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Oh my gosh, I have been working 16 hour days, 4 days in a row! Whoever said owning your own business meant you could have a flexible schedule, was delirious.  And no, I don’t usually work this much.  But it is the last push.  There are 11 days left until my Exhibition.

 

This year is a unique year for me because I set bigger goals.  So, I gave myself 6 weeks to schedule and put together my very first private exhibition.  As you know I’m a portrait photographer because working with people fulfills my extroverted side.  I keep my personal travel work on the down low because I chose to specialize in portrait work many years ago.  Slowly though, I’ve been adding to my personal portrait collection of exotic locations.

 

While figuring out new ways to keep my work fresh and stay connected with my tribe, I decided to create a special event, where I could display all those special places that have allowed me to unwind and recharge my creative juices. I spent this week pulling out images from the glorious sinking city of Venice, Italy.  I printed a huge piece that I took when we climbed the top of the Napali Coast on the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii.  The waters glistened as we retreated up the paths in the heat of lush mountains.  We were also fortunate enough to have dinner and watch a dance performance by Maiko-san in Kyoto,Japan.  Did you know that there are only 65 maiko-san left in the world?

 

As an artist with a business I can say that I definitely have been up against many challenges.  Some because I am a woman, some because I am a mother, some because of my own limitations and others because I am human and all of us go through life with something.  I don’t know what yours are and you don’t really need to know what mine are.  Not that I don’t want to know because if you know me well, you know that we really get to know each other during these sessions and sometimes that means really deep conversations.  But, it’s not the details of the obstacles rather the reactions and game plans that we have as humans.  It’s what we do when things get hard.  I love that we have the ability to claim our strength and lean in with extra grit.  Do we let challenges defeat us? Claim us? Keep us in the dark or in the past?  Doing this work has allowed me to work through life and appreciate these beautiful relationships I have created with people.  As for work…I have been busier than ever.  Hopefully soon I will get to the point where I can hire out some of the things that I’m not that great at so I can do more of what I love like being behind the camera.

 

Behind the scenes we have redone wood flooring and painted over these last 3 weeks and  technically, we are still not done.  It brings a smile to my face to think of all the hard work that goes into getting things done.  I’m excited and even a little scared.  As a former perfectionist, part of me wants to critique every single detail of light on each portrait wanting every shot to be perfect and there is something good in expecting to exceed.  But there is also another side to it, exposing raw earth and life as it is in its imperfection is also a demonstration of beauty.  Sharing vulnerability is a beautiful thing.  I’m putting myself out there and I’m so excited to share this with my friends and neighbors.  Send good thoughts my way.

 

Take Care,

 

Alicia Vazquez

 

We are bombarded with imagery and information overload.  While from the outside it may seem that our world is more connected with social media, we find that we are increasing our screen time.  What if we knew the stories, the struggles the triumphs behind the faces?  What if we were able to share our most intimate fears and lessons to connect one another?  There is more than just a pretty face.

I think that women have this amazing power that most of us don’t talk about.  We go about our day-to-day lives and we don’t need to boast about our accomplishments.  I swear I think we are capable of having this power beyond what is normal.  I don’t think we get enough credit either from others or from ourselves.  What I find is that most women are so busy taking care of others and trying to accomplish goals that we forget about taking care of ourselves.  It becomes a battle to buy out the time for self-care.

So far I have interviewed some very amazing women.  I’m so proud that I have the opportunity to do so.  Feel free to follow the stories over the next few weeks.  I did a call for women ages 21 – 50 from all walks of life to take part in this project.  Prepare to be inspired.milkbath-5677

 

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My yellow walls…ouch.

Okay, so if you know me you know that we just bought our house.  It’s the perfect size.  Not too big not too small and just perfect for my office up front and a little shooting space.  What I love about it is that it has all the big windows so the light can come in, just like I wanted.  It has this buttery yellow color that makes it feel airy and sunny.  Lord knows we need days like that in Oregon.    I have to paint it but it’s a huge project with vaulted ceilings which I do need to hire someone for. I’ve been inspired by those charcoal grey moody vibes lately.  I’m thinking grey and blue but you just can’t decorate the whole house at once. So it’s on hold for now.

 

Of course none of the previous frames work with the new layout or decor. Someone suggested to uh…” just change the frames.”  Nope doesn’t work that way!  This calls for photo-shoots and a little bribing:-)  The first up was my youngest baby boy who is 9, sushi is his weak spot.  A photo-shoot in exchange for sushi worked like a charm.  I have some beautiful images of my son and even though he doesn’t know the value of these now, he will when he’s old.

