Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Boudoir Photography REALLY Does for Women

"You know you'll have to run, like, 5 miles to burn off the calories in that hamburger, right?"

"You should eat a hamburger, girl, a stiff wind could blow you away!"

"Are you getting a gym membership for the new year?"

"Real men like curves. Only dogs like bones."

"I'm sorry, but you will have to look in the "plus size" section for dress that will fit."

"Damn, girl, you look good in those jeans!"

"Hey, you should smile. You'd look so pretty if you smiled."

"Aren't you a little young to be wearing that?"

"Aren't you a little old to be dressing that way?"

"Well, if you dress that way, you are basically inviting that kind of attention."

"We can 'freshen you up' with about 20 minutes and this little needle."

Too fat. Too thin. Too emotional. Doesn't smile enough. Too sexy. Sleazy. Too modest. Prude.

It seems to me like everyone has something to say about women's bodies and what they should be doing with them. Women are bombarded with the advice and criticism of friends and family members, blasted with imagery by the media, Hollywood, advertisers; everyone under the sun has something to say about how a woman should view her body.

One of the things I *LOVE* about Boudoir photography is that it gives women the ability to take control over how they see their own bodies. She can be fun and playfull, whimsical and quirky, sultry or romantic, vulnerable or powerful: whoever she is and however she lives in her own skin can be captured and put into her hands.
Physcial proof that she is how SHE sees herself and not how someone else tells she she should.
Proof that she doesn't need to lose 5 more pounds.
Proof that girls with abs ARE feminine.
Proof that her scars are beautiful.
Proof that ladies over 50 are still sexy as hell.
Ultimately, proof that her body is her own to define.
Boudoir photography allows women to take back the power we have given to others and to define how we perceive our bodies, and how we will allow other people to see them...or not.

Boudoir is a term derived from a french word for a lady's private chamber, sitting or dressing room. It's where she is safe to be whomever she is, free from the eyes of the outside world. Where she can be vulnerable, no mask required, no judgement.

I want every woman to see herself, to BE herself, to define herself so that the outside world has no power over her self-image.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beyond the Veil; published in the November issue of Kai'outi Magazine

Welcome to my childhood fantasy.
Take my hand and walk with me through the mists and Beyond the Veil to the land where dreams are made real.

Images from this set were chosen for publication in Kai'outi Magazine. You can find the November Woodland Issue and learn more about Kai'outi Magaziene here.

In another post, we will go behind the scenes and get down and dirty with how this beautiful set was made. For now, let's just bask in the gorgeousness!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


I lost my father to lung cancer last year.
Strangely enough, I find that I miss him MORE with each passing day, and not less, as I thought I would.
When I look back at the last 2 years we spent with my Dad, I am reminded over and over how priceless those last images are. Photos of him with his beloved grandsons, selfies with me, quick grabs while he wasn't paying attention.
No matter how much time passes, I will always be able to see his face. My boys will know from where they get their hazel eyes. My Dad's smile will never be able to fade.

Do you know how important it is to exist in photographs? Can you grasp what it means to a family member to hold a photo in their hands and gaze at the face of a loved one lost? Most of us have lost family members and know the consolation of holding onto a photo and knowing that no matter how much time passes the beloved's face will never grow dim in our memories because the images are there to keep recollection sharp.

What I do regret is that I have only 1 portrait of my family together; one, taken in haste after we found out that my father was sick. Cancer had already begun to eat away at him, and no amount of photoshop could fill in his cheekbones, or hide the bones of his shoulders, replace the mischievous twinkle in his eye or give him the healthy, swarthy skin of a man who worked and played outdoors.

Many parents forget themselves. They are working, cleaning, bustling children from school to sports and recitals, meeting clients, fulfilling obligations. They might take a selfie on their phone's camera, but those images are almost always relegated to the digital realm and never see the light of day as a solid, true object.
To make matters even worse, most mothers don't even like to see themselves in photographs. If they DO hire a photographer, they say, "Oh just the kids, please. I hate having my picture taken. 3 kids doesn't do a body any favors and I haven't had my hair done in... I don't even know how long."
They are too busy with the hustle and bustle of life to realize that they won't always be there.

