An Invitation into Energy Consciousness: Wednesday, July 3rd @ 8pm EST!

What:    Tuning in: Developing Your Self-Awareness


This Wednesday, July 3rd, join me for an intimate tele-circle to learn how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are creating your reality. For better or worse, our thoughts are a gateway to how we see ourself and the world around us. Without being aware of our thoughts we miss out one of the only ways to create meaningful change We’ll also learn ways to cultivate deeper self-awareness and we get a sneak peek into the Energy Consciousness Assessment; an eye-opening tool that captures how you see yourself, your world, and how to make sublte shifts that would have the greatest impact.

Cost:    No charge!

Where:     Comforts of your home!

When:    Wednesday, July 3rd @ 8pm EST


Click here to sign up for the call!

"See" you there!




Second Stop, Eiffel Tower & Maisons-Leffitte Castle | International Photography


My eyes are a little crossed as I type this; feeling slightly dizzy from all of the photo editing I’ve been working on this week.  Just call me the mad editor, lol.  But I’m so happy to bring you the second set of my images from the Scott Robert workshop I recently attended in Paris.  If you haven’t seen the first set of images from Notre Dame, check here!

So these next set of photos is when we really got to the meat and potatoes of the workshop.  One of the things that Scott emphasized during his lectures was the element of “fear”.  Determine the thing you are most fearful of and run towards it, embrace it and overcome it.  This can be applied in life and specifically within your photography career.  Now, I’m more of a capture the candid moments type of girl rather than place your hand here and turn your head there kind of photographer. I think there is nothing wrong with that approach but I realized I didn't really use any styled posing in my images and that came from a place of fear of posing my subjects or not really knowing how to pose them.  But I was thoroughly challenged to create images using some new posing techniques. 

So off we went to the Eiffel Tower to shoot.  This place was every bit as inspiring and romantic as it is portrayed in the media.  Perfect for a some fun shooting with Phoebe!  

Oh! The beautiful Maisons-Leffitte castle.  I wouldn’t mind living in this here; antique rooms, elegant staircases, acres and acres of land.  It felt like I was in a dream.

Meet the awesome Vanessa; she's so vogue and chic!  I love it!

Introducing the beautiful Phoebe :)!

I love the dreaminess of this photo.

And finally Anna & Perry!  

It was really fun and a bit liberating to let my creativity flow.  I look forward to incorporating more of these posing styles and concepts in my future images.  It’s funny, I can still feel the momentum flowing since this whole experience.  I’m developing the courage to step past my fears and uncover something new within my creativity.  Perhaps one of the worst things we can do is to not evolve within our lives and our creativity due to fear of the unknown.  Getting over that fear for the sake of moving forward can open up a world of possibilities.

See Beauty…


Special thanks to:

Beautiful models Vanessa Tsang, Phoebe Dingman, Anna Chow & Perry.  Makeup artist, Regard Tang for her awesome work in makeup and styling.  And to my SR peers for all your help with lighting and for being so supportive :).

Video: Newborn Post Shoot Assessment

Ok, so I'm trying something a bit new here.  It's a video of me rambl... err ahem, speaking through a few photos from my last photo shoot with a newborn baby girl.  The video was shot a couple of hours after the shoot while everything was still fresh in my head.  The point of the video is mainly just to show the top three photos from that shoot and explain why they were my favorite.  It's mainly a video for me so that I can assess how I'm doing and continue to evolve my style as a photographer.  I hope for this to be a recurring thing and as I go along I'd like to make it a bit more structured.  Anyhoo, without further ado... [vimeo 20262831] Thumbs up?  Thumbs down?  Let me know your feedback on the video or the photos; comments and criticism are welcome :). See Beauty... Ariane
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Business as Usual: How To Avoid Photographers Burnout

