Archive for ‘personal life’

December 7, 2011

Hiatus.

I’m on indefinite hiatus from modeling.

I’m most definitely not shooting until January, but am not sure when I’ll get in front of the camera again.  I’m crazy busy, and I’m waiting for a piercing to fully heal.

I will still be blogging over at Suburban Style Challenge and active on FaceBook.  Not sure if I’ll pick back up here regularly or not… I’ve been rather uninspired to write here lately, to be honest.

Oh, and I’m judging this awesome event with Raw Talent Clothing Co and Gonzo Photos on January 20.  You should check it out (I’ll post a separate entry about it later on).

Do you really want to shoot with me after the holidays? Well, money talks. My rates are $50/hour for modeling and $25/hour for pose coaching (which I’ll be available for after New Year’s).  Feel free to email me to set something up booking@modelracheljay.com.

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July 20, 2011

Upcoming Event: A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE”

I have the honor of modeling for bridal designer Atha Sharod in the Atha & Friends Present A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE” event coming up on Sunday, August 7.  

Brides who attend the event will get a sneak preview of Atha Sharod’s The White Collection – LUXE, which features beautiful couture bridal gowns and honeymoon negligees.  Atha Sharod’s stunning pieces are made from 100% silk and French imported laces, and are custom made for each bride to ensure a perfect fit.  In addition to getting a chance to see Atha Sharod’s beautiful White Collection – LUXE, event guests will have a chance to sample wedding cake, enjoy music, food, champagne, gift bags and most importantly, the beautiful wedding gowns.  They will also get to experience a live photo shoot by Wedding and Engagement Photographer, Tuan H. Bui.  The photos from the shoot will be used for the catalog and website that the company will use to promote the collection.  Robert Sharod, the designer, says “I created this collection as a tribute to the American woman. I wanted her to know that she could be independent and yet be feminine at the same time” when describing his collection.  Brides, this event is one that’s not to be missed!

This incredible, one-of-a-kind bridal event will take place Sunday, August 7 from 4P to 7P, and will be held at the Loft on Lake, located at 1366 West Lake, Chicago, IL.  Tickets are less than $25 and can be bought in advance here: athasharodbridal.eventbrite.com  You can RSVP for the event on Facebook too… but be sure to buy your tickets in advance!

Check out this list of incredible preferred vendors for the event!

  • Wedding Planner: Charity & Gabriela with A La Moda Events
  • Photographer: Tuan H Bui
  • Videographer: Al with Elite Video Productions
  • Fashion Illustrator: Rosemary Fanti
  • Bouquet Preservationist: Loreen Hospodar
  • Make Up Artist: Tracy Ballog
  • Bridal Stylist: Susan from the Left Bank
  • Menu Tastings: Norman’s Bistro & Cedar’s Mediterranean
  • Wedding Cake & Bakery: Richard with Rueter’s Bakery
  • Dessert Tray Stylist: Lizabeth with Fancy Candies & Sweet Buffets
  • Vocalist: Karen Dade
  • Live Trio: The Bons Vivants

Brides, if you’re looking to make your wedding a classy, beautiful event, the Atha & Friends Present A Sneak Preview of “The White Collection – LUXE” event is THE place to go to find everything you’ll need to make your special day memorable.

Check out Atha Sharod online:
The official Atha Sharod website: www.athasharodbridal.com
Become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Atha-Sharod-Bridal/166098103434102
Be friends on Facebook: www.facebook.com/athasharodbridal
Follow Atha Sharod on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AthaBridal
Robert’s Blog: athasharodbridal1.blogspot.com

February 28, 2011

Relocated & Booking Soon!

Over the weekend, my husband, the dog, and I (and all our stuff) moved into a house in Hoffman Estates, IL. We’re still renting, but this was an opportunity we absolutely couldn’t pass up–more space, a garage, a month-to-month lease, helping friends out, and about as much money as we were spending on our 1 bedroom apartment.  All in all, a win-win situation!

Now that the move is over, we’ll need some time to unpack and organize our stuff, but that shouldn’t take too long.  In fact, I plan to bust my butt to get it done by the second weekend in March, to make things easier.

March 12 is the Old Fashioned M&G with the Chicago Model Photography Insiders group I run.  And I’m planning on heading to Davenport, IA to work/hang out with Laura Ann of Fleur De Lis Photography March 19-20.  So I’d really like to have things together by that second weekend in March so that I don’t have to worry about it after my road trip to Davenport.

I’ll post a few select pics of things once things get organized.  I’m excited, because since we have so much room, I’ve taken over one of the bedrooms and converted it into a closet/dressing room.  It’s a mess right now–completely unorganized–but once things get put away and organized, it’s going to be pretty awesome!  Great for organizing wardrobe, shoes and accessories for both everyday and shoots!

If you’d like to discuss booking, drop me a line! The best way to get a hold of me is either on Facebook or at rachel [at] modelracheljay [dot] com.

