Summer Look Book with Adorn Boutique

Glimmering afternoon light and a great group of girls, who could ask for a better way of spending a summer day? We were a mighty crew on location for Adorn's summer look book shoot at The Croft on Sauvies Island.

The wonderful part of this shoot was that Adorn's owner Nicole Whitesell and I really wanted to find beautiful everyday women to embody these fun summer looks. So no models here. Instead we found 5 amazing Adorn clients who graciously gave their time and newly-found modeling talents for the shoot. It was an absolute blast.  I can't wait to show the final look book when it's finished. Here is a sneak peek:

  For Picnics and strolls in the summer sun, here are a few wonderful looks for staying effortlessly chic no matter where the summer takes you. Our Lovely Adorn Women- Stephanie Maul Jennie Day Burgett Jessie Hascall Kari Olivier Macy Olivier Editorial Team- Photography: Gia Goodrich of VEV Studios Lead Styling: Nicole Whitesell Styling: Nicole Boyer & Olivia Goldseth  Makeup: Shauna Smith Hair: Sadie Tidland Lovely Assistant: Erin Adams Location: thecroftfarm.com at Sauvies Island Special thanks to Vail and Greg for the amazing support and for letting us run around on your beautiful property.

 

For Picnics and strolls in the summer sun, here are a few wonderful looks for staying effortlessly chic no matter where the summer takes you.

Our Lovely Adorn Women-

Stephanie Maul

Jennie Day Burgett

Jessie Hascall

Kari Olivier

Macy Olivier

Editorial Team-

Photography: Gia Goodrich of VEV Studios

Lead Styling: Nicole Whitesell

Styling: Nicole Boyer & Olivia Goldseth 

Makeup: Shauna Smith

Hair: Sadie Tidland

Lovely Assistant: Erin Adams

Location: thecroftfarm.com at Sauvies Island

Special thanks to Vail and Greg for the amazing support and for letting us run around on your beautiful property.

Xo, 

Gia

TADADA!

Once a year the Portland Institute For Contemporary Art hosts a night of drinks, dancing, and donating where the who's who of Portland's creative community give back to the amazing institution that keeps us in good culture throughout the year.

This evening happened to be celebrating PICA's 20th year of amazing art programming and we were there to create formal portraits of the fabulous attendees. Not only was it great fun seeing everyone in their amazing costumes, but it was a great chance to give back. 

I've been so lucky since starting VEV to have an amazing community supporting me and encouraging me. So for me it was a great chance to offer my services to an institution that played a huge part in my understanding of art during grad school and after.  Also, years ago they took me in as a lowly intern and taught me the ways of the world in between sorting papers ; ) 

So cheers to an amazing 20 years and to 20 more to come!

P.S. Every year I've photographed performances for their epic 10 day extravaganza the Time Based Art Festival. If you haven't been, you've only half lived so check it out! You can see some of the performances I photographed here: Taylor Mac, Zoe+Juniper, Critical Mascara

xo,

Gia

Real Stories: Brittney

Meet Brittney.

She is an amazing ray of light. She's crazy witty, and always, always thoughtful. I wanted to have her tell her story in her own words because so much of what we talked about was the difference between how she sees herself and how she is. It's easy to see she's gorgeous, that is, if you're not her...

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I was the definition of a tomboy growing up - rough and tumble with a backwards hat, glasses that were taped in the middle due to being too rough on the basketball court, cuts and scrapes and skipping the pink toy aisle at the store, haha - all the classics. This attitude and independence didn't translate well into high school, and on top of that I was also was evolving out of my scrawny boy build and into a curvy yet fit frame.  Once I started gaining weight in college I struggled to identify with myself, and over time I let it emotionally cripple me. 

