I wish I had a penny for every time that a client has come to me expressing disappointment with their choice to go with their wedding photographer for maternity or baby portraits.  “He did such an incredible job at our wedding and I don’t understand why he wasn’t a great maternity and baby photographer.” Their surprised reaction always catches me off guard but then I remember that not everyone has hung around the photography industry for decades like I have.

The assumption from every layman is that a photographer is a photographer and that means that they should wear every hat. That’s like expecting your podiatrist to perform open heart surgery. We choose our specialties based on what we are passionate about and what we are good at. Don’t expect good portrait photographers to be good event photographers, and vice versa.

portrait photographers Los Angeles

This has all been brought up again for me as the press of the misunderstanding between Annie Leibovitz and Kanye West just hit the newsstands. The misunderstanding occurred when West wanted Leibovitz to be his wedding photographer after she created a stunning portrait photography session for Vogue magazine. Apparently she did not say no, but didn’t confirm either.

I understand, totally. Leibovitz knows that she’s not an event photographer, which is what a wedding is. There is a different mindset to photographing a wedding than to creating a portrait. I’m sure she wanted to please them and I’m sure she was thinking about how she could do the photography for them, but she apparently let her people-pleasing get in the way of what she knows: a studio portrait photographer is not a wedding photographer.

photographer

photographer Annie Leibovitz

 

To be a great portrait photographer you have to have a certain sensibility of the personality of the person in front of you and then juggle that with lighting, camera gear, and styling. You kind of have to be a bit of a control freak and there is just too much chaos at weddings for me. Weddings are their own beast and so are studio portrait sessions. I prefer the latter.

So please, don’t ask me to photograph your wedding. I’ve tried it in the past and my heart’s just not in it. I’m one of those portrait photographers who has tried every single kind of photography, and I know what I’m meant to do. And please think twice before asking your wedding photographer to be your family and newborn photographer.

family newborn portrait photographers Los Angeles

Please visit the main websites to view a collection of specialized portrait photography at: http://linnealenkus.com and http://boudoir-photography-los-angeles.com/ or contact our Los Angeles portrait studios at 562.981.8900 for more information.

 

Los Angeles Fine Art Nude Photographer

As you probably know, I’m a Los Angeles fine art nude photographer. I have been photographing women to empower them and to exalt their bodies and transform them into art.

woman and violence

The image that inspired the show’s theme found by Host Kira on the internet

Women and Violence

Back in March of this year I was asked to appear on TradioV’s Artful Undress which is a radio/tv show that streams live and is hosted by two incredibly talented  women named Kira and Polina. They brought me on the show to talk about my fine art nude photography and my vision of nudity within the arts. What I didn’t know then was that I was going to form this amazing bond with two women I love and respect. On July 21, 2014 it was the fourth time on the show now since March and every time gets better and better. The show is an hour filled with emotionally charged freedom of expression. We discuss all sorts of topics usually with the underlying theme of nudity and sexuality in the arts and tomorrow we will focus on violence against women.

Los Angeles fine art nude photographer with Artful Undress co host Polina Hyrn

Los Angeles fine art nude photographer, Linnea Lenkus, with Artful Undress co host Polina Hyrn.

What is the attitude of our society towards sexuality and nudity and how does this attribute to violence against women? You know the controversy… does it matter what women wear?

Kira and Polina are always so good at delivering a positive and empowering message and I am excited to be on the show again and to hear what these two smart women have to say about such an important topic that affects all of us. I certainly have my own point of view so please watch to find out.

Stream the show live from Hollywood tomorrow, June 6 at 5PM PST on the TradioV website at: http://tradiov.com/la/videoscategory/artfulundress/ (You can also view past shows there too)

Los Angeles fine art nude photographer on the TRadioV show

Press Photo from the “Artful Undress” 5-17-14 Linnea Lenkus with show’s hosts Kira and Polina and the Morgan Brothers.

http://linnealenkus.com/

http://boudoir-photography-los-angeles.com/

No matter where you are these days it seems as though you will find somebody taking a picture with their phone or digital camera and every new mom and Uncle Joe are calling themselves photographers. Now I’d hate to burst your bubble if this sounds like you but just because you have played around with a fancy camera or have taken a few great pictures with an iPhone this doesn’t qualify you as a professional photographer. Unfortunately, thanks to modern day technology and social media we are used to seeing a flood of mediocre images every day and the world is being taught that this is what photography looks like now. This just isn’t true!

