Alicyn Drew Photography: Blog en-us (C) Alicyn Drew Photography (Alicyn Drew Photography) Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:32:00 GMT Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:32:00 GMT Alicyn Drew Photography: Blog 120 120 The Goddess Project Athena A while ago I started a goddess project. The idea is to shoot women as goddesses of their choosing and bring out their inner strength through imagery. The project stalled for lack of models, however it is now in full swing again. Thanks, to cosplayers. I am full and starting to shoot the series again. Where will it take me, I don't know. I suspect it will morph into something else. For now it's about empowerment and beauty, strength and also a bit of fantasy. 

I am also now letting the model pick their goddess and make her their own. She can be modern or classic, I am open to all interpretations.

I really did want to shoot an Athena and Alexis jumped at the chance.  I asked her, "Why Athena?" and this was her reply


"Greek mythology has always been something I've enjoyed reading about since I was very young, with Athena being my favorite of all the gods and goddesses. So when Ali asked me which goddess I would like to portray for her photoshoot, naturally I selected the Goddess of Wisdom and War. While most of the other gods and goddesses had tales that centered around their numerous love affairs or bouts of petty jealousy, Athena has always seemed so level-headed by comparison. Unlike Ares, the God of War, Athena does not take pleasure in battle. She would rather settle disputes through mediation, only entering battle if her lands and people are threatened by outside forces. In times of peace, she does not bear any weapons, and is also the patron goddess of handicrafts, mathematics, literature, and innovation. Many versions of Athena depict her as a fierce warrior, but I wanted to incorporate the many sides of her personality into my portrayal of her as well as the costume I made for the photoshoot. For the costume, because she is one of several virgin goddesses, I decorated my corset "armor" with pearls, which are often regarded as symbols of purity and chastity. To represent her no-nonsense personality, I kept the rest of her costume simple and modest with a loose-fitting black gown and silver shawl. I saw her as a goddess who is stern but merciful, and so I wanted to include an air of softness and tranquility to her, with a touch of wildness to her, which Ali captured perfectly in the final photos."

We started the shoot in the woods near my house. It was shot in mid winter which made for an open forest. I find that even full winter sun can be worked with as it's softer and less harsh than summer sun. This image was taken in full sun. Please note the details of the bodice as they are intricate and beautiful. Alexis has a true talent.




Alexis also has a very soft and gentle nature which came through in her images. The following images were all shot in my garage with a fog machine.  A73A5724A73A5724

The challenge of a fog machine is you just don't know what it's going to do. Sometimes you get a little fog, sometimes you can't find the model for all the fog. But the results are usually worth the effort.

The following image came out of my camera so perfectly that no Photoshop was needed. I feel like it shows Athena in the clouds watching over her people and lands. I love how  this image just came together.



These next  two are composites. I wanted to show Athena with the symbol of wisdom so used a stock image of an owl to bring forth the warrior and the wisdom. 





Working with Alexis on this project was a pure joy. 

I will be blogging about many more goddesses so stay tuned. Next up is Skadi, the Norse goddess of the winter


]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Goddess Project cosplay Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:31:33 GMT
Pinup with a classic Mini I Love shooting Pinup!!! I love the expression and the fun attitude and I find with Pinup it's more about capturing an action and expression, where boudoir is more about the a sultry mood. Pinup can be sexy and it can be silly and fun. 

Last spring at MINIs on the Dragon I was hired to shoot a Pinup session of the lovely Teresa. She and her boyfriend each have classic Minis and she wanted to shoot with her car. Well classics are fickle and her Mini was in the shop so she shot with her boyfriend's Mini. She did her own hair, makeup and wardrobe and really brought it! She also brought the attitude.

So we picked a location that had a pretty background where I could also get her in the shade. The last thing I wanted her harsh shadows. I also brought along some speedlights, umbrella and a reflector and a great assistant. I like pinup to be bright as that reflects the fun attitude and this Mini was the perfect color. Here's a behind the scenes of us popping Teresa up onto the roof. It's important to use the manly muscles when needed. Roger did great with hoisting duty and as you can see Teresa is having a blast


We worked through a variety of poses and the following are the ones we liked best. I converted some to black and white. The color ones are colorized in Photoshop to give a vintage look. When I shoot pinup I like to get the skin really smooth, clean up the image and add a fair amount of contrast. Then I take it into the color mixer and add a final filter which is toned down but brings a vintage look to the image. 











]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) MINIs on the Dragon pinup Sun, 15 Jan 2017 17:06:00 GMT
New Years Day 2017 Almost every New Years day since 2012 I have taken time to go out and shoot something. I really like it to be some me time or an adventure with Mark and the camera. This year it was inspired by my genius invention of the morning. I had been organizing my studio yesterday for my uber exciting New Years Eve and I came across my old Gorrillapod and thought once again how I wish I could use it to hold a light because the Canon 5D MIII was too heavy and valuable to risk to this thing. When this time I said to myself "This must be possible, it is really an ingenious lightstand." So I googled and found ways to turn a tripod into a light stand and before buying something I went down to the studio this morning and found this "Worthless adapter"  that I bought years ago and didn't know why. Uhhhh that baby fit perfectly on the Gorrillapod and I was able to snap one of my regular light stand adapters over it. Excitement is not enough to describe my joy as I ran upstairs to show my husband what I just figured out!!!


A thing of beauty

This means I can go shoot at odd locations without an assistant and have a chance of securing the flash somewhere without a cumbersome lightstand. Sure it won't work all the time, but there are times that this little thing will be gold to me. Sooooo with this in mind I grabbed my gear and headed out to the woods near the house. I also brought my tripod because I just like timed exposures of moving water. As I headed  to the main path and found the bridge I heard moving water and charged into the brush to get to the right location. Before leaving the house I had grabbed my warm fuzzy hoodie (Big mistake) as I was soon one with the thorns and my coat was grabbing everything. However I would not be deterred and much to the amusement of the people on the footbridge I was soon at my coveted spot on the river. I grabbed this lovely long exposure while down there, just used a neutral density filter and tripod. I think it was about a 20 second exposure.


