Inspiration for the New Year

For these entire 2 years since I started with my new photography business, I have followed this extraordinary woman online: she’s a fantastic photographer and a talented educator. Her name is Sue Bryce and she really created a portrait revolution across the globe. She is very motivational but also so very skilled. I really enjoy attending her classes online and learning the craft from her.

She’s my new mentor in photography. (see my previous mentor one here).
After following her online for 3 years now, she came to Europe, to London to teach a workshop within the Portrait Society Convention in London. I could not skip this opportunity and so I have boarded a plane and – off I went to see her.

I thought it would bring me some inspiration and motivation for the beginning of the year and also, I wanted to give her a hug and thank her for all that she does for photography and for us, portrait photographers. She is really changing the industry and we will see a big portrait comeback in the near future thanks to her.


Here she is! So wonderful to finally meet my educator and she’s lovelyIKJY9221 copy



















Couple of take-aways from her 6 hours workshop:

  • We are breaking new ground every day with our craft – we are certainly not the first to create portraits, but we are the ones to bring this beautiful craft back into our communitySue Bryce Portrait Photographer
  • It is our duty to Educate, Entertain, Engage, Entice, Elevate
    Sue Bryce
  • The rule of 33:34:33 in business, 33 for taxes, 34 for back into the business, and 33 for ourselves.
  • What we do for people is creating a legacy which timeless and the value of it is priceless
    “I have a deep fascination for portraits.
    Everything you experience I want to photograph.

    I have a deep desire to photograph every woman for every year of her life, until she is an old woman and every year she’s gonna see herself age and mature and grow up and she’s gonna fall in love with herself every year with the changes when you get older, when you get curvier, as you get wrinklier, as you age and build a family, as you build a career, as you build a life, I want to document that and show it back to you. ”

    Sue Bryce

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Paul Butterfield is a photographer from Seattle I met while he was visiting Amsterdam, in 2009. Him and his wife Melody Biringer are owners of the CRAVE Company, empowering women in business.

Following them and their passion for Amsterdam, little by little I got to experience their lush lifestyle and get to crave it.

There was no surprise that at the end of their holidays, I accepted their bold invitation to start a version of their company in Amsterdam as a project manager and photographer and ultimately partner.

This is how I started my Portrait Photography career, connecting with women entrepreneurs, featuring them in a book, having fun getting to know many great women and pursuing my dream as a photographer.

He is the second one (after my husband) that recognised my talent in photography and pushed me to do it as a profession.


In 2010, Paul, gave me a present. He printed and matted 20 of my iPhone photos. Right then I realised that a photo is so much more than an image on a screen.

And now I do these Portraits for People and they treasure them and they will stay in their family forever. I am so proud to do that!


Resolutions 2017

 Here are some of my intentions for 2017 for myself and my photography.
  1. Put more meaning and emotion into my photographs.
  2. Take less photographs to achieve the right one.
  3. Make photographs more like paintings.
  4. Move to new studio.
  5. Remember the purpose of my photographs every day.
  6. Define my style as a photographer.
  7. Set new professional goals.
  8. Create a 24 photo story once a week on my new camera.
  9. Blog twice a month.
  10. Photograph a ballerina.
  11. Shoot more flowers, flower crown, flower wall.
  12. Shoot a red dress portrait, experiment with the black sash, white sheet.
  13. Paint my own backdrop.
  14. Shoot outside the studio.
  15. Laugh more.
  16. Save money for vacations.
  17. Do more portfolio work.
  18. Create Cinemagraphs and Videos for my work.
  19. Do more physical activity.
  20. Add romanticism in my work.

My 5 minutes of fame

Last week I had the crew from NL Supervrouwen TV documenting my team and I for their Me-Time Program. They sent over a gorgeous woman, Sonya Dias, to participate in the Glamour Experience and then share her thoughts about it.

This initiative belongs to Wendy Broersen – she is starting a new online TV program where she talks about women entrepreneurs and their journey; super-women, as she calls them. Some of the names she has interviewed so far are: Ariane Inden, Genevieve van Meerburg, Marielle Sijgers and Louise Beduwe.

