|Guest Blog: VeroLuce Photography|
The second installment of our Guest Blog program comes from Boudoir Photographer Veronica L Yankowski of VeroLuce Photography. Veronica writes about her experience as a Boudoir Photographer and why this style of Photography means so much to her. She also speaks to her success within the genre and what decisions led her to a career as a Boudoir Photographer.
As women, I think we are all generally self-conscious. Every single one of us has parts of our body we simply hate; even those of us who seem "perfect" to everyone else. My mission is to make all women more confident, empowered and feel beautiful, regardless of age or size. Unfortunately, that is no easy task. Making women look and feel gorgeous may seem easy, but it goes way beyond my technical abilities to work a camera. I believe my success stems from my ability to not only relate to what my clients feel, but to empathize with them and be able to capture their trust at their most vulnerable moment.
When I photograph a boudoir client, my overall approach is different. I have created an entire day around this experience. I shoot in a hotel suite, serve up some lunch and champagne, I have a team of assistants and event coordinators on hand to cater to their every need and make sure they are comfortable. I have incredible hair and makeup artists who deliver unbelievable results. It's a team effort. But my team understands my greater mission: the desire to help women feel confident. I believe so many women lack this quality. And with greater confidence comes the ability to be better wives, mothers, friends, workers and generally a more "beautiful" whole person. So that's what I do. I show them that they are indeed beautiful, although imperfect. And guess what, that's OK!
Posing women to highlight the areas of their body they love (and some they don't) takes lots of practice. I have plus size women who feel they don't deserve to be photographed because they don't look like the typical model. Most women will easily tell you the parts of their body they don't love, but very few will offer up the parts they do. I tend to focus on those and ask the other important question. If she's doing a session for her significant other, what does HE love? Usually it's not the same parts we love about ourselves. So I explain that he loves them as they are and focus on showing off their awesome cleavage, great legs or fantastic hair.
I prefer to use continual lighting when I shoot as my assist holds the light and moves with me. To me, this flows so much better than leaving my light on a stand and changing after every pose. Imagine how you would feel in your underwear just sitting there and the photographer says "wait for a minute I have to move the light!" You become quickly self-conscious and the flow ends abruptly. I prefer keeping her in that moment as much as possible because for that short time she lets go of that insecurity and trusts you completely. I also really love the look of boudoir images in black and white with a more Noir feel. It's timeless, classic and sexy so I tend to process more than half of my images black and white. Whatever your style, it's all about trust and the ability to get her to lose herself in the moment.
So let's backtrack a bit. How did I go from a newspaper photojournalist to photographing half naked women?
After I had my daughter in 2005, I left the newspaper industry where I had an amazing 11 year career. I started my own portraiture business focusing on where I was in my life at that time; babies, families and maternity photos. My maternity photos were always done in a sensual fashion. That is how I saw a pregnant woman, beautiful, curvy and sexy. I never knew it was a "genre" if you will, it was just how I saw women. So I did lots of nudes and partially nudes. It was natural for me.
Six years later, a friend wanted to give her husband "sexy" photos for an anniversary gift. She asked if I could do that for her and I didn't hesitate when I said, "of course." What I didn't know in the summer of 2011, was that this genre would blow up over the next two years. At that same time, I was going through a divorce and felt I needed a confidence boost. I enlisted a photographer friend of mine to take some photos of me. That experience changed my life. I had no idea I could look that good! That was the game changer for me. I knew that every woman needed that experience, to feel what I felt at that moment.
I've made it my personal mission to not only offer women gorgeous photos, but also to learn to see themselves as perfectly imperfect. I don't do much Photoshop to my boudoir images. It is my job to find the best angles and light them appropriately. I do not use liquefy and I will not make clients look 25lbs thinner on the computer. How much more gratifying is it for a plus size woman to see herself looking sexy and it's actually her? Or to have a thin woman look a little more voluptuous because of how I pose her, rather than alter her images in post-production? I'm not going to remove every wrinkle from a 50 year old woman. She earned those. I like to keep my photos more realistic, and my clients appreciate that. They like knowing I didn't Photoshop them to be an improved version of themselves. I'm not saying I don't soften wrinkles, touch up blemishes and cellulite or subtly soften the skin, I just keep it to a minimum.
Over the years local celebrities have had sessions with me during times in their lives when they needed a confidence boost. Bravo reality TV star Dina Manzo, from The Real Housewives of NJ, was the first to take the plunge. Recently separated from her husband, she needed to feel sexy and attractive and my session helped her get through that time in her life. Since then, Cosmopolitan Magazine featured one of my clients in an article about Boudoir and a few other celebrities decided to give it a try as well. It's been an amazing ride realizing how I am slowly helping women feel more confident and reclaim that little part of them that may have gone missing once they had children, gotten a divorce or experienced other transitional periods in their lives. I have been conversing with the famous plus size model Emme to collaborate on a project together that we are hoping to do this fall. During one of our phone conversations she told me how I was making such a difference in women's lives and to continue down my path. It felt amazing to be recognized by someone like her whom I admire. She understands my mission and it just reiterates that this goes so much farther than the photographs. This changes the very inner core of a woman and I'm so thrilled to be a small part of that transformation.
|About the Author|
Veronica L Yankowski is an award-winning celebrity photographer, author and photography educator. During her extensive career, she has had the privilege of working with many celebrity clients such as Dina Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Signy Coleman from The Young and the Restless, Daryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Jon Bon Jovi and many others. Her photographs have graced the covers of magazines and last summer her boudoir photography was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Veronica is an accomplished author and her first book "Dialouge 3" was published in 2002 which showcases her photographs of people, places and the tragedy of 9/11. She is currently a continuing education photography teacher at Brookdale Community College instructing courses from beginner DSLR to more advanced portraiture courses and also hosts workshops around the state for amateur and hobbyist photographers. She also offers photography business mentoring and loves helping budding businesses find their niche and create a business and marketing plan that will help them reach their goals.
She has been interviewed on several radio talk shows such as TLC's Four Weddings, Bravo's Cake Boss, HGTV's Dina's Party and The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Veronica is currently speaking in the tri-state area on photography and how women can build their confidence in photographs.
Since beginning her professional career in 1996 as a photojournalist, Veronica has won many awards for her portraiture work. She worked for some of the top media outlets in the tri-state area such as The Star Ledger, The New York Times and The Associated Press.