a figure model um then there's pro and amateur models you know, the model community sites I like model mayhem you know there's some flakes on there but you know, there are also very experienced awesome people on there so um and depending on their experience some of them need a lot or a very little direction so they run the gamut eso sometimes I only choose very experienced if I'm hiring a model because I don't need to spend time courting them I do that with my client's enough and some models will work tf cd trade for cd so this is a great way if you're just beginning getting started if you don't have a portfolio yet um this is a great way to build into your portfolio what you want to showcase in terms of who your ideal client is maybe your brand is you just work with plus size women so this is a way to do it they have all ethnicities all sizes all ages so I really think this is a great portfolio builder rent out a studio or a hotel for a weekend book a bunch of models book like twelve so nine all show and you know you can do your portfolio in a weekend yes do you give a solution so your your tf cd without stamping uh yeah of course okay um so I already they're great for portfolio building practicing your skills experiment in keeping expire inspired creating personal projects and for some paying jobs so this is all the stuff you need to be doing uh one photographer say I'm so burnt out creatively I'm not doing anything new or different well cause you're just working with your client so you know and maybe you feel a little uncomfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone with a client and I would to like I don't tend to experiment too much with my clients I allow myself some spontaneity and after we've already shot all the stuff I know I've got in the can that I'm good then all maybe experiments a little but really the true experimentation and growth is done with my paid models and then the real women's we're going to spend the rest of the weekend talking about s so I just wanted to cover definitely what part a big part of my business is photographing models but the bulk of my business and the bread and butter comes from me photographing real women, so we're going to focus all of our discussion for the remainder of the weekend on them and, um yeah, they're just women who want sensual the tire, avi period, they want to look beautiful. That's why makeups like a big jillion dollar industry, right? Um, they benefit from a ton of prep work and lots of direction flattering every woman. Is this a great shot? And she have info cute jacket when you shout out if you're watching getting to know her, okay, this is a soccer mom, by the way, she got two kids. Um, so this is all the prep my due for every single shoot, every single shoot I do, we go through this, and this is kind of what makes it fun for me. Um, because if I showed up on a shoot and it's, just like I just know her name and that she paid me a session fee, I wouldn't know really where I'd go with that. I don't know what I would shoot like, I don't know, I literally don't know where I would start if I hadn't done this work first, so, you know, obviously she'll tell you why she's calling to book a shoot but really it's never the real reason like she's like oh I thought I'd give my husband a birthday president or you know whatever yeah right it's really for her or those deeper reasons like well I did lose just a ton of weight and that fat you know thought I'd celebrate so you got to dig a little bit to know exactly why she's calling to book a shoot what prompted her um and then this I'm so stunned that many women have not thought about what they love about their body it's so interesting so I would just say what you love about your body and some women need permission to say they love stuff about themselves like oh I don't know and then they immediately want to tell you what they hate right like well I really don't like I don't even let that out the door I'm like knew we're not talking about that we're only going to focus on what you love I don't need to hear what you don't love I really won't let them tell me um so s so like I said some women will still haven't ha and not I really want to say what they love about their bodies so I'd be like okay we'll think outside I go I love my hair I love my boobs out of my ass I love smile and I just start rattling off like it's a you know come rattling off with grocery list um so then they're like and then I'll tip on one of the oh yeah I like my hair to actually really I really have pretty good hair on dh then yeah I really dig my smile oh you know what I really like I got greatly means it's like so once he kind of hit on something then they kind of and I just go what else what else and I really make them think about it a lot and I try and get like five things nicole have you ever come across someone that no really you haven't met me uh you're really I mean there's what do you love about your body? I don't know that I've ever thought about it because I'm constantly criticizing my body I know that's most women so let's think about what you frickin love what's awesome and usually I'm on the phone so I wouldn't be able to visually reference stuff so I honestly we just have to be like I'm tempted to say what I like but I would just say come on there's gotta be something like your shoulders or your hands are elegant or you have a beautiful been like a long torso or the curve of your hip or you look fricking rocket and heals um or your lips or your eyes and but I can criticize something always okay you're not my client go no way no totally kidding I honestly would never come across someone who can't find something and I'll say okay you know what let's talk let's come back to this in a second let me talk about what your husband loves if you're not married if you're not dating what did you get comments on all the time you know you're walking around and what do you hear most often well I do hear that you know so what is your husband love my husband is a uh a ss man you can't wear that is me yeah, I love it why you're here this is so awesome you came and they asked s so funny it's so dirty nicole you are here to learn how to take a great ass shot by the way that's the number one money shot down my throat and you're gonna take one you're gonna call it that so your husband loves your ass uh red right now um you're not um ok so your husband leaves us wouldn't okay what else does he love? Um well my husband would tell me I mean and he does he tells me I'm beautiful every day so that's that's just him yeah so what does he love in particular your face your eyes, your smile what did he fall in love with? I was I would say my personality to him that because down to earth right and a giver yes so any like you're okay don't know someone's after four kids but uh so what what do you love what's distinctive about you I wouldn't let you off the hook but see you wouldn't necessarily be calling me for a shoot I can tell you right now obviously I've never done it before so yeah that's a problem yeah, you should absolutely what time are we done here? I like my ankles that's okay, I didn't say that. Yeah that's awesome. You must look great in heels. I mean, I just like my ankles I guess that's good don't comment on yeah, who cares what it is so I'd really be focusing on your ass and your personality and your ankles in some hot pairs of shoes that would be my focus on your shoe. I'm not kidding. Okay, I'm totally not kidding. So yeah, it just becomes like this it's comfortable it gets intimate quickly it's kind of like a touchy subject for a lot of women and it's kind of like they've never really told anyone I really like most photographed celeste yesterday in canada and I won't share but sometimes women are like well, I do like great legs actually if I do say so you can say so why is it taboo to say you love something about your body? I think because you feel like you're bragging on yourself and you know that's not, but if that's maggie nationality than me I think it becomes very hard for someone it's okay it's okay, I understand, but I think we should all give ourselves a little more body live on that's what we dio so you should really be ableto walk the walk um this is kind of this is after they book but before they book I tell him a little bit about what? How I do what I d'oh I tell him why first and then we go into the how and I will say like, look, this is how I work I do a lot of preparation it's all included in the session feet we're gonna talk about what you love about your body I'm going to get to know you and things in your personality that we want to capture and blah blah, blah, blah blah so I just top line it for them we don't actually discuss I don't need to know all this until she's okay, I'm looking so let me get back to so what do you love about your body that's exactly how it goes down I definitely get a little like five things out of them that way and then