Boss Ladies - Pittsburgh Personal Branding Photography

In light of history being made last night that was specific to the female population (WHOOT!!!!) I decided today would be a great day to write about a few pret-ty impressive women I have had the absolute pleasure of working with. Each of them is a powerhouse of their own making. Each of them has affected my life in a positive way. Each of them is an example of fearlessly believing in your own talent, smarts, ambition and superpowers. Each of them should be an inspiration to each and every one of you. And that's for girls AND boys.

LauraScreen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.13.43 AM Laura is one of those women that when you meet her you can instantly see the passion in her eyes. I mean, yes, she has a passion for fitness and keeping your one body for this one lifetime at its optimal performance, but this passion goes far beyond that. Laura struck right through me, and even identified herself as a kindred spirit of mine, when she talked about emotionally connecting with your body. Her message is one of self-love, introspection and deeply understanding that the intertwining of mind, body and soul is a real, living thing. She owns Meraki Studios, which is a BarreAmped studio, and she made it very clear to me that when she decided to go for it and make that leap into becoming the owner of a female-driven business, she had no interest in creating an atmosphere of "skinny is better". Her studio is one of self-acceptance, patience and most importantly, feeling good about yourself while also taking care of yourself. I can get on board with that.

Here's to you, Laura, for infusing power back into every single female that walks through your door. Cheers, my friend.

Ashley Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.13.06 AM

Ashley is an über-talented painter that I recently started stalking. She's that cool girl that doesn't even know that she's cool and you secretly hope that just by hanging out with her, you get cool too. Oh, and she can paint like a mofo. Beyond walking into her studio and just letting my jaw drop at her work, what really struck me about Ashley was her drive. It was very clear to me that Ashley has a very successful business as her work is highly sought after and she is commissioned regularly for unique projects, but during my time photographing her she talked excitedly about ongoing ideas on how to open up her work to other populations that others wouldn't even think of (like appealing to the bridal population by painting absolutely breathtaking paintings of their bridal bouquets). I could see her wheels turning throughout our entire conversation and my thought was. 'Holy moly...this woman is a badass boss lady.' As you can imagine, being a badass boss lady myself...r.e.s.p.e.c.t.

Lastly, be sure to follow Ashley on her many social media platforms, as she has also made it a very smart business practice to open up her works-in-progress for everyone to enjoy.

Glasses raised to Ashley: making the world a much much much more beautiful place and kicking ass at the same time.

Kathryn Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.13.20 AMKathryn saw a need in others and she took a chance and decided to branch out and fulfill that need. Kathryn is the owner of a gym and also works as a trainer. It was during these times that Kathryn would meet people that had the unfortunate experience of allowing food to become their enemy. Seeing that mind/body/soul disconnect in each of them, she set out to help individuals, like me, develop an entirely new, and positive, relationship with food. Kathryn changed the way my brain works and here is her own intro to who she is that explains why I love her so much:

“I am a Holistic Life and Eating Psychology Coach. But really, I’m a Pirate Queen committed to strengthening your conviction in your own worth. I want to help you develop the mental, physical, and emotional strength to use and trust your body, mind, soul, and world.”

Yeah...right?!? How can you not fall instantly in love with a rockstar like THAT? In getting to know Kathryn, I got to know me better. I got to inspect and learn how my brain works when it comes to food. I got to learn how to be more forgiving of myself, my choices and eventually shift that focus on other, way more important things in my life. And you know what makes Kathryn what I like to now call my Cyber Bestie?? Every so often, I get a love note from her. Yep--Kathryn sends out the most inspirational emails to her clients that are full of awesome info about your body/mind/soul connection in relation to food. Typically there is a link to a video she has made where she goes into specific topics, but what I love most is the super-supportive tone of every single email. It's like she's talking right to ME!

Big wet sloppy kisses to you, Kathryn: in a world where we are incessantly bombarded, daily, with messages of self-hate, keeping up with the Kardashians, and 50 ways to lose that baby weight, I wholeheartedly applaud your decision to start a new business that's sole purpose is to help people to not only take control back into their lives, but to also see themselves for all the buckets of beauty they truly are. Bravo!

Paula and her 7 Charming SistersElizabeth Craig Photography-001

Paula, simply put, is a powerhouse of a woman gettin' shit done. I met Paula a little while ago when she came to kinda interview me as her new business required a very specific kind of photographer (more on that below). And honestly, it was kismet when we met. She's wicked smart, talks and takes no bullshit and is f***ing hilarious. She really is the epitome #bosslady. Paula and her husband opened a business years ago that serves individuals with both mental and physical challenges and now employs over 300 people. But here is the story that will pull you in.

Knowing that she was ready for a huge shift in her life, she wanted to figure out what new venture she could create to open that door. Most would have daydreamed about it for a few years, then came up with a business plan over the next few years, then spent another few years figuring out the logistics, financing..blah blah blah. Paula rented a hotel room for 4 nights, going in with not one idea in her head, and coming out 5 days later with an entirely new business to get up off the ground. And that she did. Paula, and a few other women not to be taken lightly, opened 7 Charming Sisters, selling highly fashionable jewelry, and still haven't looked back.

But wait, there's more.

If that story isn't kickass enough, how about the intertwined and pervasive message of "real women = real beauty" woven into their business practices? Paula and her gang of making-shit-happen-while-you're-all-sleeping women decided that they would not hire models to wear their jewelry for marketing and advertising. They were very adamant about each of them being photographed wearing their own line of jewelry so that women considering their purchases would see real, everyday women wearing the very jewelry they were about to spend their money on. And that's where I came in. They wanted a photographer that could photograph everyday women, which is a huge difference than working with models. How can you not be on board with that??

High fives and fist bumps to you, Paula, and every single one of the 7 for being kickass, take-no-prisoners, don't-tell-me-what-I-can't-do women.

So what's the purpose of a blog post like this? Women supporting women. That's what. In the last 6 to 8 months I have met each of these women and am a stronger, better woman for it. In talking about these women, I hope to inspire each of you as a reminder of how awesome you are. How smart you are. And that you can do anything you want to do in this life.

You'll have to excuse me...I seem to have to run for cover as the shards of glass coming from the ceiling seem to be falling with evermore ferocity. #dropthemic