Every once in awhile we, as creative photographers, need to break up the routine of our business. We need to work on something fresh and exciting. And, I feel it is our responsibility to give back to our community somehow each year. In an effort to combine all of these personal and professional needs for myself, I came up with a personal project that I am incredibly proud of, ‘PURE: an authentic beauty project’ also known as my No Makeup Project.
I’m now rolling it out as a program for other photographers! I knew that this powerful program would benefit women worldwide, and couldn’t keep this gem all to myself. We will be rolling out details on how you can get involved in my next post here on The Business of Boudoir at the end of August, but in the meantime, here’s a little background about the project.
Beauty without adornment
I began this project in March 2012 with the intention of helping women to see themselves in a new light completely unmade up. For a whole year I shot past clients behind closed doors with no makeup and very little clothing, if any. I wanted everyone to be stripped down, with their very souls exposed to my camera, without all of the fuss of the normal accouterments of makeup and wardrobe that we use to shape others perceptions of us. By baring their unadorned shells this way, I believe their true spirit was able to shine through even more. And, I wanted to show them just how beautiful they were without all the extra adornments.
I marketed the project first in newsletters that were sent out to past clients only, as well as on a private Facebook page for Haute Shots clients. After the first year of shooting was up, it was time to announce the Grand Finale event n a more public fashion—my blog (First, Second and Third announcements) and, of course, all over social media. The response was outstanding. I opened the event up to roughly 10-15 women only, since I didn’t want to overwhelm myself that day. Several past clients from other states even signed up! I knew we were going to have a hit on our hands with an event that would soon empower all of us.
I realized my team and I would also need to participate, so we did. It seemed only fair that we would put ourselves in the same situation that we were requiring from our clients, right? In fact, I used one of my self-portraits with no makeup as the promo for our No Makeup event. My clients saw that I was brave enough to do it and jumped on the chance after that to try it out themselves.
After the full year of shooting was complete, we decided to end it with a bang. We invited any past clients who had not yet participated to come to our No Makeup event in May of 2013 for a quick shoot and the camaraderie of fellow clients as well as the Haute Shots team. I had to shoot this segment differently from the original shoots due to the space and lack of privacy. We decided they would need to be clothed for this one, but I instructed them to dress in simple, natural looking lingerie, more like sleepwear than sexy-time attire.
We had everyone arrive in makeup and then walked them through the coming undone phase of removing their makeup. We had about 15 participants. They bonded with each other over this experience together. It was such a beautiful thing to see.
A project for the greater good of women everywhere
We were fortunate that our PURE event caught the attention of a local writer for a popular Las Vegas magazine called Vegas Seven. She came to the event and documented it. Almost every participant was happy to share her story with her, as everyone knew this project was not just a personal one but something for the greater good of women everywhere.
I defined what success meant and went for it
So was it a success? Heck yes it was! But you need to define ahead of time what success in a personal project really means to you. If success means an immediate paycheck, you might be pretty disappointed. However, if making a difference in women’s lives and getting free recognition for your efforts by the media is what defines success for you, then you should be incredibly happy with the results from this.
I went into my PURE project with a clear understanding of my desired outcome. I was shooting with the intent of creating a book of all of the images, as a marketing powerhouse and of course, to help women see their absolute beauty. I shot for a whole year, then marketed it for many months afterwards to the point of it being able to market itself.
After we had announced it publicly all over social media, I began getting many emails from fellow boudoir photographers asking permission to try my program for themselves. I wanted to wait until my book was finished, but with my heavy workload that might be awhile! So,I have decided to open it up to you all here on The Business of Boudoir. Women need to experience this all over the world and I am calling on you all to help with that! Together, we can make this an incredibly strong movement. Let’s do this! Are you ready?
On August 11, 2014, I’ll be rolling out ‘PURE: an authentic beauty project’ event plan here on The Business of Boudoir. The plan will include information that will be helpful in starting up this event in your studio. The first PURE event will take place nationwide (and maybe around the world) in October 2014, so you’ll have time to prepare your local event. Feel free to pick a date that works for you in October.
Join the PURE Program Facebook group
If you’d like to participate, join our Facebook group for information and support. We’ll link the program announcement post there too!