I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my job does not suck. Not only do I make a comfortable living doing something that I absolutely love (a profession which, oh yeah, btw, just happens to help empower women and boost their self-confidence), but I also consider my boss, Jamie, to be an actual friend. She will always be my boss first and friend second, of course, but it’s just SO NICE to be able to laugh, cut up, and basically be myself all day long, as opposed to having a home persona and a work persona, which is something I did for many, many years.
Anyway, one of the greatest perks about my job as an associate photographer for Jamie’s boudoir studio (besides the fact that I no longer have to worry about running my own business) is the fact that I get to travel with her at least once or twice a year for photography-related trips, such as our yearly trips to Las Vegas during the WPPI convention and our trip to Canada last year when we both taught workshops at the Camp Do More boudoir photography retreat.
It is because of these trips that Jamie and I have been able to meet and make friends with a lot of other boudoir photographers from around the world, which is so cool! We’ve gotten to know one group of women, in particular, very well over the last few years by staying in touch over Facebook in between face-to-face visits, and this year we all decided it was time for us to take a non-work-related Girls’ Trip!
There were six of us total, and Jamie made all the arrangements for us to stay at the beautiful, all-inclusive Beloved Playa Mujeres resort in Cancun, Mexico. It was five days of total relaxation, including one afternoon on a chartered boat, which was so amazing.
Of course, I couldn’t travel to Mexico without bringing along a couple of film cameras. So, I brought my Pentax 6×7 medium format camera, as well as my trusty Canon EF 35mm camera, which made for a pretty heavy backpack to carry through the airports, but it was a price I was willing to pay.
In true Courtney fashion, however, I didn’t get out my cameras until I only had one full day left to shoot in Cancun. Most of us were pretty sunburnt by then and covered in tanlines, but I didn’t care. I was going to shoot some film if it was the last thing I did!
The girls were all great about being patient with me while I worked on getting the exposure right and trying to nail that manual focus, but damn if I wasn’t strangely nervous and self-conscious the whole time. (These behind-the-scene photos were taken by Julie Socher, btw.) Keep in mind, these women are all very talented boudoir photographers themselves, which made me hyper-aware of the fact that I still have yet to achieve technical perfection with my film photography. And even though I reminded them of this fact over and over while we were shooting, I still assumed they were all expecting to get back some really nice, professional quality shots, and I was so afraid of disappointing them.
Well, I have to admit that I was kind of bummed the first time I looked through the images after I got the scans back from Boutique Film Lab. There were a lot of really great shots, but there were also a lot of shots where the focus was off or the exposure wasn’t spot on, and that stuff just KILLS me! Jamie always tells me I’m too hard on myself, and she’s right, but I can’t help but be a perfectionist when it comes to taking photos. If I don’t achieve sharp focus on an image, I usually toss it. However, I knew the girls would ask about some of the missing photos, so I decided to just suck it up and show them all of the images.
To my great relief, they all said that they loved their photos, and they told me I was crazy for being so paranoid about the technical imperfections. I have to admit, after receiving their positive feedback, I finally did relax and was able to appreciate the images a lot more.
You can see the girls’ Cancun portraits, with all of their beautiful, technical imperfections, in the Girls’ Trip – Cancun, 2019 gallery. 🙂