I love the idea and the female energy around this. It reminds me of my time being a partner at CRAVE, where we published a book of women entrepreneurs and made an online directory full of awesome businesses, owned by women.

The day went by fast and I was nervous having to talk in front of the camera, having to manage everyone and keep the energy high. Sony was a super-star, she managed to focus and actually relax into it and enjoy the experience fully.

Here are some behind the scenes made by amazing photographer Teresa Hulst from California Girl (CG). 

Make-up by: Lorena Ciubotaru
Styling/Art Direction: California Girl (CG)
Photographer : Cristina Stoian Portraits
Model: Sonya Dias


Here’s the Me-time video that went on to NL Supervrouwen TV. 


And here are my photos that I took of Sonya.


In her real life Sonya is an amazing speaker and presentor, she comes from Cape Verde and lives in Rotterdam. She is so enthusiastic and full of energy, she filled up the whole room with her smile. I photographer her in her capeverdian feather designer dress and various colourful national accessories. She’s magnificent to watch.

Enjoy her beautiful photos!



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May vacantie and Liberation Day

Since Holland is in Holiday mode today, I thought I would take a day off from my newsletter too!

I am all about celebrations and time off and feel they are an important aspect in my life.

With this said, I want to thank you for being here and give you a moment to catchup with me.


This is a list of what I have written so far, since the beginning of this wonderful blogging journey.



Renewing the vows with myself

Renewing the vows with myself

How to Return to Self-Love in 10 Steps

How to Return to Self-Love in 10 Steps


How to prepare for your photoshoot

How to prepare for your photoshoot


The many sides of women

The many sides of women


Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

First step to Love

First step to Love


Hi Beautiful

Hi Beautiful


Raise your daughter’s self esteem

Raise your daughter’s self esteem


What is a Folio Box

What is a Folio Box


Beauty trends 2016

Beauty trends 2016

How do you see yourseld

How do you see yourself ?


I am a Woman



Why not exist in photos

Why not exist in photos


It’s magic

It’s Magic


Mother and Daughter Day Video

Mother and Daughter day video


Mother and Daughter Day

Mother and Daughter Day


Time to Reconnect with your True Self

Time to Reconnect With Your True Self

With the Liberation Day in mind, I want to set you free, please go ahead and unsubscribe if you feel that this newsletter does not serve you well.

If it does, can you think of one friend that might benefit from it, go ahead and forward this email to them.
I would appreciate that.

Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you ! and enjoy this lovely holiday!

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.


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.


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.


Beauty trends 2016

In my photography practice, I work with a handful of talented artists to help you achieve that look we desire for your photo-shoot.

I have asked them to give us their expertise on the new beauty trends this year – they are very passionate about what they’re doing and they were happy to help us out.

I can see us trying some of these ideas together!


Make-up Trends 2016

“2016 will be the year of a beauty awakening. People are becoming more and more conscious about their skincare and makeup choices and the demand is slowly but steadily turning to ‘clean beauty’, which means that non-toxic, natural and organic beauty solutions are going to be huge this year.

Even if red lips are the eternal classics, the past few years they have had to take the back seat and let the nude lips enjoy the spotlight.

Now it’s officially over!

The biggest makeup trend in 2016 will be the perfect red lip, which is applied with extreme precision in the lively shade of a ripe red apple.“

Anna Szoke, Make Up Artist / Beauty Blogger ,


Hair Trends 2016

“Long hair is never out of fashion but now it’s become less polished, a more bohemian style and centre parted. The long bob (the lob) will also be this year’s trend. Sleek, or loose in ‘beachy’, textured waves. A heavy, blunt fringe is back this season and can be costumized on both long and short hair.
Hair color trends this year are still bayalage and ombre or granny greys. A new trend beginning is metallic colours in lilac and pale greens.”