Back into the brush I went to the other side of the bridge where I knew there were some good root formations that would be awesome to test my new lighting set up. I was traveling light so didn't pack a modifier, I set the zoom on the flash to 28mm to get a spread of light. wrapped it around a branch and set the camera as I would for the studio ISO 100, 1/100th shutter f8 and took a test shot. Here' the first image with no edits, it was a bit too moody for me but was the start of the dramatic look I wanted. 


Played around with the settings and the flash to bring in more light but I didn't want to lose the dark night feel and the shadows. I got an exposure I liked but wasn't happy with the big shadow caused by a branch between the light and the subject



Soooo, I moved the light to remove that shadow and shot again. This image I liked and edited in Lightroom only to get a cooler mood and tone. 



Next I found some area where there was water and looked around for textures. What caught my eye was a bit of green and I decided to shoot it. By now I was shooting once with no light to see a basic exposure and then adding light to add drama, depth and interest. Here it is no flash


I set the flash up low to the ground and fired at the plant, I really liked the light fall off and the intensity that it added to kept that and edited it. Adding the light made the greenery appear brighter and more alive, it also added some depth to the water.


The last few shots are no additional light just taken as I walked the trail out of the park.

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Today was a relaxing and inspirational way to start the new year. While I am not a fan of cold weather I have found winter light to be so beautiful. It seems softer and more forgiving than summer light. I was blessed with a warm day to enjoy the woods, the peace and the solitude. Used the time as a teaching moments and also to just immerse myself in something that I love.

Thank you for reading my blog. Wishing you a wonderful 2017 and much happiness and creativity


]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) inspirational Sun, 01 Jan 2017 21:05:00 GMT
Catching up with the blog and Milk Bath Portraits I can't believe it's been 10 months since my last blog. Here's a quick catch up, we bought a new house in Springfield, VA and moved, sold the townhouse and then I closed the photography business. Please don't think that I stopped shooting. I closed the business because I found the business aspects destroying the fun of my photography passions and I have a full-time job that pays the bills. I disliked shooting to keep the business open and wanted to pursue my creative ventures. Since closing the business I am having fun again. I've been shooting with a group of cosplayers and experimenting with new techniques. Our new house rocks for photography and I've had some awesome shoots here. Photography is a fun adventure again!!! I am way behind on my blogging. I am also shifting my focus to include more of the how to and the story around each shoot.

During this adventure I got a message from Elizabeth who said she wanted to do a milk bath shoot! I knew of them but had never done one, however, the idea intrigued me. Where to shoot this? How to light it? Do you really fill the tub with milk???? 

Elizabeth and I started to research and I saw a lot of the same types of shoots. They are beautiful but I wanted to add my own style to the images. I also knew I was not going to be successful on my own so I called Alexis a very talented friend of mine. Alexis can make a costume out of anything, she's a talented seamstress and a photographer to boot. So she understands what we're doing. I love pairing up with other photographers!

We read a lot about the process and finally figured out that it didn't seem to matter what you used (creamer, milk, cream, soy milk, dry milk, paint) and settled on a few gallons of whole milk. We also wanted an etherial look so Elizabeth acquired some water-safe LED tea lights and fairy lights. Alexis found some pretty silk flowers and I ordered a slew of peacock feathers from Amazon. I also have a lot of fabric so grabbed everything I could find that was soft and sheer.

The morning of the shoot we got organized. I remember thinking how can I do this in my bathtub, but I remembered one of my favorite photographers Frank Doorhof saying that you can make any location work. We were putting that to the test, right there in my bathroom. When we bought this house we gutted the upstairs bathroom and it had a nice white ceiling and gray walls. It was actually a pretty good set up. As we organized we carefully tested each tea light in a bowl of water making sure that they wouldn't shock Elizabeth in the tub. I'm not big on shocking my models so wanted to be sure we were safe, all tests were good. Finally it was time to start the shoot.

I filled the tub 3/4 full with warm water, then added a gallon and a half of milk. That water was opaque, at about an inch under my hand was gone. So we popped Elizabeth in and set up for the first shots with just the soft white fabric. 

Here's a behind the scenes of the set up, the bathroom was a bit crowded


Here's one of the first resulting images. 


In these images I was happy with the soft look we were getting and I liked that we could see the lights but I felt like they were being overpowered by the flash. I was just bouncing a flash off of the ceiling which gave a lovely even fill. We played around and decided to drop the flash and try the Ice Light on just Elizabeth's face. This would balance the light and allow the glow of the tea lights to show up better while keeping her face lit.

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This worked so much better to give the look we were going for. As you can see here we're now in the holiday mood with red and green fabric and Christmas ornaments. There was lots of giggling as we  tossed the ornaments in the tub. Up until this point we had found that the biggest struggle in a milk bath is that EVERYTHING sinks and you can't find it in the milk!!!! The balls floated!!! This was a joyous revelation. 

In order to keep the tea lights near the surface we had  to use fabric just under the surface of the milk and work the lights and the fabric into some magic that only Alexis understood. Did I mention she is an AMAZING Assistant?!

I like to have fun with these shoots so in the very beginning it's kind of weird. I have a friend in the tub, I'm standing over her with a camera. We're decorating her with fabric. Let's just say it can feel a bit awkward so I did what has always worked in the past. I had Elizabeth be the goof that she is and make funny faces. Later I photoshopped in a few goldfish to go with one of her expressions. I love working with this woman, she is pure fun and an incredible model.


Our last idea was to work with peacock feathers in the tub. They floated!!!! This was exciting, however within a few minutes we also realized that they smelled weird. Poor Elizabeth has now been in the tub over an hour. The water was luke warm and she was getting pruned up. So we shot the feathers and finished up.