It is hard to be a professional photographer these days and owning a high end portrait studio is very rare. The average person thinks you can hire photographers for a few hours and get all of your images retouched on a CD for the low price of a few hundred dollars. Why is that? Because the “photographers” popping up overnight are setting this as an example. I’ve been holding firm and I feel that as a veteran photographer it is my job to keep producing quality artwork and try to show people that you can and you should still invest in fine art photography for yourself and your family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 California Photography Pregnancy, California Photography Studios

I take a lot of maternity portraits and over the years I have seen an absurd amount of unflattering pregnancy pictures. It is not uncommon for me to take last minute pregnancy portraits for a mom that has had a horrible experience with another photographer because they tried to go with a friend or save a few bucks. Some mom’s aren’t so lucky and they end up missing out on having their portraits done correctly before they deliver. It always amazes me that anyone would even entertain the idea of going with an average photographer to capture something as unique and amazing as a pregnancy.

Los Angeles Photography Family,  Los Angeles Photo Studios

You don’t learn how to be a photographer overnight, trust me. It took me years of tinkering with my photography equipment to be able to master my lighting techniques and a lot of trial and error to figure out what the brand of my photography should look like. And it also took me years to master the art of getting people to look relaxed and free in their portrait sessions. When you see a truly great photograph you are filled with a sense of emotion and when it is an image of your child or your family that is evoking that emotion the feeling is priceless. Don’t you want to be moved by the portraits you have taken or do you just want a picture to update your Facebook status with?

 

To start planning you fine art photography session call the studio today at 562.981.8900 or 626.744.9104 or submit your photography inquiry HERE.

 

Parenting  Advice | Family Portraiture 

Recently, I had an awesome family photography session with a family of four that was a lot of fun to work with. Russ Jones is a busy stay at home father of two boys, an author of a very comical and true parenting blog and he just published a potty training book. In his flip over book, Potty Training Doesn’t Have to Stink,  there is a “for kids” side and a “for parents” side containing a logical and organized approach to potty training. I really value the advice that Russ gives to parents and I wish I had it when I was potty training my kids. Funny Kid Meme

I did it all wrong with one of my kids who was really a late bloomer when it came to potty-training. He just didn’t seem to think it was important, but then, he was only three. The really great preschool suddenly had an opening, which was rare, and I really wanted to get my kid into that preschool. So I did what every knuckle-headed parent does…I pressured him to potty train. He got in and then months later he got kicked out for something called soiling. Soiling is when a child holds it and holds it forever and then explodes, days worth of poop, all at once. Of course, this happened several times at preschool, where I guess he felt more comfortable. I felt horrible. Bad, bad mommy. It took a few months of letting him know that it was okay and he then got a handle on it. Luckily, the preschool was cool and let him back in when he was four.

Russ knows what he’s doing because his kids are very well-behaved and very creative. They had a great time helping us to create fun family photos. We even created some family photography for his blog! We got a kick out of one of his posts in particular that talked about a line that every kid is famous for saying and that we all get suckered into: “One more time. I promise!” We created this funny meme for it. You can see more fun memes on the main inspiration website. You can purchase the potty training book by Russ Jones on Amazon HERE! Be sure to check out his funny blog at at http://thestayathomer.com/ that not only makes you laugh but offers good sound parenting advice too!

potty training book

Check out more family photography here.

You’re getting ready for a child and baby photography session and what should you do? I’ve been a Los Angeles photographer of babies and children for over two decades with two LA portrait studios, with thousands of sessions under my belt, and I think I can give you some great advice and a glimpse into my world. I try to always have a positive, uplifting portrait session, but sometimes I have to make some calls that I don’t want to make.

