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An exclusive behind-the-scenes look into Milwaukee’s hidden gem of a studio + event lounge.

Okay, so it’s confession time. About a year and a half ago, I was checking the mail when I noticed a sign just outside our main lobby that read, “Northern Lights Photography Studio + Events”. How cool!! A new photography studio–and in the exact building I live in–of all places!!

The studio is located right next to Screaming Tuna, so to get there from the outside, you just go in though the main lobby and up the stairs, and down the hall. (The hallway walls are reserved for photographers who would like to display their own work!)

I’ve heard and seen great things coming out of this studio on their Instagram, but decided to reach out to see what the space was all about for myself. David Bernacchi, the studio’s booking agent followed up with me the very same day (on a Saturday), and we had a tour set up that very next week.

As David put it, this place feels like a spaceship. With its wireless remote controlled lights, backdrops, and window shades, the state-of-the-art ceiling drop lights and cyclorama walls instantly make this studio a modern photographer’s dream. Even the bathroom is aesthetically gorgeous, encompassing dual-rainfall shower heads.

I was particularly in love with the amazing make up room!! The vanity sets have color temperature adjustable LED lighting. There’s even a clothing steamer and curling & straightening iron holders. They really thought of everything!

Not to mention, a fully furnished kitchen and lounge, surrounded by a gorgeous view of the Milwaukee River make Northern Lights Photo Studio perfect for wedding shoots and all kinds of events.

Robert Popp, the studio owner is an all around awesome guy and studio host. He really goes the extra mile to help photographers feel comfortable in the space and is happy to suggest light set ups for some fantastic results. I loved watching Bob work with Bryan in our test photo shoot last week. I couldn’t believe how many shots we got in such a short amount of time:

Click here for some fun behind-the-scenes out-takes from this shoot!

The part that I think photographers will love the most is how quickly everything can be set up. Simply push the drop lights from the ceiling to where you want them, pull them up or down, and press a button on the remote to select from an array of backdrops, (or use the always freshly painted white Cyclorama wall) and you’re ready to go!

Want to test it out for yourself? Come join us on Thursday, May 2nd any time from 6:00-9:00PM at the Northern Lights Photo Studio Open House & Networking Event. This free event will be an awesome night of test shoots, networking, and collaboration with complimentary refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. You can reserve your free tickets HERE, and check out the Facebook Event HERE.

Can’t wait till then? Book the studio and save 15% off your total booking session when you use promo code: CYNFLUENCE

Could your skin care routine use a little VAMP? Not to worry, We’re going to break down what can become an overly complicated process into a simple regimen that ANYONE can follow. I am straight up writing this blog for all of you who are too busy killen’ it and don’t have time to have a fancy, over-the-top skincare routine.

Skin care is SO IMPORTANT…not just because you will want a flawless camera completion, but to also prevent and minimize long term damage from UV exposure and aging. Plus, all of the skin care products I’ll be linking will each be around or under $10. YAAAS.

Daily skin care should be simple & inexpensive! Let’s get into it:

Morning:

1. Cleanse

Having a daily cleanser for your skin type is important! This is a product you use multiple times a day, so you will want to get one that is made for your skin type (Oily, Dry, or Combination). If you have sensitive skin, you will want to opt for a cleanser that is gentle and does not contain a high amount of alcohol, sulfates, or parabens, which will dry out and irritate the skin.

This oil-free Neutragena cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin that gets oily from time to time. If you tend to fall more on the dry-skin side of the spectrum, you would probably benefit from Neutragena’s hydrating gel cleanser with hylauronic acid (vitamin C) for locking in moisture & adding softness. Fighting acne? No worries. Neutragena’s oil-free, micro clear wash will help you cleanse and treat acne on a gentle, every day basis. For under $5, you couldn’t ask for a better product!

2. Toner/Astringent

Combo to oily skin people will benefit from a toner that will absorb access moisture in the “mask” part of the face. (Forehead, nose, cheeks). If your skin gets pretty oily, you will definitely want to try out Neutragena’s oil-eliminating toner. Combination skin would benefit most from a toner that contains zero alcohol, but will still minimize oil from emerging mid-day. This hypoallergenic, alcohol free toner is perfect for sensitive and combination skin.

3. Moisturizer 

There’s a reason we don’t use regular body lotion on our faces. Our faces contain lighter, thinner skin that is more sensitive and prone to damage than the rest of the skin on our body. Most skin types will benefit from this oil free, light weight moisturizer for sensitive skin, which can be used morning and night. This moisturizer is perfect for men, as it relieves razor irritation, contains SPF and provides extra hydration for dry skin. Want to fight the sun in addition to locking in moisture? Good idea! This moisturizer, specially formatted to even out dark spots and imperfections contains SPF 30 in addition to hypoallergenic properties for sensitive or damaged skin.

