Barb McGrath 0:00
Our guest today is Erica Gayle from her namesake, photography business, Erica Gale photography. She’s the owner. And she’s going to talk a little bit about the importance of taking pictures, capturing images, and just, you know, keeping track of all of those important moments in life. So often we snap a picture with our cell phones nowadays. And we think, Ah, that’s good. That’s all I need. But Erica actually has a really unique niche to the type of pictures that she takes. And in fact, it’s something that’s always fascinated me, because the women that she’s taking pictures of her grave, they are absolutely brave, beyond anything that I can ever imagine. So, first off, I would like to welcome Erica Gail to our show today. Welcome. Hello, wonderful to have you here.
Erika Gayle 0:55
So glad to hear me to
Barb McGrath 0:56
Tell me a little bit about Erica Gale photography. Ah, well, where do I start? I have been a photographer. Well, I’ve been in the photography industry for about 12 years now. So I’ve been doing this for quite a while, but I just started my business maybe about two years ago. And started with like weddings because like, that’s naturally where that’s where
Erika Gayle 1:21
Barb McGrath 1:22
Yeah. Like, yeah, the money’s that. It’s like, Well, no, there’s other ways to do it too.
Erika Gayle 1:28
But um, so like, shortly after
Barb McGrath 1:32
Discover or certainly after opening my business, I discovered noir photography, which is, if you’re not familiar with the term Beauvoir, it is the French word for women’s bedroom. So basically, that doesn’t really tell you much about the actual genre of photography. But basically, it’s just, it all boils down to like taking pretty photos of ladies in their undergarments, or lingerie or like, whatever sort of
Erika Gayle 2:01
Makes them feel comfortable and confident. So,
Barb McGrath 2:04
So tell me about that. Because, you know, as a woman of sort of that, a little bit more mature age. Yeah. Thought of like running around in front of a camera. Like, no,
Erika Gayle 2:16
No, it’s not happening.
Barb McGrath 2:18
Yeah, no, like, tell me about these women? Like, where do they find the courage to do this? Um, well, that’s a funny question, actually. Because like a lot of people, because I post a lot, you know, on Facebook and stuff, and a lot of people comment that like, Oh, I wish I had her confidence, or I wish, you know, I could do that sort of thing. But I feel like confidence is one of those things that you that comes from within you don’t really, you don’t, you don’t really like gain confidence by not trying to do things that make you confident. Does that make sense? Yes, yeah. So I feel like when a lot of the people come in, or a lot of the women that I photograph, they come into my studio, like 90% of them are like shaking in their boots. They’re like, I don’t know why I’m here. Like, I’ve even had people tell me, like, I sat on my car for 20 minutes, and I almost left and I’m like, Oh, my God, don’t stand me up. Like, Oh, wait. Yeah. So I think that, like a lot of a lot of the confidence that comes from that is a result of these sessions is actually it takes place during the actual shooting, it’s not something you necessarily will have before you come into the studio. Yeah. Um, and like, where does the idea come from? Because, you know, there’s never been a time where I’m sitting on the couch going, you know, I think I want somebody to take pictures of me and my underwear. Yeah. Like, where does it? Where does it come from? Where do you think the inspiration for your clients comes from, um, probably probably seeing me post my own photos, because I do a lot of selfies and stuff, too. So I will put my camera up on a tripod, and I have a little app on my phone that allows me to control my phone. So I’ll just, I’ll get naked in front of my camera and like, post it. So I have a Facebook group that I posted a lot. And I’ll post photos of myself in there. So I think that that also really helps kind of inspire my clients to be like, Okay, well, Erica walks the walk, and she talks the talk, so I can do this too. So I also really think it helps that my portfolio is full of audience of all types, instead of only showing the quote unquote, model type of body, whatever that means I roll but you know, showing all of the types of bodies in my portfolio definitely shows my clients that, you know, anybody can do this. It’s not just someone that necessarily looks good on camera.