So what did I learn???


  • Milkbath photography is fun and you can do a lot with it.
  • The biggest challenges were with things sinking
  • Peacock feathers smell when wet
  • My model was a bit tall for a standard sized tub
  • USE Fabrics! they really add a lovely quality to the images
  • Hair doesn't float!!! We're wondering maybe if we add salt to the water...
  • I might buy a kiddie pool and try this over the summer so there's more room


I want to do this again!!!

Thank you to Elizabeth and Alexis who made this whole thing possible.



]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Milkbath Portrait photography boudoir Tue, 27 Dec 2016 01:41:01 GMT
Friends Pinup Casey and Dallas Casey and Dallas are friends and coworkers that wanted to do a modern pinup shoot. I consider modern pinup to be pinup influenced without the vintage clothing or hair, yet bringing in the fun, expression and posing. 

We booked Union 206 and chose to use the boudoir studio for this shoot. The day started with hair and makeup with the lovely Mary Hair and makeup artist. After primping and packing up the car we headed to the studio for the shoot. 

A few things to think about before you show up for a boudoir or pinup style shoot

1. Get a good nights sleep

2. Drink a lot of water to hydrate your skin

3. EAT before the shoot, don't go in hungry

4. Shave your legs and armpits

5. Think about the fun and get ready for an experience where you will love being in your own skin

The studio session was two hours and we worked each model back and forth. While I worked with one the other was right there shouting encouragement, having fun and prepping for her turn. 

We shot a lot of different scenes and found the Casey and Dallas are very different looks while both being major fun to work with. The giggling level was high and we had a hard time being serious. I don't even know what I did when they both declared that I was the best photographer ever! High praise indeed.

Here are a few of the images from our session. Bringing a friend along can really make the session more fun and relaxing







]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Portrait photography pinup Sat, 05 Mar 2016 02:50:23 GMT
Visual Impact - Why hire a professional photographer My husband and I recently bought a house and are in the process of closing and preparing our townhouse for sale. As we looked at houses I remember seeing so much bad photography and being frustrated because I couldn't see past it to see what the house was like. As a buyer I found myself turned off if I thought the house was going to be dark and small. There were even a few houses where I fell in love with the pictures and the house itself wasn't right for us, but the pictures got us out to look.

Now that we're selling we hired a stager to come and look at our townhouse and help us sell it quicker. Carla spoke about how the first impression that a buyer will have is the online imagery and the visual impact of that. As we walked through the rooms she guided our eyes  to the various parts of our house and showed us what people would be drawn to and what to detract from. She kept saying that we needed that visual impact to draw in the buyers so that ours would be the house they remember from the 5 or 6 that they look at during a day of house hunting.

So what does this have to do with photography? We're all about visual impact and as a professional I'm trained to look for things you wouldn't even think about. I'm looking at the light and making decisions on how to light you to your best, I'm also considering the composition of the image and what should or shouldn't be in the shot. I'm studying your face to see if you have a better side. In post processing I make decisions on the crop of the image to draw the viewer in. I want them to know a that part of you that you want to portray. That's my job and I love doing it.

Headshots are the part of photography where you're selling your self image, you really need a strong visual impact in order to make that first impression and to make it strong and positive. In the online professional world visual impact can make or break your LinkedIn profile and get you that second look or passed over.

As a professional I'm going to ask you about the look that you want to portray. We'll work on outfits and colors and where to shoot and what kind of image to create. Each headshot is customized to your needs and my experience and eye is a big part of how we're going to collaborate and put together the image that will support you in success.

I recently had the pleasure to shoot Jenni. She's from Arizona and had admired the work I did for a friend of hers. When she was visiting she made arrangements for us to do headshots. She is in education and wanted environmental shots that would show her as intelligent, approachable and add a bit of fun. She punched up the colors a bit and really brought some style to her shoot. I searched out the perfect location to get the look that she wanted and we shot at the Mosaic District in Falls Church. I love this area because I can get an urban look easily, there are a lot of white buildings that throw around the light making for a big softbox of lighting. They also have easy free parking and some great restaurants.

Here's the images that Jenni received and is now using professionally.




]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Head shots Portrait photography Mon, 29 Feb 2016 04:06:22 GMT
5 Reasons to book a Boudoir/ Pinup session I love shooting boudoir and pinup and it's a lot of fun. I like it because I enjoy working with each woman to find the best poses for them. I love watching someone relax and as the session goes on and to watch their confidence soar. I feel that these sessions are empowering and allow you to express your feminine beauty and strength.

A lot of women find the process intimidating and I can understand why. You will be wearing skimpy clothing while having your photos taken. If you're not a professional model this can be a daunting exercise and yet; it is totally worth it.

So, why would you want to do a boudoir or pinup session with me???

Because it's fun and you're going to come out of it feeling better about yourself!

You don't have to believe me, listen to Becky a recent client of mine. I am taking her quotes directly from the guestbook where she posted about our pinup session.

Reason # 1 It's a blast!

Reason #2 The hair and makeup is a ton of fun and so are the outfits

Becky - "I've been wanting to do a classic pinup shoot for years (before my body gives out on me). I've always thought "Well, maybe someday..." but never made actual plans. After helping with my friend Elena's boudoir shoot at Union 206 Studio, and after seeing the final product, I knew Ali was the person for my shoot. 
She created a Pinterest board, and we began pinning (with Elena's help), outfits and poses for the shoot. One of her pins included Santa-themed lingerie, and she asked if I'd be comfortable working that into the session. Since it is was only two weeks from Christmas, I figured I'd have a glass of liquid courage and go for it! I was very anxious in the days leading up to the shoot. I'm not a photogenic person - in fact, the night before my shoot, I spent most of the time photo-bombing group photos at a friend's party. 
The day of the shoot arrived, and I was extremely apprehensive. I love doing my hair and makeup, so that part was a lot of fun, but I was really scared about seeing my body in any sort of risqué lingerie. I am comfortable in my skin to an extent, but I have given birth to two boys, so I have my insecurities. Thankfully, I had some great friends in tow, and Ali had a fantastic and easygoing assistant, so I left my insecurities at the door and went for it. 

