“I always say that great things happen outside of your comfort zone. Well, a whole lotta greatness happened at the Stripped Down workshop.
This workshop was so different than any workshop I have ever attended. It wasn’t just two days of learning. It was two days of therapy and coming to terms with who I am as a woman, an entrepreneur, a mother, and an artist. As an individual, I tend to be very guarded with who I share my emotions with. I never realized just how much my life experience and the social stories I have told myself have impacted the ways in which I work with my clients.
I didn’t realize just how much was missing from my images until I attended the stripped down workshop.
No. Fuck that. I didn’t know how much I was missing from my life.
As Denise began demonstrating the stripped down method I felt uncontrollable tears well up in my eyes. I couldn’t stop the flood of emotions that came pouring out. It was as though every emotion hit me all at once.
I watched as she coached the other attendees through the emotions. I watched these other women transform before my eyes. I saw them walk towards her timid with fear in their eyes and walk away with their eyes on fire. They radiated confidence and sensuality.
As I watched, fear slowly began to creep in.
How the hell could I do this? I’m not sexy. I don’t know how to get out of my own way. I have so many walls up and I didn’t realize just how firmly cemented they were until I watched Denise move in from of me.
Six years worth of learning, shooting, and perfecting my craft were thrown out the window.
I felt as though everything I learned up until this point was getting thrown out the window.
After seeing this method there was no way in hell I could go back to shooting how I did before. It would be an injustice not only to me, but to my clients. How could I rob them of such a transformative experience?
Denise held me and supported me so much. She encouraged the hell out of me. She forced me to break down my walls and allowed me to give myself and my clients the gift of vulnerability.
The Stripped Down method truly changed me. It forced me out of my comfort zone and empowered me so much that if I can just give my clients an ounce of that empowerment, I will have served my purpose. You can light and pose an image to perfection, but you can’t photoshop emotion. The tools I learned at this workshop have served me so much in my business and in my personal life. It truly was life changing!” -LeZandra Persinger
“When Denise announced she was coming to Dallas, I didn’t think twice about signing up. To learn from her, in person, is priceless! The workshop is unlike any you have attended in the past. The bond made between myself and my fellow photographers was immediate and strong. If you have the opportunity to have a session with Denise, DO IT! Being in your clients shoes is the best way to overcome their fears. Plus you get additional training by watching Denise in action. Sign up already!!!!” -Lisa De La Garza
“I attended the Stripped Down workshop in Dallas recently. It was tremendous! The workshop was well organized, and the venue chosen for it worked well. There was an appropriate number of attendees. Denise was fun, explained her philosophy and methodology well. The models chosen were great. Denise taught us expertly, pushed us to do our best and pushed us past our comfort zones when it needed to happen. We were all changed artistically by the workshop. I have been able to use her techniques with my clients after the workshop and they are loving the images they see of themselves. Also, I did a private boudoir session for myself with Denise the day before the workshop. I found that to be tremendously helpful, as I experienced her style of working, the emotions it triggers, and exactly what our clients feel. I highly recommend the workshop. It will challenge you, educate you and forever change the way you do your boudoir photography.” -Laura Arrowsmith
“I’ve never felt so completely free in my entire life. To be able to break down my walls and be completely vulnerable is exactly what I need to do in order to get the emotions I want from my client. It was so liberating and felt so courageous to be able to direct my client without feeling silly or embarrassed. I struggle with wanting to be in control of everything I do. ALL THE TIME. And I don’t allow myself to “let go.” And BOY when I finally allowed myself to not pass judgement on how silly my facial reactions looked and by not hiding behind my camera but instead fully showing my subject exactly what I wanted from them, I completely set myself free. And it was such a beautiful and intimate feeling. Thank you, Denise Birdsong, for giving me the power to open myself up and be completely vulnerable. I’m forever grateful!” -Denise Nicole Sausedo
“I have Denise’s The Art of Emotion e-book and I feel that this information is new for our genre and very forward thinking of Denise for writing a book about more than just the posing and lighting. I am a full time boudoir photographer, I have very happy clients, yet I feel I could give them so much more. I could really work with them to do more of what Denise is teaching, coaching emotion in my images and I lover her book for this. Each emotion she talks about has image examples of said emotion as well as detailed instructions on how to coach your clients for it. Photography is personal and the most personal thing is emotion. By pulling actual emotion out of your clients you will be giving them a more meaningful experience. I always hear that my shoots are fun and that they would love to do it again but what I plan to do is use Denise’s coaching to now pull more out of my clients, provide them with emotive images and an experience that will leave them with memories of one of the best times they have had…being totally in the moment and really feeling the shoot. I do think anyone at any level of experience would benefit from this book. It will be something you want to reference before a session until you totally master it.” -Heather Walker