Burnout.  Photographers have heard this ugly word before looming in the back of their minds and in the pit of their stomach as we diligently strive to complete every task placed in front of us.  From album designs, client meetings, location scouting, editing, marketing, budgeting, networking and of course shooting; the list is never ending.  You realize the signs of being burned out; when someone asks “how are you?” you always answer “So busy”.  You find yourself going to bed later and later at night to get work done, becoming easily agitated and have frequent headaches.  We know we need to slow down but who has time for that?!! So we suck it up and become frustrated and the first thing we do is question whether or not we’re cut out for this business.  Suddenly the quest to do more and more overpowers the  very reason we became photographers in the first place.  It happens to all of us at some point in our photography career.  We do what we love but sometimes at the cost of hurting ourselves in the process. I’ve been there; we all have.  A career in photography should be something that allows us to fulfill our passions while maintaining a living.  While I strongly advocate a healthy work-life balance, I find that there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to avoid burning out over time. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can yield amazing results for your mind and body.  You can do a simple routine at home that lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.  My favorite exercise is sun salutations.  It’s a quick and energizing way to stretch the body and get the blood pumping again.  I invite you to try doing five rounds of sun salutations in the morning before starting work to open you up to the day ahead with a great attitude. Meditation is another great way to clear your mind and take a break from the work day.  10 minutes of simple deep breaths in and out can bring about mental clarity and rejuvenate the senses.  Find a quiet space or just do it while sitting at your desk.  While meditating, it’s important to clear your mind and not think about your work or anything else during this process.  Whenever I meditate, I instantly feel relaxed and comforted because I can hear my own thoughts again.  The noise of the outside world is quieted and the tension eases. If you consistently work from your studio or home office, seeing the same things every day can dampen the mood a bit and can bring on the feeling of cabin fever.  Take advantage of the mobility you have as a photographer and try a change of scenery.  Break up the week a bit by doing work at your local Starbucks, a quiet restaurant, or the park when the weather is nice.   All you need is your laptop and a wifi connection.  You can easily do album designs or marketing tasks from a cozy restaurant during the day.   This helps to break up the routine and stimulate your senses with a new environment to do your work.  My favorite place to get work done especially during the winter is at a local café that serves the best chai latte’s ever. Another thing I like to do during the week to resist burning out is to go on an artist date (or day trip).  It can be a trip to view a museum exhibit, taking in a movie or going for a walk.  The point is to take one day to spend time by yourself doing the things that excite you.  This can be a great way to feed your soul with creative activities that will open and expand your mind outside of your work. The last thing anyone wants to do when they are feeling stressed and frustrated is smile.  But this simple act of just smiling can instantly put you in a better place and brighten your day.   Think of how good it feels when you see something that makes you smile; it can be so refreshing.  All of the pressure we put on ourselves to be productive and be the best can be overwhelming.  Whenever you have that feeling, visualize something that brings you joy i.e a newborn baby, your best friend, a puppy, laughter, and allow that vision to bring a smile to your face.  This allows you to slow down and melt away the tension you are feeling.  So no matter where you are and what you’re doing, smile away the stress. Being a photographer can be a labor of love and we do it because it is our passion and it is who we are.  The five items I listed above can make the challenge of running a photography business a little less stressful or at the very least, turn it into good stress.  It can help produce a feeling of being in control and creating a sense of accomplishment.  If you found the above information helpful or would like to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you! See Beauty… Ariane Note: The above photos were taken while going for a leisurely 30 minute walk after the last NYC snow storm. This post would be too long without pictures :)! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on Twitter & Facebook.
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Your About Me Page: What Does It Say About You?