 

Bottom line, don’t judge…..the image I decided to enlarge is against this gorgeous fuchsia bush.  It totally clashes with my butter yellow walls.  But, I’m in love with Romans gorgeous smile.  I knew it was a perfect shot for a metal print.  I did it in a 24×36 which is typically large for a close up.  The ceilings are pretty high, so I think it works!  For now, I do have a funky wall art combination but I’m cool with that!  My walls were in dire need of a little life!  I mean seriously how could I be a portrait photographer with no wall art? As for my color combination,  I’m a photographer not a painter:-)

 

Thanks for reading

Your friend

Alicia

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have had our share of change since we founded Ravishing Photography in 2008.  We cringe when people say that failure is an option.  But I am excited to announce that we are introducing the rebranding  logo for Ravishing Photography.  This logo is being used for all of our portraiture, high school senior portraits, family portraits, engagement sessions and weddings.

 

The goal with our previous design was to create a logo that would be recognized around the community.  Something that would look good on various platforms.  Somethings not too masculine or feminine that could be used on any image neutrally.   But we did find that the gold triangle  was not very direct.  We began to notice  a trend of gold logos with other photographers.  While, all of our products, promotional materials including the office decor seemed to tie in with our previous logo, we felt we needed a change. You know we like to carve our own path, the less traveled road.

 

We wanted to find something more clear and concise.  That not only named our company but also incorporated my personal signature.  A logo that would look classic and beautiful on any image.  So we went for a clean classic design.  Making sure that it wouldn’t be an eye sore or the corner of an image mattered. So we present you with our new classic logo. We feel that it does suit the entire custom experience. What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts?

 

As for our gold triangle logo, we have decided not to retire the logo.  Still love the clean minimalistic design. Drum roll….announcement teaser number two. We are still in the development phase, but we are hoping to implement it on our new corporate division.  As you many know that we do provide corporate head shots and environmental portraiture.  We are adding a new division or sister business with additional services along with the corporate images.  Wha laa! It’s going to be good!  It has been in the works for almost a year or so and we are pretty close to the reveal.  You can look forward to those updates when they are all finalized.  Yes, you will be getting the low down with links if any of you have businesses.

 

Until then my friends, work hard, expect the unexpected, be kind, roll with the punches, create your own path, compete against yourself, improve yourself and don’t forget to live a little.

 

Thanks,

Alicia Vazquez

Family portraits custom framingSo, what’s the big deal with custom framing versus big box store ready-made frames? When doing research, I had to ask this question to a custom framer. “Why is custom framing so expensive?!” I just about dropped dead when I heard the prices.  Here is what I found.  The difference between cheap ready-made frames and custom frames, boils down to one single factor, PURPOSE. One is made to last and one is made to temporarily display.

 

The reason custom framing is more valuable is because it is made to preserve the photographic artwork.  You will notice that all materials used are well thought out from beginning to end.   The matting and backing are acid free archival materials as well .  Why use acid free paper and backing?  Because they are made to last more than 100 years.

 

There is no denying that you can get some stunning custom framing designs. You can find them in artisan carved and stained woods, beautiful veneers, intricate designs, metal and resins. They just look stunning.  These are statement pieces that will have you oohing and ahhing.  You will love coming home that’s for sure.

 

Whereas a ready-made frame uses inferior materials for temporary display purposes.  It’s purpose is not to preserve the art which in turn exposes it to premature deterioration.  As for the designs they are usually pretty basic.  You can tell most materials used are cheaper plastics versus wood.  Not to say that you cannot find inexpensive wood ready made frames but in general most are cheaply made.  You will find regular cardboard or other acidic materials used  for the backing, as well as glues that can damage your prints.  These chemicals can make your pictures turn yellow and cause discolorations.

 

Take for instance the warping Mona Lisa.  Experts with the national geographic say, “it’s nothing to smile about.”  In the article on www.nationalgeographic.com  by Stefan Logren…This is what he had to say,”it’s deterioration has aroused some worry.  Nobody wants to touch it.  It is an extraordinary rich portrait.”  Another influential art professor from Columbia University David Rosand explains a photograph this way….”This is what portraiture is about…an effort to stop time.  The beauty of that face will last forever, but in life it will not.”

 

Curators have enclosed the Mona Lisa behind a thick glass to guard against changes in climate temperature.  This brings us to another topic glass.  The natural elements  such as light even a fraction of direct sunlight can begin to affect images.

