“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

I can. I will. I must. (repeat)  I CAN! I WILL! I MUST! (repeat)

You learned how to Smize in a previous post, smiling with your eyes. It’s an emotional connection that a model makes with the camera lens.

Here, NYC fashion photographer Peter Hurley teaches the art of the “Squinch”, a physical trick that gives the perception that a connection is made. That a model isn’t blankly gazing but is engaging.

Watch, learn and practice. You’ll look cooler in your Instagram photos.

The only thing separating a man from his destiny is himself.

Tyra Banks Smizing

Models work hard to perfect their camera gaze. Photographers often instruct “Give me more.” But what’s more to give?

Tyra Banks coined the phrase “smizing”, when a model smiles with their eyes. Here’s a quick tutorial; now grab a mirror and start practicing.

bad photoshop

I won’t name the retailer using this image on their homepage, but YEEGADS

The most important advice for clients is this: 

If you’re spending all that money on a photoshoot, make sure you spend as generously on the post-production.

A lot can be done in post-production Photoshop to save an image if the color is off, the lighting went wrong, or the clothes are wrinkled. A good retoucher with retail experience knows how far to take an image while maintaining the integrity. But there are bad retouchers who can destroy all the hard work that goes into a shoot with a few clicks. 

As seen here:

Lady In Red is sitting… on thin air. They removed her stool.

There must’ve been a shadow to the left. It’s blue, white, and ghostly. WTH?

Lady In Blue has a pointed shoulder blade and abnormal waist. Somebody went all Barbie on her.

We won’t even discuss Lady In Red’s expression. Caught at the wrong moment by the camera… Really, there wasn’t a better shot to choose from?

Every model’s nightmare. How did this get approved??? Epic Fail!

Photo Credit: Eroteme.co.uk  celebrity social network pictures

Photo Credit: Eroteme.co.uk celebrity social network pictures

As I dragged myself out of bed this morning I felt pretty accomplished, mentally listing my tasks for the day (morning production meeting for client website updates, confirm details of upcoming photoshoot with agent, afternoon casting at Hearst Magazines, prepare for tech client meeting on Friday, send pitch deck to prospective investors, stop by UPS, buy shrimp for dinner...).

I pulled up my usual NYPost.com Page Six news and grabbed a double espresso… And there it was *smack*! A photo of Gisele, Supermodel Mom in hair and makeup being prepped for a photoshoot while breast feeding her daughter. Cue ego deflation.

In a world where Moms write satirical blogs like “People I Want To Punch In The Throat” there was surely exasperation at breakfast tables everywhere. Moms already have a lot on their plates running their household and putting elves on shelves. Do they really need to see an apparently-staged photo like this that makes them feel inferior, like they should be parenting in a ball gown? 

I’d feel the same frustration if I hadn’t met Gisele. She’s the real deal.

It’s hard to feel hatred and jealousy when you know someone is successful as a result of hard work. When I modeled with Gisele in the Louis Vuitton campaign this scene was real. After her routine 5am meditation she attended to her newborn and reported to set for an 8am call time, newborn in tow. She was vibrant. Outgoing. The brightest light in the room.

There was no personal assistant. There was no entourage, just a quiet family nanny who only took baby Vivian Lake from her mama to allow the styling team space to prep their model for the day’s shoot. There were no special riders to her contract or diva attitudes. Gisele was as kind to the caterer as she was to Steven Meisel and Marc Jacobs. She was as grounded as any yogi mom I’ve ever met.

Careful not to exploit her children on social media, I’ve noticed that Gisele’s Instagram contains only carefully-obstructed photos of her family moments. That’s good parenting. While she’s working she’s making travel arrangements for her family, making sure they travel together and aren’t victims of success. She’s juggling kids, husband, supermodeldom and – did you know this? – the businesses she’s invested in. Yes, this #SuperModelMom also owns legit businesses like Unreal Candy. She took the time to make a healthy-alternative candy for the rest of us, including your children. Side note: the Peanut Butter Cups are ammmmazing, and I obsessed over them without knowing she created them.

The saying goes “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” Don’t hate success, either.

My point to this story: Women come in all shapes and abilities, and we juggle the responsibilities of the life path we’ve forged. It’s never easy, just different. Some of us have taken on more than others, and we need to celebrate those women that are boldly setting a successful SuperMom standard. 

What do I see in this photo, really? I see a mom in her bathrobe, caring for her child while juggling her job. Just like everyone else.

 

Modern Mom tweet

It’s as if Raybans have a 5-on/10-off fashion lifecycle… a half decade hot, then a decade not. Late 80’s yes, but in the late 90’s they felt outdated. 

Guess they’re back in fashion, cuz a model friend was wearing this pair that conveniently folded down to fit in her tiny pocket. I borrowed, I posed, and I must have a pair!

From an angle, this frame shape looks good on everyone.

Model Tip: turning your head at a slight angle to the camera is more forgiving than shooting straight-on.

Paula Patrice Raybans

“Use whatever tools you have to create something you are proud of and get the job done.”  –  Tim Gunn

Truth:
When I model on location and know there won’t be anywhere open that early to get coffee before the photoshoot…
I pack a little container of fresh coffee grounds to sniff when I wake up.

mmm chipsServe yourself as you’d serve a guest. You deserve better than eating out of a bag, and it’s an elegant way to practice portion control.

 My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on. – Forrest Gump

In “The Devil Wears Prada“, one of my favorite movie scenes ever gives truthful insight into the “creative flow” of trends. It’s harsh, but true.

Meryl Streep (loosely based on Anna Wintour) ends her rant with “…then trickled on down to some Casual Corner where you no doubt fished it out of a clearance bin…”

Ummm what’s wrong with Casual Corner? HA

There’s an unspoken-about gap between high fashion and consumer fashion, as if high fashion wants to pretend that it could exist without consumerism, but it couldn’t, at least not in the economic materialism sense. There is no superior value to a $4000 limited-edition designer coat than a $300 private-label department store coat, provided both are made of quality materials that will keep the wearer warm.

The material value is set by our individual values: softness, uniqueness in the market, innovation of design. The more unique an item is, the less it will sell to the masses, which means a designer needs to mark up the price to maintain a high profit margin and stay in business, since they won’t be selling high volume. The craftsmanship of these garments meets the standards of certain consumers’ values, thereby validating the price, at least in their minds. They want to acquire something people don’t have yet and they’re willing to pay for that item that “controls” the market.

The trickle down effect is that the unique item, now quantified by sales in the marketplace, will be copied, though in a generic style, to be sold to the masses. And therein lies the symbiosis.

If you’re interested in modeling, fashion, styling, magazines, Vogue, and/or runway GET THIS MOVIE for its educational value!!!

 

Don’t live in self-loathing for the things you have’t accomplished. Celebrate the daily hurdles that you surmount.
I’m not one to get involved in the plus size – straight size debate. My mantra is Live Healthy In Mind, Body and Spirit, and I was fortunate to be bestowed with that knowledge at a youthful age so that I haven’t needed to diet, deprive myself or use Spanx to squeeze into a size 6. I do believe in positive body image and Ashley Graham radiates positivity from every pore of her glowing skin. Selected as the Model of the Year at Full Figured Fashion Week, she gives a few pointers and insights here that can help you put your best stiletto forward – no matter your size. In this special episode of Marie Claire’s Big Girl in a Skinny World, Marcy Guevara interviews Ford Model Ashley Graham on the set of a Lane Bryant photo shoot.