And, you know, I think that’s what I love about what you do. Because a, you’re, you’re allowing women to see themselves in such a positive light, and every single image, I suppose it’s getting a little bit better. I’ll say 99% of images that we see out there. They’ve been airbrushed and they’ve had plastic surgery. And, you know, I have a daughter who’s 12 and she’s actually sitting in the background here. The images that we see as women of other women in the media, like they’re perfect, they’re absolutely perfect. And my daughter recently did a school project on Celine Dion. So, you know, my daughter really enjoys the music and the art and that kind of industry. And so through her project, we talked with her about, you know, Celine Dion’s had plastic surgery, and, you know, here some of the things that she’s done. So she looks great on stage. But there’s so little of the real person left, and it’s definitely not just, you know, that particular artists, any artists nowadays, what you see, and who the real person is, and what they look like, are completely different. Right? And so I can’t help them mum to think about that impact. Right? This is a real body, you are a real body, this stick figure that only eats once a day. That’s not a real body in a real life. Right. So, no, I think that’s fantastic. So just as we were talking, today, kind of getting started, you talked about some virtual shoots that you’re doing. Yeah, right away. I was like, What virtual shoot, like get heard of the whole front porch thing?
What’s natural shoot. So virtual shoot is and this wasn’t I will preface this with this is not my idea. This is an idea that has been going around the bid war community. Terry hoffart out of Winnipeg is actually the one that started doing the whole thing. She put out a What is it called a course this is a it’s called shake. I don’t know if I’m allowed to swear on here. I’m allowed to swear on this. Yeah, go ahead. Okay, shake it up with webcams. Anyway, so she put out this course. And it just explains. You know, as a photographer, you know, right now, we’re not able to work. So being able to connect with people via either FaceTime or zoom or any other like video chat software, on through our computers, we just connect with our clients, and then kind of walk around our space and see where the good light is and everything. And then you get them to put their phone in a holder or on a chair or whatever kind of prop it up. And then you distract them much like it would be an actual shoot, except you’re just connecting over video chat. So I wanted to take the photos, I just would screenshot it and take it into Photoshop and kind of add some like effects on it and stuff. Make it look a little like, less like a screenshot, I guess. Because you know, due to, you know, technological limitations and everything, obviously, like screenshots from a computer are way less quality than like a high end DSLR camera. Yeah,
Erika Gayle 7:54
Barb McGrath 7:56
So the images themselves are going to be a little different, more like sort of lend themselves more to like the vintage slash artistic aesthetic. So I haven’t shot any of them yet. But I’ve got a couple scheduled for this afternoon. So I’m really excited to try them out and see what happens. So So did you practice kind of in your own environment to figure out how it’s going to work, or, like I’m seeing some serious testing needing to happen before you hit the Go button. The the shoots that I’m doing today are test shoots. So I opened it up to my past clients. And I was like, Hey, who wants to help me out with this? A bunch of people signed up. So they all they’re all going into this knowing that like, this might or might not work.
But what an awesome idea to test because yeah, you know, when I look at what I do, so you know, I do a ton of digital marketing for local businesses. And you know, whether I’m building a website or running an ad for them, I can pretty much do it all online. Mm hmm. So you know, I often have clients who they want to talk face to face, we are still human beings, they still want that. But you know, if we can’t have in person face to face video is getting to be a really good next option. Yeah. And I, you know, I find, when I’m, I’ll say, when I’m particular, with my clients about, you know, let’s meet online, it’s only going to take, you know, half an hour, 45 minutes. That’s all it takes. But when you meet in person, now it takes 90 minutes
Erika Gayle 9:26
For the client
Barb McGrath 9:28
Exactly, you do all the small talk and it’s like, I can actually be a lot more productive. Right. And that’s kind of addictive. It’s like, wow, I could really only work eight hours a day instead of dead because now I’m not driving all over the place. Exactly. And
Erika Gayle 9:43
You don’t put pants on So
Barb McGrath 9:46
