Archive for June, 2008

Having worked with a few newer models last week I got thinking about the seminar that my model friend Lisa and I used to do back in 2002.  Lisa was originally from Piittsburg Pennsylvania where she appeared on a TV show as “clothing without a body”.  Basically they painted her exposed limbs and head with blue paint and then shot her against a chroma-blue background so she looked like clothing without a person in them.  But Lisa also modeled for many different companies and was very sought out for her capabilities.  

I met Lisa when she came to shoot with me in late 2001.  She was in need of a portfolio update and to get head shots done for her daughter.   We hit it off right away and one thing lead to another – to the point that we decided to do a seminar for new models.  We designed it to include things such as how to put on makeup, how to do a runway walk, what the pitfalls of modeling are, how to choose an agent, modeling from a photographer’s view, model safety, and several other topics.  As part of the seminar I would do a photo shoot with each one as a way to tie it all together.  It was always interesting to see how these models would take in the information we provided and give it their all during the photo shoot.  

So, over the next few weeks I thought that I’d write a series of articles about modeling and what I feel you as a model should know.  


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Welcome to the newly updated Casual Elegance Photography blog! 

Casual Elegance Photography has earned a reputation in the photographic industry since the year 2000 for providing clients across the United States, and as far away as Europe, with a comfortable, professional environment for their Boudoir, Glamour, and Artistic Nude photo sessions, and for the outstanding results that are produced.

The Photographer:  Atlanta boudoir photographer Mark Anderson, owner of Casual Elegance Photography, is a published artistic and commercial photographer based in Roswell Georgia, USA.
Although he specializes in Boudoir, Glamour, and Artistic Nude Photography, he is equally involved in commercial photography, model and actor headshot photography, and model portfolio development.

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It has been a busy week for me while Mark has been running all over the place for Casual Elegance.  This is the time of year when I work with Blue Moon Farm to produce their annual catalog.  We like to get it out by the end of June.


This is a labor of love for me, since the owners of Blue Moon Farm are my sister Jean and her husband Leo.  Their catalog is not a flashy piece, but more along the lines of a newsletter, with photos of their products, and news from their Richmond Kentucky farm.


It is sad to put it together this year, with Jean’s written piece about the loss of their beloved Rottweiler Luna Blue, who succumbed to osteosarcoma last fall after fighting such a brave fight.  She was is such pain from the tumor which was basically bursting through her bones, that the decision was made to amputate her front leg.  She had weeks of chemotherapy after, and amazed everyone with how quickly she adapted to life as a “tripod”.   I will never forget seeing photographs of her joyously jumping in the air (this is a BIG three legged dog we are talking about) to catch snowballs just weeks later.  Something she would not have even been alive to experience at that point in time, had Jean and Leo not had the courage to make the decision to remove her leg.  The cancer reared its ugly head again several months later, in her lungs, and basically there was nothing further they could do to help her.


They made her happy and comfortable for as long as they could – Leo taking her in his truck to parts of the farm she could no longer reach by herself on foot, so that she could see the wild turkeys and other “beasts” that she bravely defended her family from on a daily basis J


She was a fighter to the end, and it broke all our hearts to lose her – but Jean’s and Leo’s more than anyone’s.  There is no harder decision to make than the one to end a beloved pet’s suffering.  We have all been through it, more times than we would wish.  But even knowing that it is the greatest act of love we can give them, it never gets any easier, and the grief we are left with is devastating.


But our furry friends depend on us to have the strength to let them go, and Jean and Leo received this poem from Dr. Nellie Owen – a friend they made during Luna’s struggle – which is such a beautiful tribute to that strength.


From Friend to Friend                                                                      


You’re giving me a special gift,

   So sorrowfully endowed,

And through these last few cherished days

   Your courage makes me proud.

   But really, love is knowing

When your best friend is in pain

    And understanding earthly acts

   Will only be in vain

So looking deep into your eyes,
    Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
  Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess,
   Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
   For it’s the only way.
That strength is why I’ve followed you,
   And chose you as my friend,
And why I’ve loved you all these years…
   My partner ’til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift,
   You’re giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I’ve lost,
   And all my dignity.


