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BRB: Under a Pile of Dirt

It’s been a frustrating few months over here business-wise, hence my general silence on my poor blog. I wanted some updates to my website, and turned to my usual people. They weren’t available as I wanted, so I sought out someone else. I kept getting in contact with people who each do one part of the vast process that is having and maintaining a website. There are “front end” people, “back end” people, and something called “FTP” which everyone understands but me. I have no idea what any of this means.

I broke down; metaphorically busting open my piggy bank, offering whoever would step forward to just DO IT.

Do the stuff that makes it work.

Do all of the stuff together. Make it go.

For the past few months, I’ve felt like I’m under a pile of dirt trying to make sense of this.

On top of this, my dogs are sick. Leeloo stopped eating, and it turned out a major tooth cleaning was in order. This involved her getting knocked out and having dental work done. Now I have to brush her teeth every day, a task that involves me coming away covered in dog spit and chicken-flavored tooth paste. Now she’s eating, but Matty has stopped. There was a glorious 24 hours where everyone was eating as they should. Now he is laying around the house listless. He’s nearly 13, and I’m fearing not-good things. We go to the vet tomorrow.

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Honest Boudoir

honest boudoir

I struggled so hard naming my boudoir company, and thank you so much for your input. Kinky Peach was a strong contender for a while, and I hope someone uses it for something, but as it turned out, all of the naughty, sexy, cheeky words felt wrong.

I’m calling it Honest Boudoir. The name has less sizzle and kick than the other ideas, but speaks to the message I’m trying to send. It’s not airbrushed, or judgmental. You can show up with hairy armpits, or chubby thighs, or dressed as a boy – or actually be a boy. You can be a couple, too, or gay, a person of color, or a “masculine of center” woman, or covered in tattoos. You can be nine months pregnant, six weeks postpartum, or fifty years old, and there will be room for you to be whatever “sexy” looks like to you.

As I said, right now, it’s strictly an art project. I’m not taking any money for portraits, and I’m going to fit it in with my regular work schedule.

My goal is to shoot on location in people’s existing spaces, both to save money and because I like the idea of doing a boudoir session in your own space or fun hotel room you’ve picked out instead of a studio.

I’m obviously usually in New York, but I’m traveling to Europe a bit at the end of next month. I’m also going to go to Milwaukee, WI as soon as it gets warm, and I’ll likely be in LA soon, as well as San Francisco at some point sooner or later; they can’t keep me out of that town for long. In the meantime, if you have friends in London, Berlin or Paris that would like to take photos with me, send them to my website and ask them to get in touch. My dates are:

London from 28 – 31 March

Berlin from 1 – 4 April

Paris from 4 – 8 April

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career photos

Western Light – a Photograhy Project

western light photography project

from Nicki Fietzer in Manhattan

western light photography project

from Erica Rose in Anchorage, Alaska

western light photography project

from Lauren McGlynn in Edinburgh, Scotland

I started a cool photography project with some other female photographers. We all live in the Western Hemisphere, stretching from Anchorage, Alaska in the US to Edinburgh, Scotland, so we call it Western Light. Every week, each of us contributes an image from where we are at the time (it’s on a tiny bit of delay for blogging purposes). I love seeing what everyone comes up with every week. It makes me feel connected with some of my smart, talented girlfriends spread around the world.

“Like” us on Facebook here.

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Amber Marlow, Destination Wedding Photographer

nyc destination wedding packages

I spent the back half of last week in Rinòcn, Puerto Rico, where I photographed a wedding on Saturday. It was the first in my “no travel fees” destination wedding photography special I’m running in 2014 and it was AWESOME. I stayed in a cheap motel by the beach that was within walking distance of the private residence the couple had booked, so my “commute” was wandering up the sand for about 500 yards. I shot their wedding barefoot.

It was magic. The weather was flawless every day, the people were amazing, and the views… oh my goodness. Puerto Rico is shaped like a rectangle with a “nose” pointing out of the west side. Rincòn is right on the tip of that nose and is mountainous, so when you go up into the hills, you can see the sea in a 270 degree view, and because it’s on the west, the sunsets are glorious. Plus, there were pelicans, and watching them fish in the evening was exciting.

It feels lucky and amazing to call this my job. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know my background is that I come from a blue-collar family that discouraged dreaming big. My parents told me at one point that I should be a postal worker, and when I pointed out how boring I would find that, they said, “Who cares? You’ll always have a job.” So to travel by plane, even just three hours away, and photograph someone’s wedding on a beach is so huge for me.

Go dream big, friends.

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blah blah blah career

Join the Brainstorm

boudoir company names

Boudoir photography been brewing in the back of my brain for years; aside from an occasional toe-dip into it, it’s never taken off. Then, when I realized that there was a GLARING hole in the industry that was missing guys, masculine of center gals, larger girls, women of color, tattooed girls, boys in lipstick, couples – basically, anyone who isn’t female, thin, and white – I needed to get to work.

