Transformation Thursday | Before + After Beauty Shoot with Catherine

"We have beautiful photos of both my husband and daughter hanging in our hallway but not one of me. Why? Because I hate having my photo taken! I am also super critical of myself in any photos that are taken so most get deleted.  

I decided that it was time to deal with this and step out of my comfort zone, mainly for myself but also for my daughter. I don't want her growing up with the same issues. 

I had seen Alex's work via social media as a couple of my friends had also had photo shoots. Both had very positive things to say about the experience so I was brave and sent an email! Alex made me feel at ease from the start. 

I was hopeful but not completely confident that I would finally have one picture that I could be proud of, so when Alex showed me the first picture that she had taken and I not only liked it but LOVED it, I have to admit to shedding a tear! It was a mixture of emotions; relief, happiness and pride...I had done it! By the end of the session I had a whole bunch of photos that I loved. I also know that whenever anyone takes my photo in the future I'm going to hear Alex in my ear saying 'Chin forward and now down!'

The whole experience has really boosted my confidence!"

When Catherine first e-mailed me with her story, I couldn't help but feel that thousands of women could relate with her. How many of us have photos of the ones we love hanging on our walls, but none of us? How many of us are over critical of ourselves but are terrified of passing on those same beliefs on to our daughters? I knew I had to photograph her and prove to her that she IS beautiful, to give her back her self confidence, and to give her a stunning photograph of herself (or several of them!) that she and her loved ones will cherish for years and generations to come. 

Catherine was slightly nervous when she arrived, like most of my clients are during the first 15-20 minutes of their shoot. I actually secretly love when my clients are nervous, because I know that means there is a HUGE amount of room for a very powerful transformation to occur. I had no idea that she would start crying when I showed her the first image we took on the back of the camera screen to assure her that she looked fabulous; that was definitely a first for me! It was so sweet, though, and we took a few moments to calm down because I teared up too! 

Here are some of my favorites from Catherine's Beauty Session. 

 

Feeling like you could also use a boost to your self confidence and some gorgeous portraits of yourself? Get in touch and let's chat about designing your session! alex@alexchalkley.com

xoxo

Alex

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-8 2015 | Amsterdam Family Photographer

When I held 16 Breastfeeding Mini Sessions last year in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for World Breastfeeding Week, I had no idea how much I was about to fall in love with photographing this incredibly special bond between mother and child.

World Breastfeeding Week is held annually during the first week of August. Typically, the weather is hit or miss here in Holland during most parts of the year (with the exception of September - it's always gorgeous). We got SUPER lucky with three beautiful sunny and warm days, which meant we had the option of playing in the garden, full of summer hydrangeas.

My very first breastfeeding client walked in with her adorable 10.5 month old baby boy. She asked "So, how does this work? What would you like me to do?" I responded, "Do whatever you would do at home with her baby. Inside, outside in my garden, on the couch, on the floor, with or without clothing, standing, sitting; there are no limits! Do what makes you and your baby feel the most comfortable, and I will capture the beautiful connection you two share."

What unfolded over the following three days was a brilliant display of unique connections and interactions between mother and child, with children ranging in age from 3 months to 3 years. I was particularly amazed by how each and every child had a different little habit, whether it was playing with mom's hair, rubbing their own head, playing with the other breast (hey, boobs are fun!) or even stroking their mother's eyelashes and eyebrows ever so gently. 

I loved celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with these sessions so much that I would love to offer another set of Breastfeeding Mini Sessions for 2015. The sessions will take place between 13:00 and 19:00 on August 5th and 6th with only four time slots available each day. Each session will last 45 minutes and includes 10 high. You may secure your space by e-mailing your preferred time and date to alex@alexchalkley.com.

August 5:

13:00

14:30

16:00

17:30

August 6:

13:00

14:30

16:00

17:30
 

Here are some gorgeous Breastfeeding images from last year's event! 

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Before and Afters and Why I Love Them | Amsterdam Boudoir Photographer

Alright, ladies, who's with me? When you see a beautiful photograph, your thoughts go like this: "Ohh wow that's so beautiful! I would love to do something like this. But wait, I'm not that pretty. It probably wouldn't turn out that well."

I'm here to tell you: you're wrong. And, most importantly, I'm here to SHOW you you're wrong.

I take a 'before' photograph of each of my clients when they first walk in before we get started with hair and makeup (if I remember, haha, sometimes they have to remind me!). The goal is not to make them look bad to make our result look better. It's best to keep it very simple. I like to just use natural light and whatever clothes the client is wearing when they show up to the studio. 

When I take a before and after, I simply wish to document the transformation that we go through and especially to show that ANY woman can do this. You don't have to be a super model, you don't have to have "the perfect body" (What is that, anyway?). You just have to trust me to guide you and be brave enough to step in front of my camera. You are enough already. You are beautiful already. 

These Before + After images prove my point, I think. Each and every one of them is beautiful in the 'before' photo. The 'after' is just us having fun!

I will leave you with a Before + After of yours truly. You can see more Before + After shots in the Before + After Gallery! Thank you to everyone who lets me share their Before + After! You are helping me show that all women have it in them to do this if they really want to, and I really appreciate that.

And then e-mail me at alex@alexchalkley.com when you are ready to book your own shoot! ;)

xoxo

Alex





Happy 26th Birthday To Me! | A New Website and Blog

Today's my birthday! My Golden Birthday, to be exact! 26 on the 26th. I feel like I've been waiting for this day for a long time; 26 has always been my favorite number!

To celebrate, I thought I'd take a look back over the past 365 days. You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been, right? Something like that. 

This past year was FILLED with adventure and traveling, much like the previous 4 years. New countries added this year were Canada, New Zealand and Fiji - definitely the trip of a lifetime! I also spent a week in Iceland exploring more of the country. I had a 36-hour layover there 4 years ago and I flew through Reykjavik several times a year, but it was really amazing to stop and spend time there. The best part was that my lovely friend Andrea came with me, and Corné flew from Holland to meet us there! We had three days of amazing weather which was really lucky. We even got to see the Midnight Sun on the Summer Solstice!! Definitely a bucket list item of mine I can now check off :)

After Iceland, Andrea and I went to spend a few days in Germany to visit my friend Alec and explore a bit! Have I mentioned how much I love German food? Om nom nom. Can't wait to go back.

The rest of the year was spent bouncing around between Holland and the United States. I visited 16 different states, mostly for work, and also had an epic road trip with my friend Julie from Las Vegas -> LA -> San Francisco -> Portland -> Vancouver BC -> Seattle. 

I photographed 111 Portrait Sessions and 4 weddings. WOW. No wonder I was so tired by the end of 2014! I learned a big lesson about making time for myself and also my friends and family. This year I am scaling back my work load a lot in order to seek a better work/life balance. I'm nearly 5 months into that goal and it's working out pretty well, I'm happy to say!

Thank you to all of my friends, family and clients who made this year such a special one. Looking forward to what 26 has to offer!

Here's what 25 looked like:

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