Daniel Smeets, Hairstylist and Color Specialist,


Skincare Trend 2016

“Healthy, glowing, beautiful skin. Glowing skin can of course be achieved with make-up, like the Light Reflect Highlighting Creme, but a true natural glow requires regular exfoliation, to transform dull winter skin into a dewy, fresh glowing look. Combine the Glow Baby Youthful Face Scrub with daily moisturising and an organic skin-brightening serum like the Brightening & Correcting Serum from Apostle, to give your skin an irresistible healthy glow that radiates from within. Shirley Tol, Founder of Shizo Natural Cosmetics


Make-up Trend 2016

Blue statement eyes. This spring it’s all about blue eyeliner, blue eye shadow and blue mascara. The catwalk shows have given us everything from bold cobalt on the eyes to bright turquoise for winged eyeliner, to Pantone’s Spring ’16 colours of the year – ‘Serenity’, pastel-like soft blue for building up a blue smokey eye shade.”

Shirley Tol, Founder of Shizo Natural Cosmetics


Brow Trend 2016

Brow Freedom: Whatever chaos with brows is allowed this year, wide natural thick brows are the trend.

Makeup without makeup – Literally almost nothing on your face.

Bright skin applied with a strobing technique, which is a brilliant new face-sculpting style. It’s

implemented with a highlighter, where light would naturally hit your face.”

Olia Svarga, Make-up and Brow Artist,


While preparing this blog post, I got all giddy with excitement and I wanted to try them all on me first. So much fun ! I found out that some are for me, some definitely not, I’ll let you be the judge of that. See below some selfies I took after putting these on.


Beauty Portrait

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What is a Portrait

A Portrait. What is a Portrait. I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. It stayed in my head over the holidays. I did some digging to find out what some “heavy weight” people in the industry are saying about it. These are just a few of their thoughts that I found and I liked.


“A Portrait is a evocation of a person, gives the sense of that person, doesn’t necessarily need to look like the person but it would have to give some impression. ” Lesley Stevenson, Senior Paintings Conservator


“To me, a portrait is a creative collaboration between an artist and the sitter and it is unique in that sense as an art form, that’s what makes it really different from other art forms.” Sarah Saunders, Deputy Head of Education


“A Portrait can be many, many things, that depends on the one who takes the Portrait, who makes the picture and on the sitter, because the sitter chooses, most of the times, the person who makes a Portrait of him and he hopes that it represents him. That’s all.” Gert Sander, grandson of photographer August Sander.


“I would see a Portrait is a picture of the individual human being that places emphasis on the uniqueness, simple as that.” Sandy Moffat, Artist


“I think a Portrait is normally thought to be the sort of visual representation of someone, normally that’s in oil paint or might be a sculpture carving but I really like the idea of a Portrait being the sound of people’s voices.” James Holloway, Director Scottish National Portrait Gallery


“I think a Portrait is a representation of an individual, usually an individual, a human being, by another individual, and it’s a created object that acts as a kind of remembrance of that person.” Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director of Scottish National Portrait Gallery


“It’s like being enlove, it’s the same thing, you never know how it happens, but if it happens right, a good outcome will come out of it.”  Gert Sander, grandson of photographer August Sander.


“Portraits of rulers from the early Medieval period often did not depict the actual appearance of the living ruler, but the “imago” of a Roman emperor in whose succession he felt himself to be standing, by “tanslatio imperii”.
Contemporary portraits, however, are made within a cultural and artistic context with deep questions about the nature of identity, of representation, and of authenticity.
Today, technology is transforming both the medium and the subject matter of Portraiture, changing how we think about human identity: to portray the essence of a person, do we show the face? DNA? surveillance data? shopping transactions? ” Richard Brilliant, Professor of Art History and Archaeology, at Columbia University



Even funnier, when I have asked my friend, the artist Raluca Vescan, she told me: “If I think of a Portrait, the first image that comes to my mind is the Native American that was running away from the camera, scared that their soul would be stolen…”



I guess everyone has its own interpretation of it. What is yours ?


For me, a Portrait has a deeper meaning. It shows you, the person that is being photographed, a side of you that is very personal, real, that is you. It shows you a face that you sometimes catch in the mirror, but you can rarely reproduce in a photo. It is a side of you, that for various reasons does not usually get to be seen on camera. It is also the side of you that you want your grand, grand-grandchildren to hold in their arms, one day and say: “Now, this is Grandma”.



I like to do that for you. To be your eyes. Show your inner self. No borders, no fears, just YOU. 

Show your inner self

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