Reason #3

Bring your friends and make it a party

Becky - "We listened to Ali's 40's playlist for a while (inspiration), and we switched to dance music when the dress came off and the corset was laced. I had no clue what I was doing, but Ali knew what she wanted, so she guided me through the poses and made me feel confident and sexy. 2 hours felt like 2 minutes, and before we knew it, we had gone through 6 outfits - everything from a dress, to a bikini, to a bra and pleather hot pants! I loved every minute. I went home feeling proud and confident."

Reason #4

Face your fears and insecurities and come out on top, EMPOWER YOURSELF!

Becky - "Then I woke up and thought "Oh my god...what was I thinking...I hate my body..." 
I opened my messages and Ali had already loaded over 100 pictures from the shoot. I began scrolling through the photos anxiously, with my husband at my side. I was absolutely blown away! I looked like a friggin pinup! Even with my imperfections, I saw a side of myself I didn't know existed.
If you've ever thought about doing something like this for yourself, or your significant other, Ali is your girl - please, please go for it! (You wont regret it.)"

Reason #5

You will be really happy to have the experience, the memories and the images.


Without making you wait any longer I will show you some of the images from our session. A word about how I post process these images. I do not change the shape of a woman's body. I use Photoshop to apply vintage effects, to smooth skin and to present a professional image but what you  see is all Becky. I feel that if I was to start pushing, plumping, thinning and changing a woman's shape I am saying she isn't good enough as she is. That's not the point of these shoots, the point is to show the real beauty that you are.













]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Portrait photography boudoir pinup Sat, 20 Feb 2016 02:51:26 GMT
Cosplay fun I did another cosplay shoot, this time in the studio with the lovely Jennifer. We collaborated on costumes and looks and I reserved the grunge studio at Union 206 for us to work in.

Jennifer brought enough for a full day shoot, but we had 2 hours and had to work fast and pare down the looks. I learned how to tie up a proper burlesque corset which was an interesting lesson. I grow so much at every shoot, never know what I'll be learning about. 

I find the cosplay really lends itself to compositing so we planned some ideas and I shot for that. For example with Riversong from Dr Who we used the fog machine and blue light to bring in that sci fi look, I composited in a Tardis and Jennifer had the look and the props



I also used a similar set up for this one but no fog machine


For Bellatrix LaStrange we went with Red to bring out the evil

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We also shot some burlesque which was fun and sassy

A73A5015-EditA73A5015-Edit There were a lot more looks in the session. I just wanted to share a few. Cosplay is fun since it brings your imagination to life. Coupling Cosplay with photoshop composites can create the impossible or just bend reality a bit. 

I really enjoy this kind of work but even more I enjoy collaborating with the subject to create something fun




]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Portrait photography cosplay Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:05:36 GMT
First Cosplay event Portrait Photographers are always looking for models to work with and it seems that Cosplayers are always looking for photographers to work with them. Imagine my joy when I found a group working to bring Cosplayers and photographers together!!! A few weeks ago, I finally managed to get together with this wonderful and energetic group. We all met at the Kennedy Center in DC on a beautiful Saturday morning. I wanted to travel light so I brought along my new ice light and a friend Tyler that was curious.

There were about 50 people at the event and I admit, I was a bit intimidated. The costumes were amazing and everyone was friendly. I started chatting with people and found a cosplayer that was new. She had an original Wonder Woman costume on so I asked her if we could work together. We headed to the back patio where the lighting was soft and I snapped off some shots. This image here was fun and I converted it to a cartoon. I love her fierce gaze!


As we wandered around Tyler suggested that I get some shots of Harley Quinn and the Joker, we decided to find a love seat to shoot them. These two were really popular but we finally got them and took some shots. I loved how Jennifer (Harley Quinn) had attitude and she really was comfortable in front of the camera. I created a composite from one of the shots and created this image.

A73A3808-EditA73A3808-Edit Next up was Michelle the evil Sith woman. Tyler suggested shooting her by the millenium  stage. The stage gave us a great background to work with. I was impressed with how fluidly Michelle worked through her poses when we decided to take shots to set up a fight scene. Tyler jumped in to give her a reference point. I created this image for the final scene


Somewhere in there we met Lucius Malfoy and grabbed some shots of him. I had him throw up his coat to get it moving and then created another composite as the final result


Tyler had some ideas and we headed over to  Bill as Batman. We used the single Ice Light and shot him by the millenium stage, later I composited him into this scene


And last but not least is Brittney as Black Cat. We used one light and worked with her for some good poses. She really knew how to throw a look and here's a final composited image Meowwwwwww



Working with Cosplayers was a ton of fun. For one thing they really know how to apply their makeup. They get into the personality of their look and they become it. They really do connect well with the camera which makes it a joy to work with them. I'm really looking forward to the next Meetup




]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Cosplay Portrait photography Post processing Fri, 11 Sep 2015 03:02:58 GMT
Pinup boudoir with Elena  Elena had a vision of doing a pinup style boudoir glam shoot. Well of course I was all over that. She's vavoom and she's got attitude. I knew our shoot would go well. We started a Pinterest board and started pinning, we pinned for weeks before the shoot and we knew what we were going for by the time we got to the studio. 

As usual I asked her to bring a friend because I find that having a friend along helps keep the models comfortable and they're really useful with assisting. About an hour before the session I get a text "Can we bring wine?" 

"Of course you can!"

Oh boy, this is going to be a fun one!!!