 

The upside with ready-made frames is that they are a good cheap alternative for maybe an expo when you need to display lots of art temporarily.  I did find it handy to buy a whole bunch of box store ready-made frames for an exhibition a few years ago.  It was nice to find a few frames with a whole bunch of detail and the borders were thick.  They were great as long as nobody touched them because they would figure out they were really plastic.  My little secret:-) The real drawback was getting my  prints into these standard frames.  Even when my prints and frames were supposed to be the same size the ready-made frames where inconsistent with their sizes. Fitting the my prints in was a hassle and it caused my pictures to buckle.  I  had to reprint a few of the images because you could see the lumps in the image due to the inconsistency in the frames.

 

This had me convinced to make the switch for displaying my personal family images as well as my clients/friends and upgrade to durable materials.  This last year I began to have a minimalistic approach to my life.  I kept only the things that I love around.  So, I figured if I’m going to only have less things, why not make sure they are well made.

 

If you are the type of person that has hired a professional photographer to take images of your family, you know the value hiring the right person and the value of capturing your family portrait in this given time.The fact that you know that these moments the photographer captures are invaluable makes sense that you would want to protect your investment by displaying it in a frame worthy of it’s contents.

Family Portrait Photographer Sherwood Oregon Photographer Tigard Washington Photography 2014-11-28

So, the bottom line is a custom frame looks way better.  It is made from high quality materials and is made to protect your beautiful family portraits for years to come.

 

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Hello momma!  If you are like most moms…..you would love to see your child’s beautiful smile and eyes looking straight at the camera.  Perfect! Right? Well, those shots are must haves but not all pictures necessarily need to be with that pose.  Here’s a few tips and tricks that you can do to guarantee to help get the results and expressions you will treasure forever.  Whether we talking about photographing toddlers or high school seniors, these tips will help you get that authentic smile.

 

Secret number 1, choose a few items that they love and bring those to the session.  If you have a toddler you can bring a few of his or her favorite toys and, “Let him/her choose which one he/she prefers to play with.”  If we are talking about photographing a teenagers, you can bring along some of their favorite hobby supplies, musical instruments or sports equipment.  It does a few things, it helps him/her to have something special that they are familiar with.  It helps ease into the session and gives them something else to focus on, other than the fact that someone is taking their picture. Most importantly it gives them a choice with either or and that makes them feel somewhat independent.

 

Secret number 2, stay close enough to keep them comfortable. This is great especially with younger kids but also with teenagers because they may take 15-20 minutes just to warm up to the photographer. I  like to acknowledge the kids right away by paying attention to them with a nice warm smile and a little small talk.  In this case when I work with children I want them to relax as soon as possible and feel important because they are! Their feelings are super important because we want to get images that really do capture who they genuinely are in an unguarded way.

I love all of the joy and personality in this portrait

I love all of the joy and personality in this portrait

Secret number three…stay far enough away from them so that they do not see your stress. Wait a minute! Doesn’t that contradict secret number two? Nope, they work hand in hand.  You see..sometimes  some moms might want that picture portrait smile on every single picture and they expect that look to happen during the  entire session.  When they realize that their child is not smiling or looking at the camera for every single picture, they start to stress out. Nobody wants that.  This is supposed to be fun! They might even begin saying things like, SMILE, LOOK AT THE CAMERA, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, WHY ARE YOU MAKING THAT FACE?DON’T DO THAT, without even realizing. Get the picture? Those words might..stress out your child, stress you out and your photographer. Young kids and teens will pick up on that and it will have a negative effect on your images. So, If you find yourself stressing out step back a little and let your amazing photographer handle it. There is a fine balance though momma because you are also an important part of this whole process! When it comes down to it, there is nothing like momma, especially with the toddlers.  You know your child.  If you are just a tad bit behind the photographer and call out to your child to engage that seems to work well too.  We are on the same team.

 

#4  Just know that sometimes when it seems as if nothing is happening good images might still be brewing in the making.  Does that make sense?  In order for to get those big beautiful smiles and genuine laughs, you have to have those in between moments when not much is going on.  Just like this image.  I love it and she’s not looking at the camera, but its adorable.

Portland and sherwood family photographer

Portrait photographers are mostly creative extroverted people who love to work with people and find the human spirit intriguing. I can’t speak for every photographer because we all come with different personalities and photographic styles but I think I can safely say that a successful profitable professional portrait photographer has realized that they love to work with people just like an  introverted creative landscape photographer might realize that they prefer to work alone without interacting with anyone in a remote location at the crack of sunrise doing landscape portraits.  I say this because…secret number 5 lends its self to trust.  When it comes to having your kids picture taken, just know that your portrait photographer will know a few little tricks to get genuine expression.  When I notice that my subject is stressed about having their picture taken I put down my camera and make direct eye contact and just talk to them.  A little smile goes a long way to put them at ease.  If I notice that a pose is uncomfortable, I put down my camera, take a moment to find a comfortable natural position for them and that seems to redirect the session in a positive way.