You take a stand on my behalf,
   For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
   For I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
   And through your hand I feel,
The courage that’s within you,
   To now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here,
   Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog,
   My pain and struggle done.
And don’t despair my passing,
   For I won’t be far away,
Forever here, within your heart,
   And memory I’ll stay.
I’ll be there watching over you,
   Your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I’ll run,
…a young dog once again.

In Memory of Asta, Feb. 1997

(c) Karen Clouston


LUNA BLUE 2 DAYS BEFORE SURGERY – With “brother” Chashi

Luna Blue 2 days before surgery

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Casual Elegance had a non-stop action day yesterday.  Our photoshoot at CP Fusao produced outstanding images in spite of the Hotlanta temperatures!  Christine’s designs for the season are beautiful, and it was a pleasure to work with her as it always is!  Our models did great work and will get some gorgeous tearsheets for their portfolios as a result.


Back to the studio late in the day for my headshot session, and I was looking forward to catching my breath afterward.  But some things are not meant to be!  Just as the session ended I got a call from a client who was in desperate need of some Polaroid style shots for their agency.  Pronto! pronto!!


So yesterday didn’t end until late, but at least everyone went home happy! 


Today began with a quick headshot session, followed by a meeting with a new model who wants to do a portfolio shoot.  Beautiful girl – lots of potential!  I’m looking forward to helping her put her portfolio together.


After a cup of coffee we’re off to a day of meetings to go over plans for our upcoming shoot in California.  Never a dull moment!

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Tomorrow is a big day.  We’ll be meeting and shooting with one of our favorite commercial clients, Christine, at CP Fusao Boutique in Buckhead (just outside downtown Atlanta). 


Christine is ready to have me photograph her new line of clothing.  We have 3 models and our favorite makeup artist, Lisa Walker, lined up and ready to showcase Christine’s wonderful new designs.


I love shooting with Christine!  She gives me the opportunity to match my photography skills to her fashion creativity.  The colors and patterns she uses in her creations are amazing and “pop” in the photos.  The shoot will take a few hours, but as always we will have a lot of fun and get outstanding results, and tearsheets.


After the CP Fusao shoot, I have an appointment to update headshots for GregAlan Williams.  The first time I shot Greg, Ruth saw the pictures and said “I know I know that guy!!!”  Later we learned that he had been on Baywatch at the time our sons were watching it.  He has since gone on to “greater glory” in such shows as West Wing, The Practice, Boston Legal and several movies.  Greg is one of the most laid back clients we have, and he is awesome to work with!  I look forward to seeing him again.

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An Old Friend

Today was a nice day.  We actually got a chance to visit an old friend…Trilogy, our boat.  Life has been hectic lately with the demands of the business and life in general.  But a visit to Trilogy had us right back in the Keys, remembering camping on the boat in a marina, diving at White Rock and The Statue.  Many years back, when we lived in FL, we would treat ourselves to a weeklong vacation going “brain dead”, marine camping in the Keys, and enjoying the reefs that were so abundant with life, and now are so endangered.  We had so much fun as a family during those years… we still laugh about the boys, one in the water with a mask and snorkel, and one on the boat with a fishing pole – working in unison to try to catch a fish.  Taking Ruth’s parents, in their 70’s at the time, floating on Ruth’s raft and with life jackets and masks, over the reefs so that they could see the gorgeous world below the surface that they had no idea existed.  It’s a memory they have said they will never forget.


I can remember many times, taking my Nikonus with me and photographing the underwater world in many areas of the FL Keys.  Back then it was mainly slide film, and I have hundreds of slides that one day Ruth and I will dust off the slide projector and look at the memories we have.  Too bad that a cat hair got caught in the o-ring seal and the body flooded one day, so the Nikonus now is a great paperweight on my desk.


When Trilogy was new, and we were coming back from one of our Keys vacations, in a storm through Biscayne Bay, she decided to be ornery.  Her starboard engine quit and we couldn’t get it started.  The starboard engine controls the steering on the boat, so we were fighting the storm, rough seas, and an ability to steer properly.  After working for almost an hour to get the engine started, I slammed my hand on the control panel at the helm, and the engine miraculously started (we later learned there was a loose wire connection).  But she got us home safe and sound, with a story to tell. 


Trilogy seriously needed a bath today.  We spent a couple of hours cleaning her up, but by no means have we gotten her “ship shape” and ready for the summer.  Although Lake Lanier is not quite advantageous to boating this year, we are hopeful that we can get out and at least camp a few nights on the water, spending time with an old friend.

