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Heidi, when strength meet kindness

Hello dear scandals,

We all feel how winter in Canada can be tough sometimes, the lack of heat and sun after few months starts to have a negative impact on our mood. So it can be a great idea to take few days out of the country: one of us went five days to Costa Rica and it was incredible. The goal of that short trip was to get away from Toronto and take some me-time… You guys know how hard workers we are and how it is difficult for us to disconnect from work. Well we have to confess, it was hard to not take the opportunity to do a boudoir shoot in paradise and work with a new lady… So we had to do it :)

We posted a message on a facebook group about a boudoir shoot idea and Heidi was one of the first to reply. Even though we did not know her, she was the one who stood out and we new from the start we wanted to shoot with her. What a meaningful encounter: her story was inspiring, we always love to hear about other business owner's experience and life. Plus she has an incredible personality, beauty… PERFECT COMBO!

 
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Meet Heidi

Everybody has a story, I think that’s one of the things I enjoy the most about meeting people in Costa Rica. Here we are in this little beautiful country, together, talking and forming friendships, discovering how much we have in common and yet we all have a different back story about what led us here.

Costa Rica, 5 years ago

I went there for the first time to celebrate my partner’s and my 50th birthdays.  We planned a double vacation – some skiing and boarding in Whistler for the first week, and then straight to Costa Rica to learn to surf. Tamarindo….such a neat place! My partner could already surf and had tried it in many other exotic locations, but this was a first for me and I don’t even skateboard or snowboard… Yikes! Well, I survived surf camp and could actually say I could surf afterwards!

That first trip led to another and another and another, at least twice a year, enjoying the beach, training every day, surfing and always pondering eventual retirement and speculating about what little business could be started here to fill a niche.

At first we thought about a coffee shop, or more specifically, a mobile coffee cart – because at that time there were only a couple in town. Needless to say in 5 years there are probably 14 now…. so that was a good pass!

How Gilliepops was born

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One thing that seemed to be lacking was treats of any sort that weren’t laden with sugar or milk and specifically cold frozen treats. Popsicles… Yes, that became the focus and ultimately Gilliepops was born, named after my late daughter, who passed away a few months after our first trip here.

Lots of brainstorming, creative thinking and marketing ideas, and in November 2017 I arrived in town with a bicycle, a cooler, my Vitamix and a couple of giant duffel bags filled with popsicles sticks, moulds, labels and packaging supplies. It was new and exciting, and at times very disappointing and stressful. I ate a lot of tuna and eggs that’s for sure but what an amazing experience! I even added gluten free baked goods to my repertoire and it seems the tourists and even locals can’t get enough of them. It’s awesome!!

Thanks to social media

Business here in Costa Rica is done differently that in North America.  It’s less formal and much of the communication is done either on Facebook or Whatsapp.

Because of the dependency on Facebook for business, I’m forced to check it daily and post often to encourage awareness of the availability of gluten free products here. This is when I saw Fanny's post about her visit to Tamarindo. I sent her a few suggestions, I think because I knew she was from Toronto. When she mentioned being a photographer and looking for someone to photograph while she was here, I jumped at the opportunity – there are almost no pictures of me here because I’m on my own. And what a beautiful place to be photographed.

Its been a couple of years since I’ve done a photo shoot and never when I wasn’t ready to compete (I’m a physique competitor), but I thought it would be nice to be captured as my regular self, my natural self, a little smoother and softer… tan lines and all…! The shoot was amazing – the view from the location we chose was so beautiful and the pictures she took are so flattering and beautiful.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have met one of the Scandaleuse's team, the time we got to spend together talking an sharing our stories.

 
 

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"You're Pretty For a Girl in a Wheelchair"

Last September we received an email from an incredible and gorgeous woman who push her boundaries and decided to talk to us about her disability. She wanted to use boudoir photography as a gift for her 35th birthday, a way to celebrate and treat herself.

 
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What a beautiful soul!

What a pleasure to receive her email and read about how self-confident and proud of herself she was! Katie is for sure an inspiration and we were really happy when she agreed to share her story. She made her disability a strength in every aspects of her life and we cannot wait to do another shoot with her.

Meet Katie

“I wanted to have a photo shoot to celebrate me finding beauty within my own body.

It took me a while to reach self-acceptance. In high school, I remember there was always this pressure society laid out for us that implied that the definition of beauty was to be thin and flawless. I was also a teenager with a physical disability.