After years of warped self-perspective, I decided it was time figure out a way to clear the fog. "Ha, you're crazy" was a common retort to compliments or "it's just smoke and mirrors" to generous photo comments and let us not forget the famous, "oh but when I lose this weight, I'm going to do this that and this" as a response to so many plans and goals, as if it was going to be some mode of self motivation - but just turned into a broken record annoyance.  I've tried every trick there was to try and combat this self deprecation but nothing was working, so for my 30th birthday I called in my reinforcements, Gia & Kelliana, two wonderful humans with awe inspiring confidence and skill.


Going into the shoot, my nervousness outweighed my excitement, but that was short-lived as I wanted to prove to myself (and them, as they are well aware of my neurosis) that I could do this. A professional photo shoot was completely foreign to me, but I was given this amazing opportunity and needed to take full advantage of it - to see what was really beyond this defensive exterior. 


The shoot was an absolute blast!  Kelliana did an incredible job of making me feel comfortable and of not allowing myself to be lost within the makeup - to make sure that it was still me, but by also glaming me up just enough, she made me feel gorgeous. She had a perfect plan for me and I trusted her completely. Gia, what can I say...she is a true artist. It went so far beyond just taking the photographs or figuring out the proper lighting. Her knowledge of space, lines and body language along with her energy and raw ability to draw out the personality and expression that the photograph needs to be alive was incredible to watch. She truly loves what she does and it shows through every encouraging and/or instructional moment.


When I saw a sneak peak of the first photo, I was blown away! It was a perfect mix of my harsh as well as vulnerable qualities...it was me.  I couldn't believe how much of 'me' she was able to pull to the surface. I'm known for being hard on myself and my own worst critic, but I truly couldn't find anything to say about the image other than "beautiful". My friends & family are so used to seeing me ruin pictures of myself with a snarky smirk or an over the top cheese ball smile, that they were almost as shocked as I was. It's been overwhelming. 


Relinquishing control and giving into the process proved to be the main challenge but also the most necessary piece of the experience. I would find myself laughing as I held myself in an awkward pose, thinking how silly this was - but then Gia would show me the back of the camera and say "see! look  how incredible that translates". If you ever get the chance to work this with amazing team, you will walk away with so much more than a few photographs. This has been a huge turning point for me and the best gift I could have ever been given. 
 

-Brittney

 
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Love you Brittney! So proud to have you in our VEV family.

 

xo,

Gia

We've Got Moxie & A Bright Idea

If you've never been to a Women with Moxie mixer the premise is this: You walk into a crowded room filled with powerful women hoping to maintain your confidence while introducing yourself over and over again, trying not to fumble your words or your wine. It's definitely not easy.

But it was absolutely worth it.

About halfway through, the event organizer Dill stepped onstage and starting talking about Moxie and how it came to be. Then, all of a sudden without any warning, a fabulous new delightfully-spunky friend Michelle nominated me to go on stage. As if bumbling my way through 1 1/2 hours of introductions wasn't enough, I now had to stand in front of the whole room and talk about who I was and what I do. Of course I was mildly terrified, but deep down I knew it could be a great opportunity. Even though public speaking is America's #1 fear for a reason.

So I got up there and said something like this:

My name is Gia and I own a photography studio for women. I'm a photographer because I believe with every fiber of my being, that photographs have a transformational power. 

When I was little, I used to go through old boxes and find pictures of my gram and my mom. They would make me so happy to see how gorgeous they were and I would keep each one as a little treasure.

When I was a teenager, I used to collect images from magazines and tape them up in my room. I would do it to remind me that I looked nothing like these women and I should feel bad because of it. I wasn't thin enough, tall enough, beautiful enough. I would cling to those pictures so I would always remember that I wasn't ok. And to push myself to do everything in my power to look more like them, which often meant not eating.

In the last few years I've realized that most women have gone through something this. It's a type of shaming of ourselves. And as a result, we stop existing in photographs because we believe we aren't beautiful enough to be in them, or we don't want the way we look now to be documented.