Bio pages have got to be one of the toughest sections to get through when creating a website.  I mean, what do you even begin to say when describing yourself?  Most of us don’t really like talking about ourselves so we get stuck and cannot get past the opening line “hi, my name is Mary, welcome to my site”.  There’s a very thin line between picking the right words to say verses writing straight up fluff. The bio page for my website took me a whole three days to come up with and the one on my blog took even longer.  But the thing that got me through it was gathering my thoughts on what I truly wanted my viewers to know about me and ultimately I just spoke from the heart.  There’s enough fluff out there on the internet so the About Me section is a chance to really stand out and tell the world who you are and why you rock! The bio page is known as one the one of the highest ranked pages on many websites. Think about it?  What is the first page you usually go to after arriving at a website?  If the homepage really captures your attention, you’re going to want to know more about the person or business.  Especially if you are a client looking to purchase a product or service, our natural tendency is to want to know more and to connect with the person behind the website.  The About Me page is usually the last chance to make yourself stand out with your visitor to make them either return to your site or take the next step in contacting you to do business. Ok so now you know how important your About Me page is; now what? If you already have a bio page, take a look at it right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.......So wha’d you think?  Is it a perfect representation of you?  Does it say all that you want it to say?  Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?  If not, read on.  And for those of you who don’t already have a bio page, let’s get started creating one right now! There are a few things to keep in mind when you go to write your page.  It must answer these three questions: 1.       Who Are You? 2.      What service/product you provide? 3.      Why the client should choose you? These three questions can be answered in any order you like but the key thing to remember is to just put your own style to it.  Be unique, be yourself.  If for example, you’re from the south and you use the word “y’all” a lot don’t be afraid to use it in your bio (1-2x max, lol).  Be personable yet professional.  This gives your visitor the ability to connect with you and maybe even relate to you on a personal level.  Writing your bio page can be an exciting way to talk about your life experiences and how they relate to the services you provide.  Visitors to your site are looking for real genuine people they can connect with or even be inspired by. When speaking of your particular product or service, find ways to make yourself stand out.  Try to refrain from making bold statements that can be misconstrued as arrogance.  This is not the impression you want to leave with your visitors.  Instead be humble but make your accomplishments known.  If you’ve won several awards for best “XX” go for it and let people know about it.  This will be undoubtedly the best way to make your services stand out.  Just remember to be human and represent your personality with every word you say. Try to avoid using buzzwords like “funky, fabulous, chic” to describe yourself and your photography style.  These are quickly becoming over-used in the photography industry and aren’t really seen as unique traits.  Although, these may indeed be great words to describe you and your services, try to dig a little deeper to differentiate yourself.  Ultimately your photos should represent your photography style. Pictures!  Some bio pages do not have pictures on them but I am a strong advocate for this.  You should have a flattering picture of yourself right alongside the words of your bio.  Feel free to get creative with the picture you use.  I’m a big fan of lifestyle photography; an image that captures you in your environment.   If you love sunflowers, go to a sunflower field on a sunny day for some self-portraits.  Ultimately, your words should match how you are portrayed in the photo. Here are a few websites that I think have awesome “About Me” pages and why they stand out. Junshien Lau Photography.  Junshien is a photographer who's work I greatly admire.  When I first stumbled upon his website, I was blown away by his About Me bio.  If I’d never seen any of his pictures I still would’ve been drawn to him just be reading what he had to say.  He speaks from the first person in a manner that seems as if he's talking directly to you.  I like that he does something you aren’t used to seeing like writing in a poem-like format.  His words are so genuine as he describes his personality while still highlighting his photography services. Radiant Photography's About Me page was just such a cool way to stand out and it is extremely creative.  It gives the viewer a taste of the photographers style before you even see their pictures.   Words like "down to earth" and "daring and creative lifestyle" are highlighted and almost dead centered in the page allowing them to jump out at the viewer.  It makes great use of a keyword cloud that makes it easy for a potential client to quickly get a snapshot of the photographer and their services. This last About Me page is from Kimera Designs.   The bio section is named “Philosphy” but the goal is still the same.  I found this website in my search for wedding dress designers for a photo project I'm working on.  Out of all the designer sites I found, this one stuck out to me the most because after viewing their philosophy page I felt connected to their words. It succinctly describes the business and their unique approach to fashion and design. So hopefully this all gives you a good starting point for writing your About Me page.  But, if you’re still stuck here’s a neat little exercise I found that helped me to write my bio page.  Maybe it can help you too.  It basically gives several questions for you to answer.  The point is to write the answers down quickly and not over think it; just write.  And based on your answers, you can craft a bio that focuses on your uniqueness and what you can offer. Ok folks, chop chop, let’s get to work on those About Me pages :)! Happy Wednesday!! See Beauty... Ariane
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Google Analytics: Photographer's Best Friend