I remember being at a mall, shopping with my friends and someone saying to me “You are very pretty, for a girl in a wheelchair”. It really got me to thinking that not only does my physical features go against social norms but so does my disability.

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Have we built up such an image in our heads about the ideal look of beauty that we can’t think outside the box?

Why is there a box in the first place?

Why is my attractiveness contingent on the status of my abilities?

Years pass, my body changes, as naturally as a woman’s body would do. I started to carry myself with more confidence as time went by. I made a decision a few times along the way to choose a healthier eating lifestyle.  My weight fluctuated here and there, but I continued to maintain a positive image of myself and I chose to become more active.

As a young woman with a physical disability, exercising routines had to be modified. I started including weekly swimming sessions, seeing a physiotherapist to see how I could optimize increasing my range of motion, and I use a hand bicycle three times a week. In addition to exercise, I found and implemented a diet that suited me, personally. I was able to eat healthy and still eat the foods I enjoy.

Now that I was on a good path, it was time to focus on pampering myself.  Display to the world, how I am feeling on the inside.

“Yes, as a curvy woman with a disability,

I embrace and celebrate my sexuality.”

But I wasn’t always brave enough to share it openly on such a public platform. I am ready to challenge what people expect.

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I am Katie, I’m thirty-five years old, single, curvy, sexy and beautiful.

Thank you, Juliette and Fanny, for helping me to bring out a side of me I wasn’t sure existed. I have a feeling the journey has only just begun…

“You are not invisible! You are worthy!” 

A big part in making my decision to do a shoot comes from this breathtaking piece of poetry by my dear friend Forest Blakk: SWIPE RIGHT

 
 

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Entrepreneur life - The importance of taking a break

Our summer, while pretty amazing, is also a bit overwhelming. Our shoots, a business trip to France to organize, the boudoir and wedding editing a bridal show to get ready for, a lot of new scandals to meet and our upcoming, it is keeping us busy. And you know us, we do not plan to stop there!

With everything on our plates, we have less time to take care of ourselves. It feels like our bodies are taking a hit, our aerial silks level is in a free fall, we are hairier than Chewbacca and our dinners are mostly made of pasta and cheese... It is time to take some me-time!

 
 

Working for yourself: Beauty and the beast

The positif side

We all dream to enjoy our life and have fun while the money magically appears in our bank account. If you want to be able to follow your own schedule, make your ideas come to life and take a vacation whenever you want... Well you wanna be your own boss. In other terms, you want to create something on your own and be free financially. I believe working for yourself gives you more chances to get to that goal rather than working for a company other than yours.

The side effect

But this need of freedom requires A LOT OF WORK. This is why, as an entrepreneur, it is very difficult to take the liberty of having a 9 to 5 schedule. Especially for us, Juliette and I live together and work together from home. Our personal and professional life is all mixed up so it is quite difficult to have a regular schedule (and it is not something we truly want). But in this case you have to be careful this lifestyle does not become more of a curse than a blessing. Without realizing it, you start working everyday from early morning to late night, think about work almost all the time, forget to take days off and eventually you burn out. 

Even though you love what you do, being all the time in a business mode is stressful and ends up by being a poisoned gift.

How to find the perfect balance

 
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Force yourself to chill the hell out.

You and only you can decide to take a break from work. Feeling overwhelmed and being too stressed out will eventually make you weak and sick. Trust us, you will be more productive if your body and spirit are fully rested.

Day off is your ally

If you cannot or don't feel like taking some vacation, then take at least one day off per week. For at least one day, do not think about work, do not open your emails, do not connect on your social media. Instead spend time with your loved ones, go in the nature, cook or bake, watch some movies or tv shows, catch up with friends, paint, read, make love... Those little pleasure are super important if you want to be healthy and happy.

Not everything is urgent

Our biggest problem? Thinking every tasks needs to be done as soon as possible. The truth is, when you actually look at your to-do list, a lot of things can wait an extra 12 hours before getting done. Don't get us wrong, we don't encourage you to procrastinate, just to prioritize what is actually on a strict deadline and give yourself a breather for your other duties.

Ask for help

If it is too difficult for you to disconnect from work, then ask a friend or family to help you with this task. People will be more than happy to spend time with you and be here to remind you today is your day!

One of our solutions? Borrow your friend cottage for three days in Tiny Ontario, buy two bottles of wine, cheese and dessert, get naked and enjoy the weather

Our three days break was very relaxing even though it wasn't 100% work-free. But it is a beginning and we remind ourselves everyday that... a lot of things are actually not that urgent.

