business tips

We don't have a studio.

We have several.

You would think that, when you are a boudoir photographer (or any portrait photographer), there is one thing you would need to establish yourself: a studio. Well Scandals, there is something you need to know about us (drumroll please): we don't have a studio. We actually have about 10 of them.

 
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Because, yes, my butt is comfortably sitting on my office chair in my apartment as we speak, on a Wednesday afternoon. Don't get me wrong, we did think about getting a studio, and to be honest, it is the ultimate goal when we find the perfect spot that would not ask for 5 kidneys as a down payment (welcome to Toronto baby!). But for now, we decided to focus on something much more important to us: how to make your boudoir experience different from everyone else's.

Your boudoir session is about you (yes mam!)

This is the core of our business. We were soooo tired of seeing the same kind of boudoir photos non-stop online when we knew we can do so much more. Not all of you belong in those cutesy bed shots. If you are a Scandal like us, you can also belong on a rooftop during a busy night, overlooking the CN tower, or right in the middle of the woods in the early morning light with the sun kissing your skin.

Obviously, we can't only shoot outdoors. But instead of dealing with the same background over and over again, we decided to go the extra mile and make a list of awesome locations all around the city with complete different decor. You are a minimalist with scandinavian vibe? Boom, meet our all white modern loft just for you. You thrive through your rock'n'roll looks? Warmer and darker tones will likely suit you better.

Does it take time and patience? Ooooooh yes. Finding the good spots, visiting them, figuring out the fees involved with each, dealing with the landlords and availability… Trust me, it makes us sweat. But at the end of the day, we are here to build an experience around you.

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We are artists (no joke.)

Like many creative people, we need to renew ourselves all the time. Otherwise, we get bored and it kills our souls bit by bit. Seriously, put a good photographer is the same room for every single shoot and by the 5th one, she/he will be crawling on the floor asking for mercy. Having multiple options keeps us passionate and creative. And if we stay passionate and creative, you get an awesome shoot. Two birds one stone.

And who wouldn't want to change her/his office on a daily basis? We have seen so many amazing places that belong on a Pinterest board and we are over the moon to be able to bring them to you.

We are not doing boudoir just so you feel good for one day. We are doing it so it impacts you, gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when you think about it and so you remember it for the rest of your life.

Now... what are you waiting for?

You can say "no" and people will still like you.

Since we opened Scandaleuse, we have been shaking the Earth for opportunities. One of our motto is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”, so we jump right in with our no-BS mentality and 90% of the time, we get positive results. But sometimes, we cannot get a simple yes or no answer for the life of us.

 
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A lot of people are incapable of saying “no”. Why is it so hard to reject an offer, to set boundaries and decline something you can’t or don’t want to commit to directly? If you are one of these people, do read the following!

You won’t be offending anyone. (and if they are, honestly, they need to grow up)

The #1 reason for not being able to say “no” is the fear to offend the person you are refusing something to. Maybe you like them, you’d love to help, you’d like to be able to swing whatever they are asking and if you were to say no, they will be disappointed, let down and -dear God- they won’t like you anymore.

Trust me, I am the one person that cannot stand not being liked by someone. I am Reliable Girl and it crushes my heart if you don’t like me. (I am working on it). But there is something even more important to me when it comes to other people: I treat them the way I want to be treated, with mutual respect.

To me, being honest with this specific person and admitting you won’t be able to do whatever they need you to do is showing respect.

Respect of their time. It definitely does not showcase a lack of feelings or care to them, it is just letting them off the hook so they can replace you, organize themselves and avoid endless awkward follow-ups with you.

don’t be the cause of multiple follow-ups.

On the business side of things, you have no idea how many times we follow up with people on a weekly basis. It feels like we need to babysit people constantly, and it is a huge waste of time when we finally get a “no”. Are we disappointed? Not so much. Are we annoyed because you stayed on our to-do list for weeks? A little. We are not psychic, so until you put on your big girl pants to say a definite and clear answer, we will keep asking.

The truth is, you are likely to lose credibility as a person or a business by making people wait around.

We have reached out to companies we truly admired and got led on a potential opportunity for weeks. It ended up not working out and it stained our perception of them. It just shows us you really don’t give a crap, which can be okay too, after all you can’t care about everything, but ignoring us or leading us on makes us feel like dummies. And if I feel like a dummy through your behavior, I will never come back and I will also never spread a good word around.

So truly, saying “no” can be a proof of reliableness, which is one of the best quality anyone could have.

Don’t make me feel like you are waiting for better options.

Ah. The biggest problem in our generation. People wait to see if they have better options before giving you a definite answer. They like to keep their options open. Blame it on the FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) movement.

But on the receptive line of this, how do you think I feel if you throw a bunch of maybe’s at my face and then cancel my plans for something else? Like crap. Like my ideas don’t matter to you, they aren’t worth your time. This also applied if you leave me hanging and don’t show up.

 
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How to behave in society so you keep your friends and your business

Rant over, let’s get to the actual advice.

By all means, please decline an offer if:

  • You have too much on your plate. If you already don’t know how you could possibly fit this inquiry in your schedule, be honest and decline it. It’s way better than half-assing it or worse, not even show up.