Too often in a portrait photography session I experience people with outrageous expectations – – the woman who hates her body but wants it photographed nude, the well-endowed nose person who wants side angle images but doesn’t understand that they have to embrace their beauty first (think ala Barbra Streisand), and the parent who doesn’t understand why their child won’t behave in a way that wasn’t rehearsed. The list goes on.

I’m a big believer in parental expectations, as in, let your child know in advance, what you expect of them. Do it calmly and gradually. Talk and talk and talk about it in an encouraging way. Children need guidelines and boundaries. They want to know what you want them to do, but they need time to understand it, so you have to work at it slowly and over time.

Maternity Photography with Children, LA Portrait Studios

One of our favorite clients, this pregnant mom did pregnant nudes with her first child, and so it seemed fitting to include her daughter in this tender portrait.

Whenever I photograph maternity photography with children I recommend to the parents that they “practice”. Practice makes perfect and it’s no different in a child and baby photography session. If there is a pose you want to see on your walls, practice it first. Don’t wait for the portrait session to introduce it. Many parents want a portrait of their two year old holding the newborn baby, and that’s an unrealistic expectation. Not going to happen. Do you want the four year old holding the baby? Maybe. But practice it at home and give them tips on how to be gentle and safe. Even the 10 year old needs practice and help.

Child and Baby Photography, LA Portrait Studios

This little boy was surprisingly calm holding his newborn baby sibling.

Talk to you children about being gentle with their new sibling. Most children don’t know they’re own strength. Yes, they know their own exuberance but it tends to get played out physically. One interesting phenomenon, as a baby photographer, that I witness over and over again is what I call the Younger Child Syndrome. Most parents aren’t aware of it, but I’ve seen it time and time again. A baby has only so many defenses and their instincts are sharp.

So, often, when an exuberant toddler comes around the baby starts to fuss. Why? Because they KNOW danger instinctively. When they start to fuss they are asking for help from what they perceive as a danger. So the more you practice at home with your child hanging out with your newborn baby, in a mellow way, the more they both will benefit. The more you practice loving and gentleness with your toddler, even before your baby is born, the tighter their bond will be.

And the more your child and baby photography portrait will be a success! I’m all about that.

I’m a portrait photographer and I’ve seen it all over the last 20+ years.

I was motivated a while ago to create this inspiring quote in honor of Earth Day which is a day that reminds us to be extra gentle to our Mother Earth. I make a point to eat organically produced foods and to use products in my everyday life that are significantly less harmful for the environment. This is hard to do when you are an extremely busy mother of 3 and a portrait photographer with two Los Angeles photography studios, but how I treat my body and the planet is necessary to me.

It is never too late to start taking care of yourself and the planet. I hope that this inspiring quote from Buddha set to my portrait photography helps to inspire you to recognize all of the beauty in our world and ourselves and motivate you to start being proactive today.

Inspirational Quote Miracle of a single flower

What are you waiting for? Pick up some extra trash, plant a tree or ride your bike instead of using your car. Buy local and organic! Most of all take care of yourself and your family!

Did you like this inspiring quote about life? For more inspirational quotes and memes about, family, beauty and love set to the stunning photography of Fine Art Portrait Photographer, Linnea Lenkus, please go to the main inspirational quote page to motivate and inspire you! Please feel free to post and share!

http://linnealenkus.com

Spring is here and it’s time to embrace color with outdoor family photography! As a Los Angeles portrait studio, we are fortunate to enjoy beautiful weather year-round, but right now everything is in bloom which makes for exciting color portraits. Outdoor family photography sessions open a whole new door when considering your options for family portraits.

Outdoor family Photography

Natural light is very flattering for all types of portraits and choosing an outdoor location provides a very personal feel and adds a new color palette to your portraits. Capturing the beauty of your loved ones is always a good photographer’s goal whether the photography session is in the studio or out in the world and an on location session allows a bit more room for the kids to run around in and be their true playful selves.

outdoor family photography

Linnea and or her associate photographers, L2, capture breathtaking moments at your home or other chosen location like the beach or park. These portraits offer a new look for your family photography or maternity photography session if you have been opting for our fine art photography studio sessions in the past. We think it sounds like fun, too! Call us to start planning your next on location Los Angeles portraits at either 562.981.8900 or 626.744.9104.

