Going back to your Roots

Every year I go back home to visit my parents, at least once or twice. It is my get-away from day to day life. I enjoy going back to a safe place where everything feels familiar.

 

In a way it’s like returning back to the past.

 

It’s a moment of reflection and deeper discovery of who I am.

 

I reconnect to the things I used to like and discover I still like them; like gardening, smelling roses, being back in nature and shopping with my mum.

 

Do you know that feeling? Where everything around you reminds you of some distant memory and every smell brings you back to your childhood.

 

It is a special moment, when I allow myself to be the daughter again, forgetting about my other chores and stresses in my life.

 

Making rose jam with my mum… mmm, bliss..

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I spend time with my parents and appreciate them being around me, feeling their love, listening to their words.

 

I understand so much more about myself watching them: what drives me and pushes me forward, why I like the things I like, remembering my old dreams and making new ones together.

 

How can I stop time? So I can appreciate it for longer.

 

The only way I know, of course is by taking photos.

 

It is printed in my DNA, my second nature, it feels so natural.

 

How about you? How would you like to preserve these moments in time and keep the celebration going?

 

Preserve this moment in time

Give yourself some well deserved me-time

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Renewing the vows with myself

This beginning of spring was all about introspection for me.
I had countless of hours of editing in my studio, so lots of time for reflection.
Questions like “How did I get here ?”, “Why am I doing this ?” ran through my head.

3 weeks into editing and one energy reading later, I realised my payoff “Connect Back to Yourself” is a mantra for me.

 

I’ve been far from myself for a long time and this portrait business, I finally realise, I do it for myself, to heal myself. If I heal other people in the process, which happens often, I’m double happy. It is quite some realisation!

 

I was running a business before, that brought me to unexpected places. Places I never thought I could get to, by myself. I was pushing myself so far away out of my comfort zone, that at some moment I drifted away from who I was and it did not feel like fun any more.

 

For that reason, I feel the need to self analyse, so I know I’m completely happy with what I’m doing, so I don’t get tangled into a ‘not so fun’ situation anymore. If I don’t hear in my head a joyful “hell yes”, I won’t do it. That goes with anything in my life right now.

 

Does that sound familiar ? Are you asking yourself these questions every year?

 

It is time to renew my vows with myself and check if everything’s aligned.

 

I wanted more fun in my life, so I decided to get surrounded by girls and do girlie things, like put on makeup and nice dresses, that’s the most fun I could think of, at that moment. It still is :) connecting to my feminine side and acting from that spot – is what I try to do every day.

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I wanted to stop taking things so serious, so I changed my focus from business to personal. I used to do things that you “need to have” and now I do things that are in the “nice to have” category. Eg. I was doing linkedin profile shots before and now I’m doing glamour inspired portraits that will last 100 years, what a shift and it feels so good!

 

I wanted to connect with people and feel I am part of the community. Being an entrepreneur, it seldom feels  like being alone, on an island. So I joined groups of photographers and women, online and offline, eventually I started my own group about self love and body image. The 52 Selfie Challenge. I love it, it’s growing, women post a selfie every week, the love and support of women around is unbelievable. We’re all one, support, help and nurture is what we do best. I will gladly accept you in the group if you like.

 

I wanted to feel pure, clear in my essence, close to myself. I decided to ditch all the other types of photography I was doing, like events or corporate shoots and concentrate on what I love the most, and that is portraiture, it comes natural to me and it also inspires me. It puts me into this great creative space where I have to think about how am going to photograph you, create mood boards with you, get creative with fabrics, paint canvases, etc.

 

I wanted to feel joy and connect to my emotional side. Which as a creative person and also a woman, there’s plenty of that going on inside, isn’t there ?  But somehow I was ignoring it in my work, trying to be all entrepreneur and masculine about it.  I’ve added the “Reveal Wall”, in my portraiture business, a little something that gives me so much joy. To see my clients seeing their photos for the first time, like in a gallery of themselves. It is an emotional experience and deep connection. Through the reveal wall, I let them know that I see them that beautiful, and they start crying. Maybe they haven’t felt that in a while or maybe nobody noticed recently. It is empowering and healing.

