Meet Lacie. Under her kind spirit lies…….

When we met Lacie for the first time as she came into the studio for her consult, we felt a gentleness about her, a kindness that radiated and felt genuine. Oh sure, she had her “stories and struggles” we were positive, we’ve been in this business long enough to know that each woman we’ve ever had the pleasure to work with has a unique story, but her kind spirit left the lasting impression.

We worked with her, and got to know her a bit better, as we chatted in makeup and hair before her All Day session, we learned that beneath her kindness, she had an ability to be very flexible, more than most people. She explained that she could probably do some poses most people aren’t capable of. But she explained, that ability is a result of constant pain. An everlasting pain that will eventually result in her being bound to a wheelchair later in life, something she knows as fact and unavoidable.

She lives with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, or EDS for short. We could’ve said “suffers from” however she’s so sensitive to not wanting undue attention as a result of her illness, that we chose our words carefully and respectfully. What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provide strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body.

People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them.

She explains a little of what it was like as she was growing up:
“I had always had chronic pain growing up and just thought that was a part of life. Even as a teenager, I’d wake up with ankle pain, shoulder pain, back pain..things that I just thought everyone had, so I only mentioned it when I had an injury to go along with it. Which I was injured a lot. I just thought I was a klutz or whatever, called myself names and went along with my day. I had so many stupid injuries, from falling down the stairs for no reason in high school and spraining my ankle in the process to taking a step off my parents back porch and getting a 3rd degree sprain in the other ankle.. again for no real reason. I had scoliosis and “snapping scapula syndrome” diagnosed as a child and teenager, respectively..but it never explained the other weird things that would happen?”

As she got older, her struggles didn’t become any easier, in fact, she was often called “crazy” by medical staff and family when she explained the intense pain she was beginning to experience:
“As I got older I’d have bouts of extreme nausea where I just wouldn’t be able to eat. My parents had testing done and they put me on some expensive medicine and it went away for a while. But again, that would randomly pop up and cause a lot of issues for me. I suffered with a lot of mental health issues, forgetfulness, constant fatigue, that I just chalked up to being “fucked up”, as I’d say about myself. I had a lot of pain with my periods..I’d throw up and be sick to my stomach for a week or so as well, to which I was told I might have endometriosis. So they put me on the pill, which didn’t really help much. Then as I got older, I had multiple miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy rupture (thankfully I knew then that I had EDS at least so I was able to tell my surgeon).

She went on to explain:
“I lived with random pain and never knowing what was wrong with me for years and years. I was told I was crazy when I started getting very intense pain around age 22 and they ended up putting me on so much medication I was unable to walk for months. I was in PT for a bit, tried all different things but the only thing that truly helped was hooping and lifestyle changes. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and my muscles were too weak to support my ligaments. My pain was causing me to fear movement and I let myself atrophy, and with EDS that causes everything to get worse.”

As we learned more about this and then reflected on the kind, gentle spirit she radiates, we were in disbelief that anyone with so much constant pain could ever be so calm, funny and yes…. kind…. to be around. It was clear that she definitely had a story to tell and it was one worth sharing!

Often times, if the world can’t “see” pain, it’s dismissed. The person is a crybaby or seeking attention and the pain isn’t real. Lacie is definitely not one who comes across as a “crybaby” in fact, she’s just the opposite. She presents herself as strong, brave, funny and yes…. kind spirited. It boggles our minds because a sore throat can send either one of us into a bought of the “fuck my life” if it’s severe enough. Perspective. It’s all about perspective which Lacie has definitely given us.

She explains how thankful she was when she was diagnosed:
“I was so thankful for my geneticist who diagnosed me, because I was told for 2 years that I was crazy (by doctors, family members..everyone basically) while I waited to see her (those kinds of appointments take forever to get, it took a year and a half to get a call from the waiting list for an appointment). So, as for how EDS affected me, I have chronic shoulder pain, multiple herniated disks throughout my back, hypermobile joints and neuromas in both feet. I was diagnosed with IBS as well and that was what they think causes the random nausea/stomach issues. I still have issues with forgetfulness and anxiety, which since EDS is a collagen disorder, it affects everything in your body, which then in turn causes mental health issues.”

In working with so many women who suffer …er… live with chronic pain, we’ve learned one thing: they all want to help others who deal with the same or similar afflictions. Lacie is no different.