This is why I take family photos every year. Why I am in the process of bullying my own mother into having her portrait taken. Because I KNOW how precious these images are. Priceless. And I will not balk at the rate of a Professional, because I know that I can count on their talent, skill and experience to capture us at our very best. I know that these prints will hang on my children's wall, and they will hold their babies and point to my photo and say, "See that? That's your Grandma. MY momma. She loved you so much. You have her eyes."

So please...don't hide behind your wrinkles, or the 10 pounds you have left to lose, or the extra money it will cost. Your kids don't care if you have smile lines. They don't judge your waist line. A few nights a month without takeout or Starbucks will cover a portrait session.


Exist in photos.

Exist in photos for yourself. Exist in photos for your children, and their children; because  you are precious, one of a kind, and your image should exist.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

{Ben + Stefanie} 2014

From the moment I met Ben and Stefanie, I knew they were going to be a joy to work with. They were married August 16, 2014, under a hot sun on an absolutely gorgeous day.
I got to watch a woman turn into a bride, a cute property in the country turn into a gorgeous ceremony and reception space, a man become a groom, and two people who were in love become Husband and Wife.
Getting to witness and capture the ultimate expression of love and commitment between two people never ceases to touch my heart.

Ben and Stefanie, thank you so much for letting me be part of your special day. It was a joy from start to finish, just like I knew it would be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I am terrible about sending Christmas cards. Well cards of any sort, really. If you don't believe me, you can ask my mother in law how many birthday and mother's day cards she hasn't received. I still have almost all of them, too.
It's not because I don't want to send cards, or let people know that I am thinking of them and care about them. It's really a conglomeration of 2 issues; one is that I am both a terrible procrastinator AND a bit flaky so that I forget about one thing as soon as I remember that other thing I had to do, and the other is that the moment you try to pressure me to do something, I automatically want to want to do the complete opposite. I absolutely HATE feeling pressured by the Christmas "industry" to send cards, and then feeling guilty if I didn't. Plus, having to buy stamps and write little personal notes to everyone when I have a 3 boys, a baby, a business, a home and 2 pets to take care of...it kinda takes all the joy out of the holidays.

Sometimes I just want to spend my extra time during the holidays WITH MY KIDS.
So this year, I just said no.
Not doing it.

I figured there had to be other people out there like me, right? People who don't want that pressure. I still want my family and friends to see how we have been doing through the year, and I'd like for them to know that we are thinking of them during the holidays, but I don't want the drudgery of Christmas cards.

That's why this year, I am offering family commercial mini sessions! I LOVE this idea, because it get's everything across, is personalized, and can be easily shared with your loved ones!
Now, I know that most of us have family member that are...let's say, technologically impaired, and wouldn't see this kind of video, so I am including 25 beautiful gold foil stamped cards with gold lined envelopes so that those family members who won't see your video will still get gorgeous portraits of their loved ones.

There are only 4 sessions available, so please don't wait to book!
Email me at:  nicoleyorkphotography@rocketmail.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Senior Representative; Kristiana Tupua

Senior Representative for Yelm High School, Kristiana Tupua...where do I begin? National Honor Society, Running start at South Sound Community College, and a very talented singer who is active in the Yelm High School Select Choir; how in the world could I NOT want my business to be represented by this young lady!?
Aside from all the great qualities she possesses, and c'mon LOOK at the girl she's gorgeous, I was also really excited to photograph part of her heritage. I literally got to watch her Hula on a beach during the sunset. Wow.
Being passionate about singing, and wanting to incorporate that somehow into her Senior Photos, was great fodder for my imagination. I immediately thought, hey, let's glam this girl up and do an homage to Billie Holiday!
Lesson to all...don't give me any excuses to get creative if you don't want me to go all-out-crazy on you!

