To BARE Oneself

Love Yourself-1-2Ahhhhhhhh……this shoot. This shoot. This shoot. This shoot was so special to me. When I hooked up with Amanda over at GRLPWRPGH to collaborate on some fab group photo sessions aimed at woman-focused spotlighting on such things as body positivity, self acceptance/love and community, I knew we were getting into some special things, but this is my heartbeat right here.

We have covered some really lovely topics, and we have a lot more to go, but when I mentioned to Amanda that this theme was something I had been thinking about for a while, she agreed we were onto something.

And so BARE was born. It was important to me to convey a deep relationship between a woman’s perception of herself, just as she is (bare) and the difficulty in keeping that a positive journey. Very little makeup, very little hairstyling. This represented a deliberate coming out of accepting oneself as-is, with reverence, respect and honor. Does this mean that these women have bested the reckoning they’ve had with themselves, coming to a place of complete self love? No. But it does show that these women have openly begun this very important journey of loving themselves just a little more, each and every day.

Make no mistake, that’s not easy and it’s so very brave. Every single one of us: big, small, stretch marks, wobbly bits, tall, short….you name it…we are each a walking daily reminder of what the magazines and television like to point out as “flawed”. From head to toe we are exactly what billions of dollars are invested into every year to make us believe we are not what we should be, but could be if we drink their juice.

But lately, there’s been a tribal reckoning with us women. We women, we’re taking it back. Ladies: we are taking FLAWED back and we are reveling in it, we are reimagining it, we are reclaiming it, we are revolutionizing the concept and taking back what we were always told that definition meant and we are REDEFINING it.

Yessssss……my lovely sisters. That word belongs to us. It’s all ours and we can do with it what we please. Each and every day I see a woman or group of women that are stepping up and out and boldly proclaiming what beauty REALLY is.

And guess what? Beauty is FLAWED…and the more flaws…the more beautiful it is.

So get out there. Revolutionize beauty, ladies. Reclaim and proclaim.

HUGE shout out to AtHome Beauty for the fab hair & makeup styling! And don’t miss John’s behind-the-scenes film!

Ta’lor: Being a part of this BARE shoot meant so much to me because I have been wanting to be a part of something like this for a long time. I was addicted to wearing some form of makeup when I was in high school. When I was in college, I gained the “freshman fifteen” and lost my confidence in my body. I then got pregnant a few months before I graduated and after I had my daughter, my stretch marks and cellulite enhanced greatly. I was ashamed of my body in many ways and by becoming a Self-love Coach and journeying through my own path of self-love, I have truly found acceptance in my body. I am loving my body in a way that I never did, like going braless more and hosting #nomakeupmondays every other month as a challenge for women on social media. I have found my joy in being BARE and I am so thankful to Elizabeth Craig and GRLPWRPGH for allowing me to be a part of this BARE + BOPO Shoot.

And this is a poem that Ta’lor wrote for her blog, which I thought you might like. She has so many that I think would speak right to your heart, but I thought this one was perfect for our day:

“I am here for the women who have cellulite.

I am here for the women who have belly rolls.

I am here for the women with back fat.

I am here for the women with a double chin.

I am here for the women with flabby arms.

I am here for the women with chunky knees.

I am here for the women with stretch marks.

I AM HERE FOR EVERY WOMAN”

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Sophia: Before coming into the BARE shoot I felt very much like I wasn’t at all photoshoot ready! I had a very rough weekend full of heavy emotions and lack of sleep and I just thought it would show right through the images. I was unhappy with my eyebrows I had gotten threaded the day before and my hair was not cooperating per usual. Coming out of the shoot I felt the complete opposite I did coming in. I felt like I was 10 feet tall. Literally. I listened to that song by Afrojack the whole way home and reminisced with myself about how the people you surround yourself with should make you feel like that no matter how you yourself feel! The BARE shoot did just that for me. It lifted my spirits and made me feel supported and beautiful like I was a candidate on America’s next top. Everything I was unhappy with about myself coming in was complimented and through that came a love and gratitude for those things on my way out. I felt like I left that photoshoot with a brand new girl squad of superheroes ready to take on the world together.Love Yourself-18Love Yourself-17

 

Julia: Empowered women, empower women. Through every “Damn girl!”, “You look amazing!”, “Your hair is to die for!”, “Your skin looks amazing!”, “You are so beautiful!” this quote was felt full heartedly at the BARE shoot. Empowering, connecting, and supporting women is what it is all about here at GRL PWR PGHLove Yourself-14Love Yourself-13

 

Tori: I had an absolutely fantastic experience being BARE. After a slight dental mishap right before the shoot, all of the girls rallied behind me made me feel even more beautiful. It made me realize that makeup and great hair doesn’t make you beautiful; it’s your laugh, and smile, and ways you connect with those surrounding you that make you powerful and beautiful. Love Yourself-10Love Yourself-9