“The only really sad pitiful part for myself is that I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in pain, so it’s easier to look “normal” when your default state is pain, and I most definitely have a very high pain tolerance now. I guess I’m writing all of this so that people who have issues like me with invisible illnesses or chronic pain can also feel like they can be sexy and desireable, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment. Pain makes you feel ugly and unwanted, especially if you can’t escape it.”

We couldn’t agree more!

When we asked what her “take away” from her session with us was, she stated:
“I definitely have more confidence now but I definitely didn’t expect to want to come back again!”

Joe and I say it all the time, we’re blessed and grateful to be able to meet and work with so many brave and amazing women who let nothing hold them back from experiencing life.   We’re constantly being taught lessons as we work with these women and we’re told so often that we are inspiring, only we find the women we work with inspire us just as much if not more.  These amazing women give back to us so much more than we would ever imagine!

Meet Marie. She felt like family………..

We have worked with several clients who decided to do their first session because they lost a significant amount of weight. While on one hand, that accomplishment makes them feel they are ready to take on being in front of a camera, on the other hand, they also feel quite nervous, maybe even scared, due to some repercussions of the weight loss, such as extra skin. They can be fearful to even let us see the skin as we photograph them and fearful that those imperfections will be the center of attention in their photos. But as their photographers, we not only reassure them that we will capture all the perfect angles, but we will assist in helping them find the best outfit to highlight their assets and to downplay any of their trouble spots.

Meet Marie who waited for 4 years before finally deciding to just go for it and book a session.

“I was about to turn 30 and had lost about 145 pounds so I decided why wait any longer?” Marie states. “I was nervous because after losing such a significant amount of weight, I have a lot of extra skin, which bothers me and because of it, well, some things still don’t fit right.”

We scheduled a consult for her prior to her session as we do with all of our clients. It’s an opportunity to break the ice and meet us before the session date which many clients have expressed gratitude for. “It definitely helped getting to know you guys first and finding out we had a lot in common. I talked to you as a friend, it calmed me down.” Marie explains when we asked her thoughts on our consult process.

We reassured her going into her consult and all throughout, that we would be there to assist her in choosing the most amazing outfit for her session. We have a saying “If you look bad, we look bad. We’re not going to let that happen!”

Marie expressed to us that she was surprised at our wardrobe selection:”There was so much vintage and I love that! Plus there was more than I had imagined and so many size ranges!”

After about an hour, we helped Marie work out a few outfits for her selected session package. She was a bit nervous about going outside of her comfort zone when we suggested she try one of the Orchard Corset corsets that we have in our wardrobe paired with a garter. But she tried it on and loved it!

“I felt great! I have some body issues but those outfits made me feel beautiful!” Marie exclaims!

The day of her session came and as I did her makeup and hair we chatted about life, her job, weight loss, what’s important to her such as her wife and daughter and we also laughed ….. a lot! After about an hour and 15 minutes in makeup / hair, we were ready to shoot! She came out of the dressing room a bit shy, but once we finished shooting her first setting, we could tell she was already feeling a boost in confidence. That happens a lot! Watching a woman’s confidence blossom right before our eyes is priceless and knowing that we have a hand in it, always makes us feel so blessed that we have the opportunity to be doing what we do!

“Once it was over and I got to see the pictures I was so proud! I didn’t care who saw (the photos) because I loved what I saw, which had always been hard for me!” Marie expresses what many women express to us, the difficulty to see the bombshell that she really is. “It is very hard for me to look at myself and feel beautiful, probably why I love taking photos of beautiful things, though some things I find beautiful a lot of people do not. Beauty is in the eye of be beholder. After finishing the shoot and getting my sneak peeks, the first one I saw……. I cried. I looked beautiful and sometimes I forget “she” is in there I loved everything

Marie closed her interview with us by sharing her thoughts on something we did for her without even thinking (and had forgotten about, honestly), “I have had body issues my whole life. I still down myself but you two amazing people made me feel so beautiful that day. My wife and I had a “date night” that night and you even touched up my makeup, which you didn’t have to do, just so I could keep it through the night. It meant alot to me. You go out of your way to make people comfortable and treat them more like family than clients. Thank you!”

Joe and I truly believe that we have the best clien…. er…. family in all the world!