This is a long one guys, hang with me for a while :). Over the years, I’ve grown quite fond of the program Google Analytics.  It’s a nifty little tool that allows you to track the performance of your website.  You can find out tons of statistical information about the effectiveness of your site in real time. I first learned about Google Analtyics (GA) about two years ago when I worked as a Marketing Analyst for an advertising company.  I guess back then I was kind of a data geek and completely fascinated by the insights you can find by analyzing numbers.  As an analyst, I used GA for a number of tasks: to monitor traffic to a particular site, to determine the level of audience engagement on the site, as well analyze the performance of a particular brand’s website as a result of a promotion or ad campaign.  Now, it has become sort of an every day tool I use as part of my photography business.  With GA, I can see the traffic levels coming to my site on a monthly or even yearly basis.  The data can provide me with information about my visitors like the percentage of people coming to my site from California verses NY. I can see how people are finding my site.  Oh and it gets better.  GA shows me the average time people are spending on my site and how many pages they are viewing during each visit.  This information is priceless to me because I can use it to see how my site is performing on a regular basis.  Now don’t be alarmed, GA doesn’t provide the identities of people coming to your site, it’s strictly just a numbers thing.  While there is no limit to the facts you can learn about your site, there are six main components in GA that can give you all the information you need to make an informed decision on how to maximize your web presence.  They are:
  1. Visits
  2. Traffic Sources
  3. Time Spent on Site
  4. Average Pages Viewed
  5. Bounce Rate
  6. Top Content
I’ll use my blog site as an example to explain what each of these terms mean. So first you have Visits.  Visits mean exactly what it states, the total number of people that visit your site in any given period.  Pretty easy right? I love that GA is so user-friendly.  For example, looking at for the year, I see that I had over 6600 visits.  But if I wanted to take it a step further, looking at the graph I see that on October 25th was the highest spike in traffic for the year.  That leads me to want to know more.  What was the main factor that drove such a high amount of traffic to my blog on that particular day?  Looking back I see that it was Erica & Chris’ engagement session.  That’s pretty good information to know.  Just from this piece of data, I’m able to see what type of content resonated the most with my readers. Now when looking at Traffic Sources, this is probably my most favorite thing to look at on GA.  Traffic sources tells how visitors are getting to your site; the source of traffic in other words.  Traffic Sources is broken down into three categories: Direct Traffic, Referring Traffic, and Search Traffic. -       Direct Traffic are those visitors that type in your website address or url directly into the address field.  This can be a huge factor because if most of your traffic is being driven to your site by directly keying in your website address, that can signify that your visitors are very familiar with your name and presence online. -       Referring Traffic is very helpful in showing you where your traffic is coming from.  It is categorized in terms of what domain is referring traffic to your site.  For example, I promote my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter mainly, as most of you do.  When looking at referring traffic stats, obviously I see that Facebook is the top referrer of traffic to my blog.  It’s interesting to look at because you can see where your main audience is coming from.  This information is good to know when marketing and advertising your site.  Also you can see if someone is linking you in their webpage.  For example, a photographer I had worked with previously had graciously linked me on their website and it helped drive traffic to my site.  I wouldn’t have known that without looking at the data. Do you see where I’m going with this?  Google Analytics is an extremely invaluable tool for assessing website performance. -       And lastly with regard to traffic sources is Search Traffic.  As you may have guessed, this component allows you to see how many people are coming to your site based on using search terms.  If a person ends up visiting your site by typing in the words “wedding photographer”, this gives you an idea how your site is ranking in terms of search.  If you are into “search engine optimization”, you can really capitalize on this.  Search Engine Optimization strategies is a very involved topic so I’ll leave that discussion out of this post for now. I know this has been a lot of information to digest so far but we’re almost at the end so hang in there. Working with numbers and data can be borderline coma-inducing but it can actually be very fun when the data you’re analyzing has to do with you and ultimately your business. So let’s move onto Time Spent on Site.  Basically, what this number is, is the average number of minutes or even hours that your visitors are spending on your site.  What’s considered high and what’s considered a low number really depends on what industry you’re in.  But for the purposes of photographers, according to GA benchmarks the average time people spend in on sites related to photography services is 0:45.  This number can show you how interested your visitors are with the content of your site. The same thing can be said for the next component, Average Pages viewed.  This number tells you the average number of pages or sections of your site that people are going to.  It is usually represented by a decimal number like 2.50.  This says that each visitor is viewing about two and a half pages on your website.  Pretty neat huh? Up next we have, Bounce Rate.  Oooohh this can be such a mean number.  The bounce rate is defined as someone who arrives at your website and then immediately either clicks the “back” button or “X” to leave your site.  Obviously you want to keep this number as low as possible.  You don’t want people coming to your site and quickly leaving.  You want them to visit your site, stay a while, and make themselves comfortable. And last but not least we have good ‘ol Top Content.  There are several ways to use this section of GA but it’s main purpose is to show how many pageviews your content is receiving.  In other words, how many eyeballs are seeing your “blog posts”, the “about me” page, or anything else on your site.  It is helpful to know what area of your site is receiving the most attention.  For example, oddly enough my “about me” page came in as one of the top viewed sections of my blog. And there you have it, Google Analytics in a nutshell.  There was a lot of information to get through but the best way to learn the program is to just dive in and start tinkering around to see what you find.  You’ll see what a powerful tool it is to have for your website and how easy it is to use.  If you’re interested in setting GA up for your website, here is a great tutorial that will show you how to install it step by step. Happy Analyzing! See Beauty… Ariane
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Photo Coaching – Getting Your Clients To Relax In Front of the Camera