Elena arrives with her hair up and with victory rolls. Her makeup was flawless and she has Brad and Becky in tow, they are two of her best friends and they are all excited to be there. Becky walks into the studio and can't contain her joy at how amazing it all is. I would like to note now that most of the wine was actually drank by Brad and Becky since Elena was busy posing and changing outfits. 

Elena had some amazing outfits with her and we started shooting. On some coaxing from Brad we got this shot which I just love, plus that polka dot bustier was just adorable!!!! 



Elena went to change and I needed to reset up the lights. I like to use the friend to help me with this. Well with two friends I got this for the light check. I love silly I think it makes the shoot better.

A73A4151A73A4151 I love this shot of Elena, she is just so pretty and was very relaxed for the session


Here's another with a vintage processing


And one more with the mirror with a classic pinup look




I want to leave you with one more behind the scenes of Brad explaining a pose that he thought Elena should do.

A73A4352A73A4352 Silliness is a part of all of my shoots. If you can't be silly you won't be as creative. I encourage the silly and lots of laughing because it makes the whole experience fun. It's not just about the pictures it's also about the way you felt when the images were captured.

I'm also a big collaborator and love to work with someone to capture their vision. It's never my vision alone it's my interpretation of their vision. 

Boudoir has become one of my favorite styles of photography. If you're interested in a session please let me know and I can work with you to get the look that you want and have a fun silly time getting there.



]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Boudoir Portrait photography Mon, 07 Sep 2015 03:09:29 GMT
Edgy Boudoir Recently I took a workshop at work from Franklin Covey on the Seven habits of effective people. What does this have to do with Boudoir? Especially a topic like edgy boudoir, well I'll tell you. One of the concepts I took away from the class was their quote "Begin with the end in mind". 

I have found that I love boudoir, but I want to do my style. So first I think about what I like, what am I trying to achieve. I like edgy and contrast. I like that contrast of a beautiful model and a harsher background. I like contrasting light. I love retro glam and I like contrasting textures.

There are a few things I like to do when trying out a new look. Start a Pinterest board and find a model that I know and am comfortable with. I also want to find a model that I think will have fun with the vision and collaborate with me. So I created this board and called Sasha

I think it took two sentences to get Sasha onboard. We booked the studio at Union 206 and proceeded with the planning of our edgy, urban, industrial boudoir session. I got my friend Stephanie onboard to assist, packed up my fog machine and bought a spiked bra and torn hose on Amazon. I swear you can find anything on Amazon and that bra was dirt cheap.

Studio C at Union 206 has a full shipping container, some great gritty walls and a full white seamless wall. Sasha got her makeup on and we figured out an outfit to start with. I wanted Sasha to have fun so her music went into the sound system. sometimes we just let her dance and have fun. 

Here's a sultry shot that I love



As usual I also got a headshot, why? Because I have to get a headshot, it's what I love




We were rocking this shoot and really wanted to get some sexy shots of Sasha on the floor of the white background. I thought of sillouette shapes but decided to go with this look instead. I will tell you, this girl is working her core for these shots. We as in Sasha took a lot of breaks. My core didn't do nearly what her's was doing.


I love the softness of her pose coupled with the edgy clothing. 

Finally we moved on to the shipping container. In between these sultry images there was plenty of time for silliness and giggling. Those just don't portray boudoir so they don't make the final cut. However, for you my blog reader I will share one (don't kill me Sasha, I love you) BTW - this image is unedited straight out of the camera. She's just that pretty even when being silly


We set up the fan and let her hair blow while playing her music. I always give direction while letting the model have plenty of creative reign. This is one of my favorite shots of the session


In the end we got some really beautiful shots that capture Sasha's natural beauty and brought out her edgy nature. This style is a lot of fun and I'm happy to work with you to create a similar look and feel to your photoshoot. 

If you're a photographer looking to hire a model, please consider Sasha. She's a total professional and really fun to work with. You  can find her here


If you're looking for a retro or edgy boudoir session, please contact me and we can talk. I'd be very happy to work with you to create your vision




]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Boudoir Portrait photography Thu, 23 Jul 2015 01:31:17 GMT
Retro Boudoir I love the contrast and mood of 1940's glam and film noir images. They have class, beauty and an element of drama that really draws me in. So I recently decided to do a boudoir shoot with a retro feel to the images. I worked with Morgana who is a beautiful model and really fun to collaborate with. I really feel that to get the best out of anyone you want to work with them to get images that will capture them authentically. 

Morgana and I met at Union 206 studio with Esmaralda who assisted during the session. I like to work with an all female creative team for boudoir style shoots, especially if that will make the model feel more relaxed.

We started off working on some retro dark and moody shots where I wanted to work with a mirror. This is one of the finished shots that I really liked


After the mirror we worked on some more traditional boudoir poses while keeping with the vintage theme, she's using a vintage fur here that belonged to her grandmother.


Anyone that has followed my work knows that I love headshots and I'm not happy if I don't get to do a few. We went all out glam on this one and went for that soft look of a 1940's Hollywood starlet, I composited the city skyline into the background in post processing.


After this we fired up the fog machine because you can't do film noir without fog. The top image is a composite, while the bottom image is not. Both images of Morgana were shot in the boudoir studio of Union 206

MorganaMorgana A73A0101-EditA73A0101-Edit

At this point we had a slew of shots and felt good but we also had time left in the studio. We looked around and set up a scene with the props and let Morgana play. We wound up with some really fun images and this one was by  far my favorite


If you're looking to do a retro style boudoir please contact me with your ideas. I would be happy to work with you and collaborate to give you an experience and images that will be very special.





]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Boudoir Portrait photography Post processing Mon, 13 Jul 2015 01:39:00 GMT
Instructional Designer Looking for work Bob is a very talented instructional designer who's looking for a new job. He came to me because he really truly needed a good professional headshot for his LinkedIn profile and his website. He gave me permission to show his current headshot which was a cell phone selfie. I am using this to show you a good before and after, it really tells a story.

