Love month equals love yourself

Hello ladies! 

In February we celebrated love by partnering with TheBarreCode as the main sponsor of their Chicago #BarreCodeLove Instagram campaign. I was introduced their Chicago staff by a common friend and it became instantly evident that we shared the same passion for meeting women where they are, empowering them to be their best self, and celebrating their bodies and personalities. 

This was the 3rd year for the #BarreCodeLove campaign. As their staff explains, #BarreCodeLove means loving your body and sharing the love. From February 12th to 18th, they urged their customers to use the ILIA Beauty lipsticks at every studio to draw a lipstick heart on a part of their body that they love {OR one that needed a little extra affection}, than take a photo, and share their story on Instagram. 

Reading all these women's stories was fabulous and inspiring! A winner was selected and she's been awarded a mini fitness photoshoot with Womanly at TheBarreCode Lakeview location. All other participants received a coupon to be used towards any of our experiences.

Our photoshoot is scheduled for next week, so stay tuned for some fabulous behind-the-scenes fun! In the meantime, keep cultivating the love for yourself, not just during the month of Love :)

Lots of cherries to you!

-Elizabeth

Welcome to Ari's shoot!

Curious to see what a Womanly photoshoot looks like? This video - filmed and produced by the uber-talended Jackie Schroeder - takes you behind the scenes of Ari's special day, with some magical moments, shared feelings and a few words from Ari, Zachera and I :)

Lots of cherries to you!

-Elizabeth

Let's dream together...some styling ideas

Hello beautiful souls!

My blog is back!!! The last month and a half was overwhelmingly filled with events, and perhaps the most important one was opening the Womanly studio. It took lots of energy and love and so many other things went to the back burner...including writing on my blog...uuuupsie! This week was so regenerative for me and I decided to celebrate it with a new post!

I have dreams of being photographed too, and this is a quick video where I dance it off on the runway...I tried on some of my favorite pieces of clothing and had a blast - it's a mix of me time, silly time, dancing it off time - and now I'm dreaming of a self-portrait shoot!

I hope you'll have fun watching it and that it'll inspire you to take some time and dance it off on the runway too ;)

PS: remember that blog post of mine where I talked about preparing for your shoot? This video ties back to that post and gives you some ideas for a varied wardrobe - different necklines, dresses and pants, lengths of skirts, colors and patterns, etc. :)

 

 

Happy Friday and lots of cherries to you!

-Elizabeth

Sneak peek: Jenna

Hello everyone!

Today I'm taking you to Santa Monica, CA! That beach is in my top 5 list of favorite places on the planet. I didn't know that a couple of blocks from the ocean there were be such colorful alleys with the perfect sunlight?!?! Shooting on location is always an adventure - I love scouting the area beforehand, looking for interesting corners, quiet streets, fun backgrounds - and Jenna and Sonny (my LA assistant) embraced it fully! Among the occasional car-passing breaks, cold water waves sneaking up on us, and "let's wait for the wind to make your hair fly" moments, we were able to build a folio that captures Jenna's personality and natural, soft beauty. And most importantly, we had a blast! I'm already dreaming of Chicago's summery beach photoshoots!!!

I met Jenna last year while we both worked for the wonderful Boka Restaurant Group in Chicago's West Loop. The occasional chat between a table and another, made me appreciate her unique sense of humor and laughter. A few drinks after work, made me get to know her better - her love for acting, how easily she gets absorbed into books, and we sealed our connection as we shared our life doubts, desires, and thoughts, and of course, love stories. I'm so honored I had the chance to photograph her in this new phase of her life: her recent move to her Cali-homeland, going to grad school in a few months, and new life realizations.

Here's a glimpse of her folio...

Happy weekend and lots of cherries to you!

-Elizabeth Porporato

How to look your best in a shoot...It's about these 3 factors!

Hello everyone! 

I recently photographed Genevieve; her blue eyes, magical hair, and natural elegance and grace really came through in her portraits folio. She's one of my best friends, and seeing her open up in front of my camera and knowing how much she loves her photos makes me so happy!!! I believe she said it best in the review she wrote....we're human beings, we have natural anxiety surrounding anything too vulnerable, aka being photographed. There are a lot of expectations before the shoot, we have all had previous experiences - good or less good - and we are often critical of our image. Moreover, we have no idea of what the photographer sees through her camera and there are a million questions that go through our mind during that time - am I moving correctly? should I kick my booty out more? I think my arm looks so fat in this position! is this my best side? should I tell her how I feel? can she sense how I feel? do I need to smile more? oh gosh...now I think my smile looks fake!!!