Wait, that was supposed to be a secret. Sorry. So okay, you’re gone. You went from weddings into blue door. Like that’s kind of that’s a jump. So Like what inspired that change for you? Ah, um, I think I think it was just that like, like I love shooting weddings Don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something there’s, there’s something for me that like just connecting one on one with a person is a lot more fulfilling for me. I also have like a little bit of anxiety, I used to like being in big groups of people like at weddings and stuff isn’t necessarily my biggest like cup of tea all the time, but like, so like being working one on one with people is definitely more kind of my speed. So when I realized that, like, the impact that these sessions could have on the people that I’m photographing just the confidence that they leave with, like, you know, their self image, just like skyrockets. I have like a little spot in my studio here, where after every session, they write down something that they love about themselves. So succeeding, all of that stuff, just kind of coming together. It’s a, I don’t know, it’s made me It made me rethink kind of the direction I was taking with my business. And I’m like, well, but I could just like I could just do this all the time. And well never leave my house because I have a home studio so I don’t have to leave the house. My clients come to me, I don’t worry about the weather. Because I’m shooting indoors all the time. So I don’t know to me, it was just kind of like a no brainer to like shift my business and then just distraction. I think it’s mostly though, because like, I just find it like super fulfilling, like, every time a client leaves, I just like I have this biggest grin on my face. I’m also tired, exhausted, of course, like, I’m always so happy. Just because, you know, we always have such a good time in the studio. So you know, and and there’s something to be said, for having that home studio controlling your environment. Like you really, you’re the master of your own destiny in a situation like that. Right. And so that’s kind of cool. And I’ve heard from other photographers, like weddings are hard was Yes, long days. They they’re working with a group of people who, you know, happy or sad, like, you’re kind of worked up the day of a wedding, you want everything to go perfect. So you know, that’s a tough clientele. Yeah, it’s very emotionally draining. there’s a there’s a thing that us wedding Well, I guess ex wedding photographers, but as wedding starters will say is that the wedding hangover is the next day is the worst part of it, because you’re just so exhausted from being on for 12 hours and taking photos and you’re sore and it literally feels like you were hungover. like you’d like drank like six bottles of wine the night before. Yeah, exactly. Well, and I suppose the other thing too, that we haven’t touched on? Um, if you’re a wedding photographer, that’s a saturday sunday gig or maybe a Saturday only gig. Yeah, are very few like Monday, nine o’clock kind of wedding.
Erika Gayle 12:49
Barb McGrath 12:51
Yeah, I remember back when we got married. We had a Friday night wedding was on the weekend and thanksgiving long weekend. And Wow, did we ever create Nxd amongst people and a really small wedding? Absolutely. We want everybody to be able to get there. Maybe it was a sad maybe a Saturday night seven o’clock because we gave people the travel day. I don’t know there but we did it at at night and cash out. We had so many people hooked up about and it was like, okay, whatever. This is RNA. Yeah, people get so worried about weddings, especially when they’re not there’s like, Oh my goodness, that’s so true. When they’re not. They’re just like, yeah, here’s this is what we want. Like we wanted simple, like simple to the extreme. And it was almost like that was insulting people that we wouldn’t be more elaborate. That’s ridiculous. No, we’re getting married. Well, we’re getting married this year, too. And like our weddings gonna be super duper small and like simple and like if people don’t like that, and don’t come like
gotta be careful. Don’t know who’s watching here.
Erika Gayle 14:01
Yeah, exactly. It’s true. It’s true. tread lightly. I love you all.
Barb McGrath 14:04
Exactly. So, so like, tell me a little bit about how you balance it because you go to home studio, and you’re planning your own wedding. So how do you how do you make sure when you’re working in that home environment that you actually do enough work to all say, you know, grow your business achieve your business goals. Without getting too comfy to the fact that I’m at home, I don’t have to, you know, I don’t even have to go and get groceries anymore. I can get them delivered that that. Um, it’s actually I find that it’s the opposite way for me like I have a harder time not working then relaxing. Because my work is my home. I find that like I recently like we sort of we live in a big warehouse loft in our it’s a very open concept sort of space here. And I found that once I sort of my office up and Like, kind of coordinated off with this big giant bookshelf. And some like curtains up for a while to like, kind of block my computer from view. And I find that that really helped me sort of like be like, Alright, when I’m outside of my office, I’m not doing anything that is like work related. Yeah, I find that like, it’s super important to just like, maybe like, try to like back up and recognize when you’re maybe working a little too much. My fiance, he’s a massage therapist, so he’ll leave work at 10 o’clock in the morning, he’ll go and he’ll get home around like eight o’clock, and like I will, if I don’t like stop to make dinner or like stop to eat lunch, I will literally work from 10 o’clock to eight o’clock and like, not really take a break other than to like, make seven lattes. But you know, um, so my, my business is virtual. And I’ve got team members in BC, I’ve got team members here in Saskatchewan. And company years ago, when I moved my office back into the house. My kids would come home for lunch. And so at the time, I’ll say my kids were nine and 10. So they’d come home for lunch. And you know, I’ve been in the office working all morning, and I stopped, you know, when they came home for lunch. And so people are like, Oh, that’s such a nice balance. You can make your kids on time, like, take them lunch, I never made the lunch.
