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5 tips for a successful first solo trip

As you guys know, last December one of the Scandaleuse boss ladies booked a flight to Costa Rica for her first solo trip. Let us tell you it was a blast… I can now say I actually prefer to travel by myself than with people, it was such an unforgettable experience!

It can be scary at first but like anything in life, if you have the desire to try then put your fears aside and do it!

 
 

When it comes to the topic of traveling solo, many fears appear mostly about safety. You hear it from the media, your friends and family: “It is unsafe to go travel by yourself!”. No it is not, but it can be if you are not careful. Here are few tips for a successful first solo trip:

Play it safe

As a first time you want to make sure you will enjoy it, especially if you are not an adventurous person. My suggestion is first to:

  • Choose a country which speak your language, not being able to communicate can make your trip a nightmare.

  • Don't go for too long, you don't have to leave for 3 weeks if you don't feel it (don't do like me neither, I made the mistake to go for only 5 days and that was way too short). I would suggest to go from one week to 10 days.

  • Make sure to stay close to civilization. One more time, if you are not adventurous chose the city over the wildness of nature. You want to make sure to have people around you in case of emergency.

  • You don't have to tell strangers you are traveling solo, especially as a woman. Pretend having friends or family with you if that can make you feel less like a target.

Don't act like a dummy

When you read about people's experience, you hear few nightmare stories that can be pretty scary. But most of the time bad things happened to people who put themselves in the worst situations. When you travel by yourself don’t take stupid risks, it is not worth it! Always have your ID with you, don't get wasted in the street or unsafe places and don't accept candies from strangers!

Be prepared for the worse

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You do have to think about what can badly happens but without scaring yourself off. Just be prepared to any possibility:

  • Have a photocopy of your travel documents and a virtual copy accessible through your phone.

  • Know the closest hospital in each of your locations.

  • Have a plan B for transportation and accommodation.

  • Give all your trip's details to your emergency contact.

Solo travel is not only for men

Get that idea inside head, yes women can solo travel too, we just have to be a little bit more careful than men. Follow your guts, do not trust too much and do not make yourself vulnerable.

Don't have expectation

Stop thinking your trip is going to be perfect, because it will not and it is fine! You have to accept little flaws which are going to happen during your trip.

Organization and safety are the keys for a successful first solo trip. I am not saying you have to be a control freak and stay in your hotel the all time, but just the minimum of care for yourself. I can promise you your trip is going to be unforgettable.

Open yourself to people and you will make new friends from all over the world. I can promise you, you will not get bored during your trip and you will never be really alone. Now go travel and make it incredible!

 
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How people's words can have an impact on your mind and body

Language is a powerful tool which brings people together and help understand each other. But unfortunately it can easily be transformed and used as a weapon. Since humans have the tendency to criticize others (because it is apparently easier than giving a compliment), this weapon put in mischievous hands can be extremely painful. It is really difficult to know the impact our words can have on others but is it so difficult to be more careful and taking the time to be aware of it?

 
 

I can say I am pretty confident with my body but it wasn't always the case, especially in middle school. I am glad I choose to go to photography school as it helped me to become self-confident.

I wish sometimes I could be curvier, taller, have thicker wrists, get more tan, have a beautiful skin… but this is my body and I cannot change it, so I decided to cherish it because it is precious and I now don’t give a freaking damn about people's critics.

 
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When your “supposed-friends” show their true colors

I always been really thin: tiny body, tiny bones, boobies which are still hiding from the world (still looking for them!) and for a long time I was ashamed of that. Of course people liked to remind me of it:

-“You look like a garden gnome hahaha!”

- “I should not talk about that in front of you, you are like what… 14?!” (I am 19 dude but thanks-what an ass!")

- “Are you not ashamed of not having boobs?”

- “Are you sure you don't suffer from anorexia?”

… I could keep going on and on.

Most of those awful sentences came from friends or people I knew and every time they broke me into thousand pieces. Until a classmate told me the worst one “your mom should be sooo ashamed for giving birth to an anorexic girl. What an embarrassment!!”.

That sentence was the last one I let putting me down: F**k that! Never again I will let words break me.