The bottom line is: it's a vulnerable experience. When we're being photographed we're asked to open up, to be ourselves, and we all want to look our best. This is why - as a photographer - I focus on these three factors:

  1. it's about you as a person: listening is key. There's no way you're going to feel comfortable if I come in with my own vision of how to photograph you and pay no attention to what you desire, your concerns, your personality, what makes your heart jump, etc. And where's the fun if I don't get to know you? Who am I photographing? You are a woman with her own unique, fabulous baggage. Meeting up with you for a pre-shoot consultation is where we dive into getting to know you and you to know me! Listening to you brings your soul into your photos. The ice is broken, and now we can ease in the day of the shoot as two women that understand each other and can't wait to spend a day together!
  2. the coaching flow: those million self-doubts pop into our heads when we freestyle. We're not supermodels, so we don't know how to pose - that's why freestyling doesn't work. My job is to coach you in every movement so that you look your best through my lens. Connecting your chin to your shoulder, shaping your body, pushing that booty out, smiling through your eyes, moving your hands - it's all micro-movements that might look awkward when seeing from far away (but nobody's watching!) but enhance your figure through the lens.
  3. having fun, feeling great: toasting, makeup and hair, lots of conversations, taking the day off from everything else and getting pampered, starring in your own shoot, dancing it off, what's better than that?!? We deserve it all!

Here's the behind the scenes of Genevieve's shoot...

With those three factors checked off, I am proud of what I do. I know that my clients lived the experience they deserve....and I assure you, there's no doubt that all of them look their best! 

...here's a glimpse of Genevieve's folio...

Happy weekend! Lots of cherries to you!

- Elizabeth Porporato 

Reviews that make my day :)

Hello everyone! It's Friday! Beautiful day here in California. It's the last day before I head to vacation and then back to Chicago. The sky is blue and with my feet up in the air kissed by the sun I'm typing this piece away... :)

These two fabulous women, Taylor and Mita, shared what their Womanly experience meant for them. Every time I read their reviews I find myself smiling! Cheers to the power of seeing our true selves in our photos!

Happy weekend and lots of cherries to you!

-Elizabeth Porporato

Makeup tips for every eye shape

Happy Friday everyone!

Today Zachera and I talk about the best makeup guidelines for every eye shape. We focus on enhancing a woman's natural beauty, where to start depending on the shape of your eyes, and the fact that whatever look you want to achieve there's a way to get there!

Enjoy and leave a comment with your own experience if you feel like sharing :)

Lots of cherries to you!

 

How do you dream of being photographed?

A shoot with us is a celebration of who you are and how you want to see yourself! Let us help you prepare for it so that you can fully enjoy the experience. We firmly believe in being excited for it - before, during, and after! And no worries...if you're nervous you're doing it right ;)

Let's start from the beginning - how have you always dreamed of being photographed? Do you see yourself in a big and fluffy, princess-like gown? In a elegant bodycon dress? Is jeans and t-shirt your favorite style? Do you love the roaring 20s and want the style of Daisy Buchanan for a day? How about those chic black&white Grace Kelly's portraits with bold, dark lips? We love 70s high-waisted pants with a tucked in shirt, don't you? Maybe an uncomplicated, fresh, summer, boho look? Do you have lots of tattoos and want to showcase them? You love lingerie and can't wait to look at those sexy photos of yours? Did you book your shoot as a boudoir folio gift for your fiance'? Don't forget to bring your wedding gown with you! Do you prefer a romantic, glamours, natural, pin-up, casual, nude, lots of accessories, vibrant, artsy style? Have you been dreaming of revamping those professional profile photos of yours? Is your health and fitness love that you want to highlight? During our videocall or coffee date we go over all of this, and figure out exactly what you desire.

If you booked a portrait shoot with us we recommend to bring 5-6 outfits. And we do start all our boudoir shoots with a few portraits, so we ask you to bring 2 fully-clothed outfits. When it comes to clothing, variety means fun! So ask us and your friends for suggestions, make it a day out and go shopping, borrow something from your friend/sister/mom/daughter! Let's mix it up: different colors, cuts, necklines, patterns, smooth silk vs lace lingerie... 

And now to shoes! If you're like me...let's say that loving them is an understatement! We have lots of ideas on how to showcase your favorite accessories. We often shoot our clients barefoot too, it's comfortable and it looks really natural and beautiful! So don't forget to get a mani&pedi ;)

And since we're talking about accessories, let's discuss jewelries, scarves, hats, headbands...if you love them, why not having a photo or two with them? They often have a memory attached and they are great to make any outfit instantly vibrant. For every shoot, we have flowers - they look so gorgeous in beauty shots!

We included here a few photos from our portfolio as inspiration starting points, check them out and let your creativity free!

PS: we haven't forgotten about makeup and hair! Zachera's working hard to put together her top tips - stay tuned for our next blog post!

Have a great weekend!

Lots of cherries to you -Elizabeth

Sneak peek: Kaelyn

We had the honor of getting to know Kaelyn a couple of months ago. She's a reserved and confident young woman. We had the feeling that throughout the photoshoot she explored her sense of self and evolved in her maturity. She relaxed in front of the camera, in a quiet, powerful way. It was a beautiful evolution to witness. The result is a folio of soft, sensual images that portrait her, at this time in her life.

