GlamChix Artistry

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I’ve known Kathy Cruz for years, and I have so much respect for her and what she does. She’s a talented photographer, an ambitious and hard worker, a super sweet person, and a great mother. How could I not want to share her with the world? So I asked her to share her story with me.

Kathy got her start in photography in 2008, when she took photos of projects at her engineering firm to be published in the company newsletter. This was the seed that would eventually grow and blossom into a whole new career, and she started learning photography formally by taking night classes at the PrairieView School of Photography here in Winnipeg.

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“I loved the classes because we would explore different places in the city, and find something and make it look like art, so I would focus on textures, lines, and patterns. Then we would print our work and have other photographers critique it. So it’s a lot of learning,” says Kathy. I’ve seen this influence first hand. Kathy is so much fun to work with, because she’s incredibly spontaneous and not afraid to get in there and experiment. I’ve spent hours aimlessly wandering the city with her and her camera, where she sees the art in everything we come across, from cathedrals to fire escapes and back alleys. We’ve even shot on my roof. It’s a very different approach than that of most of the photographers I’ve worked with, and it doesn’t feel like work at all. Kathy will get the shots some other photographers wouldn’t bother with – she captures opportunities, and with them the beauty of our city.

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When classes were over she started taking portraits of her own friends and family and investing in a full range of equipment, while primarily shooting in her home. In 2009 she registered her business as KatCruz Photography. She continued to learn about business, and KatCruz Photography evolved. One of the key ways in which this happened was the addition of a makeup artist.

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Kathy found Cherry Je through Facebook, and it turned out that the two had gone to the same high school. Cherry was the perfect fit for the job. The two started scoping out work through Model Mayhem, and it was at this point that Kathy found me. My Model Mayhem profile states that I don’t seek to be a prop in a photographer’s work, but rather to work fully with them as a team. I have experience working behind the scenes in directing, styling, editing, and more, most of which I learned hands on with the amazing photographer TJ Pendragon. This might be a turn-off for some, but it turned out to be just what Kathy was looking for. She never stops learning and evolving, and she wanted me to help guide her in how to work with a model. It was a perfect match. For our first shoot I gave her a few ideas on how to come up with a concept (we went with turning a favorite song into a photo through the use of mood), recruited another photographer and neighbor of mine for support and backup, and dove right in. I showed Kathy how props can be extremely helpful for a model unsure of how to pose, and encouraged her to get past her shyness and direct. Kathy says, “She made sure that the end result was what I wanted to see on the photo. It was hard, but after seeing her photos it made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.”

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After gaining more experience with Cherry by her side over the next three years, Kathy decided to venture into the realm of boudoir photography. Again I was chosen as the guinea pig, and I was honored to help out. Kathy and Cherry want to send the message across that every woman should feel good about her body no matter what size or shape she is. I’m not large by any means, but I definitely don’t look like a typical model either, and I feel like this struck a balance that would help their first project of this sort communicate this message while still keeping it somewhat straightforward. This was a positive experience for all of us. Kathy really enjoyed it and learned how to let the camera show some love for curves. I was surprised I could handle the job without feeling too self-conscious, but the photographer has as much to do with that as the model themselves. Kathy and Cherry made me feel extremely comfortable in what was by far the least amount of clothing I had ever worn in front of  the camera.

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This preliminary shoot worked out fantastically, and after this the pair started gaining some clients. “We love looking at their faces after they see their photos, and [when they] brag about it to their friends, and message us the experience that they felt during that photoshoot…all of that is priceless.”

This year, KatCruz Photography became GlamChix Artistry, offering both photoshoots and makeup services. Kathy finds that working with a partner is hugely beneficial, because you get to share your experiences and learn from each other. She also took a class in makeup artistry in case Cherry isn’t available, to ensure their clients will always get the full range of service that they offer. It’s clear that Kathy’s education and experience is incredibly well-rounded, and that she works hard to be the best she can be, so no matter what you’re looking for she’s got it covered.

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GlamChix artistry focuses on glamour, fashion, and boudoir photography with prices starting at $200. Makeup for weddings or other special events starts at 60$. When you consider all the years of hard work and talent involved, this is nothing to scoff at. These women care about their clients and want to make sure they’re giving them a fair deal.