Luck should not be an excuse

A lot of people around us seem to be amazed by the life and experiences Juliette and I are living. The traveling, the photoshoots and happiness seem to be impressive and people truly enjoy it. We have never received so many compliments and love from friends, family, clients and strangers since we have left France. “You guys are lucky” they say…

Luck has nothing to do with it

When I was living in London, during a cold winter evening, I was talking to a friend from photography school online. He was asking questions about my life in London and was telling me his dream was to go to Australia but felt a bit lost and scared about this idea. I remember him telling me: “you are so lucky for leaving Paris, I wish I could do the same but you know my english is pretty bad and living in another country is expensive”. So I told him we weren’t lucky, we just kicked our own butts and took the decision to leave. Don't imagine everything was perfect, when we arrived in London: our English was pretty bad, we didn’t have a job and only a few savings.

 
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We could have found every excuses to not go to England because yes it was scary but we decided not to listen to our negative thoughts and booked our ride.

In 6 years, we have achieved a lot in our lives, both professionally and personally, we have met a lot of wonderful people who helped us make our dreams come true and build our businesses. But this has nothing to do with luck! We work hard, we take risks, we get out of our comfort zone, we stress, we cry but most of the time we have fun. You know what the most important of all is? We love what we do and it is so worth it!

Stop stopping yourself

We all have excuses and fears, obstacles we put in front of ourselves but there is something easy to understand: if you want, you can.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying every dream is easy to realize, most of them require knowledge, money, strength, time and surrounding yourself with the right people. I know we are all born with different spoons in our mouth, we don't have the same financial situation and definitely we don't have all the same life benefits but living the life you dream of IS POSSIBLE

We have wonderful tools such as internet and libraries that are full of information to help us take the first step towards our projects, learn and discover by ourselves. And if you don’t know or if you can’t do, ask people around you for help; you will be surprised to see you are not alone. People will be happy to help you!

 
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There is a famous quote I have heard once which has helped me a lot to understand the power of “I Can” (I wonder how long it would have taken me to quit my waitress job and open my own boudoir photography business if I had not heard it):

"if you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs."

the "GYST": Get Your Stuff Done

The first step is the most difficult to take but once you start working on your project, it will get easier, especially if you got a proper organization:

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  • Find your goal
  • Plan step by step how to make it successful.
  • Make the steps to do so accessible and specific. It will sounds unreachable otherwise.
  • Invest or find investors to help you financially
  • Educate yourself on the knowledge you are missing to achieve your goal. (PS: Libraries in Toronto are free. Just saying.)
  • Or build a team of people who know how to do what you don't
  • Spend time on your project. Kiss the procrastination goodbye.
  • And most important: DON'T GIVE UP!

What's the most important here is to remember that no one is going to do anything for you. You are the only one who can move things up for your own happiness and future. The good news is that it's a lot more accessible than you would think. Now roll-up your sleeves and build your mini-empire!

With Love,

 
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Work for me but for free - Part 1

We all love to get things for free, right? Such a great feeling! And with Juliette, we hope (in a close future) we will have enough income to be able to accept no-budget projects, but in the meantime we do need to make a living out of photography.

Photography services can look pricey, especially when you are not aware of the amount of work and expenses involved in taking a simple picture. While we love when our clients don’t try to lower our rates, we can also understand when they do. Let us explain:

 
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Photography gear is our biggest investment.

Camera, lenses and studio lights all together can cost the same price as a car:

Cameras = $3000 to $5000
Lense= $600 to $2000
External flash= $600 to $1000
Studio lights= $2000

This is just an average, you can find even more expensive material such as Hasselblad cameras who can be around $15000 (oh the ultimate goal!). You can also add more money for all of the other little accessories such as hard drives, memory cards, filters, tripods, extra batteries…

On top of this, you need to include the repair cost. I fixed my camera and two lenses 6 months ago and the total cost was over $1500.

Don't forget the computer stuff.

Computers are a very important investment for photographers. Except the photoshoot itself, everything happens digitally nowadays: editing, pictures delivery, payment and even customer service. Unfortunately you cannot be a professional photographer without a computer anymore. In order to provide a wonderful and artistic work, we have to invest in great equipment. Since Juliette and I travel a lot (Hello from Rome & Paris!), we needed to invest in a light laptop and each of us paid around $1300.

Let’s not forget about internet. It's a must in our industry and it needs to be fast, so boom, more $$$!