Meet Alicia – The Navy Vet

Joe and I were out with our street team at a roller derby bout supporting our local derby team that we sponsor, the Roller Radicals. Our street team was done up in full pin-up fashion from head to foot and they caught the attention of one very outgoing little 4 year old who wanted to do nothing more than dance and pose for them. We were all very smitten with this little lady who had the biggest smile and the most contagious giggle. As we entertained her by cheering and clapping for her posing and dancing, her mom came over, concerned she was bothering us to which we reassured her, she was absolutely no bother but rather adorable! She asked who we were, noticing the pin-up attire, so we handed her a business card, told her a little about us and the rest is history! We ended up meeting a new friend and a client who has made her way to VIP Client status within a year!

Meet Alicia. A Navy veteran serving as an intelligence specialist first class from 2004-2012 and who also deployed from 08-09 in support of operation enduring freedom. She’s very passionate about our country and our freedoms and you hear this when speaking with her.

But she’s more than a veteran. She’s also a mom to two gorgeous kids, Macey and Josh as well as a wife to Jeff, one of the most supportive husbands and also a Navy vet having served for 20 years with 8 deployments.

Like so many of us, life hasn’t always been easy and it still isn’t.

“Before I met Jeff 10 years ago, I went thru a string of bad relationships. From emotional abuse to physical abuse, I lost myself. Along with the stresses of military life, I became very depressed to the point of being hospitalized on multiple occasions.” Alicia explains. “Over the past few years I have been diagnosed with major depression disorder, severe anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve struggled to get past many life events and accept myself for who I am. There have been times where I really hated who I saw in the mirror. I would restrict what I ate, overeat and not care about my health, even self harm. I’ve never been kind to my body. ”

Over the last several years, Alicia began seeing mental health professionals and making a conscious effort to focus on self care. “While I have grown to love myself, I still suffer from physical pain and struggle with depression and anxiety. I’ve learned how to manage my symptoms and get thru the tough days without taking it out on my body.”

We hear it almost on a daily basis, from first time clients – how nerves sometimes consume them or make them question why they booked in the first place. Alicia is certainly no different in that respect.

She explains: “The day of (her session) I was so nervous. I actually thought to myself “what the hell did you sign up for this for? You hate pictures of yourself.” We ended up having a blast and I was beyond happy when we saw the pictures!! I felt amazing having my hair and makeup done in a way that I had never thought of before. I saw myself in a new light and felt as if I left every aspect of myself that I am unhappy with and stepped into a different body.”

Having worked with Alicia a handful of times now, we are able to spot those “tougher” days she mentioned when she walks into the studio. We never make a mention of it unless she brings it up first but even then, that’s not the focus of our conversation. When she leaves her session on those days with a little more sass in her step and a smile on her face, we feel blessed and grateful that we are able to turn someone’s day around with the experience we strive to give while capturing photos of a client who has booked her session for her own unique reason. When asked why she continues to come back, Alicia states matter of factly: “I’ve continued to do these shoots because I like who I see in those photos. I like the confidence I have when I get in front of the camera. It allows me to feel as if I’m a different person – one without pain or anxiety attacks or six hour crying sessions – even if it’s for a short time, the effects are lasting. Now when Jeff tells me I’m beautiful or sexy, I actually believe him. I’ve learned that I kinda like myself way more than I thought I ever could. It’s almost therapeutic. It helps me step out of my body, be someone else for a while and forget my daily struggles. ”

Alicia’s advice to every woman: “Any woman struggling with body image, confidence, personal strengths or weaknesses, feeling “down” about themselves or just as a little treat should do this at least once in their lives. It’s like a spa day only better.”

And that’s a sentiment we couldn’t agree with more!
Look for more sessions from this gal in the near future!

And last but not least, a few behind the scenes shots of Alicia having fun while we do some test shots!

Meet Our Clients and Hear Their Stories……

It’s been awhile since we’ve blogged, almost a year at least when we had a friend blogger blogging for us! (follow that?) Life keeps us all busy and the same goes for our friend who is on amazing journeys of her own and no longer has the time to dedicate. So, now, it’s back in our laps. It’s all good. But before we started blogging again, we wanted to have a purpose —- a real purpose for our blogs that extends well beyond updating you about upcoming events. So…………

WIthin the next week, we will be releasing our first “blog with a purpose” where you get to read about the gorgeous gals you see in our photos! You’ll read their stories (as relayed to us by them), why they first booked a session, what they’ve gained from it and how it has impacted their life. Each blog will be dedicated to one gal who has agreed to let us write about them and share their story! We hope that by doing so, you’ll have a better appreciation for what goes into the sessions …. not on our part as the photographer …. but by the women you see in our work. And, perhaps, if you’ve been secretly wanting to do a session with us, perhaps you’ll find one of their stories inspiring enough to find your own courage.