February 7, 2011

Why Taking a Break is Necessary

Back in December I announced that I was taking a break from modeling, and while I said I planned on coming back, at the earliest, sometime in March, I’m still a bit undecided to some degree.  When I announced my break, I got a lot of people questioning my reasons for the break from modeling, and I am still getting asked about it (especially with my new look and shoot with Laura Ann of Fleur de Lis Photography).

So, I’ve decided to expand on things a little bit.  Not necessarily to explain myself or share my reasoning (because, frankly, I shouldn’t have to), but because it might give some of you an insight into a hobbyist’s mind when it comes to hobby modeling, setting priorities, and life in general.

With modeling being a hobby, I model when I have time to. Because I enjoy modeling, I often make the time to model, and that means missing out on time spent with the family (even if that’s just my husband and our dog) and skipping events I might otherwise be interested in attending.  I’ve even missed family events, since, once I’ve scheduled a shoot, I opt not to cancel unless the situation is dire enough to warrant it, and that’s rare.

When I shoot, I try to book at least 4 hour blocks of time, if not more.  When you count the travel time, on average, I’ve invested about 6 hours (figure an hour there and back, since I live far away from pretty much anything) of my day into a 4 hour shoot.  Add hours onto the shoot and/or travel time, and suddenly I’m out for longer than I am during the average work day.

The time spent at a shoot isn’t the only time I spend on modeling though.  I spend hours saving wardrobe, lighting and pose ideas I find, and then spend hours going through saved ideas for specific shoots (and sometimes seek out more ideas when I don’t have something that fits my vision).  I also regularly practice posing and expressions, and spend a fair amount of time networking, searching and answering castings, and otherwise involving myself in the (internet) modeling world.  And then there’s the modeling-related writing I do too, of course, since I do a fair amount of that (though much of it is still in draft form).

Another thing that I had to consider was the return on investment. Not only does modeling take up a decent amount of my time, but I generally model at a loss.  Purchasing wardrobe, shoes and accessories for a shoot adds up.  I try to buy items I can wear regularly, or at least again for a shoot, but it can be tough.  Yea yea, I know photographers spend a lot of money on gear, lenses and all that crap, and that we make choices to spend the money on our hobbies.  Buying clothes, shoes and accessories I might not be able to wear normally has been a choice I’ve made, and I’m ok with that to some degree.  The more I do it though, the less ok I am with it.

The amount of photographers willing to hire me prior to my taking a break was slim.  I’m not sure if it was the economy, the fact that I don’t do nudes, the fact that some photographers don’t see a value in hiring a reliable, good model who knows how to pose and emote, some other reason I’m not thinking of, or a combination of the 4, but bottom line is, I have been getting fewer paying jobs than most people think.  That alone makes it hard, because this means that, like I said, I’m modeling at a loss.

And sure, there’s working trade, but there’s problems with that too. The problem is, I trade up, which means, I only trade with photographers whose work is better than what I have in my portfolio.  If a photographer cannot give me images that are as high of quality as I currently have in my book, then it’s not an even trade.  I’m already modeling at a loss when it comes to spending time on coming up with ideas and money on wardrobe… why would I shoot and get nothing usable for it?  I wouldn’t.

And then there are the photographers I work trade with who don’t give images back to me.  Essentially, it means I’ve worked uncompensated.  This has increasingly become a problem.  So much so, in fact, that I’ve virtually stopped attending TF* group events, and have rarely worked trade with anyone outside a select group of photographers I know are reliable when it comes to returning images in a timely fashion.  But that limits me and the work I get back.

Not that it really matters, in the long run, all this stuff.
Portfolio building, and all that just doesn’t matter… why?  I can’t quit my job and sign with a modeling agency because, largely, my stats aren’t those that modeling agencies are looking for.  I can’t even go sign with a talent agency, because while my work might be flexible enough, I’m a salaried employee with full benefits currently, and can’t risk losing that or my benefits changing.  My husband runs his own company and I’m the primary breadwinner and sole benefit recipient for the both of us, health insurance included.  If we lose my income and my benefits, it would be very bad.

Life & Choices
Anyway, my circumstances had become such that I had to make choice: take time out of my life for the hobby that continually drains my wallet and provides little ROI, or have time and money to take care of other (more important) things.  And while I really do love modeling, the choice wasn’t a tough one.  I simply need to shift my focus and priority, and sacrifices need to be made.  Whether or not it’s a temporary one (as I’m currently planning it to be) or a permanent change, depends on how I feel after everything that needs to get done, is done.

Please, if you’re going to comment here, comment on the content of the blog, and not the fact that I’m taking a break from modeling.  Leave those comments for my Facebook page, please.

January 18, 2011

Changes in 2011.

One step at a time.  But changes nonetheless.

I’m starting with cutting deep fried foods out of my diet.  Largely, this will limit what I eat from fast food chains, and will hopefully result in me going to healthier places, and maybe even making my own lunch every once in awhile.