Here is the headshot that Bob was using on his website, I saw this and knew I had to help him

This is not his fault, he's not a photographer he's an instructional designer and a really good one. He's not only technically good at his job but he's also one of those really fun people to be around. So if you're company likes to have engaging and talented people, consider Bob. However, I'm not sure this headshot would really make you want to hire him. So we did a quick headshot session.

Bob has a sense of humor which came out quickly as I did the lighting check. Yeah, don't think we'll be using this shot


Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera so I let them play, let em get it out of their system. We worked with him for awhile and in the end had these two headshots for him to use. They make him the star of the shot, they're in focus and the color tones are balanced. This is the Bob that you'll want to hire!!!




Did I mention that he's a genius? Really he is, not joking.

If you're interested in hiring him here's his site with contact info


]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Fri, 12 Jun 2015 02:11:01 GMT
MINIs on the Dragon 2015 What a whirlwind adventure that turned into the biggest photography challenge I've ever attempted. For the last few years I've been a vendor doing Glamour Shots for MINIs at MINIs on the Dragon (MOTD). MOTD is a blast and a large gathering of MINI Coopers in the Smokey Mountains. The event is centered around driving the Tail of the Dragon on US 129 and most of the action happens at Fontana Village. For the last few years we would pick out a scenic location, and shoot MINI Coopers there. Rain or shine, cold or hot we were there for certain hours shooting MINIs and getting to know people. It was fun and it was draining. When the weather was bad people didn't show up, sometimes they didn't find us because they were new and didn't understand where we were. I enjoyed it but decided with my knowledge of Photoshop compositing I could give them  more. I could give them fine art of their MINI. 


First I had to figure out how do you shoot in a tent and I also went on a total training binge to understand every photoshop tool for cutting out an object. I taught myself how to remove unwanted reflections from the paint and how to leave in the gloss. I studied MINIs in the sun, the shade, the rain. I looked at how they cast shadows and I looked at their angles. I literally did this for a year in preparation for my big challenge. Then I pulled the trigger, rented a 20' x 30' tent with electricity on Vendor Row. I was terrified, it cost a fair amount to  rent that tent and what would I do if no one showed up??? I decided that I just had to try it and you do it right or you don't do it at all. The biggest challenge was two fold, I really wasn't sure how shooting in a tent would work AND I had to transport all of my gear in a MINI cabrio. My husband has a MINI too, but he was bringing his own motoring gear like a floor jack, detailing supplies and tools.

Ideally I wanted a huge piece of white foam core board for the ceiling but that wasn't going to work out. I opted for a big white tarp to string across the ceiling and bounce light off of. In the end that was a mistake, but it was a good thing that I had taught myself photoshop and how to remove reflections!!!! 

The smartest thing I brought was a big black mesh tarp that I hung as a wall to separate the studio from the gallery. It stopped reflections and made that side of the cars really look good. Note to self, next year all walls will be black mesh.

This was a working vacation so we got there on Sunday, caravanning with a bunch of fellow club members taking the 550 mile trek to NC. Mark and I enjoyed the area, drove the Dragon, explored and ate BBQ for a few days

Here we are at the scenic lookout of the Dragon

Enjoying vacation and having adventuresEnjoying vacation and having adventures. My MINI is the orange one, his is the one with the black roof By Tues my tent was up and ready, I went to check it out, here it is, empty and full of promise. What have I gotten myself into???

The empty tent, oh the promises it held With the help of my husband and friends we erected the wall and set up the gallery. I had pictures printed that were ready for display and a board to help people pick their backgrounds. I had literally about 4 appointments booked, was I scared I was about to lose my shirt? YES!!!

Tent set up and ready for business

Then the magic happened. One of my cabinmates offered to assist and I was happy to take him up on it. I had a different assistant each day. It seems they got into a bit of a competition over who was the best. Here's Craig, assistant number 1 helping a customer enter the tent

That car came out looking like this when it was finished


Craig also made a time lapse of the day of shooting

Business was  good, I managed to cover half of my tent costs.

Second assistant was Sherri and while Craig proved to be a mind reader Sherri brought laughter, chapstick and snacks. She was another amazing assistant. On Friday I had Melissa, she was efficient, friendly and got the job done! She said  I could manage my own chapstick and snacks. The final day was Stephanie, she was cheerful and friendly, Calling in the customers and playing with every dog on vendor row.

Once I got home I had nearly 40 images to composite. I managed to finish them in 3 weeks in a marathon sprint of editing. When I was done I put all of the images in an album here


I'm going to highlight a few images from the event. Each and every image was a piece of my soul working to create something as special as the MINI that I was capturing. 

stormy weatherstormy weatherDark stormy clouds over road






Campo con fiori gialli e con raggi di soleCampo con fiori gialli e con raggi di sole I could probably blog on each of these images. Every one of these MINIs was shot in the tent and composited later in Photoshop. They were all special to me and I learned so much. When I started this venture it was taking me 15 - 20 minutes to cut out a car, I can do it in about 3 minutes now. I can't wait  for next year, I plan to bring some new ideas for ways to show off your MINI as art​



]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Car Photography MINIs on the Dragon Post processing Sun, 07 Jun 2015 20:16:47 GMT
My race car photography adventure I was recently contacted by my favorite female race car driver Christina. She needed a good shot of her with her car at the track for something with Turner Motorsports. I can never say no to a good idea or a photoshoot with Christina so I jumped at it. I then realized we needed to get to a track at the crack of dawn to get early light and we needed the track to be cold (no screaming cars racing past us) so that we could get near it to shoot. The closest track is Summit point which is just over an hour away. Sunrise is just after 6:00AM soooooo, that meant my ride came to get me at 5:00AM. 