Coat Drive for Our Veterans

 

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, December 3, 2016

In last month’s blog post, Sullivan’s Pin-Ups announced that this winter they will be hosting a super fun event at the studio that doubles as a drop-off day for the collection of new or gently used coats. Collections will be donated to the Catholic Social Services Veterans’ Housing of Scranton. The date is set for Saturday, December 3 from 12:00 – 4:00 PM with refreshments, a live model window event, and studio tours. You’ll also have the chance to snag gift certificates at a discounted price! The Sullivans’ are teaming up with The NOMAD Project for this drive.

Your Sullivan’s Pin-Ups guest blogger, aka me, happens to run The NOMAD Project and was asked to tell you guys a little more about it so you know what the project is about and why the Sullivan duo is teaming up with the TNP cause for a 2016 season of giving.

The NOMAD Project advocates for change: spreading awareness about homelessness, hunger, and issues that affect our military veterans. The project challenges individuals and communities to become aware and get involved, making a difference on a local level. We encourage generosity and kindness through positive change and acts of giving. The project connects with local organizations, taking on a collaborative approach, with a mission to expand efforts and work together to make a larger impact for those in need.

Both the Sullivans’ and The NOMAD Project wish to support our local military and veterans and so, this year’s coat drive was initiated to give back this holiday season. The Catholic Social Services Veterans’ Housing aims to provide shelter and guidance to local veterans in the NEPA area until they can move on to something permanent. When the facility first opened its doors to veterans, Monsignor Kelly of Catholic Social Services explained to the WNEP new team: “Civilians aren’t always aware those who served us often struggle in their later years.”

We agree. So we’ve made it a goal to become more aware of the issues our military veterans face on both a national and local level and we wish to take it a step forward by giving back to those that served our country.

Sullivan's Pin-Ups Photography in Scranton, PA

For the readers who might have missed last month’s blog post, or wish to learn a little bit more on the current state of veteran homelessness, here’s the action that was taken by the government in most recent years to combat veteran homelessness in our country:

In 2010, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) collaborated to propose an end to homelessness among the military veteran population by 2015. That hasn’t happened as of 2016, but significant progress has been made since that proposal. Substantial funding has been allocated and programs have been established in partnership with the VA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and non-government organizations across the country, still working to achieve this goal (Coal, 2015).

The good news is that there was a 33-percent decline in veteran homelessness between 2010 and January 2014, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The estimated figures show 49,933 homeless veterans, a drop of 24,837. There was also a nearly 40% drop in homeless veterans sleeping on the street (Shaw, 2015).

As individuals, we can and do make a difference on local levels just as the government makes strides on a national level. Sullivan’s Pin-Ups and The NOMAD Project invite you to get involved to help our veterans! We hope to see you Saturday, December 3 at the studio, located at 117 Lackawanna Ave in Olyphant, PA in support of the cause. Stop in with a new or gently used coat, take a tour of the studio, and have some fun while you’re at it!

The Act of Giving

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As summer draws to an end, and the holiday season approaches, now is the time to reflect upon the ways in which we can give back to our community. It’s not just large corporations and companies that can pay it forward. As individuals, and as a small business, it feels good to leave our piece of the world a little better than we found it. At Sullivan’s Pin-ups, we want to talk about charitable outreach and what our efforts will be geared toward this holiday season and for the upcoming year of 2017.

In 2013 and 2014, our charitable focus was Toys for Tots. The year that we moved into our studio, we held an open house with a pin-up pageant. We decided then, that in the years to follow, we would hold the pageant annually and incorporate a fundraising element, a way for us to give back to those in need. In 2015, we were able to raise $1,200 for Tracey’s Hope.

Our mission from there on out, was to make the pageant/fundraiser bigger, better and badder with each new year. The beneficiary for 2016 was the Keystone Warriors. The Keystone Warriors Foundation is a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization that awards grants and scholarships to U.S. military personnel, and their immediate family members, who were Wounded in Action, Killed In Action, or Missing In Action post 9/11 with connections to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We raised a little over $1,700, making this year’s fundraiser our biggest to date. We have decided that the Keystone Warriors will be our beneficiary for 2017 as well.

We insist that at least one, if not more, representatives from the charity are present at our fundraising event. Not only do we want to get to know the people behind the organization we are supporting, but we feel it’s important that everyone attending is confident that the money is going to the charity we say it is. The charity leaves that day with the cash in hand, using the funds however they wish to further their cause.