we discuss what is your partner love with nicole I switched it up because it was easier for her um and again if they're not with someone that's totally fine I've had a couple clients were like, you know, I don't think my husband likes anything and that's kind of sad on I just go we'll screw them well maybe shocked when you come home so there's ways to see spin any answer that they give but this is all what's goingto make it meaningful to them this is what makes an experience this was what makes it deeper than just showing up and looking pretty um what's unique personal and meaningful about your body this is like if there's like I've got these little uh beauty marks right here I don't know I like him by men and uh you know, some women have either tattoos or they have cal around or whatever they've got going on um that's distinctive or like that dimple that makes them them and what's your fantasy shoot I like this to end spire on I let them go like no budget if this was like, you know her fantasy like where would you do this? You what would you be wearing? What would be the story on my trial? Let that inspire us and what are some of your favorite things like celeste love shoes? We did a whole shoe thing yesterday that was so much fun eso sometimes it shoes sometimes you know, it's what I shoot a lot of photographers so it's photography cameras sometimes they're used as props sometimes not it just depends but this is all gearing up the creative direction of the shoot like I said, I do all this so I know what the heck I'm shooting I know what I'm focusing on her ass, her personality and her ankles I know what her fantasy shoot is and what some of her favorite things are and again this is driving the creative direction. What do you see is the final result of our shooting time together? This is more year towards sales, but I want to start talking right from the get go what is she envisioning it's like we're not doing this just to show up and do it there's got to be there's an end result and it's going to be in your hands you're going to order it? S o I want to make sure we're talking about this from the beginning because sometimes it was like, oh, I don't know, I guess I just want you know, I you know, just some great images and it's like, okay, but how do you see that as an end result in your hands it's like I have, you know, when I talk about my albums that I love and that's what I do love selling, I don't love to sell prince I don't hate canvas and what's that cannon oh just when you were done sure. So I love selling books because I believe in my love albums I always have so uh that's what I like to sell so I talk about them right up front and then I say and I like to talk a little bit about how I designed the album and how I kind of shoot for the album with this you know, I've had these conversations so it's you know it's but do you have to roll into it differently is the guy I mean it's it's almost like you have tto cushion the impact of going okay what you like about your body you know, it's I don't know if maybe there was a man you know, I think it's a valid question um I don't think you need to roll into it any differently like I said we're gonna get to this in a second but talk about things matter of fact when you're talking about nudity and where her comfort zone is I literally say you know how much how far do you want to go? You know, um there's a lot of ways we can imply nudity is nipple through sheer okay what t shirt side boob a little bit about crack like just I talk about it like, do you want mustard on your sandwich? I'm not, you know, making a big deal about it so I think if you just approached it that way you don't want to like talk about like what do you love about your body like I don't even really care you don't want to do that but just okay so tell me I really want to focus on what you love about your body um what you love about your personality um that's gonna be on here in a minute also do you ever say I like like I love your laugh yeah do you bring up things that you see in them and them usually I'm on the phone but if I know them already like if they said oh I love my hair is like I agree with you on that one I love you're here too but it's very rare that I've met them before okay would you suggest it if you have the o if you're in a community where you I do know people family would I like lonely people into shoots ok I'm like I have to shoot you I'm just digging this hole thing you've got going like whatever it isthe kind of like you know what she said uh you're on the phones you don't really get to see them physically right do you literally show up and that's the first time you're setting eyes on them or do you ask okay, I was only if you ask you ask for a photo beforehand atlanta don't matter I don't care what she looks like. I know this should show us. Like I said, I don't discriminate using these questions. Yeah, there are two things that hit me. One is if they start shine away from answering the question and they already or customer, how do you go through the list and try to understand who they are just like I did with nicole? Just takes a little bit more talking, warming her up to it, joking with her. Taken the seriousness, adam it we're giving her permission, giving her suggestion, starting with what the husband loves talking about her personality, what we want to capture their and the same thing you said us. What do you want to hold in your hands? Yes. Doesn't it mean that you sell different product after having solder this session? How do you balance this? Um, we start talking about what she wants right up front. I start telling her about the albums that I like, that I'm enthusiastic about, and we pretty much decided, yeah, that's the direction we're gonna go in or if she says, I don't know, let me wait to see the shots typically doesn't happen because for me, it's it's such an investment and walk away with not knowing what you want. I make them think about it, it's, usually just because I hadn't thought about it. Yet. When you just bring it up, they're gonna go. Oh, yeah, what do I want out of this? I haven't thought about that is just so nervous just calling you. You know, I'm just doing this session occupies most of their brain space, um, at the time. So you want to make sure you bring it up and I've never had anyone go, no, no.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Christa Meola Day 1.pdf
Christa Meola Day 2.pdf
Christa Meola Day 3.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This is meant to be a HELPFUL review for those that are wondering if they should purchase this workshop. About 75% of what I took away from this workshop was posing, composition for boudoir and the importance of eye lines and capturing movement. I had two boudoir sessions a week after this workshop and my images significantly improved. I was able to coach my clients through poses better, direct them on where to look for better eye lines, I was more aware of their posture and how to fix it, I think I sounded more professional and felt more confidant with getting awesome poses, stand out expressions and adding movement to my images. I put a fan on my client the way Christa does.. and she is right! The instant I put the fan on my client, her expression changed and you could tell she was really "feeling it". She told me she felt like a real supermodel right after I turned on the fan. If you are looking for inspiration on how to coach women and pose for boudoir then Christa is the girl for you. I think the most worthwhile thing I learned watching this is something that will help me in the years to come... with my brand, my website, my workflow and my business goals. I learned how to "keep it simple" which is Christa's tag line. For example Christa brings a roll of gray background paper and uses gaffer tape to hang it from the wall of the hotel (instead of bringing a 12ft background stand). I know this seems simple but this will change my life! I hate dragging equipment back and forth. There are some negative reviews on here about Christa's technical skills, but I think these people may have missed the whole point. If you provide an awesome product and an awesome experience for your client, they will buy it. And guess what.. your client will never know if you used your camera in auto or manual and they won't care if you used one light instead of two. As someone who has been in business for 3 years doing boudoir exclusively I learned a lot. I see a lot of value in learning from someone who doesn't spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, yet charges her clients over $3,000 for sessions. I'm a huge fan of her keep it simple philosophy and I'm glad Christa is willing to be honest about her workflow and how she best utilizes her time. Your not going to agree with or use everything Christa talks about, you take the parts that you like and are most helpful to you and work them into building a stronger business.