Photoshoot with Cris

…Am I saving the world ? there’s that need that I have in myself too. I know, the Messiah complex, they’re calling it. This took me a long time to figure out. Is it shallow, what I am doing ? I’m not finding any cure for cancer, I’m not feeding any hungry kids. This is what took me longer to realise …absolutely I’m saving the world, one woman at a time. I’m helping women feel beautiful… this is my mission and it is amazing. It lifts me up in the morning knowing that I will make one more woman feel beautiful today.

It is the biggest gift I can give you and I am so happy to do so. If what I’m making for you makes you happy even for a second, my mission is accomplished. I’m doing my little part for the world.

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Now that I know what I’m doing is inline with my core values, I know it is going to be satisfying for me, and in turn, for you too. “Do something with the joy of a little child that feeds a hungry duck in the park”, Marshall Rosenberg used to say, the mamnoon energy, life’s too short to give out of any other energy.

 

.. so my work lately was inwards, now I’m ready to come out and play and with spring here, I’ll be more active socially. I have also finished the clients work that I have had so far, from winter and I am looking forward to the new ones!

 

Come visit me at my studio! I have open doors for you & free coffee.
Let’s discuss your inner desires for your next photoshoot and see if this is something you would like to do.

 

How to Return to Self-Love in 10 Steps

I am asking the women I photograph to tell me about how they feel about themselves. Sometimes they surprise me with poems, other times they teach me the 10 steps to get there.

Here’s Nisa, amazing woman, mother to two beautiful kids, teacher and inspirer of her community. We were discussing the importance of self-love and nurturing yourself and how difficult it is sometimes to return to that after a long time of neglecting yourself. I leave you with her words of wisdom and the portraits that I did for her.

 

“Who am I ?

I am what I am and I love myself !

I’m practicing and preaching: “I am good to myself” by:

 

1- Being on ‘my side’ when no one else is

 

2- Looking for the good in every situation and taking it in

 

3- Seeing the greatness in myself, appreciating all of me

 

4- Slowing down and finding my balance in each situation

 

5- In this journey, learning to say “no” and setting boundaries in love, work or daily activities that I feel could deplete me in some way

 

6- Associating my ‘self’ with joy, doing what brings a smile to my face and meeting people who mirror that state of joy

 

7- Forgiving myself when visiting the past, thinking and addressing nice words to myself – because I’m the only one listening

 

8- Nourishing myself daily through healthy activities, good nutrition and proper sleep and trying to keep my mind in the present

 

9- Protecting my brain from negativity, bad images and hard emotions

 

10- Valuing my own beliefs and ideas, living with intention into a meaningful life that serves me and others

 

“Mirror, mirror on the wall…

 

A reflection of all these in a mirror;  Cristina’s camera. The process of capturing all the beauty of self-love was an empowering experience. Her time and knowledge transcend into this amazing picture which says – I return to love and I accept myself just as I am…. “

 

 

A mother's love knows no bounds: spending time with my daughter making memories

A daughter’s love knows no bounds as well, but few can match the love of a mother’s heart. This unbreakable bond between mother and daughter often grows even stronger as the years go by, and no matter how old your child becomes, it will always be one of the strongest relationships in your life. Here […]

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The woman I work for

One of my first clients and models in front of my camera for this new style of photography I embarked on, was Sunita Changoe.   “A versatile woman, who know exactly what she wants. A woman with a modus operandi. Making friends with patience has always been a challenge for her, like she always says: […]

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Embrace Your True Power

This summer I have photographed a truly inspiring woman, Zelda Hall.  I’ve met her through CRAVE Amsterdam, 7 years ago(!) and we kept in touch via social media. I’ve always admired her as a wise woman of our community as she talks about such important issues in our life. She’s a psychologist and therapist in Amsterdam. […]

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Galentine’s Day

I was mentioning last time that the first step to love is, self love.
Well, I continue here with the next step.
This one is easier and fun: Love your girlfriends.