Night:

1. Make up remover

We all know taking make up off at the end of the day is an absolute MUST. What’s equally important?

Taking off the make up remover.

Make up removers contain chemicals to help break down make up particles. When left on the skin, they can cause dryness and irritation. Doing this repeatedly will lead to excessive dryness and hyper-pigmentation of the skin! Take your make up--and make up remover off!

Neutragena make up wipes are super convenient and easy to use, especially if you are traveling. (They also make oil based make up remover which works just as well.) Some people prefer to use coconut oil or coco butter, which works too!

2. Cleanse

Yeap, you can definitely use the same cleanser that you use in the morning or after a work out. No need to over complicate things. Never harshly rub. Use circular motions with the tips of your fingers over your face and forehead. Be very gentle around your eyes.

3. Moisturizer: Night time edition

While there’s really no harm in using your daily moisturizer once again at night, while you sleep, your skin rebuilds and sheds dead skin cells. I always recommend using a night time moisturizer that contains retinol. Retinol, (especially when combined with vitamin C) works extremely well to boost collagen regeneration. While retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, it is perfect to use while you sleep. You can return to your daily moisturizer (that hopefully contains SPF!!) again during the day.

4. Eye Creams/serums

If you are using any specialty serums (anti wrinkle, tightening, or eye serums) now is the perfect time to apply them. They only “serum” I currently use is my eye gel. The skin around our eyes is the most sensitive skin we have on our faces. I like to use this tightening eye cream packed with nutrients like vitamin A & B to fight fine lines.

5. Zits:

Got a nasty zit that you want gone or drastically minimized come morning? My secret to fighting volcanic zits is my Mario Bedescu drying lotion. It’s pink and smells like sulfer, which is why I often refer to it as my “satan salt.” But trust me, it will smite your zit overnight. Hazahh.⚡️

Okay, this is the only item on the list that is a little over $10, but it’s totally worth it because IT WORKS.

Do not shake the formula–the pink mineral composite is supposed to settle at the bottom. Take a cotton swab and dip it into the thick, pink sediment and blot a small amount on top of the zit.

Don’t forget–there are several important skin care steps that need to be done once a week. Read the next blog, “Do These 4 Things Once a Week and Your Skin Will Love You Forever”

Wanna stay up to date with all the latest details? Sign up for the newsletter and I’ll brighten up your mundane and boring inbox🔥

Photo shoots always look super fun because, well…they are!! Photography is an all-around beautiful art, as it allows people to work together to create a moment in time, captured in an image. Creativity is limitless, and memories are made forever. Chances are you are going to have a total blast once you’re on set, but it is very important that all of the details are cleaned up and taken care of even before the first flash. Before you agree to shoot, you should ask yourself:

1. Do I like their work?

If you are a model, look at the photographer’s previous work. Do you like their take on angles, color, lighting, style, and overall artistry? If you are a photographer, do you like the model’s style, and on-camera movement? Will the model’s look fit the vibe of your next project?

This is a big one, because you must realize that—just like all models are different—photographers are so different too! This is an art, and everyone creates differently. Make sure you are pleased with the other person’s work, and you could see yourself creating excellent work together!

2. What’s the project?

By now you’ve decided that you like their work and you have decided to collaborate. You will want to know what kind of project this is: creative/portfolio building (TFP), publishing (web or print) or, maybe it is for a special event. This is the time to get into as much detail as possible when it comes to what is expected. State your limits clearly. You should never feel obligated to do something you do not feel comfortable with. Whatever the case, you will want to know the full scope of the project, because that will also help you determine:

3. Compensation

If you don’t have an agent (or are not working with an agency), you’ll have to learn to be extremely mindful of the many factors that go into negotiating a compensation, whether you’re a model or a photographer. Depending on your skill level and experience, you may want to begin by building your portfolio by doing TFPs (Trade For Prints.) If you are a photographer hired to shoot images for a publication, you may want to hire an experienced model from an agency. If you are a beginner model looking to build your portfolio, your agent may know of some great local photographers who may be interested in doing some trade work with you.

Photographers: even if you are new and don’t have the budget to pay for a model, an agency may have new models who could benefit from more photos and would be interested in collaborating for a TFP. I match-make photographers with models for these kinds of projects all the time!