 

So, bring a few things they like, give them choices, give them smiles lots of love, be at ease and pray for no rain! You know that last one is just a bonus for Oregonians. Also, when you are ready to document those amazing family moments by a pro give me a buzz.

 

 

Your friend and family portrait photographer

Alicia

XOXO

accessorizing your photo shoot for guys.

I love when guys bring accessories and if there is ever a moment to bring them it’s during your photo-shoot.  Just remember when you choose your accessories they should just be an extension of you.  You should feel awesome in them!  I don’t know how many times I have seen young senior girls wear a big floppy hat and it looks like a much much older person in a different era dressed them.  Please don’t let anyone convince you to wear something uncomfortable.  You want to look your age, in your element and authentic to your personal style.

 

Shades are awesome! Plus, they give you something cool to do with your hands.  Again, this is a personal choice.  If you can rock the round mirrored glasses, have at it!  Or if you can pull off the sheriff glasses go for it!  As long as it’s a pair you actually wear during the summer time. You know what looks good on you.  You can feel it the second you slide the pair on.

 

Watches also bring another element to the image.  If you are the type to sport a shiny gold watch or rugged leather watch, bring it on!

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Hats are another very personal item. I have shot a few senior portrait sessions with few hat fans.  I photographed this young man who worked out in the country after school.  He rode at the rodeo on weekends.  Having his cowboy hat described who he was.  I guarantee you, he wore that hat aside from the photo-shoot.  It was authentic to him.  Not everyone is a hat person.  Bring what you can pull off.

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I didn’t realize bracelets were a thing with the guys but…duh…I guess my hubby and boys have been into them for a long time.  They wear them on a regular basis.

This kid pictured has his own personal style! I love this hipster look. It’s also obvious that he loves what he’s wearing and is having a good time out in Portland. Be yourself! Be authentic and have fun doing that!

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strong portrait outdoor Life has an array of experiences, tragedies and triumphs.  As we all move forward in our own personal journey, we find one thing in common.  We all bleed the same.  We have the ability to love.  We suffer loss.  We experience joy.  Some of the things we deal with, we have no choice but to deal with.  While the human spirit can be broken it also has the ability to rise with courage and endurance.  While we can’t change the cards we are dealt, we can choose to not be defeated.  We can choose to move forward.

 

The face of courage portrait project is a personal enrichment project.  While we were born with an innate sense of survival, we also have had to learn how to build up our endurance.  It’s not natural to deal with tragedy. I have faith in the human spirit.  I know that we have the ability to rise and show strength and courage. I’m searching for people ages 16-35 who have learned to endure through personal tragedy.  People who have become stronger by doing the right thing and making the right choices.  I’m not searching for tragedy, I’m searching for triumph.

 

If we stick together as a human race we can encourage one another.  When we share our knowledge and stories of courage, we just might be able to help one another move forward.  We just might inspire others to keep trying, to keep hoping and be strong.

 

What it involves…if you are someone or know someone who has learned how to find the joy and power by displaying courage, you can apply with the link at the end of this post.  I will be selecting a few people for an inspiring interview and complimentary portrait session.  I will be selecting one story to be featured on my website and Instagram. Selected participants will receive one print as a thank you for participation.

 

 

To get started apply here.https://ravishing.typeform.com/to/bhYdB8

 

 

studio office reveal rashing photography sherwood oregon based-12

Hello friends,

 

I have been quietly working on my new exclusive creative office.  I needed a new project that would provide an escape for me a place where I could work in the zone on retouching as well as  meet with clients.  It has been a dream of mine for a while.  While I’m not completely done, I thought I would share my process with you. There really is never the perfect time so why wait? Join me in the process.

 

I wanted to play up on some of the classic vintage inspired velvet tufted furniture pieces. I’m loving the style and suits my business branding well. I didn’t have the luxury of hiring an interior decorator but I think I got this down.

