First Annual Baltimore Drag Awards

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to cover the first Baltimore Drag Awards. I was both excited and nervous because I didn't really know what to expect. It was my first time photographing a red carpet/ step and repeat set up. I like to think I operate best as an observer, but with so many beautiful queens, and entertainers its was pretty hard to end  up with a bad photo. Everyone was so elegant and simultaneously humorous.

I pulled a few on my favorite images both from the red carpet and the show. As always with events like this you can find the full album on facebook.   

Femme Fatale DC opens a Pop-Up Store

Thursday night I had the honor to attend the Femme Fatale DC Pop-Up opening party as a special guest. I brought my camera along because....well, its me. I love going to the Femme Fatale DC events because like the opening party, many of the events are female only. Like the events the store represents female artists, and business owners from/in the District. The pop up is open Thursday-Sunday until July 30!

While I was there as an attendee, I of course took that as an opportunity for candid shots. Catching pretty faces in the crowd and a couple details, and portraits as well. 


Betty & Whiskey Present: Variete 5

This past weekend I was invited to photograph a variety event of burlesque and drag performances in Baltimore at The Crown. Forever grateful to the performers for letting me hangout in the green room and capture preparations before the show. As always here are a few of my favorite shots from the evening. 

A Special thank you to Whiskey Joy, Betty O'Hellno, E-Cleff, Shaunda Leer, and Maria Bella. 


Pet Portrait Session with Mai-ly

A couple of months back I met makeup artist and animal lover Mai-ly  through makeup artist pal, Rachel Lane.  In two different sessions we shot her with her pet guinea pig Sweet Pea, and then her with her ball python Mowgli. The first shoot was around Halloween time and was a basic natural light portrait session but at some point I learned that guinea pig costumes are a thing. The second shoot was about two weeks ago and we did a pet portrait session but emphasized on body-positivity. 

No worries, no pets were harmed or stressed during either session. 

Fall Maternity Session- Susquehannock State Park

A few weeks back I was stoked to hop in the car for a quick day trip to Pennsylvania to be with family friends, The Zook's. We had met the family when we lived in South Carolina, and shortly after they moved north, we followed. We get together from time-to-time to celebrate birthdays and just kind of make it through this life. So when Tahlor (mom of three) was soon to become mom of four, I was really excited she had asked me to shoot her maternity photos. They had gone location scouting a few weeks before and stumbled upon this beautiful waterfall right off of the Susquehanna River. This became the perfect autumn backdrop for our session.

Now as Tahlor approaches her due date, we send a warm congrats to her expanding family. We look forward to meeting the new baby girl! 

Thirsty? Baltimore Craft Beer Festival 2016

This past weekend I had the opportunity to cover the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival. The festival boasted some 40+ Maryland breweries with over 100 beers to sample.  With that much tap action, it's no wonder I left the festival with a surplus of sexy pour snaps. 

A bottle pour, and a pumpkin pour for good measure. I don't know what kinda pour you're into. No judgement. 

But really I had such a blast at Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, hoping to go back next year and hoping to see you there!  

You can see these and other images from the festival on facebook

Bryan Tarka at Lincoln Memorial

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity (thanks again Instagram connections) to shoot my first fashion style drag portrait session at the Lincoln memorial.  Life would have it be so that my camera and flash aren't communicating during a night shoot but Bryan was such a good sport. We shot mostly with available light using the shape of his gown and silhouette to compliment the architecture.

The available light added some drama and mystery to the shoot as well as kept a vintage feel. With the wardrobe it felt very old Hollywood/ Red Carpet.

Megan at Sugarloaf Mountain- MD

Megan is a senior with just a few weeks left before graduation. On Friday, she went to her senior prom in what has to be one of the most gorgeous dresses, ever. She met up with me on Sunday for a post prom shoot. Prom pictures are great and everything but they aren't as fashion forward as this dress deserves. When we met up she brought along a second vintage dress that she had found recently. Seriously, slay is the only word that comes to mind.  

Congratulations on graduation Megan! #Classof2016

Washington, D.C. with Paige

Paige is a D.C. native currently in school for Epidemiology. Being a college student with two jobs, and a boyfriend, very surprised she had time after work to go on a photo adventure.  We met up at the metro station in Fairfax and went to Union Market for waffles and then back home. Here are a few snaps of our adventures. 

Shamrock Fest 2016

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to shoot my first festival, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments or highlights. 

Hand Rolled Cigars

There were many cigar vendors at Shamrock Fest but I got to spend time with one in particular by the name of Castaneda Cigars. I watched him take a tobacco leaf  and turn it into a cigar. The whole process was beautiful and you can see he really enjoyed the art of making them. 

You can see more images from the process and the other series I will share her in the album on Facebook.


The Music

It's no secret that I love the artistry of music and generally speaking music is what drives my fashion and personal projects. I have a few musician friends who I have taken photos of but nothing on a festival scale so I appreciated the challenge that came from the experience and I learned a few things... like how I need new glass if I am going to continue to do this. But here are some stage shots from a few performances from Shamrock Fest, again more on the FB album.