SCENARIO 1:  You meet your client on location at a local park for a portrait session.  You exchange greetings and small talk about the weather while you take out your camera to begin the shoot.  You lift the camera to your eye and see your client standing awkwardly straight, hands clasped in front of him/her, with a tight lipped smile. Or SCENARIO 2:  You meet your client on location at a local park for a portrait session.  You exchange greetings and small talk about the weather while you take out your camera to begin the shoot.  You begin walking your client to another section of the park that you know has a beautifully painted mural that would be the perfect backdrop for your client.  You use this opportunity to talk with your client casually about how excited you are to get started with the shoot and how awesome he/she looks.   You share the hilarious story about the last time you ripped your pants during a shoot while trying to get a shot.   Your client laughs at your story and appreciates your honesty and humor.  You both arrive at the mural and suddenly both you and your client are vibing and feeling relaxed ready to start shooting. I’ll take Scenario 2 for the win please!! Ok, so first things first.  All things considered, the worst thing that photographers are afraid will happen during their client portrait sessions or wedding portraits is: awkward silence, tension, uncomfortable faces; you get what I’m saying.  All of these things add up to BAD PICTURES!! You know the one where the subject looks terrified or uncomfortable as if they are counting down the minutes until you’re done taking their photo.   Clients who aren’t used to being in front of the camera while a professional snaps their picture will naturally be nervous.  This nervousness transfers into body language resulting in not so nice photos of them. What a nightmare!  Photographers have to find creative ways to deal with situations like this to miraculously turn what can be an awkward situation into a fun shoot for the client.  What we call photo coaching. Some photographers are just naturally good at getting their client to relax in front of the camera.  But for the rest of us out there, like myself, we have to work a bit harder.  This has been something I have been trying to improve with every shoot I’ve done since day one.  What I’ve found through working with other photographers and honing my own style of shooting is that every photographers style of photo coaching will be different according to their personality and what their comfortable doing.   I am able to kind of blend in with my surroundings and observe people being natural.  So during engagement shoots or wedding portraits, I can say words like “just pretend I’m not here” or “be private in the public” because it meshes well with my personality to just observe my subjects being their natural selves.  But sometimes, you have to take a more active role. My photography style tends to emphasize candid emotion filled shots with a combination of some light posing.  If you have a similar shooting style, whether working with individuals or couples, what I’ve found to work the best is the following:

