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Conversations with Michael Spatola

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Spatola.

Hi Michael, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My story? I’m a Boudoir Photographer of over 30 years. But my story starts when I fell in love, accidentally, with photography when I was very young. I began taking photos of my artwork. Photography wasn’t always my main love. In fact, I really started taking pictures to create a portfolio of my makeup work. You see, I’ve also had another career. I did makeup and sfx makeup for the film industry. To get jobs, I needed a good portfolio of examples of my work. So, I always did both makeup and photography concurrently. In 1991, I made a conscious decision to leave the film industry and focus (hehe) completely on my photography.

In the beginning, I had my hands in creating model portfolios, actor’s headshots, weddings, babies and family portraits, and of course Boudoir Photography. Over the years, I weeded out the things that brought me the least joy and frankly, the least profit too. I truly fell in love with creating beautiful, artistic and empowering portraits of women. Using lighting to sculpt the face and figure, a loose and comfortable posing style that flatters the subject (I’ll even demonstrate the poses myself!), and makeup, of course plays a part as well. I always have a female makeup artist/assistant here to help the clients look amazing but also provide a level of safety and security. As a male photographers in this business, we take every precaution to make sure our clients feel safe and comfortable in a situation that can make some a bit nervous at first. Rest assured that nervousness passes quickly and everyone has a wonderful time. Most of my clients don’t want it to end! I mean, they get to play dress-up and look amazing! Why would anyone want that to end?

I always say my favorite part of the process is when the clients view their photos. It’s the look on my client’s faces the first time they see the beautiful photos we’ve created together, and maybe even seeing themself as THIS beautiful for the first time in their life, that makes all the effort totally worth it. That’s my why.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I feel the biggest hurdles were really discovering what niche best suited me and how to charge appropriately for my work. I feel that I was pretty darned good at weddings, and my baby photos were wonderful. But these things didn’t really bring me the same joy as Boudoir.

When digital photography was in it’s early days, it was outrageously expensive. My first digital SLR, the Kodak DCS460 was nearly $30,000 for the body alone. The media cards for the camera were almost $400 each and were fragile. I broke a lot of them. Fast forward 20 some years and digital camera are much more affordable. So much so that about a dozen years ago, I saw a big drop in my baby business. People were buying digital cameras instead of photographs of their children. However, Boudoir is not the kind of image you can easily take of yourself. That takes someone with an eye for posing and lighting, and most importantly, that can put the client at ease in front of the camera. Boudoir really is something you should go to pro for.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As we’ve already stated, my specialty is boudoir. I’m very proud of the images that I create for my clients. They’re not cookie-cutter, not prop heavy, and the main thing to me is that my client is happy, comfortable and communicative. I always like to have conversations of what the client wants, what they think is sexy, color or black and white, even what music they prefer that helps the session be more fun!

I think the main thing that really sets me apart from a lot of the new boudoir photographers out there is that I have have so many years of experience doing this. So many years of learning how to put my clients at ease! I also mentioned the “cookie cutter” thing. A lot of new boudoir photographers are literally carbon copies of each other. Facebook is littered with new boudoir groups, and most of these new photographers are women that buy the same props, sets, even costumes (think the silly angel wings). I’m anti-fad here. I truly want the clients to look at their photos years and years down the line and see timeless images, not fads. Most fads don’t age well. But timeless images only grow in value over the years.

One more thing – make no mistake, this session is for YOU! Yes, my sessions make great gifts for your significant other, but truly it’s the best gift for yourself!

What were you like growing up?
Wow, well, that was a long time ago. I was always creating- I would draw and paint, build model kits, take pictures, and I also did magic, and spend hours disguising myself with character and monster makeup. I was a bit of an introvert, as I feel many artists are. Honestly, I was very shy (still am!) But to be successful, one needs to learn how to communicate and at least have the appearance that they are confident. Even after learning the secrets of how to communicate, even talk in front of live audiences or on-camera, still I’m a closet introvert.

I think if you asked most true artists, they always feel they can do better. And with each new client, I always try to do even better than the last. It’s part of that not being “cookie-cutter” in your approach to client sessions.

Pricing:

  • Sessions are $400 for a 3 hour Boudoir Experience, and makeup is always included.
  • Our Album packages start at $999, and we have many options, image quantities, sizes and configurations to choose from.

Contact Info:

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