However—if you are a very experienced model—you may no longer need to do work for trade and may want to have your agent determine your rate for most future projects. If you are working as a freelance model, you will want to determine your rate for the project. You will also want to consider:

4. TIME

How long will the shoot take? Should you put a maximum cap on the shoot? Since you (or your agent) have already discussed the full scope of the project, you will be able to better determine the amount of time that is needed for prep, shooting, and travel.

5. Location Permission

THIS. IS. A. MUST. It’s one thing to discuss all of the plans for the shoot, but before you get too caught up in details, the photographer should always obtain permission from the venue. Chances are the business would welcome you to shoot, but you should always make it standard procedure to obtain permission first. You don’t want to be the photographer who didn’t ask permission and gets turned away…Now you’ll have to improvise with a model who may not be so happy with you.

Avoid this situation altogether by always asking for permission in advance. For example:

Hi, my name is ______ and I am a photographer with ______ agency. I am currently in the process of planning a shoot with one of our models. We are interested in shooting at [insert venue here] which will play well into the creative vibe we are looking to achieve. Ideally, we would like to shoot on [insert day] between the hours of __ and __ but we are flexible and would gladly work around any potential events or conflicts. We do not anticipate the shoot to exceed __ hour(s). As a gratitude to you, we plan to post our work on [insert digital platforms here] and tag [name of business/venue] to bring more exposure to [insert business/venue].

We genuinely look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

[Your name/Photography Business name & contact info]

6. Photographer Photo Release & Understanding the Terms of the Photo

Once again—if you are a model without an agent—you will need to make sure that you are aware of what terms you are agreeing to with the usage of the photos. Trade for Prints (TFPs) can have specific or varying degrees of what you are permitted to do with the photo(s) after receiving them from the photographer. If no monetary compensation is being exchanged and you do not own the photo, (i.e. TFP) make sure you understand what you can and cannot do with the photo.

For example, if you are a model that shoots for trade-only, then the photographer will not permit their art to be tweaked or messed with in any way:

That means no presets, no filters. (Yes, that also means on Instagram and other social media!!) When you agree to the trade shoot, make sure that you are also agreeing to the photographer’s terms of the photo to avoid getting fined for breaching terms of a contract.

Now let’s say you ARE getting paid to model…

Then guess what? YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A SINGLE PHOTO FROM THE SHOOT. NONE. ZIP. NADA.

DO NOT go pester the photographer to send you the photos. You already got your compensation in cash, and at this point you are not owed anything else. This is known as a “Buy Out”. If the photographer chooses to give you some of the finished photos, it is at their own discretion, at their leisure.

BUT CYNTHIA, I WANT PHOTOS FOR MY BLOG OR SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS!!

Be sure to let the photographer know all of your intensions with what you choose to do with the photos. Many photographers are open to editing your photo to match your Instagram layout, but you need to make sure beforehand.

Did you find this article helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below. Be sure to read Photo Shoot Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts“.

⭐️Cynthia

There is ONE accessory that fashion designers local, national, & international have agreed ALWAYS  flatters every body type and size… Modern and non gender-exclusive, everyone of all and ages and backgrounds can rock this look for some added VAMP.

When it comes to the modeling industry, or simply just wanting to look GREAT, there is one specific element that can tie the whole look together, or make the entire style look subpar. 

Without it, the look is nowhere near as vibrant or as stately as it could be. I HIGHLY recommend everyone go out and find this while it is still available…

THE ONE SINGLE ACCESSORY YOU NEED TO OWN NOW IS:

 

Confidence.

🙃

Okay, you probably want to slap me now, and I get it. But SERIOUSLY THOUGH…. Confidence is THE one single thing you NEED in order to own ANY style. Think about it. Look at your favorite celebrities, musicians, or fashion icons. They often wear some of the most vibrant styles…and they do not walk around timidly with their head down.

Unapologetically rockin my mom’s prom dress from ’85💙

However, being confident is not only for celebrities. To be confident, you don’t have to be perfect, rich, gorgeous, or act like you have all the answers… In fact, nobody wants you to be perfect. Because…what even IS perfect? If you are striving to be someone else’s idea of “perfect”, you are not being yourself. We want you to be yourself so that you can embrace confidence freely, and exactly as you are. Plus, we want to capture it all on camera…

When it comes to fashion, the only way to WEAR confidence is by doing so UNAPOLOGETICALLY.  The unison of fashion and confidence is STYLE.  Remember that you have a powerful tool in your closet that requires no ironing or folding. And, can be worn in all seasons. Take your look up 10 notches by always wearing  CONFIDENCE as your main accessory.💄

Want more direct tips on how you can manifest more confidence over night? Check out: “Four Ways to Become More Confident OVERNIGHT”.