 

Acknowledge and celebrate your girlfriends! They are your support system. They are there for you. They hold you when you are low and they are there to celebrate your little and big successes.

 

Idea: Throw a Galentine’s Day party for your close girl friends.

 

It will fill your heart with joy to prepare it, and announce it and will definitely create a big sensation in your gal group.

 

Three women walked into my studio excited and ready to spend a whole day together. One of them was celebrating 40 years on this planet and she decided to do something special this year to mark her anniversary.

 

I advised them on their outfits and accessories, told them to book a restaurant for afterwards, since they’re going to look gorgeous and make it a girl’s day out.

 

Weeks later, armed with their jolly spirits, they made their appearance bearing heaps of cool dresses and jewellery, and were ready to get pampered for the day.

 

I’ll leave you with an impression of the day and some of their quotes, some behind the scenes and their lovely photos.

 

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“It was a very special experience of feeling beautiful and discovering new facets of myself.” 

 

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“I really enjoyed the day at your studio, with getting styled and put into poses that I had never done before.”IMG_3897

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“When I saw the photos for the first time I thought to myself, <<Wow and yes, that’s me too!>>”

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“I started to develop a new vision of myself. This process is not yet finished but seeing the photos added another important element.”

 

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“I enjoyed spending this day with 2 of the most important people in my life.  Friendship is the most important thing and to experience this together made me very happy.  Cristina, you are an amazing and detailed person which made it easy for me to work with you.”

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Celebrate your girlfriends

Have a girls day out with a photo shoot and makeover

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It’s ok to be beautiful

In our quest through this wonderful thing called life, we somehow manage to forget ourselves.

We care for everyone else in the family and we put ourselves last.

 

 

When was the last time you were pampered and put yourself first for a change? Taking time to disconnect or taking time to not be the mother, daughter, wife, friend or partner…

How long since you’ve really paid attention to how you look or feel?

With the Christmas holidays approaching, it’s time to unwind and slow down, to get back to yourself and reflect. 

 

How do you want to feel?

 

It’s ok to want to feel beautiful. Maybe it’s been a while. 

It’s ok to want to feel appreciated. Has it been too long since somebody noticed?

It’s ok to want to be loved. Do you get that attention that you desire?

 

I have a little secret for you – It starts with yourself. From, within. 

 

Do you notice yourself?

Do you give yourself attention?

Do you believe you deserve to have that attention?

 

This is the time to reflect, sit quietly and look back at a full year. Breathe. Were you good to yourself ?

 

I give you permission.

If no one else does, I will.

I give you permission to feel beautiful, feminine, gracious, fabulous! 

 

 This New Year, let’s celebrate beauty, together.

 

These are the brave women that celebrated beauty this year. I congratulate you and wish you put yourself on a pedestal every day.

 

 

cristina-stoian-4-969x650lonieke_cristinastoian006_MG_9588cristina-stoian-10-969x650cristina-stoian-7-969x650cristinastoian_3MG_9349-EditIMG_6428 cristina-stoian-portraits-_-athalie-4CristinaStoian23There are so many elements to women and to beautiful femininity. I am proud to bring it out in my portraits. I work to bring out different sides of people for different purposes, or for different types of women – it really depends on my model. Women are so powerful, dramatic and natural, it all deserves to be seen. I want everyone to be able to see the beautiful, natural, confident woman in us all.IMG_4924IMG_4577IMG_0974_MG_1968-web-size_signed colourIMG_5064_MG_0493-copycristina-stoian-portraits-_-athalie-1Cristina-Stoian-Portrait-Photographer 22IMG_6914

You are beautiful

Are you ready to take the leap?

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Time to Reconnect With Your True Self

<<I get it now.>>

 

It only took me half a decade photographing women.

 

I’ve been taking photographs since I was 14, always saving money to buy and develop films while in high school. 

 

I thought I was attracted to it initially, because of the art of photography.

 

Then later I thought I have “the eye”, whatever that means, when people wanted to pay me for photos during my work for CRAVE – photographing the women entrepreneurs of Amsterdam. 

