Fashion Buzz | Look great THROUGHOUT your weight loss journey by Monica Day

Who says you need to wait until you lose the pounds to look fabulous? Look great throughout your journey and at any size. So, I'm overweight. Yes. I said it. There's really no denying it and if you're going to WPPI or you're one of my clients you'll see it sooner or later. I want to lose weight and a lot of it. But that doesn't mean I have to look frumpy in the process. I have struggled with weight my ENTIRE life. I've yoyo'd from "normal" to plus size and back again. I've finally decided to make a commitment to myself. (That's my word for 2014, too.)

Sooooo....since I'm focused on getting in shape I work out all the time. This helps me feel sooooo good. Of course I'm not where I want to be but why not enjoy the ride. Here are some of my tips for looking fabulous at any size.

1. Where what fits. The actual size of the garment doesn't matter as long as it fits. I have clothes in all sizes. I care about the number but more than that, I care about the fit.

Acting silly before Valentine's Day dinner. 

Acting silly before Valentine's Day dinner. 

2. Don't rely on loose clothes alone. While some items should be flowy, don't think that everything needs to be overly big. Trust me, you're not fooling anyone by wearing that oversized shirt. You're only adding bulk to your size. If you're a 2 or a 20, oversized clothes only make you look bigger. Where a fitted shirt under your loose sweater to really show your shape. If you're uncomfortable with rolls then wear an undergarment like Spanx. There are less expensive alternatives as well.

3. Shoes, shoes, shoes. Shoes can make an outfit. Don't think that just because you have some weight to lose that means you can't wear some killer heels. Get those 5" pumps and pack some foldable flats in your purse. There are stylish flats out there as well. Military style boots are awesome! You can wear them slouchy or laced all the way up. You can wear these even if you have large calfs. Flat slipper shoes work well, too. The options are endless. Make them fun!!

4. Hair, hair, hair!! Don't forget your hair people! Get your hair looking amazing. Don't waste an outfit on horrible hair. If you're feeling less than fabulous then through those locks in a bun. If you have natural hair, like me, then make sure you keep it looking fresh. I have a funky cut to make it easier for me but work with whatever you have. Don't be afraid of color either. Check out Pinterest for tons of hair ideas. You're working out a lot so be sure to look for easy to do styles that can be done quickly.

5. Makeup. Makeup is your friend. I know that beauty can be natural but let's face it...who doesn't feel good with a little extra attention to those brows? I love that makeup can help me contour my face. That's a fancy way of saying "make me look smaller by making my face look smaller". If you saw my previous article about eye shape then you know I love, love, love makeup.


It seems like recently designers have realized that plus size girls have money, too...lol. There are so many places that offer trendy clothes in my size now. Here are some of my favorites.

ASOS (students get a 25% discount)

Simply Be

Kami Shade'

Torrid

H&M


Now you have ZERO excuse to postpone a photo shoot! You can look fabulous at any size.

Fun photo manipulations | Caricatures by Monica Day

So...have you seen this photo of me and my hubby?I have been asked a ton of times how to do it and decided to share. This is just something fun that I like to do every now and then. As with anything, there are a TON of ways to do this. I will show you my way.

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The first thing I do is start with a good, well lit photo. You want the background to be free of distractions as well. I shot both of these photos. One is my husband that I took while he was helping me test light. The other is my passport photo. I took my own passport photo...lol. I have to say it but you should already know...use only photos that you took. Don't manipulate another photographer's photo unless they've given you permission.

Here's what these 2 photos looked like to start with.

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Yes...that pic of me is aweful...lol.

1. The first thing I do is open the image in Photoshop. Yes...I know you may have figured that out but I am one that likes to be thorough. I go in and remove any major blemishes. Since the final product is going to be really smooth I don't mind going overboard on the blemish removal. I remove lines, wrinkles, etc. You also want to make sure the background is cleaned up nicely in this step. Notice that I changed the color of my background in one of the images. I do that last.

2. Now I work on my contrast. Look for highlights and shadows in the face. Your goal is to exaggerate these. Use your curves and levels to do this. Create a different layer for darks and a different layer for lights.

3. Now I smooth out the skin. I go overboard here. If you have software that smooths skin then feel free to use it. If you use actions, go for it. If you like using frequency separation then go for it. You can also do a surface blur. That's my favorite to use in these types of photos. I like to do a surface blur after I've done my normal skin smoothing.

4. Here's where the fun part starts. There's really no rule to it. Note that if you make a fun expression you can get more dramatic effect. I like to start by enlarging the head and slimming the neck. That gives it a real cartoony caricature look. I also manipulate the eyes and the head shape.