My job as a photographer is to see these women, not as they see themselves, but far more objectively. When a client comes in we talk, we get to know each other, and we develop a trust. She trusts me enough to show me her authenticity, and vulnerability. And something really powerful happens in that space.

My goal with every photo shoot is to make the most gorgeous portrait that she's ever seen of herself. Because it's my chance to show her what she's forgotten, that she's perfect exactly the way she is. 

 

When I got down off stage I was shaking. But after that, and for the next 1 1/2 hours I was flooded with warmth. These amazing and powerful women kept coming up to me and thanking me, sharing their stories, and one broke down into tears. It was so incredible to be so open with a room of strangers and be received so completely. 

They kept coming up to me and telling me that they'd love to work with us, and they really needed photographs that they could use for their businesses. So after a while of thinking, my amazing studio manager Courtney and I put our heads together and came up with this:

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It's a pilot. If it proves to be interesting to our clients it could be something we offer once a month. So we'll see how it goes!

You know what they say, "do one thing everyday that scares you." Well, I think I'm covered for the rest of the month. ; )

xo,

Gia

Bridge of the Goddess

Saturday I was fortunate enough to spend my morning with 1,500 goddesses. My wonderful friend (and one of our first clients) Paula held the first ever Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon & 10k that was such a shining example of women coming together and doing great things.

I spent my morning at gear check and got to talk with racers as they were gearing up for the big event. My favorite thing about this community is seeing how warm and welcoming everyone is. Despite the fact that it's technically a competition, every woman was gracious, excited, and loving towards one another, which is so inspiring to see.

We gave away gifts to three goddesses and I'm excited to unveil their photo shoots when we're done.

Until, then I thought I'd share some highlights of one fun day.

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Resting Duck Face? Here's 5 Tricks To Looking Authentic In Photos.

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Over the last 10+ years, I've seen a common phenomenon. Someone who is really vibrant in person, but has a really hard time looking like a living being in photos, and not, say, a robot. But it's completely natural. In life we're in motion, smiling, laughing and moving. When a camera is pointing at our face we tend to get rigid and static because we can still see the flash from that horrible holiday picture last year that made all the rounds on Facebook. Boo.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Here's a list of 5 tricks that I use with every client to help them photograph like a living, breathing, brilliant being. Oh, and I use them myself.

1. Don't Try To Hold It—The moment you freeze for the camera it's over baby. Our eyes are used to seeing people in motion so it automatically feels unnatural. This is because our body tenses up in order to hold that position. The best thing to remember about photography is that the camera stops movement, that means you can keep moving. Models do this all the time, they jump, leap, walk, and dance in order to get that one still image. So loosen up, and move it, move it.

2. Access Your Body Language— Another reason not to tense up is because our brains assign emotions to that physicality (anxiety, fear, anger). Since happiness is expressed when the body is relaxed, in an open position, with a smile it's important to make sure that everything is aligned.

When we perceive threats our body language will naturally close and we'll start to cross our arms and change our stance. When we do this it's hard to show our brilliant authentic self. If camera = threat for you, you'll want to change that. What's the easiest way to change your body language? Change your mind. Think a happy thought.

3. Imagine Angel Wings— And here's your happy thought. I do this all the time when I need to feel some gratitude or connection toward someone. I imagine them with angel wings and a halo (sometimes the halo is bedazzled, just sayin'). It sounds silly and it is. But, it immediately puts your mind in a loving and creative state where you are full of warmth. That warmth will come through in a photograph. When you feel that way it will also change your body language, so it's a 1-2 punch.

4. Check Your Pedicure— In other words, look down for a few seconds. It's a chance to relax your face and reset. When you do this ask yourself, " am I holding any tension in my body?" Then when you look up, BANG! you'll give the camera mirror eyes.

What are mirror eyes? They're the eyes you give in to yourself in the women's bathroom while you're jushing your hair. The eyes that you turn off the second another woman walks in. Ask the photographer to count and for 1 & 2 look down and 3 look up. You'll be surprised by the results.