 

Now I know what it is I am attracted to and I know why people love being photographed by me. 

 

I can connect with people easily and I put them at ease; the big black ugly camera disappears after a while and it becomes a conversation. I sometimes spend 2 hours after the photo-shoot chatting away, like friends, when the camera is not even there.

 

I love that.

 

I love connecting.

 

I am very curious about other people’s inner space. What goes on in your inner world.

 

I’m eager to learn, to discover, to grow and that makes me listen

 

When I discovered that, everything changed for me – the dynamics of the photo-shoot, the flow, the poses and the process. 

 

I used to just “go” to your office or home to snap a picture.  I was not in control of light, or the styling or pose. 

 

Everything has changed now.

 

I realised what can make you nervous. And now my process can help you to … be you

 

Photo-shoots in the fashion world require extensive preparation and a team of 10 buzzing around the model. Sometimes it requires a pre photo-shoot to get to know the model. 

 

I know that would be nerve-wracking for regular people, like you and me. A big studio, with lights and lots of people buzzing around, while you’re naked or getting changed. But I still wanted those results.

 

I thought about doing everything opposite, while working with my clients. Who are not super models, but every-day, all ages, genuine women that I love to photograph.

 

So I took control of the process.

  • I start by consulting with my models before the photo-shoot, so you know what to bring (more about that in another newsletter).
  • I’ll provide inspirational photography to select from, this gives me an idea about your taste and together we design our photo-shoot mood board.
  • I hire makeup artists and hair stylists to pamper you so you’re relaxed and know you’ll look good.
  • I have created a flow for the poses and learned how to give you guidance and direction in them.
  • I learned that others have preferred a private space over a huge cold space, so what other more private and cosy environment can I offer, than my own home – My living room is transformed into your own personal glam studio for the photo-shoot. It all feels like playing! 
  • I’ve also learned that some people don’t know how to ‘work the lights’ and can get nervous in front of a big soft box. So I have simplified that too and now I’m shooting in natural light. 

 

It’s only me and you, in my home, in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere – Where you have the space to be yourself.

 

The hair, makeup and change of clothes are there to aid you in your process of being confident.

 

You’re going to feel good in front of the camera and this is what I strive to achieve.

 

I spent all of last year developing this process for you and this year was all about improving it further.

 

I am very happy with the results and I know I can only improve it further with the help of my models

 

Have a look what some of my first clients had to say about The Glamour Experience

  

Sarah-Jane Threipland

Sarah-Jane Threipland

Copywriter / Freelancer

Cristina is confident behind the camera, and somehow sees a side that usually stays hidden. We had a lot of fun getting my confident, slight glamour-kitten out of hiding and playing with her poses. The hair and make-up were definitely fun too!

Allison Hamilton-Rohe

Allison Hamilton-Rohe

Personal Stylist / Daily Outfit

After I went through the shoot, I felt I had learned so much about myself and fashion, I didn't even feel the need to see the photos! The experience itself had had an amazing result. But, I'm not gonna lie -- the reveal was incredible. I couldn't believe the images Cristina had created. Here is, as Oprah says, my best self -- beautiful, strong, fabulous, sexy, stylish and confident.This is who I am -- in my imagination. But there I am -- in a photograph. I am so happy I said yes to this shoot. Turns out? It was a favor to myself. Sometimes, it takes courage to step into your own power. Thanks to Cristina, all I need to do is look at this image to know I already have!

Cristina Rotariu

Cristina Rotariu

Curator / Amsterdam Fringe Festival

I’m usually a bit shy, especially in photos, so it was a surprise to me to see this sassy, fashionable person staring out of the shots Cristina took. I’d definitely recommend the experience – everyone should get the chance to shine in front of the camera, and she really works with you to make you feel comfortable.