I was up bright eyed and bushy tailed by 4:20, ate breakfast, drank coffee and heard the sound of a  rumbling race car exhaust out front, this was followed by the ding of a text "I'm out front". We loaded all of my gear into the car because you just never know what you're going to run into and I like to be prepared. I had lights, light stands, modifiers and of course camera and lenses. In the end, we needed the camera and one lens my trusty 24-70mm.

I was very excited because while I do autocross I had never actually had a ride in a race car and Christina's race car is super cool since she's super cool and she had done so much of the work herself. This girl knows her cars and she can drive. The car is an older BMW M3 with a cassette tape player! She said it's a '98. The seats were holding me nice and tight and she adjusted my 4 point harness to be comfortable since we weren't on the track. I felt very safe. please note the pink roll bars

We got there and had to sign waivers and get wrist bands. Race tracks are serious places

Once signed in she drove to her favorite spot where we parked the car as close to the track as we could without alerting any of the security. We sensed that they might care so we were very careful. I grabbed this interior shot because the car is so badass. 


As you can see, she's in her happy place, this was by the old gokart track A73A2892A73A2892


Christina was also showing off the track and the various courses. The place was empty at 6:30 in the morning so we were having fun. Here she is on top of the bridge checking out the track. 


A very official guy in a pickup truck came by and asked what we were doing. He was satisfied with her answer that she was showing me around and told us not to go past the bridge. We could see they were setting up a skid pad. We took a few more shots on the bridge and then she made a lovely 7 point turn to make sure we never actually crossed the bridge. This is the face you make while executing the 7-point turn on top of the bridge that you are not allowed to cross

We were breaking rules, we did indeed park on the bridge


After a good exploration and about 150 images taken we headed out and were starving. You get hungry just being at a race track or maybe it's from getting up at the crack of dawn and it was now fully daylight. We went to Silver Diner in Reston to get some food!

Silver diner was amazing. We inhaled our food like we had never had food so delicious. She then took us home and I shot one last image of her driving her fabulous race car


We did go out there to get some serious images and here's the one that she chose as her favorite. She's at her favorite part of the track. The lighting is really lovely when you get up early and get there for that soft morning light. She's framed by her race car and the curves of the track behind her.



It was a wonderful adventure and I am so happy that she thought of me to get this image of her.

]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Car Photography Portrait photography Sat, 23 May 2015 18:52:27 GMT
How to shoot your MINI workshop at MINIs on the Dragon Last week while shooting at the event MINIs on the Dragon I offered a workshop on How to shoot your MINI. The workshop  was a great success and I think everyone had a lot of  fun. We hit two locations and we talked about the basics such as composition, angles, setting up your camera and overall shooting with intention.

I want to thank Craig Baron who volunteered to assist. He was one of our cabin mates and turned out to be a nearly psychic assistant. I never had to speak and he had the job done. 

We started off at the boat ramp and the first thing we did was meet at 7:30 in the morning because I wanted the soft lighting. We picked a lovely demo car and I walked over and stood there and took a few basic shots. The idea was to show how most people will take an image and then work on improving it.


A73A1574A73A1574 A73A1576A73A1576

These shots show some common mistakes. The first one I just walked over and shot the car, it's pretty much in the middle of the frame and this lovely MINI is NOT the star of this shot. In the second one I pushed the MINI to the far right. We then worked on improving the images

I squatted and took a lower shot, I also put the MINI to the far left so that it's entering the scene. A simple adjustment that made the image much more balanced.


In this image I came in closer, it still gives the context of the scenery but the MINI is even more of a star


The we talked about getting some details


After I gave some demos and talked their ears off everyone broke up and took their own images in the parking lot. I really liked how Deb had set up her MINI so took this shot of it


The next part of the workshop was posing with your MINI. 

Little did I know that the model I grabbed was the son of a photographer. He was awesome to work with and we started with the typical tourist pose and then improved on it. This guy was a great model! Lots of people do this, they stand in front of the car, smile and take the picture


Here's a few variations that give you much more interesting and engaging ideas for posing with your MINI.

Interact with your MINI


Use space and put the subject in front and shoot up to play with angles


Get closer and get silly


Show your joy of loving your MINI with some action shots



The next part of the workshop was group MINI posing

We placed the MINIs in the parking lot and made one the star, because it's just more interesting


People got into shooting the angles



And finally the class shot!!! They all look great!!!







]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Car Photography MINIs on the Dragon Mon, 11 May 2015 01:59:02 GMT
Introducing Boudoir I have always loved the look of retro boudoir glam images. When I see the film noir images or the 1940's movie star head shots they always stop me in my tracks. The one thing that has  stopped me from boudoir sessions has been the logistics. I really don't want to rent an expensive hotel room and try and shoot a bunch of sessions to make the cost work out. I also really like to take my time during a shoot and I wanted a setting that would enhance the look of boudoir yet give me the space to move and no distractions. Enter Union 206 the studio that I'm a member of. 

They recently moved to a new location and I was over the moon thrilled to read that one of their new studios had a boudoir set up. I booked that studio so fast because I HAD to shoot there and see what I could do. I contacted a beautiful model to work with and we started our vision board on Pinterest. We decided that a retro look with high contrast low key lighting was the way to go. In case you're curious, this is the link to our board

The Pinterest board helps us get on board with each other for the look and feel of the shoot. It's not meant to copy the work of other photographers. 

So Christina and I got to work at the studio. I brought a big white faux fur which was super useful and Christina brought some amazing outfits, the girl can shop!!!

Since I know you want to see the pictures, here's a favorite


We had a little fun with this image


This one is the result of me asking her for FIERCE!!! 


Finally I have to do headshots, it's like torture to not let me take a headshot. So I took some of Christina and composited this final image. It's one of the few that I felt was best left in color.