a Creativelive Student

AWESOME DEAL on Christa's course. I just sent an email to my husband to tell him thanks for "gifting" me this course. I told him just the ONE CLASS about pricing was worth the full $129 price of the course. And there are over 50 classes?! That is a crazy stupid good deal. You can learn something good from every class you take, every book you read, and just apply the stuff that works for you. There are a lot of people out there who seem to just enjoy giving crappy reviews, and to me it's almost like bullying. How someone could not find $129 worth of value in this course is beyond me. In my opinion this course is worth over a thousand bucks, because it can help you make SO much more money. I hate when I see people whining about things that are not 100 percent perfect, and they get annoyed if the person isn't catering to their exact needs. It's like the Yelper generation, with a disturbing sense of entitlement. I would love to see those people try teaching a class about boudoir and see if they could do any better. It also seems like, the more popular a person gets, the more other people feel the need to tear them down. I'm grateful that Christa even offered this course at ALL. Thanks Christa for all you do to help those of us who really need to know this stuff. You rock.

a Creativelive Student

I never thought I would shoot boudoir. I am a shy and private person. I started entertaining the idea when I first saw Christa's work and saw how beautiful and tasteful it can be. I love her lighting and all that she uses from historic painters and sculptors. I watched all three days live and learned a ton. I have a lot of lighting education, but it was nice to freshen up my skills. I loved the posing tips and the three typical situations she uses for one shoot. I loved learning about how she shoots in hotels and also using things like an outdoor situation. I have now shot my first boudoir session and it was a total hit. I am thrilled to show my client her images. This was fantastic! Thank you, Christa!

Student Work