 

Victoria: Here’s my few sentences on pre & post shoot feels. Floating into the 2nd floor studio of Elizabeth Craig photography, greeted by GRLPWRPGH founder, Amanda Cowan with Champagne to toast, I was instantly comfortable. Amanda’s email instructions were clear and welcoming, putting the group of woman at ease from the start. The company was fabulous and each woman was instructed to wear no make-up and neutral clothing. We lounge around Elizabeth’s pose, plush studio where we ordered Postmates and took turns getting our hair and make-up done by Lee Ann of At Home Beauty, talk about a happy Monday! The theme of BARE felt so fitting in this comfortable place of supportive women. We all laugh and celebrated each other’s beauty, as we share our passions and work purpose. One woman even lost the cap of her tooth and instead of tears it was all laughter, if that doesn’t convey a loving environment on photoshoot day, nothing does! When it was my turn in Lee Ann’s make-up chair it was a quick application of concealer and lip gloss and a messy bun up-doe, which everyone dotted really highlighted my bone structure (giving me a great confidence boost). In front of Elizabeth’s lens was a breeze, she give specific directions and positive, fun feedback. We saved the group shots for last, all giggling and giving fierce poses, it was the icing on the cake for the afternoon. Leave the shoot and exiting the street I felt fabulous and light, at home in my own skin. Love Yourself-16Love Yourself-15

 

Aryanna: As the mother of three, two of which are daughters, I tell them all the time it is who they are that is beautiful and what people see is the manifestation of that beauty. Yet, I showed up to this photo shoot scared to show my bare face and my hair in its natural state – afraid of being judged. The gut punch of love and energy from all the women who participated showed me that I must take more time absorbing my own advice so that my daughters realize the manifestation and not just the rhetoric.Love Yourself-6Love Yourself-7

 

Jordan: Before: Going into this shoot, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. While I live my life as an open book through Listen, Lucy, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I am in a vulnerable position. I am a public speaker, not a model. I am also SUPER awkward in front of the camera and not being able to do my hair or use make up to cover physical flaws scared. But, I left there feeling empowered and beautiful. I not only felt like Beyonce, but had the opportunity to meet and hang with group of fierce women who are making their marks on the world and came to slay.Love Yourself-4Love Yourself-5

 

Hilary: I’ve never done a photoshoot before, and I was undoubtedly nervous walking into a room of strangers without mascara on! My nerves quickly dissipated after meeting such an incredible group of women. Everyone lifted each other up and made going “bare” easier than I thought it would be. It felt great to put my rawest self on display. Since I was a little girl, my body had been failing me. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis, Psoriasis and a list of conditions that go along with them. My body might fail me, but that doesn’t mean that my mind has to. Going bare for me was about overcoming my personal obstacles (both mental and physical) and laying exactly who I am out on the table – a boss a$$ b*tch who no longer will let anything, even illness, bring me down. The photoshoot made me feel empowered. It made me feel loved. And it reminded me that if we can make all women feel like this – we can conquer the world.
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AmandaLove Yourself-19Love Yourself-20

Social Media Workshop You Do NOT Want to Miss!!

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 10.05.51 AMHey all! So so so excited to share with you that I will be teaching a workshop on “How to take a FAB Selfie” in this upcoming workshop being masterly thrown by GRLPWRPGH! Read on for more info…

GRLPWRPGH is SO excited to announce their first workshop, focused on all things social media!

Join us for a one-day workshop filled with speakers, panels, mini break out sessions, great food, ever better cocktails, interactive activities + so much more. Spend the day being both entertained and informed, create relationships with other creative women in the ‘burgh and discuss current social media trends + how to get your brand noticed.

Whether you are planning to launch a new business or blog, looking to spark some inspiration for new content or inquire more about the behind-the-scenes strategy of successful social media, GRLPWRPGH’s Social Media Workshop is a one-stop shop for all creative + entrepreneurial ladies in Pittsburgh.

Early bird tickets on sale Monday, July 30th @ 10am EST.
Q3 MEMBERS: No ticket needed
NON-MEMBERS: Ticket available via Eventbrite

Interested in being a vendor or event sponsor? Email info@afayepr.com for more information.

Meet me there with these other 2 beauties and as we speak, teach and preach you into building a real, organic and engaged audience and following!Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 8.07.22 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-23 at 8.06.53 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-23 at 8.07.12 AM

 

 

Let’s All Give a Big Welcome to ELIZABETH CRAIG MEDIA!

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 8.12.44 AMYes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!! Can you feel the excitement?? Read on my friends…

I know you’ve seen me A LOT in films on Instagram and Facebook (I’m so fancy…) and I know you’ve seen films within my social media that encompass a wide range of subjects and content. But did you know that they were all mastered by John Craig, my number one, my go-to-guy, my uber-talented, super-special BEST sherpa in the entire world??