Here are a few of Kristiana's favorites...and a couple of my own, to boot.

Senior Representative: Kati Armstrong

It is finally time to unveil my first Senior Representative for the Graduating Class of 2014!

I have to say, I am pretty excited about working with these great young adults.

Kati is a 17 year old Senior at Tenino High School. When I read her application, I was struck with the words she used to describe herself...confident, strong, outgoing and loyal. What a great combination is that!?
She is involved in Track and Field, nearly has her black belt in Tang Soo Do, and enjoys camping and riding quads. Aside from the fact that she is smart and gorgeous, she also works on classic muscle cars with her dad, and rides horses. Could she possibly have any more talents up her sleeves?

Oh,  yeah...she can add model to the list, if I have anything to say about it.

We shot both in the studio and on location at her family's property, which had all kinds of great backdrops for shooting, not to mention the fact that we lucked out with some fantastic light.

Big thanks to Kati and her parents for being great sports and letting me photograph their beautiful daughter!

Kati, you have a bright future ahead of you. Go do great things with your Senior year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bedtime Stories

I love my job.  Really. I love helping women see their beauty. I love creating unique images that stir the imagination. I love capturing the emotion and romance of a wedding day. I even love the editing process that leaves me waist deep in pixels with a stylus in my hand, rings around my eyes and in desperate need of sugar... I would say Red Bull or a huge coffee, but I don't really do caffeine so a doughnut will have to do it for me.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in everything that running my new business entails, that I forget the other things I love. Like baking bread, playing board games with my kids, or reading to them at night; shoot even having clean clothes feels like a distant memory some days. When I stop to think about the list of things that need to be done in a day, from getting my kiddos ready for school, taking care of our home, my 18 month old, editing, marketing, creating templates, managing finances, home work and boy scouts and the LIST GOES ON...I think I might just like to drown myself in a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

I have a backlog of work to take care of, a HUGE (seriously huge, like, takes up an entire corner of the room and looks like it might eat my bed) pile of laundry to sort, wash, dry, fold and put away, an oven that is desperate for a good cleaning, floors that are longing for the gentle caress of a mop, and a myriad of other things that I *could/should* be doing.

Instead, I read to my boys.

It's been way too long since I read a book to my guys at bedtime. That used to be a nightly ritual for us. I love to read, always have, and I want to foster that love in my boys. It's a quiet time for us to let go of the day, be in each others presence, get lost in a story, and for my most precious pieces of art to listen to the sound of my voice.
For a while now, I have let work the take priority. Starting a new business and managing it and a home and kids on your own is HARD. So I sent the kids to bed with a distracted hug and kiss and mumbled reminder to say their prayers while I sorted and culled images.
There was too much I just _had_to do.

But not tonight.

Tonight I read to my boys, and damn but it was nice.

That was the most relaxed I have felt in weeks. The list will still be there in the morning, but my boys will be another day older and another day closer to not even wanting their mom around at bed time. I might have been gaining an extra 30 minutes to work by sending my boys off to bed, but how much does that really matter?
Evening rituals like bedtime stories will be fondly remembered for the rest of our lives.

I do love my job and will never cease to be honored that people are willing to trust me with their memories.

But tonight was a good reminder to myself and to my boys that I love them MORE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Too much to do!

Holy Moly, I am feeling overwhelmed!

The awesome part is that I am booked to the TEETH. The not-so-awesome part is that I have SO much to do, and not very much time to do it in.
Mostly that means I won't be sleeping much, but I will be making lots of fantastic photographs!

I've been editing wedding photos like a mad man, going down the home stretch to make sure I'm giving my bride and groom the most stunning images I can make. That can get overwhelming due to the BUTTLOADS of photos I take during a wedding, so I had to take a break and play in my new studio space.

Hello couture portraits!

Would you just look at this bombshell!? Holy moly! She's ridiculous.