24 8W8A2911 As of this year, Sullivan’s Pin-ups has committed to supporting/raising money for our troops, particularly veterans. Local organizations that support our troops will be our chosen beneficiaries for all future fundraising endeavors. We feel strongly about supporting those who have fought for our freedom. It is our duty as Americans to do everything we can to see they have their needs met, no matter how big or small. These men and women laid their lives on the line for our country.

In Pennsylvania alone, there is just under 940,000 veterans residing in our state based on a 2014 report from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. According to a research study by the RAND Corporation, there are about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million veterans who fought in Vietnam). Looking into it further, some of the statistics we found surrounding homelessness and veterans were shocking.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, it was noted that the number of homeless veterans in America estimated at 49,933 as of January 2014. About one-third of homeless veterans were stationed in a war zone at some time. Two-thirds of homeless vets served their country for at least three years. Poverty, lack of support from groups or networks, and substandard housing puts about 1.4 million veterans at risk for homelessness. More than 40,000 homeless vets receive compensation or pension benefits each month, but that’s not enough to find affordable housing. More than 50% of homeless veterans suffer from disabilities.
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Our military men and women return from overseas and face many challenges integrating back into civilian life after sacrificing their lives to protect and serve our country, our freedom, and our lives. Some come home with wounds both seen and unseen. We believe every individual is capable of making a difference in the lives of our soldiers. We choose to give back by supporting the organizations that provide our veterans with the help they need and grant them access to available resources. Sullivan’s Pin-ups wants to show our appreciation for all that our service men and women have done for our country.

This winter, we will be hosting a super fun event on Saturday, December 3 with the intent of turning the studio into a drop-off center for the collection of new or gently used coats that will be donated to the Homeless Veterans Center in downtown Scranton. Please stay tuned for more details!

And please remember, we offer a military discount for those who are in the military or those who are the spouse of someone who is. They can be active duty or a veteran.

Sullivans Pinups Military Discount

It’s a Shame to Hate Our Bodies

Pinup Photography in Scranton, PA

A study was done by Glamour magazine a few years ago, but the results are just as relevant today as they were in 2011. According to their research team, women have around 13 negative thoughts about their bodies daily. The magazine decided to ask women across the country to note every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies over the course of one full day. The results were surprising.

A staggering 97% of women admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment daily. But there was a disturbing number of women who confessed to having 35, 50 and even up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day. Think about that for a second. Up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own bodies every single day.

We can be our harshest critics. In an instant, our inner ‘mean girl’ rears her judgmental head when we take a look at ourselves in the mirror. That inner voice: she’s always judging, always disapproving, always there to remind us that we’re not good enough. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

I’m so fat.
I hate my thighs.
I wish I had a flatter stomach.
Look at my nose.
My teeth are so crooked.
I wish I could look like her.
If only I could change this about myself – I’d be so much prettier, so much happier.

Every woman alive is gorgeous. This is why we are called “individuals”. We are not born to fit into a certain mold or body type. You need to own your body. And more importantly, love it. It’s time to bury the idea of perfection. Look at yourself and say, “I am beautiful.” Why? Because you are! There is only one you in this world. It’s time you start recognizing how wonderful you are. Your blend of traits, personality, and qualities are all unique to you. You are one of a kind.

Boudoir Photography in Scranton, PA

Just as you are special in your own way, so is every other girl around you. There are no exceptions. Every woman alive deserves the right to be and feel beautiful. She is allowed to be comfortable and confident in her own skin without having to worry about what others will say about her body. Body shaming goes both ways.

Back in mid-July, Dani Mathers, a Playboy model, faced public backlash after fat shaming a naked woman in the gym by posting a photo of her on her Snapchat Story. She shared an image of the unsuspecting woman along with a photo of her hand covering her face with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either!”

In an article published in the Daily Mail, it was noted that Mathers responded with this statement: “I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that’s not what I’m about and this is not the type of person I am. The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn’t realize I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.” Well Ms. Mathers, whether it was meant to be public or private, it’s still body shaming.

Alternative Photography in Scranton, PA

We need to stop this. Right now.

We are not here for a competition. It’s time to be kind to ourselves and to be kind to each other. We need to embrace our differences and appreciate them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you love. If you notice something you love about a woman you see, let her know! Let’s build each other up instead of knocking one another down. It is an empowering thing to witness women appreciating women, the ability to recognize our differences and fall in love with the uniqueness of us all. But the ability to recognize these things in others means we must first be able to recognize it within ourselves. We must love from the inside out.