Erika Gayle 16:18
They make their own lunch.
Barb McGrath 16:20
One time, my son, and like I’m gonna say it was like December, January. So it’s pretty chilly outside, but it wasn’t too cold that they couldn’t walk because we’re not that far from school. So my son comes home at lunch. And as I say, I’ve been working on morning, he says to me, Mom, what do you think if one of these days at lunch, like you made us soup, or something like that? It’s like, okay, major parenting fail. My, my kid asked me to make a hot meal in the middle of the winter. How old? Is he gonna say it was nine at the time? Oh,
Erika Gayle 16:58
My goodness, it’s so funny.
Barb McGrath 17:01
Oh, it was it was just priceless. And I’m like, I think there’s a message here. But then just to add, you know, kind of insult to injury. So I’ve been working at home now for three years. And so but a year and a half ago or a year ago, my husband joined the business as well. And because he was, you know, just kind of getting used to this being at home thing and working from home. And he has an office upstairs. So we’re not in the same physical space. Well, he thought this was pretty cool. He walked to school with the kids in the morning, he made some hot lunches, like he has put me to shame like instantly. When he’s not here, and the kids are relying on me. They’re like,
Erika Gayle 17:46
No, God, now we’re gonna starve to death.
Barb McGrath 17:50
Exactly. I’m like, Hey, I am like building these people up, they are going to be able to look after themselves by the time they are 13. Yeah. Those are important life skills to have so really accurately favor. Exactly. Yeah. And of course, you know, we’re all stuck at home quite a bit right now. Mm hmm. So there was a meme that circulated on social media. And it said, you know, oh, by the time this is done, I’m gonna learn a language. I’m gonna do this. Yeah. And I, and I was like, No, I’m not losing weight, because I just taught my kids to bake. So no, my kids. My host isn’t gonna be clean, because now there’s four of us in it all day, every day. You know, and so I was like, none of this has happened. I’m not learning a new language. I’m, you know, figuring out how to pivot my business. And yeah, my. So, yeah, I see all this other stuff that you know, other parents are doing? And I’m like, yep, fail, whatever, just be done.
Erika Gayle 18:44
Just do what you can and get over it. Exactly.
Barb McGrath 18:47
Yes, exactly. So, you know, um, in the, in just in the last little while, there’s been these court sessions. And you know, like, it’s kind of cool. You see families on the porch, and they’re kind of dressed up. And yeah, it started during COVID. And maybe the last afternoon, maybe it won’t, but So tell me about that. Like, should that be happening right now? Or? Or like, What’s your opinion?
I have very strong opinions about the porch sessions, actually. They’re the, they’ve been very polarizing in the photography community. Because there are some people that are, you know, doing it for charity, which is amazing. And people, some people are raising a lot of money for like the food bank and like other, you know, fundraising opportunities that people are missing out on right now. So that’s great that you know, people are raising money for these charities and everything. But at the same time, you know, you did mention COVID, we are currently all under stay at home orders or whatever the current situation is like self isolation. So me personally, I feel like by leaving the house to go and do something That you’re sort of putting unnecessary risks on the families that are, you know, participating in these. Because you know, especially if you are photographing clients that you’ve photographed before, like, if you’re a family photographer, and you photograph this family 10 times in the last like five years, like the kids are going to know you, they might like love you. They might even like common run up to you, when you go to do these four purchase sessions and give you a hug. Well, there goes, the social distancing, right there. And now you’ve put that family at risk, and they have put you at risk. So right now, like, I don’t think, I don’t think that people should be doing them. That is, of course, my opinion. But you know, I don’t think photography is an essential service as much as we want to think it is an essential service. So for folks to be going out and like doing these sessions right now, which is sort of a it’s a Yeah, I don’t even know. There’s the professional photographers of Canada ppoc. They’ve even said, like, Hey, guys, like don’t do the session, like we are saying, as an association, stay home, you can do stuff from home, like don’t go out and put like your clients and stuff at risk. So yeah, me personally, I don’t I’m not a big fan of them. But like, I understand that, you know, some people are doing great things with them. So I’m trying to like, stay away from that whole like, thing.