5. If You Want To Smile, Giggle— There's nothing worse than the plastered on smile in family photos. I should know, I'm guilty of it all the time. But our brains can scan a face in mili-seconds and tell if a smile is fake. It's because a real smile induces the involuntary contraction of the orbicularis oculi (your crow's feet muscles). The only way they contract them is with a genuine smile, which means you have to make yourself laugh. Now, you could laugh loudly and boldly. It would probably ensure that everyone else's smiles are real too. But if you want to be discreet, giggle to yourself. It can be completely silent, but giggling gives you the real thing.

Here's a little proof.

Recently I needed to make a picture of myself for the contributor page in 1859 magazine.  It was me by myself in an apartment. I wanted to make a picture that felt like it communicated fun and warmth. So what did I do? I played around with my body language and giggled to myself. 

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You're amazing,

Gia


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Wait, You Removed My What?!?

Sue Bryce, a really famous photographer says that women want 4 things:

  1. to look Younger
  2. to look Slimmer
  3. to look Gorgeous
  4. and world peace

I would add chocolate, other than that I think she's right. But how far is too far in the quest for our YSG fantasies. As a photographer I get asked that a lot, but it's something that's always on my mind anyway. When it's just me and my Macbook Pro I'm left staring at a client I have to make a call, lots of calls.

Because it's easy to go to far. We've all seen images polished to perfection. Our news stands and inboxes are littered with creative processing getting a little too creative. There's even a website dedicated to it (which I highly recommend if you ever need a pick me up). And there are lots of examples of our most celebrated stars getting hit with some serious photoshop fairy dust:

So what to make of it? Well, Photoshop is awesome. It allows you to make images that couldn't exist in the world, to take what the camera sees and turn it into art. That said, like any powerful tool, it depends on your intentions. 

Keep in mind it's not me thinking that my clients needs something in order to look beautiful. More often than not it's me trying to anticipate what she will see in the image and dislike. Because I get it, if I think that my a$$ looks fat in an image that's it, game over.

My goal is to "enhance not erase." I say it over and over again when I'm at a crossroads. It means, taking care of irritants, things that block the true beauty of an image like a blemish that could just as easily not have been there. It also means that I don't try to wedge women into some collective idea of what perfect is. Because Penelope is gorgeous and I don't see why enlarging her chest and taking in her ribs is necessary. 

In a perfect world, she'd love the image and her body exactly as it is, and so would I. But until then I'm great with a happy medium. 

 

Pivot Hard & Pivot Strong

I have big dreams. I always have. A lot of times they end up scribbled in a journal that gets stacked on a shelf somewhere. But a few times in my life I shoot for the moon and some how, make it happen.

But here's the catch, they never ever look like what I thought they would.

Tuesday, we realized that it was time to make a decision. Either we cling to that beautiful shiny idea that felt so perfect not-so-long ago, or we let it transform into something else.  And sure, it's scary and uncomfortable not knowing how things will turn out. But I had to let go of the way I wanted things to go and just let them go. Even if it terrifies me.

But it's hard. I feel like I'm grieving the loss of something that seemed so amazing. I'm so sad that  with the hits and misses, the inventory checks and accolades I won't have this amazing partner by my side. But we realized that we weren't a perfect fit for this. And now we get to keep all the love and friendship and release the tension, and trust me, there was a lot of tension. Now it's scary thinking about putting myself out there and going it alone, but I will. I have to. 

So, until VEV is a brilliant success, and I jetting off to give keynote lectures on how to be amazing and make your ideas happen, I'm going to have one phrase manicly cycling through my brain (I stole it from Mark Bradford), "I always make the shot. It may take me longer than some, but I always make the shot." It got me through grad school, layoffs, breakups and now, starting a business based on another one of my big dreams.

Wish me luck,

Gia

p.s.

If you see me staring off into the ether, feel free to hug me because I might need it.

 

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