Creative Live with Christa Meola

Oh my gosh.  This blog post is gonna be a long one I am afraid.  But I think most of my personal posts are so hang on tight!  Last Thursday I boarded a plane set for Seattle.  Seattle, Washington is the home of CreativeLIVE and it is a worldwide creative online workshop for photographers.  I was blessed to be picked to attend one of the workshops with Christa Meola a very talented and sexy boudoir photographer that is based out of New York and LA but travels to lovely places all over the world photographing beautiful sexy women.  I was picked with five other amazing photographers who since have been dubbed by Christa "The Sexy Six Pack".  I will dive into those five beautiful people in a bit.

This was my first experience to attend an actual workshop.  I have watched CreativeLIVE many times, but to actually be there was a completely different experience all together.   I am just going to get out of the way right now that I.DO.NOT.FEEL.COMFORTABLE.IN.FRONT.OF.ANY.CAMERA.  Live cameras or still.  It is a personal hangup for my own reasons and something I have to work on myself, which Christa so made me do right quick ;)  but is going to be a growing process with me.  I am ALMOST 40 years old and it is sad to say that it has taken me this long to finally address some things with my personal self that I just haven't ever done.  I have been a mom for 21 years and for 21 years that has been a huge part of my self presence.  Why is this important right now in my life or pertain to what I do as a profession?  There is a huge reason; I want to make women and moms who feel just like me feel and look beautiful in front of my camera.  I need to be in touch with my own beauty so I can help them feel beautiful.  Do I do that now?  I think if you asked my clients who I have shot did they feel beautiful, and their answer is yes.  I see beauty.  I can point out things about a person that I feel are beautiful but sometimes it is hard to convey in a photograph what the most proper way of moving a person to show what that beauty is when you yourself, don't see that in yourself.  (Can I say now I apologize if there are run-on sentences -- I am a photographer, not an English major ;p )  My three days with Christa and her outward sensuality taught me so.many.things.  I will say this first, Christa may not feel this way about herself all the time, but this is why she is a teacher -- she knows how to teach this and to lead by example regarding this subject.  Being there, with Christa, watching her with models, real women, us -- Christa is a SENSUAL GODDESS.  She has this presence about her and her femininity.  I have never been around someone who exuded such a sensuality about her of which I could watch and take away from by just honing in on little things she does.  Is she a normal person, absolutely!!  She is a chick you sit down with and laugh with be serious with but she is also that person that knows exactly where she is in her profession and area of her profession.

The morning of the first day I woke up at 5:30 for an 8:00 a.m. on-set call time.  Aside from the two hour time change, I was so completely excited, nervous, giddy and SCARED TO DEATH.  I walked through the door and I can't even begin to explain how welcoming the CreativeLIVE crew is.  First impressions are everything right, and the first person to welcome me was Celeste and she was sooo sooo super sweet and awesome and gorgeous.  You have this picture in your mind of how everything is in your head but it was so not what I expected.  I can't tell you how much I adore that whole crew.  I am sure they make everyone feel that way because it is who they are, but I felt the love for what they do.  I have to mention Teth and Kellan because they were always up in our space attaching microphones, changing batteries and yelling ;) at us for muting our mics and forgetting we had.  God Bless Kenna and LaRae.  They are the hosts whose pretty mugs light up the screen and field everyone's questions out there in the internet world.  They were so supportive of us all and  I heart them.   There are so many  people behind the scenes that I didn't get everyone's names but I have a special fondness for Craig, and he knows why ;)  I was in Seattle because of his voice and I am so so appreciative of him.   I can't mention CL without mentioning John Cornicello.  He was the dearest, sweetest man who you just wanted to hug.  He knows his stuff.  I hope to one day be able to visit and work with the CreativeLIVE family again.

Ohhhhhhhh did I mention I am awkward in front of the camera.  Doing this on-air no do-overs thing only exaggerated my awkwardness.  I have a deep respect for anyone who does this regularly.  Every time I felt like I was on camera my face got all flushed, I stuttered and felt like I needed to take off the 25 layers I didn't have on.  I should have had a case of deodorant shipped to me.  I think back now and I am not sure I will be able to watch any of the footage because I might drop to the floor getting an extremely good laugh at myself.  I know my children did.  I won't go into detail on experiencing the feeling of failing because what I am going to focus on is what I learned from what happened my first time shooting on camera and I should have just listened to my teacher, Christa, but rather listened to the ringing in my ears that I couldn't get past for fear of doing just what I did which was not be myself.  Contrary to internet belief, I am not an amateur and whether someone thinks I hold my camera the proper way is like telling someone they don't poop the right way.  Really?  I am a creative person and the way I hold a camera was not why I was there learning from Christa.  I was there to learn how to direct to get sensuality out of someone and learn from the best, among other things.  I was there to improve my weaknesses.  Ahhhhh, what can I say about the world wide web.  Until you have walked in the students shoes please have a little more respect for them.  I guess I was naive coming in thinking there wasn't going to be critiques of my work.  I also didn't expect the messages and emails I got of people supporting me.   You who did, I thank you, thank you, thank you.    I am posting some images at the end of this of my second go around and I freaking love them.  Do I wish I had more of her body in them yes, but I LOVE THEM.

I wasn't the only student there feeling the same things as I was.  There were five other people who had never met who will now forever be my friends.  I am a big believer in people coming into your life for reasons and times.  I am blessed to have been placed with these five.  We are THE SEXY SIX PACK.  B.  I will start with B. because he was the first student I saw when walking into the door.  Oh what a teddy bear.  He is sweet, kind, talented and a gentleman.  What you saw on camera was maybe 5% of who he is.   He voiced his weaknesses but he is not a weak man at all.  He is a six hour trip away :)  Carlo.  Carlo, Carlo, Carlo.  The Britalian.  I could just sit and listen to him all day long.  He is just absolutely awesome and giving.  He was so willing to listen to all of us discuss our businesses and offer advice and just listen.  He is Italian adorableness.  He is so passionate about what he does.  And he has an awesome other half who I feel like I know, his wife, Faby.  Jen.  I didn't realize when I met her but she is Jen, the photographer who stood up to high school bullying and refused to take some mean girls pictures who were being ugly to another individual.  That is who she is.  I am gonna say she is a force to be reckoned with along with being adorable and beautiful on the inside as well as out.  She is a girl of one-liners.  She made me laugh A LOT.  She walked with me to Starbucks to get a white moccasin.  Brandy.  Brandy was beautiful.  She was a calming presence in our group and as B said, she is just full of grace.  Michelle.  Michelle was my Nikon buddy who I got to connect with on a non-Canon level.  ;)  Michelle was so supportive.  So supportive.  She was the first person I looked at when my first shoot didn't go well and she just hugged me with her eyes.  When I got to her she did hug me and tried her darndest to build me back up.  She was beautifully awesome.  I can't wait until we all get together again. 

There are so many different things I took away from my time in Seattle with Christa.  Um, can you say edit backwards?  LOL!  I can't thank her enough for this opportunity that was given to me.  I was so honored to have stood beside her learning and absorbing all things Christa.  Did I say she can rock some heels?  She made me face things about myself that I hadn't ever voiced.  I could say thank you a million different ways but I will be sure to show her what I have learned and have taken away from my three days with her. 

So I guess the final thing to say in the CreativeLIVE lingo is 3,2,1 IT'S A WRAP!!  I can't wait for everyone to see where Nicole Renee is headed!!