We have to get around.

As photographers, we love to shoot in different places so we need an easy way to travel. When we do not have to carry a lot of equipment and we are not going far, we use public transportation, otherwise we drive. It is more expenses to add on our side: cost of the car, gas, repairs, insurance + the time we spend on the road.

Where we shoot also needs $$$.

As you may already know, a part of our boudoir experience is to shoot in beautiful lofts in Toronto and GTA and we do not rend those places for free. The cost for those type of location can be expensive for us: $100/200 per hour. The price to pay to offer the variety and the quality we do.

Let's not forget...

There is a very simple fact that applies to any person who work for her/himself: if you don’t work you are not paid! Which means, we can’t afford to be sick or take a day off for example. We both work every single day because every little actions we make leads to find new customers and develop our businesses (did you know we do weddings too?), especially since we opened less than a year ago. This hard work also has a cost we need to cover in our pricing.

We are sparing you the taxes and insurance involved in this whole bill too, but yep, there are here too.

 
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This is only the material side of our investment, see you in January for the creative one. Yes our awesomeness has a price too (big smiley face).

With Love.

 
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Being best friend with another photographer

As you may know Juliette and I met in photography school in Paris in 2009 and we've never left each other since. And we now have two businesses together. Our friendship is strong and based on communication and trust. She is the cheese on my pasta and I am the sugar in her coffee… We complete each other.

Surprisingly, being both photographers has never been an issue in our friendship. Probably because we have rules that were set up naturally and we never break them.

 
2014 baby!

2014 baby!

 

Here are the secrets for a healthy relationship with people you love and who are in the same field as you are:

Don’t sell your service to your friend’s contact

I will say this is the most important rule we have. Juliette and I have some friends in common but also our own ones and we never consider them as potential clients, without each other's approval.

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A year ago one of Juliette’s friend contacted me to ask if I could give him a quote for portrait photography to promote his new music band. My ego was at a top level and it was of course a great opportunity to make money and develop my portfolio. But I would have never accepted it without talking to Juliette about it and see if she is ok with that, regarding the fact that he was a friend of hers. Of course she didn’t mind because as an artist you have to understand that sometimes people would prefer to go with another style than yours.

Think of your friend for a job you can’t do

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If a client requires your services but for some reasons you are not available, always think about your friend. With Juliette we know each other professionalism & talent, and if one of us can’t take a photography job, we always ask the other if she can take it, even if we know plenty of other photographers.

We also try to give each other work by selling each other as a second shooter or assistant on different photoshoots.

Avoid jealousy to avoid competition

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Sometime when I talk about my relationship with Juliette it seems to be all pink, happy and easy but we are both human and like every human, we can have negative emotions coming up to the surface. Truth is: it can be difficult to stay out the competition state of mind wehn your friend does the same job as you. Don’t let bitterness develops: don’t be jealous of your friend’ success, instead be happy and learn from it. Work on your own goals and if you are missing some knowledge on a topic to go further, don’t feel ashamed or stupid to ask people around you for some help.

If you let frustration growing in you, it will destroy everything in your life, starting with your relationship with others.

Being friend with another photographer is also lots of fun and the opportunity to create and work together on different shoots. We know how being a photographer can be tough sometimes, so we support each other and can complain about the same difficulties (we know that you know french people love to complain!)

We have been close friends for the past 8 years and of course having lots in common helps a lot, but there are no magical tricks. Like everything else if you want it to be successful, you need to work hard. Juliette and I have spent a lot of time together, we are there for each other even in the worst moments, we talked about everything, even when it's bad.

Now go hug your friends and built a stronger relationship with them!

Love,

Fanny & Juliette

 
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Male Boudoir - Can we talk about it?

We have a secret to reveal... But before we start telling you about it, have some popcorn ready, make yourself a tea or coffee and sit comfortably… Get close.... Closer..... A tiny bit more.... Ready?

 
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Boudoir photography is not only for women! (MIND BLOWN)

When we were brainstorming before launching Scandaleuse Photography, we were, of course,  targeting women but we realized boudoir could also be open to men. So we asked ourselves, how can we include those gentlemen who would also love having their pictures taken in a more intimate way?

Most of the guys don’t want to do a boudoir session because it seems to be too feminine and we can’t blame them. With the amount of sensual photos with women, we can imagine it is hard for men to project themselves into it. Plus, most of the time they don’t even know why they could/would potentially do one.