“Like any business, it has its ups and downs. We’re still learning things as we go – what works and what doesn’t, and what makes us unique compared to others. We get people who would inquire about our services and feel that we charge too high, which is frustrating because little do they know the work that’s involved. It’s not just a click of the camera and putting it in a CD. It’s the value as well. From consultation to preparing for a photoshoot (artistic vision, wardrobe, makeup and hair, equipment used), hours of post processing, custom printing, to picking up and delivering the product. With all of that, we make sure we deliver custom images that you’ll be proud to display for years. And that’s what you pay for.”

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You can check out their blog full of useful pro makeup tips and more here at http://www.katcruzartistry.blogspot.ca/

Bookings can be done through Facebook or at (204) 688-8107.

 

How to Model – Posing for Beginners

I’m not a model, but I’ve been modeling as a hobby for about four years. I’ve done photoshoots, live art modeling, fashion shows, and even a bit of TV. It’s not something I take super seriously, but it can be really fun and it’s a great way to help either new photographers who need to practice certain techniques or expand their portfolios, or experienced photographers break away from the daily grind and try something new. So I thought since I’ve done this for a while and there are always people interested in doing it, I would write a quick guide, to be used either for beginner models or just people who want to fuck around with a camera on Saturday. This is not intended to be advice for professional models. They’re working on totally another level. But if you want to try this out as hobby, this might help you out.

-One first important note: SHOW UP. Models are notoriously unreliable, and this is not just rude, but a huge waste of time and probably money for everyone else involved. I have a zero tolerance policy on shoots that I’m involved in behind the camera. If you don’t at least take it seriously enough to respect other people, don’t bother. You won’t last long.

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Photo by TJ Pendragon

-RELAX! Being stiff is the biggest thing that will hold you back. Seriously, you NEED to relax. A lot.

-Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. In truth, a fraction of your photos will be usable. That’s not because you’re not good at it, it’s just true for everyone who’s not a pro. Out of the 10 pictures you might see in an album, often over 300 were actually taken. This means that many of them are unusable anyway, and not being afraid to “go there” is what’s going to result in magic on those few good ones. Otherwise, the whole thing can fall flat.

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OMG HEEEEELP! Seriously, it was so hard to get out of this thing.

HEEEEELP! Photo by Jenna Lee

-Use a prop. The biggest challenge is when you’re just standing in front of a backdrop. You wonder WTF are you supposed to do? Having a prop gives you something to interact with, something to do with your arms, and helps you a lot for ideas. My favorite thing so far has been a hoola hoop, but you could use anything, including a wall. When you’re totally stuck, use your own body!

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Dat ass.

-Don’t forget your neck.

-Make small movements. If you’re new to posing and the idea overwhelms you, moving one body part at a time will not only make things more simple, but give the photographer a lot of variety, and time to see what they might like you to do.

-Point your toes. All the time. Even when you’re standing (heels count).

Foot fetishists gave me my start on Deviant Art.

Foot fetishists gave me my start on Deviant Art.

-Communicate with the photographer. Tell them any ideas or concerns you may have and they’ll work with you while directing you. Directing isn’t them telling you what to do, it’s a conversation and a collaboration. Help them help you.

-If your pose feels physically weird, uncomfortable, or painful, it often means it looks awesome. Sometimes even your damn eyeballs will hurt.

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Photo by Kathy Cruz (Glam Chix Artistry), makeup artist and other model is Elliot James

-If you feel mentally weird, uncomfortable, or painful, you need to stop.

-Whatever you’re doing, do it more. Subtlety isn’t usually the camera’s friend (though it can be).

-Be versatile. Don’t do the same damn style with the same damn pose with the same damn face all the time. That shit is boring. Nobody wants to shoot something they could have photocopied from another shoot you did.

Me? Do edgy and boyish? NE-I mean, YES!

The red nail polish makes this a little less believable. Photo by Shawn Fillion

-Check out what other people are doing for inspiration.

-Keep in mind that a photo is not 3D. The closer something is to the camera the bigger it looks. It seems obvious but the impact is huge. I have this picture where my foot looks freakin enormous because of its proximity to the camera.

See?