  • You really don’t want to do it. It’s that simple. If you get an off feeling by just hearing the favor, that’s not a good sign. And no, laziness is not a good excuse, but feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable are.

  • It’s just not a good time. Bad-timing is a real thing, you are not Wonderwoman. For your own sanity, you can’t accomodate everyone and maybe it is time you put yourself first.

Note: don’t be a dick when you decline something but be honest. Honesty is always appreciated. Remember: mutual respect.

What are the benefits of saying no?

  • You won’t look like a fool. If anything, you may gain respect for not wasting people’s time.

  • You can take better care of yourself. By not overscheduling yourself, you can take a breather and put your health, your mental state back into first position in your life, just like the way it should be.

  • You actually become reliable. You’ve set boundaries and people know they can expect honesty from you, that you will actually be here if you can help. You are building trust and it is the hardest feeling to build with someone.

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So there you go, no more excuse to… give excuses. Here are your big girl pants, tailored just for you. You will thank us later!







2018, what a year!

It is time for…. a year overview! Just like last year, we decided to reflect on what 2018 has brought us… and it brought us a lot! We busted our butts and have accomplished more than we could have ever expected, and that is thanks to YOU!

 
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We got published on multiple platforms

Our press page has grown with 5 publications this year! Madmoizelle.com, Be The Next Her, Radio Canada, Choq FM, and Viva Media, we are slowly making it in the media to show our support towards women and changing mentalities. And we are not planning on stopping there.

We did our first business trip and it was in Paris

One of the biggest highlight of 2018 was definitely the 17 Scandals we photographed in the span of 5 days, between Paris & Lyon. Thanks to one publication above, we managed to build an entire trip, and we have met so many lovely people. We can’t wait to try again in 2019!

 
 

We pushed boudoir for older women

If you have been following us for a while, you must know that we fight every single day to encourage women to stop giving a crap about other people’s judgement. One of the battles is to break the “I am too old for this” that we hear way to often from women after 50 years old. So we put a fellow Scandals half naked in a sunflower field, because, why the hell not. And it was one of our most popular series and blog post!

 
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We took a naked vacation

Such a freaking good feeling. We took a 3-day vacation in Tiny, Ontario to recharge and we found ourselves enjoying sunbathing in the nude. The only down side is that when we have to wear a bathing suit, it feels very uncomfortable.

 
 

We started #TheUnstoppableProject

After months and months of throwing ideas around, we finally did the shoot for the Unstoppable project, which will be release early January. We are over the moon for this to be our first project of 2019!

We have been through quite a bit this year and looking back at it, it is crazy how much has been done! It is such a motivation to create content, spread positive messages and we can’t wait to grow bigger & bigger in 2019. Happy New Year Scandals, thank you for being here.

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Dealing with creative funk

This one is for any creative person that feels the need to create content constantly and/or is required to do so professionally. If you feel like you can't do anything right sometimes and you start doubting your work... Three words: we feel you.

 
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The creativity juice

You know the thrill you get when you create something new that people appreciate? Your heart beats faster, you are full of energy, you are smiling from one ear to the other and you keep coming up with better ideas every day. Until one day.... Mic drop, curtain closed, no creativity juice left. Take a deep breath, it doesn't mean you suck.

Find the cause

What triggered this sudden block? Did you get a bad feedback? Are you dealing with personal problems? Do you think everyone is better than you? Did you sleep enough? Are you hungry? Did Tim Horton's stop your kind of Timbits ? (it's a problem in Canada, alright?). Whatever started this, if you identify it, you can start to fight it.

Putting things into perspective

People, we don't need drama, alright? We already have so many reason to stress out nowadays (see Timmie's horror story above). A creative funk is not the end of the world and will happen (again). We are not magical robots that can create ALL THE TIME. It's impossible. You will create things that will suck. But you will have some that will rock.

We asked other artists to give us their opinions about dealing with creative blocks and we have put together a little list of things you should try when you feel like you are stuck.

Take a break.

Have you even been out today or have you been staring at your laptop trying to invoke your muse? A change of scenery is usually the trick for small creative funks. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, talk to people. After you read this blog post please.

Luke, talented musician, says: "Remember you cannot cannot unless your mind, body & spirit are in alignment. Breathe in the fresh air and take a moment to acknowledge how good of a job you are doing. This will clear your negative blocks."

 
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Be okay with failure.

Actually, stop seeing it as a failure, see it as a lesson. You did something, it didn't go right but now you know what to do to improve. Put a Hello Kitty bandaid on your ego and off you go. After all, you wouldn't have any successes without failures. So they are kind of necessary.

Get inspired.

A lot of creative funks come when we lack inspiration. A good way to get it back is to… look for it everywhere you go. Pinterest, books, blogs (eheh), artist in your field (or not) you love, podcasts… We have access to SO many sources. I personally have a weird obsession for Youtube videos of people accomplishing things and showing their routines for success.

Jason says: "You need to explore. Viewing different things will help spark your curiosity and give you that imagination back."