Modeling Agencies categorize models in a variety of ways based on their image. No matter what look you are currently rocking, it is important for any successful model to understand their place in their local market, and making sure that your agent has up to date and current photos, and your comp card for pitching to local clients. By understanding which market(s) you fit into, you can effectively direct your focus on that particular area in order for you  to book more jobs.

Take a look at your geographical location. Your area plays a large role in determining what your general market is. Is your area more conservative, like the Midwest’s heavy commercial market? Or is it all about #beachlife and spending your days in a bikini along the shore of Santa Monica? If you are trying to book work local in your area, then fitting into your local market is critical to your success of booking local jobs.  While being aware of your local market, there are many different kinds of “markets” out there that you should become aware of for modeling.

Commercial Market

By far the largest part of the Midwest’s  market, a “Commercial Market” aims to showcase the average person, or every day, “girl next door” look. Models who fit into the commercial market spectrum have a very natural look. For example, their hair has a very natural length and color. Skin is clear and healthy with no body art, (or very minimal/easily hidden.) They have no facial piercings. Commercial market models can be a variety of heights and sizes, but the most marketable commercial models have an even/proportional body shape. There is a broad variety of work that commercial models are hired for.

Types of Commercial Market work:

Commercial Market City: Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami

  • Commercials
  • Film/TV
  • Commercial Print
  • Catalogue
  • Promotional Events
  • Convention Spokesmodels
  • Social Media Campaigns & Brand Ambassadors
  • Fit Modeling & Product Development
  • Commercial Runway & Hair Shows

High Fashion Market

 

Known to be the most difficult and subjective modeling market, these models must be young, tall, and very thin. These models are seen on the New York Runways and are showcased in fashion magazines for editorial print work. Nationally, females must be 5’10-6’0, while men need to be 5’11-6’2.

Types of High Fashion  work:

High Fashion Market: New York City, International travel with luxury brands

  • High Fashion Runway Shows (Nationally and Internationally)
  • High Fashion Magazine Editorial and Fashion Spreads
  • High Fashion Social Media Campaigns for luxury brands

Smaller Niche Markets & Market Vibes.

 

  • Parts Modeling: Models who have great looking hands or feet who are used for modeling shoes or jewelry. Small market in Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles.
  • Alternative Modeling: Rocker, LGBTQ promotional events and spreads, punk/goth, heavy body art and facial piercings are common attributes found in Alternative Models. It is pretty much the opposite of a Commercial-Market look. These models are booked for very specific/select roles, characters, music videos, and events.
  • Beach Look: L.A/Southern California has its own “vibe” or feel to it. These models are in extremely good shape and occasionally have augmented body parts. These models do a lot of freelance work. (L.A., Miami)
  • Glamour Models: While glamour models do not need to be extremely tall (especially in comparison to a high fashion market, these models still have to be thin and very attractive. They typically model swimsuits or lingerie for local magazine spreads, promotional calendars, etc. (Selected out of Commercial markets)
  • Plus Size: Must be very attractive and have a proportionate body type. Plus size runway models must be at least 5’9, while print plus size are usually at least 5’8. Plus size models tend to fall under the “Commercial Market” umbrella, meaning they generally pose a very natural and clean look. (Selected out of Commercial markets)

Plot Twist: Social Media Influencers

Social media has completely changed the game in the modeling world, and in my opinion, for the better, and for all the RIGHT reasons. Instead of  having to fit into a market, you can instead choose to pick your own aesthetic on social media, and connect with brands that fit your own sense of style. With a lot of hard work, creativity, and determination, you can develop the skills to become a successful social media influencer.  Influencers are strategic when it comes to developing their content, finding their audience, and maintaining a specific theme and aesthetic, while staying consistent in the game.

What is so great about Influencers is that they can be successful no matter what their local market is. Having a digital presence allows these game changers the opportunity to be successful no matter where they are, regardless of what type of market is surrounding them. They are always working with photographers, venues, and collaborating with other bloggers and influencers. They consistently team up with brands to continue  to produce a feed (or channel) of inspiration within their selected interest. I personally believe that these humans are the reason why the term “side hustle” came to be.  Just remember: Influencers are no slouches–the hardest working social media influencers make it look the easiest.

Have a question or awesome story to share related to your experience? Comment below–I would love to hear about it!

<3Cynthia