5. Crop your image and save.

Lara Jade Workshop Review by monicaday

Lara Jade Workshop

I'm a photographer. I love photography and have loved it for some time now. I got burned out. I attended one of Lara Jade's workshops. I'm about to tell you all about it. I actually signed up for this workshop earlier this year and was supposed to attend while I was living in Boston. We found out we were moving to Puerto Rico around the same time so I couldn't go when I'd originally planned. I was bummed and had a little bit of a freak out moment. Thankfully, I was able to come to the October 2014 workshop. Lara Jade set up her workshop to run for 2 days at an amazing studio in Brooklyn, NY. I arrived in the city the day before the workshop since it started at 9 in the morning.

Day 1

Lara Jade Workshop New York

When I arrived at the studio I was so excited. The studio is actually in this industrial area. It looked a little bit sketchy but boy oh boy...lol. When I walked through the door I saw what I dreamed of in my own studio space. Colony Studios is absolutely gorgeous. Old wood, open space. What more could I ask for? Lara did an awesome job selecting this location. There were models getting prepped, hair and makeup going, stylist prepping,  backdrops being steamed, assistants setting things up, food and coffee, chairs with awesome little notebooks, Ashlee Gray, and Lara Jade. Lara and Ashlee were extremely friendly and approachable. I really appreciate that both of them would talk to any of us that approached. My suggestion to anyone attending would be to introduce yourself to Lara and whoever else she has presenting. They're people too and are most likely a bit nervous about how the workshop will go.

Lara Jade Lighting Demonstrations

We all introduced ourselves and then Lara went through a lot of her portfolio. It was nice to see some of her work and to hear about the shoots. We followed this with portfolio reviews. We were initially split into two groups to do the reviews but it turned into a big group review. I actually like the group portfolio reviews. It's nice to hear critique from others to get the feedback from a variety of different styles. I know that some are not comfortable with group portfolio reviews so Lara offered individual ones as well. After this, we had lunch. Lunch was catered in and we had more than enough food. It was nice to have food and drinks available throughout the day. We had sandwiches and wraps and cakes and cookies. We took about 45 minutes to eat and regroup and then it was time for part 2.

We started with a lighting demonstration. Lara went through several different lighting scenarios and showed us an image of hers that corresponded with the setup. She also introduced Donald, the stylist, and he answered our questions about that part of the shoot. I asked him about finding a stylist and he gave us some great ideas. Then we got to shoot. (I'll post my images in another post.) We were able to photograph 6 different lighting setups. We had 6 different looks and 2 models, Lidiia and Klaire. All of this was done in about a 3 hour period. We were each able to shoot about 20 frames for each setup. Lara was right there giving assistance to anyone that needed it. She also had a few assistants who helped with lighting, reflectors, and things like that. Our time did run over a little but it was awesome that we were able to keep shooting.

Day 2

Lara Jade and Monica Day

The second day was all about business, marketing, and even retouching with Ashlee Gray Retouch. We started with a review of the day before. We touched on the lighting scenarios we'd covered and then got into the business of fashion. Lara shared with us about having a strong portfolio, how to create your shoot, and pricing. I was impressed that she shared the numbers of a basic shoot. It was nice to get an idea of pricing. Ashlee's part came after this. She showed us a lot of her work and even some before and afters. We broke for lunch and then got ready to start a retouching session.

We were all given the same photo to work on so that Ashlee could guide us closely. She covered retouching skin and removing blemishes, color correcting, toning, fixing details, and even swapping body parts. I have had experience with most of this but it's nice to see her take it down to the basics. We did spend quite a bit of time on this but it was all worth it. Ashlee really helped me see how valuable a retoucher is. Right now, I'm working on improving my retouching skills but one day I'm sure I'll be hiring out.

Ashlee Gray Retouch

After we concluded the workshop, we met up for dinner. Not everyone attended but a nice group did. We met at an Italian restaurant about a mile away and had a great time. The seating was a little strange so both Lara and Ashlee moved around to talk to everyone. This dinner was awesome because we were able to talk to the other attendees and really get to know them more. It's also nice to see your instructors in a more relaxed environment.

At the end of the workshop I can absolutely say that I was impressed with how professional Lara is. She did an excellent job putting this workshop together. Her willingness to share really impressed me. I absolutely respect her place in this industry and appreciate her candid approach to this workshop. I definitely recommend to any photographer that is either interested in the fashion industry or who wants something different to reinvigorate them. I cannot wait to see what I do with all that I have learned.