Relax, it was just a joke!

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The famous: “I was joking!”… I am pretty sure we all went through that and maybe we did it too without realizing it can be painful for our interlocutor. Do not get me wrong, as a french person I love sarcasm and bad humour that makes me laugh even though it is directed towards my body or my intelligence. Lets take my family as a an example, I saw partners or parents with their kids, pocking each other and making jokes about the way they look, their personality: "Don't take it badly, it was just a joke!” they say.

Yes it was probably… a joke but for some reason that day, those words sticked to your mind. Maybe it wasn’t the first time you heard those words or maybe you were already having a bad day and was feeling a bit down. When a loved one reminds you several time per week “how flat you are”, “how curvy you are”, “how sometimes you can be stupid", even if they say it with a touch of humour, you ended up believing those words and not in yourself anymore.

Yes jokes are funny but do not forget also to tell your loved ones every day how much you love them, how strong and smart they are and how successful they will be.

“Et mademoiselle, t’es bonne, tu baises?”

Disclaimer: Ladies and gents caution, coarse language coming.

Translation: “Yo miss, you're hot, wanna f**k?” (no kidding, I heard those words in the street).

I never really had any problem since I moved to Canada and I wish I could tell you the same for France but I would be lying. You see, France is like Tinder's nightmares in real life. A lot of men have the bad habit to harass women in the street and we heard them all. From “I am gonna eat that ass!", "B**ch I am talking to you!”, “Nice legs, at what time do they open?!"… to “I am gonna rape you!”, when you are victim of street harassment for years, it gets very easy to stress about the idea of going out by yourself. And they say apparently french women are very difficult to approach… - Cough - Really? I wonder why!

The worst sentence a guy told me in Canada was “You're gonna get in trouble with this body!”, I am not gonna lie it scared the crap out of me (I was walking in a very quiet street with nobody else around) but I played it cool and thanked the guy for his “compliment”. At some point he left after wishing me to have a great day.

Please gentlemen, think twice before hitting on a girl and watch your language!

When people make your day

Fortunately, a lot of people have the ability to cheer your day up with hilarious and unforgettable compliments and honestly those are the ones that counts. So for you and exclusively, here are the best ones people ever told us:

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- “You have very nice collarbones!”

- “Your hair smell like sex!”

- “If I have to compare you as a car, you will be a Porsche”

- “Wohh, where did you get those eyes from?!”

- “If we take my friend's legs, this table as my body and my face, would you love me?”

What about you? What is the best/worst/unforgettable compliment someone ever gave you?

How to start your business: putting your fears aside

As you may know Scandals, our first year of business is over and so far it has been running well. But you know what they say: it takes 3 years for a business to be successful, we have done half of it so… yay to us!

It has been a year and a half full of stress – joy – tears – laughs – fears - surprises – projects  – beauty – nudity (sometimes not wanted). You got the idea; our emotion and lives were like a roller coaster: lots of ups and some downs. Having a business is the dream of most of the people we meet and every time Juliette and I hear the same things: “you guys are so brave to go through this process”, “I would love to do it but I do not have the time or/and the money”, “How did you guys do it?

Well Mesdames et Messieurs, here is the secret, you need to think super super strongly about an idea and tada!! It’s happening. Drop the mic, end of this blog…

 
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THE REALITY

I wish it was so simple. Unfortunately there are no magic tricks, you just have to bite the bullet (I know, so disappointing right?). Like anything in life actually, if you want something to be done, you have to make it happen. Were we scared? Oh hell yes. Did we ask ourselves a thousand questions? Totally. Did we think it wasn’t the good time to start Scandaleuse? Absolutely not!

It was our main goal and we were so ready to start this new adventure because we knew it can give us a financial freedom and a happy state of mind. You have to feel confident in your vision, you have to trust your guts and ask yourself the good questions:

Is it the fear of failing?

Lack of experience or knowledge?

Not enough time or money?

Lack of support from your love ones?

Not having a strong project?

Knowing what the problem is will help you to find a solution to move forward. You also have to stop finding excuses, the only barriers are the ones you are creating to stop yourself.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

The first steps are always the most difficult ones and they will make you feel overwhelmed. Educating yourself and being well organized will help you to feel more confident in your project.