Well, and so I asked a question, for a particular reason, because my opinion is kind of the same as yours. And I think that is a very polarizing opinion, where there’s a lot of photographers out there who think, Oh, this is a great thing. Let’s go do it. I agree with you. Any kind of interaction that doesn’t need to occur right now. Don’t take no risk. Yeah, right. Or if you just have to have that family picture, set your phone up on a tripod with a second,
Like yellow, a red back and stand we all have smartphones these days, there’s no excuse. Exactly. To me, it’s almost like I find I’m I they upset me mostly because like, even if you as a photographer are taking all the precautions and you are standing at 10 feet away, or whatever distance is supposed to be, and nothing goes wrong, you’re still setting that precedent for another less experienced photographer to go out and maybe not know that they need to stay away. It’s the same thing as like shooting on train tracks, train tracks, they’re highly illegal to shoot on. Very dangerous because you don’t know when the trains coming. It’ll just come in out of nowhere and people don’t realize the danger of train tracks. But you see photos on train tracks all the time. So to me, it’s the same thing as train track photos. Like just don’t do it right now. Exactly. No, and it’s anyway, we won’t get caught up in that one. We only have we only have a couple of minutes left. Oh my goodness already online. Okay. So but before we do wrap up, tell everyone how they can find you. website social, all those details. Yeah, I am at Erica gmail.com. That is Erica with the K e ri k ga y Y le.com. And also on Instagram at Eagle photo. dot intimates. And Facebook is RPL photography. I also have a Facebook community called babe community by Erica Gale photography. If you search booty babe community, it’s b o u di E. Babe community, you should be able to find it request to join. It’s a female identified non binary welcoming space where it’s positive. And we’re all like just cheer each other on and we’re supporting each other for this time I post a lot of client work in there too. So if you’re interested in the session, that’s the best way to see my most recent work is in that group and on Instagram to Kate, that sounds awesome. And actually something you just said. Men and women both do boudoir sessions. It’s not just women, right? Yeah. So so either gender is is more than welcome. Okay, well in my group I female identifying so if you’re trans or you identify as female and non binary, so if you don’t identify as either, I don’t accept men in my group, but Okay, yeah, cuz they can be creeping for all the wrong reasons. Yeah. I mean, not not all men. Right. But you never Yes. Yes. And you have no way to know. Yeah, I used to do HMO women only group and the number of men that wanted in there. And I was like, yeah,
Erika Gayle 24:24
It happens a lot. I declined a lot of requests. So awesome.
Barb McGrath 24:30
All right. Well, we are at a time. So I would like to thank everyone for joining us today. Thank you, Erica, for coming and talking to us about, you know, this acceptance around women and bodies and women and men. Everybody’s different. And I think it’s really important that we continue to reinforce the message that doesn’t matter what your body looks like, your body is beautiful. And, you know, I wish as a team those had been some of the messages that I’ve heard more often. If anyone who’s watching or listening today would like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Google girl.ca or just reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. So just a reminder, you can submit your questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you were charged for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.
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Turn on your imagination station, today we are talking boudoir!
For every woman, or man, who’s ever dreamed about, or tried to muster the courage, to create boudoir photos, this episode will inspire you. (True confession. I was once offered pics but declined because I was too chicken and didn’t think I was in “good enough” shape. In hindsight, I was rockin’ it!)
Erika Gayle will talk about how her clients find the courage to bare it (almost) it all, the impact of covid on her business and the creative ways she is still taking pictures.
Connect with Erika @ Erika Gayle Photography
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1916509291912230
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