-       When working with a couple engaged to be married, meet with them prior to their shoot.  Use this time as an opportunity to get to know them individually and as a couple.  Ask them to tell the story of how they met, who made the first move, how long they’ve been together, how did he/she propose, etc.  Learn to listen in between the words and observe body language.  Try to remember specific elements of their relationship and story by taking mental notes.  If possible, try to write everything down after meeting with them while it's fresh in your mind.  It will be helpful to know this information for when you shoot their engagement session or during their wedding day.

-       During the actual photo session, when shooting a couple try to talk casually with them about something unrelated to the shoot.  Ask them to remind you of the story of how they met.  Get them to talk to each other instead of to you.  That way, they will be interacting with each other; the smiles and playful touches will begin as they reminisce together.  Also good questions like, "who is the more playful one" or "how would you describe your relationship" are great questions to get your clients to open up about themselves.  Sometimes their answers will lead to laughter and cute teasing.  All the while you will be snapping away capturing the glow in their eyes and the energy of their love.  They become so wrapped  into each other and forget that you’re even shooting.

-       When shooting an individual the above point can be applied with a slight twist.  Strike up a light conversation about something unrelated to the shoot.  Questions like, do you watch the show XX (insert popular show name)?  This may require actually taking the camera away from your eye for a moment to connect with your client during conversation.  This shows that yes you are the photographer but you are also a person that is interested in getting to know them.  Still remain focused on conducting the shoot but use this time to observe your client for cues.  For example, a female client may like to subconsciously push her hair behind her ears frequently.  This may be a great shot for you if can capture her doing this naturally during the shoot.  It shows her uniqueness and represents her genuinely.

-       Give good directions.  Be able to tell your client specifically what you want them to do with their hands or what direction you want them to face.  You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve mistaken my right side for their left.  My right equals their left; it can get confusing.  Get into the practice of giving precise directions for every part of your client’s body.

-       If you’re working with someone who might be self-conscious about something, reassure him or her about how beautiful they look.  You can do this by simply voicing it to them in a genuine way.  Show them the beauty you see in them by snapping their photo and showing them the image in the back of the camera.  Sometimes seeing themselves in an image straight from the camera can be the extra boost that they need.  For example, one time I worked with a teen who wore braces and was self-conscious about her smile.  I referenced the TV show America’s Next Top Model and told her to smile with her eyes.  She did and I showed her how beautiful she looked on the back of the camera.  My heart smile when I heard her say “wow, is that me?!!”

- Always give feedback to your clients during the shoot and after.  Let them know when they are doing a great job and how great the photos are coming along.  I tend to use the word “awesome” and “wow” a lot when I get that perfect shot.  I’ll usually say these two words whenever I get excited and this usually makes my client excited as well.  Sometimes I’ll even show my clients four or five shots in the back of the camera to reassure how great everything is coming along.  Also, don’t be afraid to let your clients know when they aren’t doing what you need them to.  Whether it is a foot out of place or if they need to take a couple of steps back so you can get that perfect sun glare shot.  Be polite but firm.

-       Lastly and I can’t stress this enough, SMILE.  Whether shooting an individual, couple, or guests at a wedding always remember to keep smiling. Clients connect with your energy and they can feel your excitement.  They want to know that you’re having a good time and happy to be spending your time with them. Smiling can be infectious and a simple way to brighten the mood.  So no matter if you got a parking ticket or a flat tire on the way to the shoot, let the stress go, remember your client, and smile.

Photo coaching can really be fun; it’s all about having a good time with your client.  For photographers, what cool tips can you share on your photo coaching techniques?  Or for anyone whose had an amazing experience with a photographer; what did they do to make you feel comfortable?  Share your stories! See Beauty... Ariane
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