We have to have confidence that we are good enough. Whether we set goals for ourselves and meet them, exceed them, or take longer than expected to reach them. Even if we never reach them, we need to stop considering it a failure. Life is about the journey and the process. Our mission is to glean from every success as well as every failure the life lessons hidden within. Whether you see it or not, you’ve changed in the process. And change is growth. No matter what you look like, no matter what you feel like. Strong is sexy. Skinny is sexy. Curvy is sexy. Being different is sexy. Being you is sexy.

If we find ourselves judging others, shaming others, what does that really say? We all have our own life, our own journey, and our own self-image. We have a right to stay the same or the right to change just as long as we are treating our bodies with love and care in whatever way it works for us.

You can accept who you are right in this moment and still choose to make changes. Or, you can choose not to. That’s the beauty of it. It’s all up to you. And if you do it, do it for no one else but you and love yourself through the process. Remember, every woman has an inner bombshell. Sometimes, you just need a little help dusting her off from the standards placed upon us from society and the media.

Pinup Photography in Scranton, PA

Introducing Our New Bloggess!

I am a writer. I have been since I was eleven years old. It all started thanks to the movie Harriet the Spy. Michele Trachtenberg was my spirit animal. After I watched it a dozen times, maybe more, my dad decided to buy me a bundle of journals, a few pens, and honestly, I haven’t slowed down since. That was 1996. So, when Bonnie and Joe approached me with this opportunity, I seized it.

I too, have a love and appreciation for photography and the creative process. I’ve been following Sullivan’s Pin-Up Photography ever since I mustered up the metaphorical balls to do a boudoir shoot with them years ago. I instantly became a fan of their work. I’ve shot with them many times since then. Because of that, and also for a million and one other reasons both professionally and personally, they became my close friends.

Can I do what they do behind the camera? Hell no! I can only step in front of it from time to time and give it my all. I leave the rest to them. They’re the professionals. But in saying that, I have also been following along close enough to see their passion for both photography and the pinup/boudoir world. I’ve picked their brains about every aspect of the business. Because when people are passionate about what they do, I want to know all about it. I’m the kind of person that falls in love with the stories of those who love what they do.

Which is why this is going to work perfectly. They know my passion for writing. I write professionally, I write creatively, I write leisurely, I write to inspire, and I write to learn and build upon the craft on a personal level. All of the above, yes please! So, my job is to take their passion, their ideas, their experiences, their lessons, and the personal and professional side of pinup photography through the lens of Sullivan’s Pin-Ups and go forth to weave a magical web of words in the form of a blog.

Photography is art. Written word is art. And we are joining forces to bring you the ultimate blog reading experience. Each post you see here is the brainchild of the Sullivans’. Like a puzzle, they hand over the pieces to me and I work to build the finished product. So, hello there ladies and gentleman! I am Stephanie Santore. And I am beyond excited to be the wordsmith behind the Sullivan’s Pin-Up Photography blog. I swear to you, they only let me out of the strait jacket to write, then it goes right back on. I don’t bite… too hard.

Why We Don’t Give You All Your Images From Your Session:

Each studio has their own policy as to what control they retain over their work by releasing or not releasing all your unedited images, it’s obviously “photographer choice.” However, here are some of the reasons we don’t release them …….

1. You paid us to do a job. We want to complete that job by giving you the finished product. You did not pay us to do half the job.

2. During your Pin-Up or boudoir session, we shoot hundreds of photos of you and many shots of the same pose, to be sure you weren’t blinking, wrinkling your nose because a stray hair was tickling you etc. Again, you paid us. You paid us to sift through and find the gems! We know what we’re looking for …. is the angle correct, did you have a joint pointing to the camera, is the particular shot clear, does your ankle look broken because your leg/foot slipped out of pose and so on. We have had friends who have had all their images given to them by various studios and more than one have told us that it was a bit overwhelming and tedious to have to sift through them all. You paid us. So let us do our job.
As a photographer, I can assure you that when Joe shoots me even I don’t want to see the unflattering shots of myself. Who does? We’ve heard it over and over again from clients “Please make me look amazing!” and by sifting through all the images and presenting to you the final edits — that’s exactly what we we are doing!     Presenting to you…. an amazing finished product.