Blanca Vergara

Blanca Vergara

Inspirational speaker and Coach / Women Work Wonders

I love the fact that it was an experience. It was not just getting amazing photos. It was a whole journey, from looking for clothes, having the make up on, the hair done.... the conversations, the coffee... This sense of journey, of transformation, of experience is terrific. It's possibly more important than the photos themselves. The photo shoot made me feel beautiful, powerful, renewed, empowered. When I saw the photos for the first time I thought: "I love myself", it was like falling in love with myself again. It changed the way I see myself. Re-connecting with my Big Self, Big Blanca, powerful, sexy, unstoppable. Amazing! "

Amelia Lopez Huix

Amelia Lopez Huix

CEO & Founder / ​​​​​​​MOH.INTERNATIONAL

I am a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother. I AM A WOMAN. And here I AM, at my 40’s, feeling more FEMALE than ever. Among many other things, my body has swum for many years, my body has given birth 4 times, and has feed all my children. Yes my body has created 4 children. My mind has not only designed systems, founded my own company, but has dreamt of my life and WHO I wanted to be, as a woman, as a wife and as a MOTHER. This picture comes as a result of an extraordinary work made by Cristina Stoian Photographer , many other pictures were taken, and I have chosen this one cause it shows me the incredible power of being female. This picture shows me WHO I always dreamt to be, THE WOMAN WHO HAS CREATED HERSELF AND HER WORLD. Cristina Stoian, the experience you have given to me has gone far beyond any expectation I had. I am profoundly touched. Your work has given me a precious gift, that of seeing me and enjoying who I am, and I have learnt something really beautiful with you, I have learnt to not forget the reason why I wake up every morning, to give the best of me to my daughters, my husband and to all mothers. Thank you, Amelia

Sunita Changoe

Sunita Changoe

Business owner / Tara Mediation / The Social Connector

Cristina met beyond my expectations, she captured my heritage and created part of my legacy. Part of the acquired collection I hold like a treasure is private and part of it has been reason to completely rebrand my personal me. Some of those pictures were actually exactly what was needed to complete my personal branding. What you see, is what you get, the glamourous powerful passionate me. Thank you Cristina and wishing you so many more women to re-activate and re-connect.

Suelle Harts

Suelle Harts

The Designer / Brasa Canela Exclusive Jewellery

A portrait is an eternal moment. A moment framed in time. It is art; - and A portrait is an eternal moment. A moment framed in time. It is art; - and the photographer - is a moment's painter. Someone who can feel the magic of the moment and catch it in a fraction of time. Cristina Stoian is an artist. A passionate photographer who has introduced me to the real beauty of a framed moment. The real art seen behind her lenses. Myself framed in time.

Olia Svarga

Olia Svarga

Student, Makeup artists / Olia Svarga Makeup Artist

During my experience with Cristina, I was a bit shy in the beginning and felt quite insecure, but she created a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere so that I could just be myself without any artificial postures and facial expressions. She admired my face, my behaviour and I totally relaxed and acted like a real model. Throughout our photo shoot I revealed my inner beauty and forgot about all the diffidence and fears about my appearance and I guess the main thing is that after our creative experiment I understood that the more you accept your appearance and remove all stereotypes imposed by society, media, especially fashion, the more harmonic you feel with your outer and inner spaces.

Snezana Zivcevska-Stalpers

Snezana Zivcevska-Stalpers

Technology and Innovation at IBM | UN Women / Technology and Innovation at IBM | UN Women

"Cristina stopped the time for a moment for me and made me feeling so proud of myself. By capturing my smile, my grace, and my beauty, she made a great heritage for me, my kids, their kids. It was an absolute pleasure to work with her.”

Raise your daughter’s self esteem

What would you say to your younger self, the insecure teen girl that is complexed by her looks and lets that affect her life experience. Would you have found a way to let her know how beautiful she is ? To stop worrying about her appearance ? How would you raise your daughter’s self esteem?
In a world dominated by media, fashion and stereotypes, our teens grow up with the wrong belief about themselves, that they are not beautiful.

When I first talked to this girl, all I could notice was how beautiful she is. Yet to my surprise, her opinion about herself was completely different.

What would you say to this cute, pretty girl that spent half of her life hating her appearance and considering her freckles to be her greatest disadvantage?