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This week we are getting ready to start the expansion project we have been planning to do for a few months now.  We will be creating another shooting room that’s set up as a bedroom scene all of the time – adding to the whole boudoir atmosphere.  This week we plan on opening up a wall to put in a door, furring out the walls to install the beadboard paneling, and framing in for a closet.  It sounds like a lot of work, but we’ve done this sort of thing several times in the past so we hope it will go smoothly.  

At Casual Elegance Photography we want to make our client’s sessions as nice of an experience as possible.  This additional shooting area will give us the ability to easily go from our art nude venue to our glamour nude and boudoir venue.  We can’t wait!!!    



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OK, so maybe there are no lions or tigers, but bears?  Yes!  We found out today that we have had two black bears roaming in and out of our little neck of the Roswell GA woods lately.  One was caught, collared with a tracking device, and taken to some new digs, only to make his way back again.  They haven’t been able to catch the second one.


In addition we were told that a neighbor’s dog was bitten by a copperhead in their backyard.  To me that’s creepier than even lions or tigers would be!  Fortunately at the moment it seems like our yard is teaming with less threatening forms of wildlife.  We came across one large Eastern King Snake last week.  I like to think that he eats the bad snakes and not our furry or feathered friends, so that I can allow him to stay and be part of the natural order of things… Meanwhile our bunny family has increased to four, and they, along with our chipmunks and squirrels, forage for food under the birdfeeders together.  We have too many varieties of birds to even count, many of which seem to have decided to nest here this year.  We’ve had one family of bluebirds hatch this spring, and now have wrens, robins and cardinals all nesting around the yard in bird houses, bushes and in the crook of a downspout.  Our Great Horned Owl pair visited a few nights ago with their offspring which was a first for us and very exciting!    


On the “indoor wildlife” front,  while cleaning the fish tank this afternoon Mark and I discovered at least a dozen baby Mickey Mouse Platys – so named for black markings on their tails that look like Mickey Mouse’s head.   We were able to net 10 of them even though they are tiny, fast, and can easily hide amongst the rocks and plants.  We moved them into an isolation tank to protect them from the larger fish while they are so small.


This is the second time we’ve discovered babies since buying those fish just a few weeks ago.  If this keeps up we may have to start supplying free fish for neighborhood aquariums!!



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We had an outdoor shoot planned for today but it’s cloudy and dull outside.  Do we shoot or not?  Well, even an overcast day can produce exceptional results as long as you light the subject correctly.  Harsh sun causes many lighting challenges or location changes, but a cloudy day can be a challenge too.  

Today we will take our 2 JTL Mobilight 300’s with us and a couple of umbrellas (no, not for the rain).  Lighting the subject with strobes will help us achieve a nice look and let us control the lighting.  In one shot we will use one strobe on the subject and one to light the background bushes.  This will produce almost a 3D effect to the shot.  I know, we can also use reflectors or camera settings to get similar results, but I really like my JTLs – they get over 100 full power shots on a battery charge.  Yes, they are not as fast to recycle on battery, but that’s a small price to pay for the ability to shoot anywhere.  We’ve used these strobes on location in Tennessee, downtown Atlanta, Raleigh North Carolina, Mamaroneck New York, and several other locations around the US.  They travel well and give great results.  

So, when you think of a cloudy day, don’t always think that the shots will be dull and lifeless.  Think of how you can light your subject to get a great image, then pack your stuff and head out to the shoot.  



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A good idea for a gift that really says “I Love You” is a theme based glamour or glamour nude photo session.  Theme based is when you take something special such as cooking, construction, fire fighter, or something else and develop the shoot around it.   At Casual Elegance Photography we have done this several times.  We’ve had wives of fire fighters bring in the boots, coat, helmet, etc. and we’ve done glamour nude images of them with it.  We’ve had a young bride come in and do a Baking scene then send the image to her husband in the military overseas along with a box of cookies.  We’ve done an office scene for a client where she played the naughty secretary so she could give her husband something to think about while at work.  We’ve done calendars and books for clients all based around a theme.  We have even had a client do several different boudoir and art nude poses and we put them on playing cards for her husband since he is an avid card player.  This was a very unique gift!  

So when you are looking for something special to get for someone special consider a theme based shoot at Casual Elegance Photography.   



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