 

outdoor family photography

A fine art portrait photography session is a meaningful investment that takes planning. The preparation can be stressful as you get the kids, hair, and wardrobe ready  for the lights, camera, action! The booking process at my studio works to provide you with the answers to help you prepare and properly plan for your studio session, and we always have tips and suggestions that we feel are extremely helpful. Today’s suggestion? Relax!

 family-photography

Too often we see the stress of family events filter down from parent to child.  It can be stressful to be part of a portrait photography session, but it should really just be a new memory and a day of celebration. There should be no need for a family member or child to leave the experience feeling like they spent the day under a magnifying glass.

family-photographer-los-angeles

Portraits are complex, and to summarize the love of a family or the excitement growing within an expecting mother is a great task. Leave the hard work to the professionals. Your job is to arrive to the session with a calm mind and spirit ready to interact with your loved ones as you normally would. If you are focusing on trying to get your child to smile then not only are you not ready to be photographed but the child may have the photographer and several others focused on them. All of that hyped up energy can wear on a child especially in a new environment. Trust your fine art photographer and let them interact with your child.

I have been perfecting the art of portraiture for over twenty years now and I assure you that a relaxed family makes for the best photographs!Los Angeles photographers

Stories of why our amazing clients come to Linnea Lenkus Fine Art Portrait Studios for boudoir portraits are often noteworthy, such as the story of our client Helen. A Registered Nurse, Helen called in to book a nude portrait session. We do a lot of talking in my photography sessions and a lot of the stories that we share are very heartfelt and personal, and this portrait session was no different.

Nude Photography

Helen shared with me a moving conversation at work that inspired her to have a boudoir portrait done of herself.

An elderly woman was staying at the hospital where she worked and had been needing increasing amounts of care and support to complete simple tasks. Above the woman’s bed hung a stunning, fine art nude photograph of a young woman taken decades earlier. Upon inquiring why the photograph was there, Helen was told, “My daughter hung that photograph above my bed so I could know myself.  The old and wrinkled person you see lying in this failing body is not me.” Pointing slowly up to the portrait, she explained, “This is me.” Taken when she was a young woman, a very daring woman at that for those times, she treasured this nude art of herself and obviously, related to it. It was her! It was her body forever.

I have taken countless fine art boudoir portraits and have heard all of their stories but Helen’s story about this woman has stuck with me. It literally gives me chills when I repeat it.

What a beautiful gift to give ones’ self: the memory of where we have come from and the knowledge that our souls are not limited to our physical state.  Helen was motivated to document her own life, and the photographs came out as they do; priceless, timeless, and full of meaning.

Boudoir Portraits 

 

 

Gratitude through the lens

I’ve had a lot of return clients lately at my portrait studios in LA, and I am always beyond flattered that they return to me for their portrait photography time and again since my prices can be higher than some of my competition. With that being said, I think it’s pretty clear I must be doing something right!

My clients feel like old friends and family to me; some come back with each baby, some come back for an update. Either way, they’re coming back. I think as a portrait photographer this is the highest compliment I can receive. It gives me immense joy.

I have watched so many babies and families grow over the years through my lens, it’s truly a blessing. It is an incredible feeling to see the looks on the parent’s faces, whom I know well, when they see the priceless pictures of their newborns and family members.

When they continue to come back year after year, trusting me to capture their most precious moments, I feel so honored to be their portrait photographer. I get goose bumps when I think of it. It encourages me to always try harder, work harder, learn new techniques and continue to grow and push my company further into this very competitive industry; an industry that I love, that I sacrifice myself and time with my family for every day. My staff and I are dedicated to making sure that every family is happy with the work that I, and we, provide.

I hope my customers can understand why my prices may be a bit higher than other photographers. An old saying comes to mind as I write this, “You get what you pay for”. Well I always have and always will photograph to deliver more than you pay for! My goal is to make you happy with my portrait photography. As a mother myself, I completely understand what these memories mean, and I also cherish all the time I can with my family.