Naming a boudoir company is hard, though. The working title is Gentle Sting but I started to hate it, and now no friend can come over without being sucked into a brainstorming session (at least I keep wine in the house.) The above photo is of notes stuck to the door in my living room from about a week of fussing.

It needs to be naughty but not dirty, subversive without being obscure, and, most important (and most difficult): sexy but not feminine or masculine.

My instinct was to hold my cards close to my chest until a name was picked, but you guys did a great job with my middle name, so what say you? Any good ideas?

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No Fee Destination Weddings

One of my goals for the coming year is to shoot more elopements and intimate weddings around the world. I’m daydreaming about Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, romantic winter elopements in New England, rustic weddings in Colorado, and desert weddings in California. I have no idea how one gets started doing something like this, but honestly, I had no idea how someone gets a career like mine, and now I just… do it. So I’m just doing this, too.

I’ve driven and flown to other parts of the country to shoot weddings before and had my overnight accommodations/airfare/car rental comped, which is normal, but I haven’t traveled that much. So, to make hiring me for this a fantastic bargain – and to get a few destination weddings under my belt – I am waiving all travel fees for 2014. The only catch is that it has to be 200 miles outside of Brooklyn, and I’ll get myself there on my own. I have a few thousand dollars from the sale of my car sitting in a savings account, and this is what I’m going to do with it.

My accountant was like, “Whaaaat?”, but I’m really excited. I’ve got no idea if this is anything that I can actually pull off or not, but if I fall flat on my face, I’m fairly certain I’ll be ok.

Is this nuts?! Wait, don’t answer that.

If you know of someone getting married somewhere fun, feel free to send them my way. My professional website is here, and they can use the contact form to get in touch.

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blah blah blah career

All Work

This week, you guys.

After a week of California weather, friends, hugs, and fun dinners, I came home exhausted, inspired, and ready to tuck in my chin and work. Like I was saying, my workflow hasn’t been the best, but thanks to a few new-to-me pieces of cool photographer software, I’ve honed it down and am now working out the kinks.  I came up for air briefly when Daffodil stayed overnight on Wednesday for the Brooklyn stop of her book tour, and I hung out with the folks next door Halloween night giving out candy (and helping to chase my toddler neighbor, who dressed as a chocolate-streaked lion), but other than that, I crammed about four weeks of work into one, and it was awesome, although there isn’t a clean dish in my house. And no new blog posts, which is sad.

Happy November!

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career life list

5 Goals For the Coming Year

At Camp Mighty every year we talk about our upcoming 5 things that we are going to accomplish in the coming year. This year I’ve departed from my Life List a little and picked five goals that I need to accomplish to feel like I’m progressing as a person. I am totally allowed to do this. Here they are.

1. My big one: Learn “grownup business stuff”. Super boring, but I started my business sort of by stumbling into it, and then never really learned how to do it properly except here and there. There are SEO techniques I’m not using to promote myself, “quarterly taxes” are something I’ve only heard about, and there are all sorts of things I should be doing that I’m not. I want to run an actual real grown up business, and also learn more about equipment and very advanced photography editing techniques, workflow, and running an operation that is tight as a drum. This is hard for me to admit, actually, that I don’t do this right now. 2013 is the first year I’m filing taxes as a single person, and I am L-O-S-T. The kicker is that I’m pretty successful and good at producing quality work, I’m just disorganized behind the scenes.

2. Live in a rockin’ batchelorette pad. Straight from my Life List and scrawled on there at a moment when my entire life was all down around my ears. It’s halfway there at this point, and I cannot wait to show you the photos when I’m done.

3. Expand the boudoir aspect of my photography business. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, and I have some exciting ideas, but growing my business seems daunting without wrapping my hands around goal number one first. So that’s a secondary goal. I want to work with couples to make sexy, non-sketchy photos, and also women, and men, and people who are gender queer. Human sexuality is so interesting to me, and I want to explore it in a fun, artistic way. If you can help me with this or have ideas, please reach out via email.

4. Write more fun editorial content on my blog. This is lowest on the totem pole, but right now daydreaming about a blog overhaul is keeping me happy. I want to write about fun stuff like books, and cocktails, wine, makeup, and interesting things to do in New York. I have friends doing amazing things and want to introduce readers to them.

5. Get really fit. Self-explanatory. There’s a goal on my Life List that says “be a person that exercises regularly”, something that would have been unthinkable two years ago, and now I think it’s actually starting to happen. I work out at LEAST once a week, if not more, and I see that increasing in the future, because it feels so amazing. I never thought I’d say that, but here I am.

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