3. We at Sullivan’s Pin-Up Photography value our time and work. We want you to be proud of each and every single photo we deliver to you, just as we want to be proud of each every photo we put our name on. Period. Not every “unedited” shot is good or flattering no matter who shot it. We’ve seen some unedited shots posted on social media that made us wince. Yes, some are great but some are not. The untrained eye may think it’s a good shot, but professionals may cringe at that very same image.

4. This is our art. Sure, we have a studio and run a business, but we are in this business because of the self expression and creativity that it allows us. We put a lot of time into what we do. Believe me, it would be a lot less “time consuming” and “easier” to just toss you the SD Card at the end of the session and call it a wrap ……. but …. this is our art and we like to protect it. It’s our baby. That deserves respect, no? It does. Getting all your unedited images is sort of like when you buy a remastered CD that contains a bunch of “bonus” tracks of some of that bands song demos. Sure they may be worth a listen, but they are always rough around the edges and won’t make it into your itunes playlist because they are not a completed song.

6. Why is it so important that you see every shot? Do you think we’re keeping something from you?   Do you really want to see outtakes that have the lighting visible or the background studio clutter in the shot? You might even see a photographers body part in the image, that is not what you paid for. You trusted us enough to pay us to shoot your session, trust us to follow through. Why would we keep “great shots” from you? That doesn’t even make sense. If it’s a great shot, of course we’d want you to have it to show friends and family and help spread the word about our talents! We have nothing to gain by keeping the gems from you!

7. We understand you want to see your images as fast as possible, that’s why we go home and not plop in front of the television, but upload your photos and edit one or two to post a sneak peek, often the same day or very next morning. Coming home after a 6-7 hour day in the studio, sitting back and putting our feet up with a cold beer is tempting, but our job continues because we know you’re anxious. So we get to editing that same day so we can get one up one up on Facebook for you to see. That’s better than going home and popping in an SD Card only to find the first photo that appears may be an unflattering one, right? Yeah. We think so too.

8. We shoot a max of 3 clients a day not only to offer each client the best experience possible but to also allow us time to edit the photos. Quality over quantity ALWAYS. Not offering all the unedits isn’t a matter of the photographer not being confident in what he/she shoots as some have suggested, it’s a matter of pride, control over our work and following through with what you, the client, has paid us to do.

The Fat Of It

Imagine this:

You claim to be “body positive” and accepting of all shapes and sizes.   I mean, you tell EVERYONE how body shaming really irks you and how we all just need to embrace and empower each other rather than tear each other down and how numbers on a scale or the size on a tag should never define you!

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Now imagine you went on a diet and lost some weight.     People start complimenting you and telling you how great you look.   You feel great!     Then, in conversations about your weight loss (or whatever) you start referring to the “old” you before the weight loss as fat.

“Oh, I was so fat then.”

“Oh, when I was fat I couldn’t wear ____ (insert any type of clothing here____”

“When I was fat ………………….”

I’m sorry ….. what?

Did you just body shame your “old” self and everyone who is still “currently” the size you were by using the term fat?     You did.    You can’t say you didn’t.    You did.

Or maybe you didn’t lose any weight at all but still refer to yourself as “fat”  (for whatever reason) while claiming to be body positive.  That doesn’t even make a lick of sense!

Maybe “fat” is what it is …. you think.   Or maybe …..”fat” is someone’s medical condition that is beyond their control due to slow metabolism, medications, etc.   Maybe “fat” is due to someone’s mental state where depression is causing them to carry around extra weight.  Maybe “fat” is someone’s age where their body is going through menopause and the pounds keep coming no matter how little they eat.    Maybe fat should never be a term that comes out of our mouths.    Ever.

While you think calling yourself fat …. whether in the past tense or what you think you currently are …. isn’t hurting anyone else, it is.     Others who may be feeling concerned about their weight may be looking at you, comparing their weight to yours and wondering if you aren’t also thinking they are “fat”.       Please don’t add to someone’s secret battle just because you are referring to yourself and you don’t think it can or will hurt someone else.

You can’t be “body positive” and against “body shaming” as long as you are still throwing the word “fat” (and any other similar shaming words) around so loosely, even if you are only referring to yourself.    You just can’t.

Military Appreciation and Discount!

Sullivan’s Pin-Up Photography ( located right outside of Scranton PA in Olyphant ) is super pleased to announce that we now offer Military Discounts to all of our pinups on all of our regularly priced packages.   Proper Military I.D. must be presented and discount must be mentioned at the time of booking the session when paying the deposit and I.D. must be shown at your scheduled consult.    While we always honored a discount to military servicewomen when asked, we are pleased to now make it an official announcement!