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How could I not pull inspiration from Pinterest? I created a board to  planned out the décor as reference guides. So, far I have painted the walls two shades of grey. It’s where I discovered the beautiful sexy grey walls. Since the office is 10×11, I did have to limit the dark grey accent wall to one wall, which is my focal point. I chose to use two tripod lamps white a white shade to complement the charcoal grey wall and add a little drama. I felt that using standing lamps versus two side tables would keep the space airy and not so crowded. They are of kind of cool in the evening giving off that moody and relaxing feel. The light grey walls remind me of the Portland Art Museum. I haven’t seen anyone use these colors and now all of a sudden my teenagers and their friends think it’s the coolest color ever.

high school senior private portrait studio sherwood oregon-15-3The focal point wall is where I placed my beautiful grey tufted chesterfield loveseat. I seriously feel that it must be the firmest loveseat in America. LOL! Aside from portraits I guess we are snapping that posture into place. I love the look period. Above the loveseat I just wanted one solid contrasting beautiful frame.  I’ve had this print forever but soon I will be using it to showcase my work.

studio office portraits sherwood-14 You know I was leaning toward a pink couch but was convinced out of it. When low and behold I came across a beautiful tufted pink velvet classic chair. It was to die for. To my surprise it is hubby approved. I had to bring in life with a pretty plant. I chose this snake plant since it has volume but grows upright and saves space. As for the tables I went for two gold round nesting tables with a mirrored top. Again the mirror bounces a little extra light, adds dimension and visually extends the space. I love that you can stack them on top of one another or move them around to place albums as needed.  I chose a tall standing mirror to extend the space visually as well.

studio portrait office Sherwood OR Alicia Vazquez Headshot photographer-14

I did choose to store my files and camera gear in another location to keep it clutter free to focus on work and creativity. Not to worry though, it is still easy access.

 

I wanted the décor to inspire creativity. A tranquil space that would put you at ease, something vintage and ultra stylish. A place where I could also pour you a drink or enjoy a cup of coffee as we get to know each other.  I have had my share of meetings with clients at coffee shops, which can have some upbeat vibes. However, I really wanted to elevate the client portrait experience by having a professional dedicated space. It allows me to offer a truly personalized experience and service.

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I feel that in order to capture an image of a person and really discover who they are, I kinda have to get to know my clients. Just like you need to get to know me and understand what how I work. The space allows you to get past the initial phase of being photographed by someone you don’t know. The first few minutes of having your picture taken is just plain awkward.  I think that is the case for most human beings. So, you can see how a comfortable private office space where we can chat,  plan the session, go over wardrobe, products, is crucial to putting you at ease with the whole process and getting good authentic photographic results.

 

Overall this project has been inspiring and given me much to look forward to. I hope that it does the same for you.

 

There are so many things I am working on in the next phase like replacing the flooring with a dark wood. I will be adding trim details to the walls. Of course,  displaying fresh artwork is on the agenda. I will be finalizing the office with window treatments.

 

The final goal is converting the garage into a backup studio space. I’m looking forward to that. I have a few moveable walls planned. Again, I do love working with my clients in the natural outdoors. But, I want  the flexibility and option open to have my own studio space for a rainy day. Stay tuned for the new lighting techniques we will be implementing for that Vogue magazine look. Yes! A high-end magazine style portrait for everyday people. Why not?!!?

 

I want you to know that you are getting a first class session from beginning to end.  When you leave my office you will walk away with beautiful artisan luxury products that will be in your family for many years to come.

eliana-newberg-high-school-senior-portraits-6576So…what is a High School Senior Model Rep?  Each year we select a few outstanding students from the Sherwood & Portland Metro Area high schools to represent Ravishing Photography.

What type of students are you looking for? Honestly, we like to work with good positive people.  If you have a zest for life and are adventurous, it just might work!  We love bubbly personalities.  Don’t shy away if you are a cool calm and collective person, we like that too. Most importantly we like to work with authentic people that we can trust and make amazing art with! If you inspire others we would love to hear from you!

Do I have to fit the tall & thin standard model profile? Of course not! Our models are real people who come in a variety of lovely shapes and sizes.  Beauty is skin deep and we love to embrace that!  We do not have any height or weight requirements.

What are the perks?  It’s pretty cool because senior reps get a few perks that are only reserved for high school reps like…extra bonus complimentary photo sessions which equal more looks. Instead of the usual 2 hour session you get bumped up to an additional complimentary session for a total of 4 hours to be used on two separate occasions. Complimentary hair and make-up with each session.  Depending on what time of year you are approved, the session may be a summer session and spring or fall/spring.  When you refer friends over they get extra bonus perks off of their session too.  Most importantly when you refer people over you get a chance to earn gift cards from your choice of Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Hollister, Mac, Sephora, Tilly’s,  Parents love it because you do get an exclusive 25% discount off all print products. Our reps get a minimum of $400 worth of savings.
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