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 Well, there was nothing I could have told her to change a life worth of negativity towards herself, and I decided I have to show her instead. I invited her to a photoshoot and she finally accepted.

This is Olia, 23 years old, daughter, girlfriend, best friend, linguistics student, passionate about languages, history, neurobiology, piano but also makeup, fashion and beauty in general.

“From childhood age I seemed to be a natural extrovert, who all the time shared ideas, emotions and feelings with her world around. However, under the outer happiness, there was always hiding an enormously sensitive person with crooked perception about her appearance. Years of underestimating myself passed until I realised, that my freckles are my gift, that feature that will always make me unique.
During my experience with Cristina, I was a bit shy in the beginning and felt quite insecure, but she created a very relaxing and friendly atmosphere so that I could just be myself without any artificial postures and facial expressions. She admired my face, my behaviour and I totally relaxed and acted like a real model. Throughout our photo shoot I revealed my inner beauty and forgot about all the diffidence and fears about my appearance and I guess the main thing is that after our creative experiment I understood that the more you accept your appearance and remove all stereotypes imposed by society, media, especially fashion, the more harmonic you feel with your outer and inner spaces.”

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The greatest gift your daughter can get

Show her how beautiful she is

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Why not exist in photos

I have been photographing women for over half a decade. I can now say that I have heard every excuse one can imagine for women not to step in front of the camera. Why not exist in photos.

  • I’m not good enough
  • I don’t look good on camera
  • I need to lose weight before you take photos of me
  • I HATE having my photo taken
  • I look old nowadays…

 

During the last years photographing women, I discovered some patterns all women have in common before they decide to have their portrait taken. It is always the same and always baffles me. I do understand it, as I am a woman too, and I wish I can make a difference about it. I will discuss it here, because I think women need to get over it.

 

1.  I need to lose 25 kilos before I can have my portrait shot taken.

 

I have been saying that since I was 25. Each year I felt I do not look good enough now. I am too chubby to appear in photos. I had an image in my head about how I was supposed to look, based on how I looked at 14. so I always felt I need to lose weight…and guess what, it never happened. I never manage to lose 25 kilos. Why ? Because I draw myself nearly impossible targets to achieve this and then fail and feel miserable about it. If I look back at my photos of me at 25, I think to myself, I was insane back then. There’s no way I did not look beautiful… and still, inside of me, there was always this little voice that said.. “you don’t look good enough”… do you recognise that ?

 

My solution: I started taking “selfies” when I turned 28. I’ve started a photo journal of myself for myself. I have been taken photos of me every single week… for 2 years. In each photo, I was trying to show myself in a “beautiful light”. So I learned about posing and lighting. I noticed how my mood changed my photos always, so if I was pleased that day, the photos would look more radiant.. This helped me improve the image I had about myself… and then.. even helped me to lose weight. When I did not think as much about the weight, but as how can I look more beautiful in my next photo, I did miraculously lose 8 kilos. Because 8-10 was really more realistic…

 

2. What can I do with a portrait

 

Why do I need a portrait, you must wonder yourself as I did for many years. I was taking photos of other people and it never occurred to me that I should get a portrait done too. And then when I did, I realised why. It is such an incredible gift to yourself. To see yourself the way you are. To be able to show the world who you are. To be able to hold yourself in a printed photo and really admire yourself. It is something so powerful, beyond words. It is something that makes you want to appreciate yourself more and be kind to yourself. It is an experience that touches your soul in powerful ways and it changes you. Once you know why you want it, you will surely know what to do with it. Tips here.

 

3. I am not ready for this 

 

Imagine yourself travelling to a foreign country by yourself. How does it feel ? Do you like the fact that there is no person to drag you from your path and that you can see whatever you like to see and go wherever you like to go ? Do you feel free to be able to chose what to do next ?

In my photoshoots I strive to give you the same feeling. We are designing this shoot together, but really you are the one in charge of this journey. It is a journey for you to discover yourself.  I am providing the tools you need for you to shine through. The real you will shine trough. The one that you used to be and now you forgot, the goddess you sometimes felt but now not anymore. Discover where you want to go next and let me help you get there.