I’ve also made a decision to not attend any group shoot events in 2011.  I didn’t attend many in 2010, because while fun, I didn’t get much out of the ones I attended in 2009.  I have decided that I am at the level that I do not need to attend TF* group events, and should only work TF* with very limited photographers of my choice.

Which brings me to another change for 2011.  I’m going to be even more selective with the TF* work I do.  No more “only with people I’ve worked with before”.  I need to concentrate on very specific stuff this year, and need to make sure that the people I work with can deliver the quality and type of work I need for my portfolio.

I’m also not going to walk in fashion shows without being paid, regardless of how I feel about the charity.  Last year, I walked in a show that, while fun, was a huge waste of time.  Not only was my entire day tied up waiting for no reason at the show’s venue, but I also had to attend practices and seminars that I didn’t feel were necessary to walk in a charity show.  Plus, much of what I was promised as a model wasn’t delivered, which wasn’t really fair.  So, no more of that.

I may also be re-evaluating using MeetUp to run my group, the Chicago Model Photography Insiders.  MeetUp is a nice tool, but it’s rather expensive, and there are other options out there for both event registration and group management.

Past that, I have other plans in mind for 2011, but I’d prefer to keep them quiet at this point 🙂

January 13, 2011

Spotted Again!

After my wedding in June 2009, I shot a Vogue Bride set with Laura Ann Photography and Christin C. We fell in love with numerous shots from the set, but this particular one stuck out to us:

So Laura had Blue Cube Imaging print and mat a copy of that shot, which we brought over to the bridal shop I got my beautiful dress at, Doris Bridal in Highwood, IL.  As you can imagine, they loved it, and put it up behind the desk right away.  I went by a few weeks later with some of Laura’s and Christin’s business cards, and it was still up 🙂

So today, I was grabbing their address for someone, and decided to browse their website.  And what do I find on their About Us page?  ME!  In the shot they’ve taken to show off their space, you can see the print Laura and I delivered, prominently displayed.  Pretty cool!

October 8, 2010

Must Read: Memoirs of a Bullied Kid

Many models tell stories of how they were awkward kids, didn’t fit in, grew up ugly ducklings, and never thought they were pretty.  Some even had bad acne, were overweight, or otherwise were considered “ugly” by peers.  Most certainly, they dealt with being made fun of.

But besides that, many of us have dealt with bullying.  We’ve spent time wallowing in self-loathing, and we’ve dealt with plain just not fitting in, at one point in our lives or another.

And that is why this article is worth a read.

http://www.danoah.com/2010/10/memoirs-of-bullied-kid.html

Oh, and this one’s worth a read too.

http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/disease-called-perfection.html

June 8, 2010

Deposits & Cancellation Fees

After a string of cancellations, and much thought on the subject, I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing two things I’ve never done before as a model.  I am now going to require a deposit to re-book after a cancellation, and am also going to be instituting a cancellation fee.  For all shoots, even trade.  Even with those I’ve worked with before.

Bottom line is, I’m tired of setting aside a full day for someone and getting canceled on, and during summer, setting aside a full day for a shoot in IL means skipping a weekend with my family up in MI as well.  And that’s not to mention all the time I typically spend planning (finding pose, wardrobe, and hair/makeup ideas at the very least) for a shoot, and (in some cases) the money spent on new items for a shoot.

It’s just not fair to those who’ve be reliable, and I’m sorry, but a handful of folks have tipped the boat far enough where it’s just too frustrating now, and I’m done.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

  • If a shoot is canceled within 3 days, my re-booking deposit will be $25, payable via Paypal only.  Refundable the day of the shoot, or put towards MUA fees, photographer’s choice.
  • If a shoot is canceled within 24 hours, my cancellation fee will be $50, payable via Paypal only.  Non-refundable, and will not be applied to a re-booking deposit.

I’m also going to start being even more selective when it comes to those I book with.  Between upcoming workshops, a fashion show I’m in, and just my life in general, the free time I have is becoming less and less free, and, frankly, I’d rather concentrate on workshops and that stuff than shoot just to shoot.  Paid jobs, tear sheets, and the like will continue to take priority.

April 16, 2010

365 Portrait Project

I’ve started a new blog for the 365 Portrait Project.

The premise of the project is to take a different portrait every day.  As I understand it, creativity, method, mood, etc. are all up to the individual.  It’s going to be a fun, interesting ride!

Here’s my blog dedicated to the project: http://modelracheljay.wordpress.com/

April 15, 2010

Object of Lust: Nook

I’m totally obsessed, and I haven’t even gotten a chance to play with it in-stores yet!  I just snagged a pamphlet on the way out a couple weeks ago, and did some research.  I most definitely want one!  I’m thinking of maybe seeing if I can get one before heading out to Maui… the way I read, it’ll be far easier (and lighter-weight) to take this along versus :does the math: the 4 or 5 actual books I’m sure I’ll read while there/traveling to and from.

The Barnes&Noble Nook eBook Reader.

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