She had planned her boudoir shoot as a gift for her fiance' on their wedding day, later this summer. And when she came in, surprised us with "we eloped! I'm married already!". Her wedding celebration is still planned for a few months down the road, and her now husband will receive a precious wedding gift. Here's a sneak peek of what he'll see...

Happy weekend! Lots of cherries to you,

- Elizabeth

Italy! Elizabeth's home...family love, food and wine

Hello everyone!

We're starting today a new post series. We're super excited because it's about our travels! We want you to get to know us, not just through our photos and philosophy, but through our experiences too. All members of the Womanly team LOVE traveling, so here we are - today is my (Elizabeth) turn!

I'm from Italy...as we say in my home valley, both my ears are Italian ;) I've been living in the U.S. for almost eight years and I get the luxury to visit my family back home (or one of my homes, as I like to say!) twice a year. I came back last week after two weeks of love, food and wine feast! I'm still a little jet legged I guess, it's not really me waking up at 8:30am and jumping out of bed ready to stretch!

My hometown - Pomaretto - is a village, tucked in the Alps of Piemonte. A thousand souls, lots of steep vineyards, mountain views, and curvy roads. Being home means...family love, food and wine!

Cooking small appetizers for our apericene - lots of aperitifs, vermouth, bubbly Prosecco, a Pastic once in a while, and finger food - and sitting for hours enjoying food, drinks and conversations, ahhhhh my favorite!!! Eating my grandma hearty - and often earthy, yes she picks lots of wild herbs and green leafy veggies in her garden and nearby grassy slopes - homemade food, like polenta, mushroom and sausage or bagna cauda (a Piedmontese hot dipping sauce made of anchovies and garlic, enjoyed with lots of raw and cooked veggies), always accompanied by a glass (well...who am I kidding? glasses!) of Barbera or Nebbiolo. A shopping spree with my mom in Torino, where we always end up starting with a nice cappuccino and brioche, then an aperitivo (this time Champagne before noon!), and a tasty lunch at Arcadia, our favorite spot. Then my dad joins us in the afternoon, and we expand to culture - this time we visited the Museo del Risorgimento where the first Italian Congress was housed, simply gorgeous! A few afternoons hiking the vineyards slopes - a unique wine is produced only there, it's called Ramie. Varied trips to the local pizzeria. And many more dinners shared with family and family friends, "watered" by Italian or French wines. My family and I love France, especially the Provence region. My grandma's sister moved there when she was young and built her family there, so we have cousins in Nimes and Marseilles. My family visits them and the surrounding areas and always makes it a point to bring back some of my favorite wines: Gigondas and the light, fruity, herbaceous rose' wines! And a meal never ends without a wonderful dessert, my aunt's strudel, my grandma's pears baked in red wine, pastries from my cousin's local pasticceria...there's something for any taste!

Enjoy the photos and story! And if you decide to visit Piemonte, don't hesitate to ask for tips!

That sparkle!

Today my post doesn't require many words. The sparkle in their eyes speaks for them, and for me. So gorgeous!

Happy weekend! 

Lots of cherries to all of you,

- Elizabeth

To nipple or not to n*****?

Why did I decide to show a few "free nipple" photographs in my portfolio? I was asked. Very good question! I say :)

Drawing the line on what to show (or shoot for that matter) is something I periodically reflect upon. For me it's a matter of following what I believe in. 

I serve and photograph women. All women. And I want it to be that way. I want every woman to look at my portfolio and find herself in at least one image, be inspired by at least one woman. You may be more shy and attracted by images where women are fully clothed, you may be bolder and find yourself in the free nipple photographs. All is sexy, all is beautiful, all is permitted, all is veiled, all is uncovered, all is unique and personal. This is my philosophy, and this is Womanly.

Happy Friday, lots of cherries to you!

- Elizabeth

It's Wednesday night, 10:27pm...

...and I've read a lot of best strategies on how to start a blog, and all of them would disapprove of me writing my first post now...but I need to get it out, or I'll never start! Elizabeth, get over yourself and write lol

So this post is about getting over myself, because I'm in the way.

I listened to Sue Bryce (wonderful photographer and human being, and such a mentor for me) today and she couldn't be more right. What holds me back from expressing all I want to do, all I want to be (even from writing this first blog post!) is not fear. Fear is an injection of adrenaline that hits you when in danger, it makes you fight or run. There's no danger here. There's no fear. What has kept me stuck - taking small steps, not making too much noise - is "failure thinking", "small thinking", "victim mentality", "the competition has it all figured out" - and sometimes all of these together! 

Starting tonight, I'm done with it! I'll hear those voices in my head and say hi to them and send them back.

I own a wonderful business, I am honored to have a talented and loving team, and I touch women's lives with what I do. I wanna enjoy all of this! It's going well, it's growing. There is no holding back!

Ahhhh this is vulnerable, and I like it!

Lots of cherries (because cheers are not as good!) to all of you, talk with you soon!

-Elizabeth