Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boudoir Photography

This is my take on a specialized kind of photography. . .

Boudoir photography is giving the gift of fantasy. It's capturing a time when a woman feels her most glamourous, confident self. This is one of those moments that I am so thrilled to be a part of.

It's one thing to stand in front of a photographer and pose, tilt a chin or cast eyes in one direction or other, but this is completely different. First, there has to be trust. . .almost a friendship between photog and client. I feel the photographer has to be invested emotionally in this client because it is an intimate moment. A time when someone has to let her guard down and trust that the best angle, lighting, etc. will be directed by the person in charge. . . that photographer.

I've had the privilege to work with such an artist. Her name is Kim Graham. She is a Charleston photographer who is constantly busy, and for good reason. Kim not only photographs amazing weddings, engagements, and family portraits, but she has a knack for boudoir photography. The main reason I say this is because her clients trust her. She is a kind, unassuming presence. . . gentle and encouraging, yet very much in control. These qualities enable her to put her subjects at ease and really get into the nuances of this sexy, intimate kind of photography. Kim innately knows the best placement of a hand or a downward glance or a prop that can help make a woman look like a celebrity and herself all at once. She is great at determining someone's comfort level and taking her to the edge of it. That's what makes great boudoir photography and keeps clients happy and confident.

What a gift! The ladies whose photos appear above, were both doing sessions for Christmas gifts for their husbands. Imagine that surprise! I am a big fan because it symbolizes them in their prime. It takes some guts to do this; to put yourself out there and say, "here I am. . .remember me like this . . ."

Boudoir photography is private. Often, it's just the photographer and client, to ensure her comfort. From the makeup artist's perspective, this is one of my FAVORITE ways to work. . . the makeup is quite a bit heavier than the client would wear on a daily basis. I usually have carte blanche in my choice of colors and formulations (always airbrush!). But take a look at the lashes . . . I could sing about the LASHES for days! For me, the lashes are key.

If you've ever or never considered boudoir photography, I suggest you think about it. No matter what stage you're at in your life, a little va-va-voom never hurt anything ;)

Thank you, Kim Graham Photography.

Thank you, Beautiful Wives.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty. . .

And he answered:

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The weaver of my speech? I am the first one to want to look good during this festive time of holidays, family, friends, food, and all other things Good. My prayer / meditation this year is for my speech, demeanor, and deeds, to be the beauty that is noticed first and foremost.

I love a good beauty product. . . both giving and receiving them. But this year, I want my actions to belie my "beauty."

Merry Christmas, y'all.


The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Friday, December 18, 2009

Xmas Jam Part 2. . . Lip Junkies

I went over-prepared.

If I've learned anything in my years of doing makeup, it's much better to err on that side of caution. I didn't really expect the artists to sit for an airbrush application. But I didn't know, so I lugged it all.

It came down to a few staples: concealer, powder, eyeliner/guyliner, and a fluffy brush. But the most popular, sought-after product was my MAC Lip Conditioner. They came searching me out for this stuff. And for good reason.

MAC's Lip Conditioner (in the white tube) is amazing. It doesn't just sit on top of your lips like a wax-based product. It it's an emollient balm that truly conditions the delicate skin on lips. It contains almond oil, shea butter, avocado extract, wheat germ oil, and vitamins. This good stuff helps seal in moisture to protect lips from the environment. Asheville in December is COLD and chapped lips abound.

OK, so I was "popular" because of my MAC lip conditioner. I can handle that. . . I'm betting that more than a few of these people are converts, though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Did That Just Happen? Xmas Jam '09

My brain is still trying to wrap around this. I waited for so long, and as with "all good things. . ." well, you know the rest. Because there is so much to tell you about, I'm going to keep this first installment short and sweet.

Last weekend I had the great privilege of being involved in an amazing philanthropic event: Warren Haynes' 21st Annual Christmas Jam. I did backstage makeup for the artists who participated in this year's benefit for Habitat for Humanity. Although Warren's name is on this (and because of that it attracts world-class performers), it takes an army of people to make this happen. Big shout out to all the fine folks at Hard Head Management! Phenomenal job. . . you certainly know how to
give back and for that, you are all blessed.

The two artists I'm pictured with are Jackie Greene (currently opening for Gov't Mule) and Mule bassist, Jorgen Carlsson. Please check out their respective websites listed below. Amazing music was made last weekend.

Peace and love,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let's Talk Airbrush. . . MAC Pro Airbrush!!!!

Years ago, when I first heard the term "airbrush" as it relates to makeup, images of supermodels on the covers of all the top fashion magazines came to mind. Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Elle Macpherson on Vogue, Glamour, and Sports Illustrated. "Airbrushing" also carried connotations of a post-photo shoot computer correction of flaws. I never could understand why the supermodels needed to be "airbrushed" in that way.

Today airbrush makeup, riding on the coattails of all the aforementioned, implies the best in makeup for photography. With the advent of digital photography and high definition television and film, this is, in my humble opinion, the best way to apply foundation makeup. I'll save the equipment/tech-talk for another blog, but suffice it to say, MAC's Micronized Airbrush Formula foundation is at once sheer, providing wonderful coverage, and supremely matched to every skin tone. It is applied with an air compressor that disperses the foundation into tiny particles.

I'd like to thank my lovely model/bride Kate for allowing me to use her photos; and I'd also like to send a shout-out to Karen Julian-Smith of Simply Life Photography in Bluffton, SC. Although I'm posting only a few of her photos, I was awestruck by the way she captured the entire airbrush process. Check out her website because the same can be said of all her work!

The first photographs show some unevenness and redness in Kate's skin tone. By the end of the application, redness and pores are minimized, and Kate's overall appearance is even and natural. It's all about making the skin healthy and radiant.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day & MAC Viva Glam

Just another reason I love MAC. . .

The MAC AIDS Fund was established in 1994 by Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, the founders of Makeup Art Cosmetics, to support men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. That same year, VIVA GLAM was introduced to financially support the Fund. To date, over $110 million U.S. has been raised for the MAC AIDS Fund.

The MAC AIDS Fund is dedicated to funding organizations worldwide that provide:
  1. direct care and daily essentials to those affected by HIV/AIDS (nutrition, housing, medical treatment, counseling, transportation)
  2. HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs; advocacy and capacity building
  3. support for the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected people.
MAC and its retail partners donate 100% of the retail selling price of VIVA GLAM Lipsticks and Lipglass and Kids Helping Kids Cards to the MAC AIDS Fund.

Over 600 organizations worldwide have benefitted from funding from the MAC AIDS Fund.

For additional information and updates, please visit

In the meantime, please stop by your local MAC counter and check out the VIVA GLAM holiday lip kits and the Kids Helping Kids Cards.

Oh yeah.. . the kits, lipsticks, and glosses are BRILLIANT. . . great for stocking stuffers, presents, and "just for me" prizes :)