 
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Time and Money

Before starting, make sure you will have enough time and money to invest. If you want it to be your full time job, your business will become your baby and has to be a priority. You will spend countless hours of work so be ready to change your schedule and make some sacrifices. If you decide to have a part time job while building it, it is going to take way more time to be ready for its launch. The best is to focus 100% and have a good 3 months of savings on the side.

Baby Steps

  • Develop an idea but make sure it is realistic and practical: If your dream is to sell homemade panties made of wood, you have to be sure clients will buy them because the primary purpose of every business is to maximize profits ($$$) for its owner. Do your own research, find out who your competitors are, analyze the market and start this goddamn business plan.
     
  • Talk about your project: It is very important to share your vision with your surroundings. Talk to your family, friends and even strangers about what you have in mind, they would be very happy to give their opinion and help. You can be surprised how creative, smart and resourceful people can be.
     
  • Find a badass name and a kickass logo: When you create a business, you are building a brand and you want people to be able to remember and scream your name. One more time, ask people to tell you honestly what they think about it, if it describe your project, if it is catchy or too common, if it would make them buy your service or product…
     
  • Build your social media and content: You need to be everywhere, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, you name it. Your customers will be mostly online and are craving for interesting and creative contents. You will have to take pictures and make videos about your product/service several times per week if you want people to buy it.
     
  • Make it legal: Just in case you had the idea of screwing with the government… well don’t. Learn what category correspond the best with your business (Corporate, Partnership or Sole Proprietorship…), register your business and potentially for HST, apply for trademark name if needed. You can also get free advice from the City Hall and Canada Revenue Agency has a program who helps new entrepreneurs with taxes. 

Being entrepreneurs is not easy but we would not go back, we love the freedom of working for ourselves and making Scandaleuse Photography an empire.

Put your fears on the side and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

 
 

You can let your hair be.

Get ready for this universal truth: we all have hair. Everywhere. And you've probably heard at least once in your life "you should remove it", "it's gross", "why do you care?" "all natural baby!" "Aren't French people hairy anyway?"(oh wait, that one is for us eheh). It's time to unleash the truth.

We get asked quite often by our clients, men & women, if they have to shave or not before their shoot. So here it is:

 
 

Is it better to be shaved/waxed entirely before your boudoir session (or anything in life for that matter)?

No. Hair or no hair, it doesn't make one single difference. It's that simple. And if people are telling you the opposite, don't work with them. And it is because of a very simple reason:

the decisions concerning YOUR body belongs to YOU and you ONLY.

And that goes for everything concerning your body: tattoos, hair colour, piercings, you name it.

 
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Why are you doing it to begin with?

Here is the second gigantic tip that will help you for the rest of your life:

These decisions you just took about your body? They have to be based on your opinion, not others.

Meaning that if you choose to get waxed every 3 weeks or not, it should be because it makes you feel great that way and not because you feel like you HAVE to do it.

Story time: a few months ago, we had a wonderful photo shoot with Léa Castor in Paris. She stopped removing her hair a couple of years ago now, because she realized that she wasn't really doing it for her, but for her lover at the time. She said that she wanted to start loving her hair the way it actually is, even though it is quite difficult, not because she thinks it looks ugly but because of the society. She felt like people will juge and criticize her.

When we first talked about her session, we really wanted to showcase and do close-ups of her hair to tell the world "hey see, it's not bad at all!" but it turns out that we just focused on her like we always do. And guess what?

No one actually noticed her hair and for the few photos where you could actually see it, it just looked great. not "eeeew" like some people can think. Isn't this super cool?!

So what if we just stop caring about what other people think and start taking care of our hair the way WE want to?

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Don't be embarrassed about your hair

When people ask us if they should get waxed or not, there is always a weird feeling of shame flying in the air, like it's such a nasty little secret.

Truth is: if someone is judging you or giving you attitude because of hair and any other aspects of your body, you are not the problem, they are

Isn't it about time for people to be able to treat their bodies the way they want to and say it loud and clear without feeling embarrassed?