“I really feel that after taking the Stripped Down workshop I know how to coach my clients to get better expressions. I always felt there was something I wanted to add to my work but couldn’t quite figure out how to get beautiful emotion during a shoot. I had confidence and joy nailed down but after Stripped Down I now have vulnerability, desire and sensuality in my back pocket. Already my clients are loving the experience more and I’m enjoying the process more (and I already freaking love my job). Getting those killer images is exactly what I needed to take my work to the next level.” -Jennifer Williams
“I saw where some emotion was falling flat in my shooting, the Stripped Down Workshop is already helping me get more authenticity, especially in the hands. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so excited to expand my shooting style..xoxo” -Jillian Todd
“I have to say that Denise Birdsong of Modern Love Photography is not only inspiring in her work, but as a person. She can make you feel like you can take on the world. If you ever have met her and learned from her. I think that the Stripped Down workshop has given me the tools I needed to add that extra umph to my images, I am so excited to implement what I learned in the workshop. Later that night, my associate and I decided to practice on each other. Your course gave me the confidence not only to have better pictures of myself, but to not feel foolish demonstrating to clients. I feel that I’ll be better able to take control of my session.” -Leslie Cersovski
“Stripped Down was the most unique, inspired workshop I’ve ever taken. Denise gave specific, practical instruction on how to truly elevate your photography, without having to change your own artistic style. Her work has always been an inspiration to me, her images are full of life, feeling, and intimacy. I was eager to learn her secrets to capturing emotion and while WPPI was wonderful, the real reason I went to Vegas was to take this Down workshop. Denise really took me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to open myself up to be able to bring out the expression I wanted from my clients so I can capture the portraits they’ve been dreaming of. I can’t wait to use these techniques in my next Boudoir session!” -Maggie Keegan Gross
“Prior to attending the Modern Love workshop in Vegas, I was at a point in my photography career where I was comfortable with posing, lighting, and the business side of photography. What I wanted to develop more of, however, is the ability to get real, raw emotion out of my clients. I wanted to portray in my work that boudoir photography is more than just taking a picture of a beautiful woman. I wanted to be able to unleash a side in women that they may have forgotten about with time. That’s exactly what I learned in my time with Denise. Using the tools she’s learned over the years in front of and behind the camera, she was able to give me the tool to properly coach and emulate specific emotions. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and push the boundaries a bit in order to capture images that really speak to the viewer. It was a little intimidating, I’ll be honest, but I’m so glad that I stuck with it. With practice (because it doesn’t happen overnight, folks!) I know that my work will really set me apart from my competition. In fact, my first couple sessions after the workshop were significantly more fulfilling for both my clients and myself. If you’re trying to decide on whether or not to take this workshop, my advice would be to take the leap. Not only will you learn how to get more from your clients, you’ll learn WHY these particular techniques work. If you put in the work, you’ll earn back your investment in the first few clients.” -Myla Gonzalez
“Thank you again, Denise, and thank you to everyone at the workshop. Such an amazingly talented and kind group of photographers. Thank you! Denise Birdsong and her team at Modern Love Photography hosted an amazing workshop focused on capturing emotion in boudoir and portrait photography. I loved the combo of instruction, presentation and time photographing models. I liked having them set up in various spaces with different lighting and backdrops. I loved the variety with one pro model and non-pro models as well as a male model. It will dramatically change the way I shoot. I have struggled with getting real expressions, especially if they are super nervous. This instruction on how to coach those emotions easily was invaluable. I have admired Denise’s work for a long time and feel honored to have had the opportunity to learn from her. Thank you, Denise, Modern Love and our models for such a valuable learning experience!” -Shea Mayberry
“I feel like The Stripped Down Workshop has changed my work SO MUCH already. I have already been getting better facial expressions from my clients, but I have also learned to be softer with them in general. When Denise talks to a person, but confidently. It made me trust her and want to listen intently to her. I need to be that way with everyone, but especially with clients. My favorite part of the workshop was my one on one time with Denise. I know that we only had limited time with each model, but when I had her there with me I feel like she instantly knew where I needed to spend my time to get the most out of that. She also made me feel like I was the only person there and the whole workshop was just for me.” -Shelby Owen