There are many factors when it comes to pricing: the best equipment, studio locations, rent, payroll, travel, my personal time, my experience etc. I could get into to all these things but I don’t think that really matters.

What matters are the precious memories I capture and the families that get to take those portraits home with them, being able to build relationships with my clients and their families through my camera. It is truly a wonder to connect with people who love what I do, and I love what they do—being full of love and life.

I would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my loyal clients and future clients, without you I would just be a woman with a camera.

Below are a few images of one of the incredible families I have been so fortunate to photograph over the years.

Newborn Photography Long Beach Photographer Pregnancy Photography Los Angeles photographers   Children Photographer

 

What a lucky photographer I am.

This last weekend I was invited to be on the most unique and amazing radio show, The Artful Undress, hosted by two wonderful, creative women who “get it”, Kira and Polina. We had a great time talking about art and nudity and how our society has it all wrong. We need to change it folks. I’m lucky to be a photographer known for creating artistic nudes. I don’t understand the puritan attitudes when it comes to classic nude art. Please listen to the radio show above.

Did you get your Christmas cards mailed this year? Did you receive many Christmas/Holiday cards? No? Neither did I, although I did get my family photography done. Does that count? Oh Christmas time, the stress, multiple family gatherings, wrapping presents, and baking cookies till my fingers go numb.  That doesn’t leave much time left for mailing large quantities of cards. I did receive a few Christmas cards, but only after the 25th, so I know I’m not the only one who had a hard time getting in gear this holiday season.

 

Are you hopeful for next year? Honestly, I don’t think I will have it together next year either. I know ill try, but I’m sure I just won’t remember to write out our yearly ‘what we have been up to, what accomplishments we actually accomplished this year, how much the kids have grown’ letter, let alone assembling a family photo session, picking out and addressing envelopes, and actually getting them mailed in time.

family photography

So here’s a little thought, which I have been mulling over the past few days, considering I just didn’t get my…stuff together this year. Why not break from tradition? I mean it’s almost 2014!

 

Who says we still have to do everything that’s traditional? Why not make a new tradition like sending out a New Year’s Eve card or even Valentines Day Cards? I really like the Valentines Day cards idea! There are great family photography opportunities there.

 

I feel like this could definitely be the start to a new tradition. It definitely cuts out a lot of stress during one of the most stressful times of the year, and if you shoot for Valentine’s Day you have an entire month to get it together, and of course you’ll stand out from the crowd!

 

Why not start 2014 out with the resolution to make a new family tradition? Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, even Halloween cards; doesn’t that sound like a fun, less stressful attempt to share your family photography throughout the year? With that said, I better get started on my New Year’s resolution: to send out a family Valentine’s Day photo card!

I wanted to talk about how portrait photography is an important way to remember, heal and preserve life, and how moved I am by the people who have experienced cancer and their families struggling to heal by loss. As a photographer, I’m always behind the camera, even at home. I want my children to have as many photographs as they can of me and all the memories we make together. This is something I will be working on.

 

I realize that our time on earth is way too short and that we should all enjoy those we love more and take more photos to remember them by, as these timeless pictures will outlast most of us.  My job, to create beautiful photography for others, is more important than I thought, and after watching this touching video it really made me think differently.

 

 

The Mimi foundation has put together an amazing video project that 20 cancer patients participated in. They received unique makeovers and hair do’s, and were asked not to open their eyes as a photographer behind the scenes captured the most amazing transformation from each participant. With the discovery allowing them to forget the illness and pain they carry every second, if only for a second. You can find more information on this project at www.mimi-foundation.org.

It seems as though portrait photography and cancer are becoming more entwined lately, and it can be an amazing journey for some to document the changes cancer brings. I recently heard of the man who took photographs of himself wearing a pink tutu and would send them to his wife, who is battling breast cancer, so she would have a good laugh everyday.  I also heard a story of a young lady who decided she would document her battle loosing her hair from breast cancer, and ended up with over 50 weeks worth of pictures!

This can mean different things for each individual, as a way to look back at the biggest struggle they have overcome, or a way to help another battle theirs. Either way, photography is beautiful and it’s an amazing way to document our lives. I hope we all can take something meaningful from these experiences and grow from them. Maybe encourage your sister, mother, or best friend to be photographed before or after cancer to remember her strength and help her realize every day how beautiful she is.