 

4.  I’m too old to have my portrait taken
Nearly all women that come to my photoshoots ask me: can you make me look more younger in the photos? Is there some special light that you can use so my wrinkles appear less?

Yes! your inner special light! Age has nothing to do with your inner light. When your inner light shines, wrinkles have nothing on you. You are more than your body, your skin or your wrinkles. You are now more powerful, witty, deserving. I feel in awe of you and you should be too. Let’s show the world how shiny you really are.

 

5.  I am not pretty enough

 

I’m not beautiful enough, I’m not pretty, I’m not good looking…. I hear this over and over again…. and yet… you are! I see the beauty in you how you maybe don’t ever see it. When I talk about your passion, I see your face light up; when I talk about your family, I see you sparkling; when I ask you about your loved ones…you shine so bright . So why not shine when I ask you about you? Why not allow me to show you how beautiful you really are, how I see you when I look at you. If I could only show you how you are in front of my camera, you will change the way you look at yourself… and it’s an experience you won’t forget!

 

 

6. It’s too expensive

 

Paying for a professional photographer is too expensive and I can do it myself with my camera. Why would I pay hundreds of euros to a photographer when I can do it myself.

While that is true, why haven’t you done it till now? I am a portrait photographer and still, arranging everything for a professional portrait, getting my hair and makeup done professionally, creating a mood board for the photoshoot, getting clear what I want to show in a portrait to myself and my family and the world, finding the right outfits for it, get rid of the fear of being in front of the camera, stepping outside the character I show to the world and stepping into myself, the real me, the one I’m afraid to show, clicking the camera away 1000 times till you get the right angle, the right light, the right pose, the right mood or the right connection – I know what it takes. Why haven’t I’ve done all these by myself so far ? Because doing it by yourself is hard.

Knowing this, ask yourself, what is the price you would pay to have a portrait of yourself from when you were in your 20s ? what is the price you would pay to have a beautiful portrait with you and your mother. What would you pay to show your children a portrait of yourself in 20 years from now.

 

Exist in photographs for your children, for yourself for the people that love you.

 

 

“This is not only about you. It’s about the person that one day looks back on a photograph in 20 years time and says, look at these photographs, look what we own, this is more priceless than anything my family could ever buy. This is more priceless than anything I could own. That is what I’m making for you. I’m creating timeless, incredible images that people will cherish for the rest of their lives. One day your children will look for photographs of you, what would they have…  you need to have beautiful photographs, you are good enough to exist in photos.  My job as a portrait photographer is to take the most beautiful photograph you have seen of yourself so that you can cherish this for the rest of your life and your children can love it and enjoy it and it would be more meaningful than anything your family would own… and yes it might cost you a few hundred euros, but trust me, the value of what I am creating for you today is far greater than anything you can ever buy.”

 

…and you….miss… reading this. feeling safe behind your computer. what stops you from having your portrait taken? Why not exist in photos.  Let me know in the comments below.

How do you see yourself ?

How do you see yourself ?

Allison from DailyOutfit has been a long time supporter of me and my business endeavours. She was first a strong believer in me, while I was working at my 123dressme project, and then, when I decided to move on and start this new genre in photography, Glamour Portraits, she became my biggest ambassador and one of my first clients. I feel I am so lucky to have such beautiful humans like her by my side, their support is invaluable. When I grow up, I will return the favour to the universe and support and mentor younger girls, because I really do think these people are godsend. This is what Allison had to say after our session together, it was interesting to me to see how she sees herself and how I see her, depicted in portraits.

“When I said yes, I thought I was doing Cristina a favor.  If she was going in a new direction with her photography, I was going to support her!  I certainly didn’t think I needed this for myself.

What surprised me was how much the session did for me, for my confidence, and for the way I see myself.   Not only were the images she created beautiful, they allowed me to see a whole other side of myself that I thought I knew, but had never really claimed.