Be sure to check out my video and my interview with Lara and Ashlee.

*UPDATE!!

I've added one of the images.

Lara Jade Workshop Model

Photographer Rundown by monicaday

Okay. In case you don't already know it, I'm a photographer. I get asked lots and lots of questions so today's video is all about answering them. Being a photographer is truly an awesome experience and I'm blessed to be able to do what I love so much. Here are the questions. For answers, watch the video! 1. How'd I get started in photography?

2. How'd I learn photography?

3. How did I get my first client?

4. How do I find new clients?

5. What are some resources to learn photography?

6. What advice would I'd give a new photographer?

7. Who are my favorite photographers?

8. What are the most important things to learn about photography?

9. Can someone realistically make money as a photographer?

Remember that everyone starts somewhere. I started and just wasn't that good but developed my skill over time. Being a photographer is hard work but is definitely rewarding.

Chic Critique Cover Submission by Monica Day

I'm so happy to be entering this image in for the June cover contest over at Chic Critique. One day I will win that contest!! The theme for this issue is "Natural". I chose this image because this couple looks so naturally in love. Even their clothes are natural. Her beautiful dress and his relaxed clothes just make them seem so sweet and naturally in love.

MonicaDayChicCritique
MonicaDayChicCritique

I'm moving!!! by Monica Day

I knew this time would come. I'm a Coast Guard Spouse. We move. It's part of our process. I knew 2014 was a moving year for us but had no clue where we'd be going...until now.We are moving to beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico!! I am beyond excited. I've never been but from what I can see...it is absolutely amazing!!

Keeping your desktop fun with wallpapers by Monica Day

This seems like a no-brainer, right? Who doesn't know how to change the wallpaper on a computer. Well, sometimes you just need a reminder that these wallpapers can be super fun and super encouraging. My job can be pretty lonely. When I'm not shooting, I'm editing or blogging or doing some tedious work. I love to take a peek at my desktop image because it helps me feel happy or gives me encouragement. One of my favorite places to find desktop images is Brit + Co. This site offers a TON of DIY stuff. One day they posted about desktop images and it changed my life!!

I found all of these wallpapers through Brit+Co.

These are just a sampling of what can be found. You can also make your own or search online for so many more options.

Web Design Alternatives | My secret to an inexpensive website by Monica Day

Two words. Creative Market. Creative Market is an online source for creatives to share their work. You will find graphics, websites, blog themes, and even fonts. The prices range from $2 to $200 on certain things. If you're looking for a logo or a website on a budget then Creative Market might be the place for you.

I've been working on changing up my website recently. My current website template is from Into the Darkroom. I've had templates from Blue Domain, Flash Palette, and even the Apple standard template. This blog is a custom  Pro Photo blog design by the team at Braizen. I'm still transitioning to a new site and decided to let you in on one of my best kept secrets. (Be sure to use the Pro Photo link if you're interested in a Pro Photo blog. You'll save $10. You can also use the code MDAY7028.)

Here's a preview of my new site. It might not stay like this. But guess what...the template was only...$9!!! And it's a Wordpress template!! All you need is a hosted domain with Wordpress installed.

Creative Market Website
Creative Market Website

I'm sharing this because I love all of you...lol. I honestly don't mind if all of you have the same website as I do. But...please don't copy everything I do to it.

So where do you get this lovely template?

One Page Love

Creative MarketCreative Market is having a sale!!  valentines14off

What else did you find? I'll be writing more along the lines of branding, blogs, business cards, etc. Be sure to keep checking back!!

Beauty Tips | Smashbox Full Exposure Palette by Monica Day

Okay...so I'm starting to add more things to the blog here. I want to reach out to you in more ways than just my photos. Hopefully you've noticed the tutorials I've posted. If not, that's okay. I came across an article today about Smashbox Cosmetics' Full Exposure Palette. I am a makeup junkie. I'm not great with makeup but I love it all the same. I'm currently working on getting great at doing eye makeup and love, love, love that Smashbox posted this video on eye shape. How many times have you been confused about what shape your eyes are? I know I get confused all the time. Check out this super simple video to learn how to tell your eye shape. I'm an almond. ;)

They even have more videos to show you exactly how to apply the makeup for your eye shape!!

Smashbox Full Eye Palette

The Full Exposure Palette retails for around $49 at some of my favorite places to buy makeup:

Sephora
Ulta
Smashbox.com
Amazon.com

Do you want to save even more? Sign up for Ebates. You might not always get a percentage off but you'll get a rebate. Always go through Ebates before making any purchases online.