But seriously my favorite part was 100%....

The Audience

To see all the different forms of human emotion in one place... of course that would have to be at a music festival. And again the FB link above has more images, these are just a few faves.

So much to see. 

Until next time! 

Makeup Artist Rachel Lane

It's pretty cool how the first makeup artist I started following when I moved to the DC area now only lives 10 minutes from me! I was very pleased when  Rachel Lane agreed  to come help me test lighting in my new "studio" space.  Really it's just our guestroom/ my office with a single window and no overhead lights. But we did a lot with a little space. 

Even when my cat crashed our shoot, she rolled with the punches. Honored to be working with Rachel on a few upcoming projects. Keep your eyes peeled and check out her work in the link at the top of the page. 

Caroline in DC

I love it when friends from the low country contact me when they roll through DC. Especially beautiful models like Halo Models and Talent's (Savannah, GA) Caroline Molloy.  We got together with make up artist Rachel Lane and stylist Casandra of speak vintage to make some edgy imagery. While the styling centered around vintage attire we wanted the images to feel very L.A. meets D.C. with the modern edge. 

We played around on the rooftop at Vintage Vagabond Wardrobe House.

#whpfamilyrecipe- Clarksburg, MD

After being the house all week with a broken bottom I was dying to get away from my family and go hang with someone else's. The Lowekamp family invited me into their home a day after moving in, and with all of the chaos of unpacking they still managed to take a break to make brownies.  The Lowkamp twins had obviously done this before, even in their new home the manned their station while baby-wearing mom directed the the chocolaty baking so elegantly. 

Here are a few of my favorite photos

I didn't stick around to see how the brownies had turned out but they were smelling amazing. Thanks again Lowekamp's for letting me crash your Sunday morning. 

shooting your own boudoir...

As many of you know I spent some time in front of the camera professionally;  modeling on and off since I was twelve actually. At about 15 year old I met a real big leader in the Asian market. My peers from my mother agency piled into a  hotel room and stripped down to our swim suits as the casting agent picked us apart one by one, pointing out each and every one of our flaws right out there in the open. My flaw, my hips were far too big and my chest too small. 

The chest thing I knew about, I had been getting teased for being flat chested since 5th and 6th grade, but the hips too big (translation: ass too fat) confused me to no end. Being our group of models were all from the south where the populace is notorious for being more plump, and we were constantly being told to eat, and other ignorant insults. Our agent prepared us to hear these types of things when going to open calls. Rejection for any reason at all was pretty standard. 

As I got older it only got worse, too big, too small (while I was pregnant), too old (at 24), hair too short, on and on. Through it all I remained pretty confident. I loved my body, I took care of it, watching what I put into it and worked it out to keep it strong. Then i gained 30 pounds in one year. I did not work out, I did not watch what I ate. The weight of the world, my marriage, the brothers death, stresses of relocation, and  being a parent became the weight under my flesh. I did not feel confident. 

As I praised other women who wore their curves with pride, I spent time being a whiny baby getting used to being in the category of a medically healthy weight. I tried to stay out of photos, selfies became face only, and shopping became the most depressing because the weight is never where you want it, and every time I would put something on and look in the mirror the little comments that family and friend have made about the gain would linger.

I started staring at the mirror as I would get undressed, I would say mean things about my body, sometimes out loud. Then I would reevaluate that as if I heard it from someone else. Oddly enough when I imagined mean things coming from someone else, I didn't take them to heart.  I remember compliments. If you know me in person, I am always complimenting women. It was time for me to practice what I'd preached. I started noticing things I liked about my new body (I love my new, even bigger butt) and thinking if I wanted to I could change what I didn't. After looking enough times at myself I realized I like it all. 

I have remembered the boudoir and nude photos I have shot of other women throughout the years, knowing what I know now about lighting and most importantly the power of shadows. I let go of the past body and the fear of the new one and stripped down for myself. I am only sharing because I feel good. And as a photographer I think I can do this for other women too.

When shooting boudoir comfort is key. If you want to go full nude, implied, or t-shirt and boy shorts. whatever makes you feel sexy is sexy. For me basic all black, and a silk robe. Then there is lighting, lots of shadows, lots of mystery. Lastly, soft hands, fingers on your own skin shows you are comfortable in your skin, it also leaves a lot to the imagination if this is something you are doing as a gift to your s.o.  

We shot the series with  a canon 6D with a canon nifty fifty (1.8), shot both in monochrome and faithful mode. We used both self timer and human tri-pod (husband). We brought the remote trigger but I swear I can only get it to work half the time.  Manual settings are key, you want to have the ability to change exposure and really bring out the shadows (i'm not a do it in post kind of girl)

The power of monochrome: everyone always wants to change in post but I feel shooting in a high-contrasted mono can help you better understand light. Enough shadow and the right highlights can make something with more coverage that a bikini seem so provocative by providing hints of curve and skin. B/W images also tend to be more timeless than whatever editing style is currently in season.