Military Discount as of May 1, 2016 on all regularly priced packages!

Military Discount as of May 1, 2016 on all regularly priced packages!

Brains vs Beauty ….. why can’t we have both?

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Recently,  we had a gorgeous woman walk into our pinup photography studio just outside Scranton PA for her consult who traveled to us from NY.    She saw photos that we shot of her friend and wanted in on the fun!    She was 50 and had such a youthful, glowing appearance with a personality to match!   While we were chatting and discussing her ideas,  she confides in us about how this pinup session she booked with us is “a dream come true”.     Not because the session was with “us” —- but just being in front of the camera in general.

She said “I’m 50 and I’m finally realizing a dream!”

See, growing up…… she was told her sister was “the pretty one” and she was “the smart one”. She was made to feel as though she wasn’t pretty enough to be in photos so she was never urged to be in front of the camera. She had the brains, her sister had the beauty.  Her mother would tell her “You’re the smart one, let your sister be in photos, she’s the pretty one.”

How sad that she….. anyone ….. should be made to feel that it’s one or the other: you have brains or beauty? Why can’t we have both? Why does it have to be so black and white? One has nothing to do with the other.

The point of this story is that if you are like this amazing woman and were ever made to feel that you weren’t / aren’t the pretty one, the beautiful one or you were told that you can’t be pretty and smart at the same ——– don’t ever believe that for one second. You can be BOTH.

Parents, please please please——- be aware of the things you tell your children. Things that you may not even realize are planting seeds of insecurity or a feeling of being “less than”. We’re human, we all make mistakes —– but we are also all beautiful in our own unique way.

Don’t Think You Can Do A Pin-Up Shoot?

Everyone is a first-timer at some point in anything they do.     Including doing a boudoir or Pin-Up session.

First timer who booked an All Day Session for her big plunge! Look at her! So classic and beautiful!

Joe and I get messages daily from ladies who feel the need to go into a lengthy detail about how they’ve never done anything like this before, asking if “age” matters, or explaining they are “such and such” dress size, etc.      Plain and simple:     We work with first-timers, there is no age cut-off limit; and body size / shape  matters not!        In fact, about 95% of our clients are first-timers and most end up being repeat clients.

At Sullivan’s Pin-Up Photography  we pride ourselves on the experience we give to our clients.  First, we limit our sessions to only 3 a day,  ensuring that no one gets rushed and each nervous client has the time she needs to feel appreciated and valued!     Secondly, we do pre-session consults where you, the client, come in to meet us, see the studio, discuss your setting and work out a wardrobe …. whether it be choices made from our wardrobe, yours, or a combination of both.     It’s an extra step for us, but our clients have told us that it’s a wonderful ice-breaker that leaves them walking away with a better understanding of what to expect when they arrive for their session.  They’ve met us, they see what the studio and their setting looks like, they are confident in what they chose to wear and makes the “day of” a lot less intimidating.

First timer who wanted something a bit more classic……. she practiced her facial expressions at our suggestion and look?! She’s perfect!

The day of your session is a breeze, we do all the work and you get all the pampering!   You come in and you’re in hair / makeup for about an hour and fifteen minutes.     Then, you head to your private dressing room and change into the pre-selected wardrobe.   Once dressed, we take you out into the main rooms of the studio and to the designated setting you chose at your consult.     This may seem like the scary part, but no need!     I will literally demonstrate each pose, explaining key things to keep in mind.    You’ll never only be verbally directed on your poses, I will demonstrate each pose!      If you don’t quite nail the pose, I will adjust as needed, but you’ll never be left to guessing as to whether or not you’re “nailing” your pose.    You’ll never be made left to feel as though you’re on your own ….. you’ll have a lot of laughs (because we’re silly and like to keep it light and fun) and you’ll walk away wondering why you were ever nervous in the first place!

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This lovely lady added Pin-Up to her bucket list and was able to “check it off”. Gorgeous!

The hardest step of the process is actually making the call or sending the message requesting package info because you’d like to book.    After that, we take the wheel and guide you through it step by step.       You’ll always have a “reason” not to book:     you need to lose weight, you need to find the time, you need to grow your hair longer ……. there is no time like the present, you just have to do.    It’s never too soon to lose that “first-timer” status……..

Miss Holly Day – not only is she our hair / makeup artist that will pamper you, but she was also a first-timer 2 years ago.