So...what eye shape are you?

 

Golden Autumn in New England | North Shore Boston Photography by Monica Day

Courtney contacted me when I did my fall mini sessions. Her husband is in the Coast Guard along with mine. They're actually on the same cutter. They were underway during the mini session date but we made time during the brief inport to make beautiful photos. Courtney, Matt, and Axl met me at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. I was sooooo glad we still had some colorful foliage. It was getting colder and colder but we lucked out with a warm day.

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Fashion at any age | Charlestown Photographer by Monica Day

When I moved to Boston I only knew my husband and another family. Porsche and her family came here the same time we did. I actually met her because our husbands went to Officer Candidate School together. We're Coast Guard families. Porsche has always had a great sense of style and she spares nothing when it comes to little Anissa. I contacted Porsche to see if she wanted to come out and do a little fun shooting with me. I had intentions on working on another project of mine but ended up just doing a fun little shoot in Charlestown. It turns out that Anissa was super ready to be photographed!! Check out these photos from our fun shoot. Hopefully we'll be shooting again soon!!!

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Brookline Beauties | Brookline Family & Glam Photographer by Monica Day

This family is one of my favorites. I've been photographing them for as long as I've been in Boston. Most of our shoots have been traditional family photos but this time we stepped it up a bit and had hair and makeup added on. Kiara Mooney came and did an amazing job we these beauties. Belinda, Briggs, and Tyler have grown in so many ways. It's amazing to see their transformation over the years. Brookline Glam and Family Photography-01Brookline Glam and Family Photography-02Brookline Glam and Family Photography-03Brookline Glam and Family Photography-04Brookline Glam and Family Photography-05Brookline Glam and Family Photography-06Brookline Glam and Family Photography-07Brookline Glam and Family Photography-08

Where my heart is... | Beaufort, SC Children and Family Photography by Monica Day

In case you didn't know...I don't have children...lol. It's not by choice. Maybe one day it will happen but for now I have my nieces. I actually have a twin sister and these photos are of her children. Here's a photo of us from YEARS ago. It's a bit of a shame that I don't have any current photos of me and my sis. We'll have to work on that. Here's a picture of me and my sister. I'm on the right. Monique is on the left.

Anywho...I was down south in my hometown of Beaufort, SC during the holiday season. Whenever I'm around my nieces I try to get photos done of them. We went out for the yearly shoot with me in downtown Beaufort at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. This was one of my favorite places to visit as a child. That park has made some major changes but it's still a beautiful place to visit. I chose this location for their shoot because it offered a lot of different option in close proximity. My plans were to venture into the "city" a little bit for some urban photos but this is all they'd give me...lol.

Mia is 6 and one of the tallest in her class. Milayah is 3 and the smallest in her class. I have no clue how that happened but they're both so cute that it doesn't even matter. :) Mia is my little star. She has been in plays and we even made a YouTube video!! She wants to do more. I sooooo wish I lived closer to them. We'd have a new video every week!! Milayah is FULL of personality. She makes the craziest faces and says things you'd have to hear to believe. Her size makes me forget how advanced she really is. She wanted a video too but got a little scared when it was time to make hers...lol.

If you're on my Facebook page or Instagram feed then you've surely seen most of these.

 

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Sweet little family | Charlestown, MA Family Photographer by Monica Day

This family!!! How cute is this little man? I love this age, too. They can listen and take instruction but also have their own own fun little quirks. I also love multicultural families. They were so pleasant to work with and we made some beautiful photos together. I must admit...Charlestown is one of my favorite spots to shoot. I love photographing there. There's a ton of variety and most people don't even think to visit for their photos. This means we usually get plenty of space to work. ;)

Check out these photos and let me know what you think!!

Family photoshoot in Charlestown.

Look at this kid jump!!!Charlestown, MA Children's PhotographyCharlestown, MA Family PhotographyCharlestown, MA Children's PhotographyCharlestown, MA Children's PhotographyCharlestown, MA Children's PhotographyCharlestown, MA Children's Photography

Joy, Joy, Joy | Boston Beauty Photography by Monica Day

I love, love, love photographing women. Don't get me wrong...families are awesome, too. There's just something about photographing a woman that makes me so excited. Joy came in for a shoot and rocked it!! My normal style is to shoot in color. Sometimes photographs just scream for a black and white edit. These definitely fall into that category. Joy...you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Photography in Boston StudioBoston Studio Photography, Natural LightBoston Natural Light Studio PhotographyBoston Natural Light Studio PhotographyBoston Natural Light Studio Photography