See? I’m a monster!! Photo by Chris Wilkinson

-When you’re smiling, have the shot taken while you’re exhaling. It forces you to relax so it looks more natural. Just like when you get a piercing!

-If you have a blinking problem, close your eyes and open them on the count of three. The shot should be taken immediately after.

This is my favorite picture in the world right now.

This is my favorite picture in the world right now.

-DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF!! Professional models are beautiful, but they’re only one kind of beautiful. Be a role model to people who look like you.

Dat ass.

Dat ass.

Drawn and Plastered: Victorian Asylum, Part 2

Ok, so WordPress did not like me uploading that many photos. My browser is STILL recovering. So anyway, on with the rest! And I suppose I should also be including the list of credits.

Holly Halftone – Co-founder, photographer, promotion guru

Me – Co-founder, wardrobe, music, model “Penny Dreadful”

Sarah Putnam – Character model “Ophilia Opiate”

Pam McMillan – Character model “Patricia Pillbocks”

Alicia May – Model “Lilly Longbottom”

Angela Sutherland – model, and she sewed Sarah’s apron

Lovern Kindzierski – Artistic consultant, Holly’s dad

Todd Rema – DJ

Michael Dyck – Accounting, and my husband

On with the show!

Things start to get heated between Ophilia Opiate and Patricia Pillbocks

Patricia gets pantsed! It was impossible to keep my eyes off their antics.

My dad called this sketch "masculine" :S

I can't figure out how Angela managed to keep a straight face during the staged fights. She's good!

Oh no!

The doctor steps in to break it up.

Patricia is dutifully hauled off stage.

Ophilia weeps for the loss of her skirt.

This couple got engaged! How's THAT for creating inspiration?

Wow, what a great turnout!

This young lady with the camera was the lucky winner of our door prize.

 

This really makes me wish we had a group shot of the whole team.

Let the after party commence!

Woo! See you next month!

Drawn and Plastered: Victorian Asylum

The following was written by my business partner Holly Halftone for http://drawnandplastered.com/

“I had so much fun, and the atmosphere was fantastic!”
-Samantha Rech

“Cool event, nice of you to let the photographers have a go! Gotta keep an eye out for the next one”
-Brandon Greer (The Tune Podcast)

Yes – it really did happen! The first Drawn and Plastered ever took place last night (July 23rd) and was welcomed with open arms by our amazing patrons.

From 10pm-midnight we were serenaded by eerie and sometime electric violin music, ramping up to even include a few Alice Cooper songs from his asylum album, “From the Inside”.
Emilie Autumn was also heard frequently.
25 attendees took home our beautiful mix of choice music from the night, with CD cover art by Holly Halftone herself.

Sarah Putnam and Pamela McMillan, as Ophelia Opiate and Patricia Pillbocks were crowd favourites, nagging at each other on the floor and even running up on stage a couple times to rip clothing off of each other – the final time resulting in Patricia being carried off stage by our Doctor in residence, played by Lovern Kindzierski.

When Alicia and Meg (as Lily Longbottom and Penny Dreadful) finished their last pose on the stage, we did a draw for the $30 door prize from Cre8ive Supplies, which was won by Jennifer Swan – congrats! 🙂

It was so great to see so many happy and creative people enjoying the show we put on. It was exactly how we imagined it, thanks to everyone involved! So that being said, here are a nice big batch of photos from the night!

These lovely cupcakes were a gift sent to us by a future Drawn and Plastered model, Victoria Karras

 

The hat display on Rockband drums in the makeshift dressing room. I made the one in the middle, which was worn by Sarah Putnam as Ophilia Opiate.

The hair and makeup table, though the lighting was too dark to actually do the hair and makeup there.

Holly's dad Lovern, who was an amazing help to us along the way.

I was raving all night about how delicious these were. You really must try them!

The fabulous Holly

Pam getting the crazy started!

 

The ballots for our door prize from Cr8ive Supplies

 

My very good friend Jesi, of Jesi's Full Moon Gifts

Holly's mom helps Sarah with her makeup "back stage."

The always gorgeous Alicia May

Pam greets our very first guest.

Wut?

 

Sarah entertains our guests.

This guy's work actually reminded me of DaVinci.

Photographers welcome!

 

And now WordPress is REALLY starting to act up on me because of all the photos, so this is to be continued in part 2…