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The Viewfinder

Scholarship recipient/education article

20 Oct 2022 2:04 PM | Laura Mansur, Cr. Photog., CPP (Administrator)



 I was so pleased and grateful to have been a recipient of a $500 Scholarship through PPGH. The funny part is, I wasn’t even aware until Laura Mansur Guerra got in touch with me to let me know. This was great timing because working during Covid had made me neglect my photography and I was ready to get back in! 

I recently attended the I Heart Photography Conference for the first time, and except for me getting ill, it was amazing! 

On day one, I attended a Pre-Con class, “Photographing All Women” presented by Maria Arellano. If you don’t know, Maria is an amazing women’s photographer. She is Cypress, Texas based and also an award winning photographer specializing in family, child and goddess Fine Art Portraits. As a Boudoir, Maternity and Glam Photographer, this was right up my alley! 

Maria focused on knowing the value of including women of ALL ages, sizes and ethnicities. Social media has shown us that women are embracing their femininity and stepping in front of cameras. This provides confidence and empowerment along with an unforgettable experience. 

We covered the Target Market (attracting the clients you want and repelling those you don’t), body types, posing, lighting, hair and makeup, styling, and client closets. Maria also covered the business side as well as incorporating social media. You must check out her TikTok, she is a master! Even if you are an introvert like I am, Maria’s TikTok will give you the courage to put yourself out there. Believe me, it works! Prospective clients want to see who their photographer is. 

Maria had one of her clients share her story of tragedy that put her into a deep depression. It was quite emotional. She spoke of how her life has changed after her session and how she now values herself. After her story, she was our model and you would think she was a pro! Her confidence was evident in her expressions. 

Maria went over how to pose and photograph every woman by giving her professional and sincere directions, since these sessions can be vulnerable and intimate. We were able to use these as we photographed her as well. 

Maria also picked me out of the class to sort of strip down and model! I must tell you, I was nervous at first, but through Maria’s guidance, I felt very comfortable to let Maria and the other students photograph me. I think this opportunity was imperative to me and other boudoir photographers, as it helps you to feel how a client will feel during a session. The important factor is comfort. 

If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of Maria’s workshops or her online academy, I promise you won’t be sorry. Maria is not only a great photographer that loves educating, sharing and nurturing, she’s a lot of fun! 

By Donna Frazier


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