Cristina told me it was an experience.  She designed it as an opportunity for any woman to get in touch with her glamorous side.  But, really, I didn’t think that was an issue for me.  I’m a stylist!

I was wrong.

The experience was transformational.

First of all, who knew modeling is so difficult?

It takes concentration, physical stamina and total focus. It’s like yoga, except you also want to look good!

Luckily, Cristina coached me through the whole thing.  I relaxed with her and got into the swing of it.  She’s amazing:  kind and encouraging.

It was unlike any other photo shoot I’ve experienced.

Of course, models and actresses do this all the time — and they don’t get that kind of support.  It’s their job.  It was fascinating to experience the poses and facial expressions they wield for myself.

More importantly, I have a whole other level of respect for it.  We all struggle with expectations of perfection and beauty.  Much of this struggle comes from amazing images like these.

What most of us don’t understand is the preparation and work that goes into creating high fashion images.  Once I experienced it for myself, I immediately understood on a visceral level how these images are created.

And yet, for the first time, these images allowed me to see my body as beautiful.  And seeing is believing.

For example, take a look at this photo to the left.  I look slender and curvy at the same time.  My waist and bust look perfect.  The funny thing is, I know this is the pose.  But, I also know it is actually me.

Not that I’m going to walk around like this; no one could.  But, if this is actually me, what happens to all that struggle with all those expectations?

I can just put those to rest.  Done and sorted!  What a gift.

portrait Cristina Stoian

“Working the camera” is not just a phrase; it’s a skill set. Some of my sisters have teased me (lovingly or not so lovingly, depending on their mood) that I “always” look good in photos. It’s not actually true.But, I did learn early on how to simply look at the camera and smile. It brings your ratio of good shots to bad shots WAY up.

Take the image to the right. I don’t always look this good, but it is totally me. It’s my smile, the photo looks natural — and it is!

This shot has become my new head shot.

It’s on my website banner and in my marketing. It expresses who I am and who I want to be:  for my clients, my friends and myself.  Fun, compassionate AND stylish.

But, it’s not the shot that inspired me the most from this shoot OR the one that taught me the most about myself OR about high fashion.

There are so many elements to women and to beautiful femininity. I am proud to bring it out in my portraits. I work to bring out different sides of people for different purposes, or for different types of women – it really depends on my model. Women are so powerful, dramatic and natural, it all deserves to be seen. I want everyone to be able to see the beautiful, natural, confident woman in us all.

Because taking a high-fashion shot is totally different. It’s actually not about the smile at all.Why do so many famous women look younger than the rest of us?  It’s not just the Botox and air-brushing. In these shots, I’m not making any wrinkles!

IMG_4073Look closely –

the forehead, the mouth, the eyes — and you’ll see my face is totally relaxed.

I look about 20.  But really?  I’m 43 and I’ve had two children!

My daughter said, “Mommy, are these photos of you when you were much younger?”

I laughed and responded, “No, sweetie, this is how I can look right now.  I just have to be very relaxed.”

After I went through the shoot, I felt I had learned so much about myself and fashion, I didn’t even feel the need to see the photos!  The experience itself had had an amazing result.

But, I’m not gonna lie — the reveal was incredible.  I couldn’t believe the images Cristina had created.

Here is, as Oprah says, my best self — beautiful, strong, fabulous, sexy, stylish and confident

This is who I am — in my imagination.

But there I am — in a photograph.

I am so happy I said yes to this shoot.  Turns out?  It was a favor to myself.

Sometimes, it takes courage to step into your own power.

Thanks to Cristina, all I need to do is look at this image to know I already have!”

 

 

 

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It’s Magic

There’s a magic that happens in the studio after the hair and makeup is done and we start shooting. It’s hard to explain it, it’s a connection between me and my model, it’s a click that happens in our eyes, I feel it in my belly and it’s so strong that it gives me energy for the whole shoot. It’s a magic moment that happens around outfit number two, when the client relaxes and starts trusting me completely. I see it over and over again. It’s beautiful and so addictive !

Cristina Stoian Portraits

Cristina Stoian Portraits