Maybe you did know that, but you guys, did you know he’s been my secret weapon all along? Yes, you see my face, my personality, my writings and my goings-on, but behind the scenes has always been a magical wizard of business, future-building, strategic planning and, of course, content building. You never see him, really, but he’s there.

John has been doing social media management and films for lots of folks and businesses for a while, but we’ve never made it official…until now! We have officially launched Elizabeth Craig Media, under the Elizabeth Craig Photography umbrella. Now you get BOTH of us as your personal curating, copywriting, creative directing, producing, filming and photographing cheerleading team and fan club!

So let’s have a quick discussion on how we do what we do, because listen up folks: we DO NOT do what most film, photography, social media companies do. Pay attention here. Over the last few years, we have found that our #1 customer is people and businesses coming to us after paying thousands of dollars to some other film company for one, super-edited boring film that got them nothing in return. Here’s why: because one-hit wonders have no lasting effect on sustainability, future-building or audience/customer-building. And most of those “one-hit-wonders” are never even a hit from the start. And here is the reason why:

Because consistency beats absolutely everything else out EVERY SINGLE TIME.

One super duper expensive 10 minute film is going to get you nothing because you cannot gain a massive following or get your name one everyone’s lips with just one film. On average, it will take 12-18 months of consistent content output to get a groove going, a following happening and real return pouring in. Every single successful online presence I have ever seen for any successful brand all have this in common. Yes, there are the unicorns in this bunch, but are you going to bank your business’s future success on that?So, we at ECM believe in this model and this is what we do. We offer a variety of totally affordable packages that will not only give you a bucket full of consistent content, but we do all the handholding all the way through it. We will help you from the very beginning establish a plan of attack and a schedule to consistently keep you in the eyes of your audience and on the lips of your customers.

Having doubts?? Well let me just end it with this: most photography businesses fail within the first 3 years. We are now heading into our 14th year.

‘Nuff said there…Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 8.12.09 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-20 at 8.11.20 AM

Instantly Connect with Your Audience

Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshot Photographer-4How do you do that? By making sure, no matter what product or service you’re selling, that you let people actually see you.

I recently had a woman say that her name made it difficult to personally brand herself because it is a very common name. My instant response to her was that she needed to visually set herself apart so that no one could confuse her with any other woman with that name. How? She asked. My response was that she needed to flood her social media with creative, striking, unique and beautiful imagery of herself. That way, when her name gets Googled, it’s her own image that comes up the most. Not a product, service or other woman with that name.

Go ahead, now ask me why she wouldn’t want a photo of the one thing she is selling to come up before a photo of herself? I’m so glad you asked!

  1. Because my guess is there are countless other people selling either that exact, same service or product or something very similar. Why would you want your photo of your thingamajig to come up in a sea of everyone else’s thingamajigs and how do you expect anyone to differentiate your thingamajig from anyone else’s? If a sea of them come up, what is to stop your potential customer from picking someone else for the job?
  2. Since there are a sea of others out there doing the same thing, you have to do everything you can to get your potential customers to connect with you in an instant. The number one way to get someone initially interested enough to keep clicking to find out more about you is a photograph of you. And a good one. A damn good one. The second way to get them to stay interested is to provide storytelling and visuals that are aesthetically pleasing, consistent and especially represent your product or service in a unique and interesting way.

Go ahead, ask me how you achieve this amongst the 373,982,972 other things you have to do that also cost money to run your business? By realizing that you absolutely have to invest in your imagery and it will be worth it. Listen, there is a reason that everyone you talk to is telling you that 75% of the new business they get (or higher!) is from Instagram. We live in an “instant” society and Instagram is Insta-instant (get it??). You are immediately awash with image after image after image, and you scroll and scroll and it is only an image that will intrigue you enough to get you click your way into seeing more. An image. A photograph. A picture.

And listen, it doesn’t have to be me, but if you’re not planning on getting into photography, then you need to do your research and invest in a photographer that “gets you”. Quit putting hours into whether or not your business card should have a green star or a gold star and if you should spend the extra moolah to get the extra thick paper. Quit doggedly worrying about if your website should have a black background or a white one. Should the color of your sign be pink or blush? Or blushy pink? Logo font a 16 or 26? You get it. None of this matters and all that money is waisted if you can’t get people to look further into whatever it is your selling.

Understanding that you need good photographs before anything else will get you kickstarted wayyyyyyyy ahead of anyone else in the same game. How do I know this? Look at who you follow and figure out why you started following them.

Gotcha.Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshot Photographer-5Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshot Photographer-1Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshot Photographer-2Pittsburgh Personal Branding Headshot Photographer-3Makeover by AtHome Beauty.