The most common reason for women to take the first step towards boudoir photography is to get a confidence boost. But could it be the same for men?

In order to get some answers, we went straight to the source and asked men if they think media and fashion industry’s beauty standards affect the way they see themselves.

And we got very interesting answers:

“Guys struggle with self image quite a bit too but because we aren't (openly) judged on it as much as women, it's more of a quiet struggle. Then again, the amount of guys I know with back problems and knee braces... relocated hair and inevitable "dad bod" is further down the wish list... the older guys get, the more they just want their body to work like it used to!” - MIKE

“Media and fashion has an enormous influence on how men see their bodies. That even starts in childhood - look at all the comic books, where every superhero is muscular hunky macho man, with strong facial features and sulky expressions. Toys like 'Action Man' and similar also portray certain image of the man. When you grow up, popular image of the movies or cartoons or commercials is of a boy who is athlete, again certain physique attributed to that. Men probably would book to boost their confidence. Also, if they already looking good, to have a 'confirmation' of their looks. I think young guys, pre-married would do that, because everyone knows that when you settle and age, body changes.” - DARIUS

“One thing I've recognized that they amplify is race; if you are a white male things are a lot easier for you regarding you being able to portray yourself as a sex symbol VS a man of middle eastern/Asian/African background.
Think about it. How many Brown or Oriental guys do you see on advertisements for Nautica or Lacoste? Or leading superhero in a comic or story? The answer is NONE.
Though I acknowledge the use of minorities is slowly increasing throughout Hollywood & media, the only time you MIGHT see them is when they are used for endorsements in the sports industry.
Media almost never supports that there are good hardworking men who have tattoos & piercings. The media usually portrays them to be 'waste of time punks' or individuals who will most likely engage in criminal activity.There are many reasons a man may do a boudoir shoot. He may want to explore his sexuality by seeing the reaction of his peers, he may simply just want to try something creatively different and or possibly to boost his self esteem.
Most men may do it with their companion but it is rare for them to do it on their own. I think the reason for this boils down to the concept of masculinity. Men think that they will be frowned upon as an attention seeker or classified as gay if they do something different or out of the ordinary.”
- LUKE

 
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so why should you do a shoot? You heard the gentlemen:

BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE: Women are not the only ones who suffer from beauty standards imposed by media and the fashion industry. While it is very obvious for women, it seems to be a very different approach for men: they can’t even talk about it. A man is supposed to behave the way he looks: don't cry, don't complain, 'suck it up', don't show emotions and so on. Men always want to and are mostly rigged to display masculinity or dominance. Apparently you cannot really fight much against it or you would look weak.
Well we disagree with that. Gender blurring is something new in our time but as time goes forward it will change and become more relaxed and work in everybody’s favor.

FOR YOUR PARTNER: if ladies can do it, guys also can. Why not change your routine and try a new experience for your partner. Imagine the happiness on your lover’s face when he or she will see the beautiful and sensual photographs of yourself. It is such a thoughtful gift to offer to your loved one and a unique way to surprise him/her. Trust us it will be a hit!

And if you don’t feel doing it by yourself, then go for a couple boudoir session, it will spice up your relationship...

IMMORTALIZE YOUR TATTOOS: It's very likely you are keeping your tattoos for a very long time, if not your entire life. But we all know tattoos don’t stay the same. With time they change shape, they fade away, the lines get blurrier, they evolved the same way your body does. They get older as we do. So why not kill two birds with one stone and take this opportunity to keep a beautiful memory of your fresh tattoos and enjoy the experience of a photoshoot!

FITNESS AND WORK OUT: Either you practice a martial art, spend lots of time at the gym or get ready for a triathlon, the amount of effort and work you spend on your body should be rewarded. Having body goals is hard but amazing and keeping track of those changes is also a great motivation for the future. If you did it once then you can do it again...

CHALLENGE YOURSELF: We don’t say it enough, STOP thinking of other people's opinions. No, it is not because you pose half naked in front of a camera that it will change your sexuality. Who cares of what people think. If you feel attracted by a boudoir shoot, you will find your own reason to do it! After all, this is the most important.

Doing a boudoir shoot with a man is another way of exploring sensual photography. For photographers, it is a good exercise and a great way to redefine our creativity. The consultation, the lighting, posing and editing is different from women's sessions.

Even if we do not work the same way with men and women, it doesn’t mean boudoir photography is not accessible for you gentlemen.

DARE TO STAND OUT!

 
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