“I attended the Stripped Down Workshop with Denise Birdsong during WPPI and was absolutely blown away! I’ve always been reserved with my clients, and my clients a bit reserved with me, but Denise gave me the skills and the comfort level to let go. I now have the ability to not only coach the poses, but to coach the strong emotion that needs to go with each pose. The workshop was a great experience and really challenged me to make my work better than its ever been. I loved going through the emotions in the slideshow and practicing them with everyone. I know I’ll be able to make my clients a lot more comfortable acting out the emotions and getting more out of their shoot. I feel like I’ll be able to help them go and feel emotions that I can capture…” -Tamara Paskey
“My experience in the Stripped Down workshop with Denise Birdsong was absolutely wonderful! I love what I do and I have always felt pretty good about my work but I knew I was still lacking a deeper emotional connection with my clients. I just couldn’t figure out how to get what I wanted with my clients and literally within one teaching episode with Denise absolutely everything changed. She showed me how to coach my clients from my own voice, how to get them to connect with me better and in turn, the photos truly came alive, as well as my clients! THANK YOU Denise for helping me to make such a powerful shift in my work!” -Elizabeth Rametta Craig
“I know many of us in Denise Birdsong’s Stripped Down course have said this to her, but it must be said again: thank you! Within the first week of this course, I gained so much confidence in my shooting and directing ability and thanks to her awesome coaching lessons, it only grew as the class went on. In addition, I appreciate how open, honest, and generous Denise was throughout the entire course. Her engagement in the group makes you truly want to participate and get sh*t done. Denise’s Stripped Down has opened up a world of new possibility for me and my developing business, and I truly appreciate everything her course has taught me.” -Laura Smith
“For a long time, though I have loved my job and all the fantastic women I meet, I have felt that there is something missing. I spent a lot of time looking. Looking at other boudoir photographers. Looking at artists I admire. Looking at nature. Looking, looking, looking. However it wasn’t until I was rereading Wuthering Heights that it struck me what it was. Emotion. Raw and unapologetic. Emotion in all its forms – from joy and pleasure to longing, from flirtation to vulnerability, and of course desire, always desire. Then I found Denise’s work and the Stripped Down online workshop – the tow just happened hand in hand – boudoir karma if you like. I signed up and the journey began. Over the duration of the course Denise guided us through the science of body language and emotions. We looked at different emotions and learnt how to coach, pose and shoot for them. Denise Birdsong has a work ethic and enjoyment of what she does that is truly inspirational. During the course she gave without hesitation all her knowledge, time and experience. And for all of this I thank her xx
As a not so little added bonus, I have found myself in the middle of a rather fabulous safe community of like-minded individuals — all learning and growing together. From someone who often feels a little isolated, this is no small thing.
Denise has totally changed the way I feel about my work. She hasn’t taken away my desire to created beautiful pictures that ever woman would be proud of. But rather helped me find another dimension to my work. It is this dimension I am going to bring to MSB — I can’t wait to get started.” -Jo Smith
“Thank you, Denise Birdsong, from the bottom of my heart. I loved everything about the workshop. It was what I needed to make me think more about how I’m shooting someone. I now have a new tool to use to enhance what I already knew. No matter what point you are at in your business, learning something new will always breathe more creaitvity into your work. That is what Stripped Down has done for me. Again many thanks.” -Judy Cormier
“Thank you Denise Birdsong for sharing your talent with us pushing us to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve enjoyed part one of this workshop and I’m looking forward to part two. In just the few weeks I feel like I have really grown in my skills as a photographer. I can’t thank you enough! You continue to inspire me with your openness to share all that you are and all that you do. God bless you xoxo” -Catherine Constantine Shultz
“I just had to share this with all of you! I just came home from my in-person reveal for one of my Boudoir Sessions. It was for a session I did last week using everything that I have learned here with Denise Birdsong. I encouraged the client to bring her boyfriend to the reveal as I wanted to have his reaction as well. IT WAS AMAZING!! She let him choose the images that would end up in her album — he chose them all! And just hearing the tone in his voice and seeing his smile when a new image would come on the screen was worth giving up my Sunday morning for. They ended up adding on a USB of images too, “for safe keeping” he said. For the record his all time faves were ‘confidence’ poses I did with her.” -Danielle Stasiuk Grace
“I always admired images that told a story and emitted and evoked emotion but had trepidations about how to accomplish this in my own work with my clients. After taking Stripped Down online course with Denise Birdsong of Modern Love Photography I am well on my way to accomplishing all that and more! Denise teaches you her methodology and delivers it in a simple, easy to apply terms. To add to this she always brings in other industry leaders and teaches you how to run a more effective business and brand. My work is now on an whole other level thanks to Denise and her team! Thank you for all that you do for our industry and for the beautiful person that you are.” -Jessica Rae
“Thank you for such an incredibly life-changing day today Denise Birdsong & the Modern Love team!!!” -Elizabeth Zimmerman
“Yesterday…How can I describe yesterday…I don’t have all the words right now. I woke up this morning feeling so clean and fresh mentally and emotionally. I had the experience of a lifetime.