Recently I went to the funeral of a friend who died of cancer. It has been over a decade since I have been to a funeral and now, with technology, the memories of a lifetime literally pass before all the mourners in the viewing room. I sat there mesmerized by the photos of my friend’s life and I realized that photography has such meaning in our lives, not only to preserve memories, but also to honor somebody’s time on earth.

So go out there and be photographed. Go out there and document your life.

http://linnealenkus.com

http://boudoir-photography-los-angeles.com

With a long-time passion for photography, I’ve managed to capture people at their most comfortable state, being themselves in front of the camera. My two portrait studios, located in Pasadena and Long Beach, have broadened my photography spectrum to include baby photography, maternity photography, child photography, family photography, dog photography and boudoir photography. For Linus Galleries’ past art show, “It’s Only Natural”,  I took more photographs for my artist portrait series centering the idea around some of the artists whose work was chosen to be part of the art exhibition. This portrait series opened the door to gaining a different perspective into the artists’ creative process.

Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

Pasadena Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

While being photographed, every artist’s individuality flourished, making it perfect to get incredibly expressive images. Artists, such as Doug Sandelin, show how natural the atmosphere was during the  photography sessions. Having years of experience reinforces my intuitive process to producing animated photographs such as these. Black or white backgrounds help to enliven the artist’s personality, something rarely seen by only looking at the art. Artwork is enhanced with the humanizing quality portraits bring about; the series puts artists in a more appealing and relatable position, no longer hiding within the details of their art pieces.

Los Angeles Art Gallery Photography by Linnea Lenkus

Los Angeles Artist Photography by Linnea Lenkus

These portraits are a way for me to build a stronger bond with the participating artists, allowing my art gallery to become a supportive resource for their artistic endeavors. The portraits also serve as gifts for the artists, pushing them in a motivational way and helping them feel comfortable to self-promote. The artist portrait series is a stepping stone for the initial stages of a future project at Linus Galleries. I plan to have these portraits showcased next to their respective artist’s artwork. This prospective project will allow viewers to put a face to the creative mind being exposed through the artwork collection.

Los Angeles Art Photography by Linnea Lenkus

I don’t have much free time to watch TV, in fact, none. So on the plane back from Italy recently I was held hostage to a film on the plane.

Luckily, it was “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. Normally I fall asleep during movies since I have such an active life. But I was on jet lag time, and it was such a treat to watch this film and feel the emotion that was presented.

The thing that I loved about this film was that Jamie Foxx’s character was highly sensitive and, coincidentally, schizophrenic. At one point he experienced an orchestra visually through color waves. I totally understood this because I, too, experience one sense in another sense. To music, he was highly sensitive. I related to this movie in a big way. The creators of this film seem to really understand the creative mind and the line it crosses sometimes into another world.

You have to remember that creativity comes from a unique place. Creative photographers understand that the creativity is from within, not from “getting ideas” from other creative photographers. You will never grow as a creative photographer as long as you are looking to copy truly creative photographers.

baby photographers in los angeles

Today I was explaining to my amazing assistant that I feel light the same way that Jamie Foxx understood music in this movie. Light comes to me in a visual way, yes, but also in a tactile way. I know it sounds strange but I think I can feel light on my skin. Odd, yes, I know.

To light, I am highly sensitive. I’m the person who walks into a room and knows that a light bulb is out. It’s a weird thing, but it’s how I’m wired. It’s what helps me to create portraits where the light is speaking to the viewer because I can truly feel how something should be lit. The play of light and shadow constantly mesmerize me.

So, because of this weirdness, I obsessively tweak my lights while I am creating portraits. I do this because I know that a portrait has to be perfect. It has to be something I am proud to show. You won’t see a “vomit” of images here because I am not interested in expressing everything, I am interested in expressing perfection AND imperfection perfectly.

I am one of the world’s photographers who feel light. I hope you comprehend what I mean. Just look at my portraits to understand. Los Angeles Studio Photographer