A little recap for the road:

  • Decisions about your body are only yours to make
  • Don't let others influence these decisions.
  • You don't have to wax/shave entirely if you don't want to.
  • There is no reason to feel gross, ashamed, embarrassed about your hair. It's actually pretty useful to protect your body but that's another story.

So hair or no hair, if you feel comfortable and happy, it's all that matters. You will look beautiful either way.

PS: From what we've seen and our experience: French people are definitely hairier than Canadians and honestly, we don't care.

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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How photography can change the way you see yourself

Today I wanted to write about me, myself and I. It can sound a bit pretentious but this is not the point of this article. I am going to share with you a part of my life that was pretty difficult with a life experience that happened 8 years ago. 

Believe it or not, it’s not because I have a Boudoir photography business that I always felt in harmony with my body. Let’s go back in time and see how photography helped me to feel more self-confident.

 
When you are 15 years old and you look like 11!

When you are 15 years old and you look like 11!

 

Middle school was rough

If there is a period of my life where I don’t want to go back, it is definitively middle school. I hated it, even if I met one of my best friend then, I don’t have lots of good memories. You are still young, but yet old enough to care about other people's opinions. It was pretty much when my self-esteem went "hasta la vista baby!".

When I was a teenager, I was very thin. Too thin. Some people told me I was anorexic (you know how children can be mean!). I come from a tiny little family and I took everything from my mom side: small boobies, not tall, thin bones. We could have been a lilliputian family (the only interloper is my butt, my mom got it too, I truly don’t know where it comes from!). I was and I am still a pretty short person but on the top of it I had buck teeth. Not because I was sucking my thumb, no I wanted more than that, I was sucking 3 of my fingers (at the same time!). Then of course I got braces at the age of 15.

When you are in your teenager phase, you are way more vulnerable and you take all of the negativity from others as if it was the truth. Even if I never felt ugly, I had no self-esteem for several years because of all of the tough teasing I got from others.

Apprenticeship, the beginning of freedom

Long story short, middle school sucked and I was happy it ended. What hapepned after? Well, before we start, just know that, in France, you have 3 options after middle school: you either go to high school, university or apprenticeship. I went for the last one because I wanted to learn a profession and get a paycheck. It works like this: first you need to find the field where you wanna work in, second you find a business ready to hire you and then a school who teaches the profession you choose.

I have done 7 years of apprenticeship (2 years of dog grooming, 2 years of sales and 3 years of photography) and every year was one more step towards freedom and self-development.

 
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The time I won back my self-esteem

When I started my first year of photography school, I was still a bit shy. My arms were often crossed and my shoulders were tense. I remember my classmates telling me to relax and put my shoulders down.

When you learn photography, you also have to learn how to pose. It is very important to understand how modelling works if you want to be able to guide your model in a better way. The first times as a model was tough for me. I felt awkward, stupid. It was so not natural and I was afraid of smiling. Then there is a moment, you decide to take it as a game, an experience that happens few times in a life. After a few times, you start to relax, smile more naturally, pose by yourself and you take off your clothes more easily.

For me it was pure freedom, especially when I saw the results on the screen. I was like: “oh man, I look gorgeous, is that me?!”

The final step of my self-confidence goal, was to pose fully naked, which I did! Trust me, once you put down your vulnerability and your clothes, you feel ready to dance naked in the street!

As a photographer, it has been a while since I met someone who loves 100% of his/her body.  Even me, sometimes I catch myself thinking that I would like to change a physical part of my body. But what is the point of those thoughts?

 
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Here is a good exercise

Find a mirror where you can see yourself, from your head to your feet. Go naked and look at every centimeters of your body, even your intimate parts. Start to think about what you like in yourself, don’t let negative thoughts coming through.

Then everyday you are facing a mirror, take 5/10 min to think about the parts of your body you don’t like and for each of those, start telling yourself out loud that you are beautiful, those parts are awesome, it is not a big deal to have something physically different, that it doesn’t change the fact you are strong, smart, sexy and pretty. It sounds silly and ridiculous but trust me it does work if you work on it daily. Telling yourself something positive everyday will help your brain to believe in it.

And you, what is your story?

With love,

 
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