If you're interested in a boudoir session with me please email or call (703) 201-6899

We can work out a session and give you an experience that will be as amazing as the resulting images




]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Portrait photography boudoir Tue, 14 Apr 2015 02:14:04 GMT
Zumba dancing I recently was contacted by Kareemah who wanted to do some images to promote her Zumba business. She chose to do my studio experience package which is a 2 hour studio shoot. We really needed the studio as it gives us the space that we needed for her to move. I've shot dancers before but I was always the one calling the shots to get the look that I wanted, this time we were going for what Kareemah wanted so we collaborated. We started before the shoot with a shared Pinterest board. With both of us pinning we were soon on the same page understanding the look and feel. Kareemah was totally awesome in communicating and listening to my tips.

We met for the first time right before the shoot and got to work. I  am capable of quickly adapting to people and found that she and I were very similar. We just got to work and had fun with it. She had a few outfits so we started shooting with some music  while she danced. After I had some shots we stopped and I showed her what we were getting. We looked at the way she was coming across in the images and tweaked her dance moves to give more of the look that she wanted. She worked her butt off dancing for most of the two hours and I will tell you she is a smooth dancer.

Here's one of the simple dance shots, we both loved this belt/ skirt it really moved with her.


Later I got inspired and created a few images for her that I felt conveyed the feeling of Zumba. In this image I used the design of her T-shirt and replicated it to fill her silhouette with the pattern. Later the musical notes were aded to weave through the image and give it more movement.  


I also wanted to create a composite of Kareemah's all dancing together. These were all composited in Photoshop and the background was purposely kept simple to keep the focus on Kareemah.


This shoot was so much fun and it was tiring. Kareemah and I worked together to create the images and the final results gave her the mood and energy that she was looking for. I love these kinds of shoots they're full of laughter and hard work, it's a good kind of hard work


]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Composites Mood Portraiture Portrait photography Post processing Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:12:24 GMT
Project 52 weeks 5, 6, 7 and 8 I'm almost caught up blogging with where I am in my weekly project. So this week we're up to showing weeks 5, 6, 7 and 8. I did just complete week 10 and will get that up with 9 in another blog. It seems like too many images at once is just  too many images. 

Week 5 isn't new to those of you that follow my blog because it's Sherri and her adorable MINI Precious. While it would have been fun to sit in the backseat while  she whipped around the twisties with a big old permagrin, this is a Photoshop drive. I sat in the backseat on a cold winter day in the parking lot of her condo. Later I added the road and motion to make it much more interesting but I will tell you the trickiest part was moving that needle on the speedo. It just wouldn't look real if she was going 0mph, so I moved it and tried to catch the details to give the illusion of motion.


Week 6 is my Winter Goddess composite of Sara. Sara was shot in the studio where it was toasty and warm. The background is the golf course behind our house, which conveniently had a nice little storm right when I needed it. Lately the storms are not as convenient and I have my pictures so mother nature, you can stop now please. This one was a lot of fun because I composited the fabric to swirl around her and give that etherial feel. 

Week 7 Brings us back to MINI Coopers. One of my fans asked for me to create a background that included a Dragon. This was a real challenge since I didn't think I had any pictures of Dragons and I really looked through the stock sites and nothing appealed to me. Then I realized that I had a picture of the Dragon statue that is near the end of the Dragon and I used that. I added some nice smoke and fire and a MINI Cooper that was sitting on the lot at the dealership waiting to be adopted. 

I had a lot of fun with this one because it's so different than the work I normally do


Week 8 brings another MINI challenge with another MINI that I shot in the lot at the dealership. The problem here was when I pulled the car into Photoshop I suddenly realized that the entire world including me was reflecting in the paint. Arrrrrrrgh!!!! I did not want to get another car, as it is I just have a shortage of straight on bootie shots. Instead I spent about 3 hours in Photoshop removing nasty reflections. I learned a lot about that AND the importance of shooting the car with a few reflections as possible. Bring the polarizing filter next time!!!!

Concrete underground roadConcrete underground roadParking garage, underground interior with zebra crossing


I hope your'e enjoying my project of challenges as much as I am in creating them.



]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Car Photography MINIs on the Dragon Project 52 Fri, 06 Mar 2015 04:46:06 GMT
Project 52 - a piece of art a week Last year I completed Project 365 and took a picture a day. While I learned a lot and I enjoyed finding new ways to see and capture I also found that many days my heart wasn't in it. I found days that I would just shoot something because I had to not because I was inspired. 

So this year I decided to do my own project. This project is one image a week, but that image will be intentional, something that I work on and challenge myself. So I started in January, I am now 8 weeks in and I think I would like to share the images here on my blog. For the first few blogs I'm going to play catch up and then will post weekly. 

Week one

I shot my first Boudoir session and found it to be a lot of fun. I took an image from the session and decided to challenge myself by adding some tattoos and also to change the tones and lighting a bit, added the curtains and changed the colors to bring out the purple tones. 

Week two

We took a trip to Rincon, Puerto Rico and stayed at the most beautiful inn. The inn had a pool that fascinated us in its design and the colors of the lights. At night my husband and I enjoyed just sitting and watching the lights change color. One night I set up my camera and tripod and shot all of the various colors and I thought to myself that it would be really pretty to have most of the colors in the same image. When we got home I processed several of the images together in Photoshop to create this peaceful image.

Week three

This week I wanted to work with a composited image adding a MINI Cooper to a background that I had created. I incorporated a Union Jack flag to honor the MINIs British roots. This MINI was shot in the studio, the background is created by several images to give the gritty look that I wanted to bring to it. 


Week 4 

This week I really pushed myself. I had seen a blog where another photographer showed how to make a dress out of flowers and I thought it would be fun to do something similar with feathers. I worked with Sasha in the studio and shot various parts of the feathers and created the dress that Sasha is wearing. This background is from Longwood Gardens in PA



]]> (Alicyn Drew Photography) Portrait photography Post processing Project 52 Mon, 23 Feb 2015 01:42:59 GMT