I came to Vegas by myself. I have never travelled by myself and I almost didn’t. The only drive I had wasn’t for WPPI, it was to take Denise Birdsong’s workshop. I was freaking out about coming on my own but it was meant to happen. I met so many amazing people and yesterday I got to share in the most amazing experience of my life with so many beautiful, powerful, gorgeous women. I found out things about myself I never knew existed. I let go of things that kept me back from being myself and owning my life. I can’t truly express the gratitude I have for Denise and her team and all the women I was beside yesterday. My whole being is completely changed. I know why they called it stripped down. Because that’s where I am and it feels amazing to be so open and bare. I’m speechless. I can’t wait to write about the whole experience. #strippeddown2015” -Jana Roller
“Annnnnd my largest sale ever today!!! If it hadn’t been from the facial expressions I coached, I would have never been able to get 140 DIFFERENT images/enough variety to present a client with so many options. She couldn’t part with a single image. Had a $1350 package originally included a 16 image little black book, spent an additional $4,280 today on a major album upgrade, wall art, and digital download collection. $5650 total beats my last record by $1000. Yay for emotion! I am feeling several of them right now and it’s seriously so much more than the money. She loved them SO much. She couldn’t stop looking at them. Even after she paid, she stayed at the studio another 2 hours and we talked and looked through her images some more!! Love this line of work!!” -Kara Marie
“What an awesome, life changing experience at Denise Birdsong’s Stripped Down workshop!! I went in thinking I would learn a few things, and then move on. Instead it ended up revolutionizing the way I photograph and how I feel about my work and my clients. I met so many amazing photographers and we laughed & cried all day as we went through the range of emotions. I am so excited to apply this and watch my clients experience what I got to yesterday. Thank you Denise & team for everything!!” -Stephanie Moore-Milne
“Monday and Tuesday were by far the most rewarding, exciting, terrifying, exhilarating and draining days of my entire career. It was life changing and in the best way. I will be forever grateful to Denise – the most amazing woman I’ve met in a long time. She and her team gave me everything they had and I can never thank you and them enough. Today, I am a new woman.” -Amy Peacock
“Today I realized why I do what I do. Today I wanted more. I was shown to reach deeper, be vulnerable. And I was broken…Stripped Down. And it was beautiful. My life and business will never be the same. I can’t thank Denise Birdsong enough.” -Kelly Stafford
“In my 15 years as a professional photographer, I had never taken a workshop or formal course – I was ride or die self-taught. Until yesterday. I’m still reeling from the 10 hours of intensive instruction and emotional breakthroughs. So excited to see how 2015 shapes up after this! -Deidra Wilson
“‘Back to life…Back to reality…’ It’s been an inspiring 5 days, #WPPI. Loved seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and being surrounded by some phenomenally creative minds. Denise – you taught me exactly what I was missing in my work and for that I am grateful! And having the opportunity to experience being on the other end of your lens for my own boudoir shoot (finally!) was an amazing experience. Thank you!! And Lavona – you were the perfect roomie!! Loved getting to know you and sharing our daily debriefs!” -Happy Sohi
“I’ve always been big on being a “technically sound” photographer. I pride myself in taking sharp, well exposed images straight out of the camera. One of my biggest take aways from the workshop I attended with Denise Birdsong and her incredible team at Modern Love Photography is that a technically sound photo without emotion is just a nice photo. Denise’s work is filled with raw and intense emotion that uncontrollably draws you in as a viewer. And she invests so much energy into her clients to bring it out of them.I want to bring more of this to all of mine! Sometimes focus doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t feel anything. Ordinarily, I would have tossed this image without a 2nd thought because it’s clearly out of focus. But the emotion moved me so much it stopped me in my tracks as I was culling my images. Thank you Denise for teaching me the importance of emotion in imagery. I will be a better photography thanks to you and your team.” -Miranda Parker Boudoir
“That session was AMAZING!!!!! Soooooo interesting to be on the other side of the camera and experience what my clients go through Denise is fabulous!!!! Her team is amazing! And I don’t think I’ve ever felt hotter!! I LOVE what we Boudoir Photographers do for women!!” -Happy Sohi
“Today I was pushed way outside of my comfort zone…and I cannot even tell you how uncomfortable that made me. Obviously the point.
I took the workshop of a photographer that I admire to the fullest. Her work oozes with raw emotion and sexuality. I look at her images and feel something POWERFUL. Not just “oooh, pretty!” But “Holy. Shit. YES!!!” Today I cried 193592 times. I felt so utterly defeated and completely brilliant all at once. I was pushed a mile outside of my “safe zone” and created some really provocative images…and some REALLY awful ones. I sucked and I was brilliant. I will blog about the full experience once I have had the chance to fully process it. But in the meantime, I want to say THANK YOU x100 to Denise Birdsong and her inspiring #strippeddown team.” – Click Chick Boudoir
“Goodbye Vegas! Thanks to the AMAZING Denise Birdsong and her fantastic staff for the incredible workshop. Wishing all my new friend safe travels and a kick butt year ahead!! Changed forever, forever grateful. Xoxo.” -Angela Woolridge