Let me crack my knuckles like a badass before I type this. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

This is the first cause of creativity death. There is always someone better than you and the sooner you get that, the more at peace you will be. Funny enough, someone is probably comparing him/herself to you, thinking you're better. Endless cycle. Look to others for inspiration, not competition.

As Luke, yes again, it was good alright, said "Thrive off of other people's energy & stories. When I have no fuel to write music I may look at someone else's situation and get inspiration from them and tell their story through my music. "

Challenge yourself.

Some people need to force their imagination. Our dear friend Rai, fashion photographer extraordinaire, says: "Just walk around downtown and look at banner, ads, signs, then ask yourself: have you done something like that? Do you wanna do something similar? Start taking a few reference shots, upload to pinterest and then pin related contents. Just make sure to set a mood and tone first!"

Brainstorm with yourself. (preferably after taking that fresh air.)

Get a piece of paper and a pen (or a tablet for millenials) and write anything that comes to mind. Any rough ideas you want to do, any long term or short term goals. When I start freaking out, I also write the projects that I have coming up to prove to myself that I must be doing something right and that I have things to look forward to.

Mike, drummer and productivity master adds: "Just start writing... Then read that piece of trash and refer to your notebook of ideas... Realize you should've just started there. Seriously though, stock pile your ideas when you're in the zone."

 
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Shake things up

When I start feeling unhappy about my creativity, it's usually because I don't manage my time properly to do everything that puts me in the right mind. It's a sign that I should probably change my routine. My last freakout involved my adding more workout and cooking time to daily routine because I enjoy that and I know it makes me feel content and thus productive. And the more productive you are, the more energy you will have for your next idea. Snowball effect.

Hopefully this has helped you to go all "FATALITY" on your creative funk. Remember, it is perfectly normal and you will get over it at some point. You have what it takes. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some youube videos to catch up on. Someone is cleaning up their entire apartment and it's bringing me joy.

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What changed since we opened Scandaleuse?

Five months ago, Fanny and I took the decision of changing our lives and get on the entrepreneurship boat towards new adventures. We have had a great start so far. Thank you for following us on our instagram and our facebook page, we are building a nice new community of butt cheeks we are very proud of.

 
 

While we’ve always wanted to create our own company, we never actually took the plunge. My life was more about reading books and testimonials from people who actually did it and then tell myself the ”I will do it too someday”. Then I turned 25. Then Fanny got her working visa, which allowed us to legally get into a partnership. And it clicked. I quit my job and 4 days after, our shaky fingers finally showed Scandaleuse to the rest of the world from the Toronto Reference Library.

Quitting your full-time job to follow what you really believe in and give yourself a chance wasn’t easy. But oh boy is it worth the risk.

Being photographers, we were already quite far from the 9-5 office job, we were used to long, odd hours and last minute requests. Maybe it helped with the full time business women transition. We have always been organized, hustlers and not scared of hard work. More importantly, we have each other. It's a no-brainer that jumping into something like with someone is easier.

Here are our 5 best perks of running Scandaleuse and many many other projects. Don’t worry, we are not giving you the usual  I-work-from-home-so-that’s-awesome that you can find online. Here we go:

 
 

1)    We are not paid less because we are women.

This had to be my first point. I am blown away that in 2017, women are still earning less than a man for the same exact job. A lot of companies take advantage of it. So yes, one of the biggest perks of running your own business is that you price yourself the way you want to. So, no less dollars because we have vaginas. BOOM.

2)    We don’t have to deal with creative frustration.

You want to work on a brand new project? Well then do it. No approvals to get, no time wasted. Of course, all the work is on you, but since we are kind of organization ninjas, it’s definitely not an issue. Now, on top of shooting, we are about to start giving workshops and being keynotes speakers at events and that’s pretty sweet. (The amount of terrible jokes people will hear is unreal. Sorry.)

3)    We are very good company.

I was a little scared of getting lonely and getting bored working from home. Hell no. Fanny and I work together face to face multiple times a week and from our places the rest of the time. I am seeing my apartment a little more (only a little, because seriously, we are always out somewhere) and I am loving it.

4)    The constant learning position

We are the kind of people that need to learn constantly. We are naturally curious. After working at the same job for a couple of years, I started being unhappy because I felt like I wasn’t learning anything anymore. This was when I realized I needed to go. Building your own thing teaches you something new all the time.

"Once you stop learning, you start dying.", right?

5)    The Brownie Points

Everyday is a new little victory. It could be from booking a shoot, working on a new idea, fixing the website or finalizing a project. That sweet feeling of "Damn, we did it” is so good!

This could sound like we live in a world full of unicorns and glitter, and trust me, we don’t. Consider us just well-prepared and determined to make things work. We have our tough days, a crap ton of stress and disappointments. Would I go back to working full-time for someone else? Not anytime soon.

For the road

  • If you expect to start business without knowing a minimum what you are doing, think twice. Read, go to seminars, get as much information as possible
  • While having a business bestie is awesome, pick the good one. Fanny and I have known each other for 8 years and have worked together on multiple occasions before officially doing it on paper. Trust your gut.
  • Have savings. Business don’t pick up right away. We are lucky to have projects on the side and savings to save us from sleepless nights. Don’t start your business being broke.

Now, go YOU!