Articles from October, 2011

Victoria and I have always enjoyed Halloween. In fact, its most likely our favorite time of year. It’s the only time everyone can dress up and unleash their inner monster and this is what Oni Studio is all about: Bringing out the hidden personality!  When we met Johanna and company we knew we had met our match. Every year Johanna, along with an army of volunteers, operates the Frightville Haunted House to help raise funds for the Oak Harbor Boys and Girls Club. We had met Johanna a while back as she had been a fan of our work and was kind enough to invite us out to shoot the event. During the pre-shoot reconnaissance we knew this wasn’t some run of the mill haunted house where people were just going through the motions. This group means business! With countless hours dedicated to designing and building the sets, special effects make up and nightly shows, their dedication to raise money for such a fine cause is admirable and we wish them the best of luck with their event.

If you would like to help out with the Oak Harbor Boys and Girls club or make a donation please call the administration office at: 360-240-9273 or you can visit the website here.

The first time we saw pictures of the Frightville House they were taken by another local Whidbey Island photographer, John Pendleton. His pictures had a very creepy and gritty feel to them, and were just as phenomenal as his other work. Since I put John in the same class and category as Joe Mcnally in the area of lighting, the prospect of going out and shooting the same thing he had was intimidating! Victoria and I talked it over (as we do most of our shoots) in order to attempt to flesh out every creative detail. In this process we will discuss lighting, draw out diagrams, examine potential pitfalls, discuss marketing possibilities and research the internet to see how the project has been shot previously. She wanted to utilize a more even type of lighting with softboxes and grid modifiers, but I was vehemently against it. I thought it would make the pictures look “too real”. Victoria stressed that all other photographers would try to light it in a spooky type way, and that her style of lighting would serve to distinguish our work from others. Since I didn’t have any ideas of my own I went along with the plan.

After a long discussion we packed up most of our studio equipment and set off to the Frightville House with the intention of using our grids and softboxes. Although we walked through the rooms before, when we actually got there with all the equipment, we realized the spaces were too small for setting up our studio lights. In addition to that we had forgotten our hot shoe speed light! We were trying to figure out a lighting set up when Victoria dropped another bomb on me by saying, “No pressure, but they are not open today. The crew came down here on their own time and spent hours in make up just to have this photo shoot done.”


Sometimes when the pressure gets really applied to me I have an epiphany, and thankfully I had one then too. Why not just use the light that’s already here? The keepers of the house have done a lot of research and experimentation into sculpting the light in the creepiest manner possible. With the creative use of our light reflector, high ISO, tripod and Photoshop we would be able to bring that raw fear to our viewers!

It took a bit of adjusting with the camera, but we started getting some good shots until we got to the shot posted below with the corpse bride in front of the moon. Obviously the moon back lights her, and no matter how hard we tried to bounce that light back into her face with the reflector, we were not getting enough detail in the face. I was racking my brain to a solution when I saw another volunteer using a flashlight to find something they had dropped, and then the ghostly voice of Obi Kenobi whispered in my ear, “Use the flashlight Luke!” I would have never had attempted this in front of my instructors at DINFOS, but I took the flashlight and shined it directly onto my reflector to diffuse it. Victoria took the picture and I waited in nervous anticipation for the little happy jump she does when the picture is good.

“Click”….happy jump! Yes!

So the irony is that the thousands we have spent on lighting equipment was defeated by a $20 dollar flashlight, and an old $10 ebay special reflector. Kinda neat!

All the shots we have here were taken with the use of only a reflector or a combination reflector/flashlight.  We hope you get as much pleasure viewing them as we did shooting them! 

…This is our 11th year and the Haunted House is one of our main fundraisers for the Club. All proceeds from the house benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Harbor. Everyone who works in the house is a volunteer and construction begins in April to have the house ready by October. (We do like to joke with our “masterminds” that they start planning on October 31st right after the house closes for the season). It takes between 25 and 30 volunteers a night to man the house, again all volunteers. We are very proud that Frightville was rated #5 out of all the haunts in Washington State. …thanks again for the great pics! It was a lot of fun to watch you do your magic!

Peg Fenstermaker

Director, Boys and Girls Club of Oak Harbor

Keep in mind constant reader that we were only able to shoot a small portion of the haunted house. There are many more rooms, and many more monsters! We at Oni Studio hope you have an awesome and safe Halloween! Tune in next week for another exciting and sexy edition, and remember if you would like to book your own shoot with us its as simple as filling out the contact portion on our website here!



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    I just finished a very interesting shoot with my new client Courtney. She traveled all the way from Bremerton early this morning and was prepared for location and studio shoots with a variety of looks and outfits.

    Ashley from Make Up Your Mind was on location to work her magic with hair and make-up. We decided to go with a softer, more natural look for the beach shots and later spiced it up for studio sultry look. It is so much fun to play with make-up and I always learn something new just by watching Ashley work.

    Ashley wrote in her blog about this experience as well:

    Yesterday morning I had yet another great opportunity to work with Oni Studio and one of their clients for an on location photo shoot. This was the first time I have ever gone on location with Victoria and I really loved every second of it! Not only did the make up turn out the way I wanted it to, but I got to meet two awesome ladies from Bremerton, WA who drove an hour and took a ferry to get to us. Talk about love and dedication!

    We had a wide variety of clothing to work with, which made for lots of wardrobe changes. To make it easier for myself and for the client, I chose to do something more natural and neutral for the first part of the shoot. We were at the beach and the wardrobe was more of a country style, so the natural look was perfect. I stuck to taupe and a little gold and bronze shimmer on the lids with a very fine  brown eyeliner only at the lash line. The cheeks were mostly bronzer with a pop of pink on the apples, and a muted pink lip. Perfect country look!

    Our client finished off the shoot in studio with a smoking hot red and black corset, so we vamped her up a bit. I added a smoky grey to the outer corners and in the crease of the eyes and a black cat-eye liner and a bright red lip to match her outfit. Gorgeous! I can’t wait to see some of the finished products!

    I can’t forget to mention Courtney’s friend Jessica, who was chasing her with a hot pink bathrobe around the beach, pouring water on the umbrella to make it look like rain and organizing outfits like a personal stylist. She was the perfect wing man to have for a photo shoot!

    It was a pleasure to meet these two ladies, and I hope that Courtney is happy with her photos!

    -Ashley (Make up Your Mind)

    Click to continue reading “On Stranger Tides {Whidbey Island Boudoir Photographer}”

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      When my husband and I first moved to Whidbey Island I was introduced to a group of Russian girls. They were my first friends here on the island and got me through a tough transitional period. We would get together for tea at each other’s homes, or go for sushi and martinis, talk in our native language and be totally ridiculous! I love those girls and from time to time just need their company so much that nothing else will do!

      Yana is one of the girls I’ve bonded the most with. Others from the original group have moved away with their military husbands and Yana and I are the ones that are still here. She makes killer crepes with fruit and cream… and I better get some for writing this blog! =)

      This is not the first time Yana came to me for a special gift for her husband, but this shoot turned out even better than the first!

      Here is a sneak peak of Yana’s shoot, I hope you get as much pleasure out of viewing it as I did shooting it!


      After feather dusting and polishing the floor in the sexy French maid outfit, Yana turns up the heat and gets in the Halloween mood with her sexy devil costume!

      For something more sultry and romantic we made use of the fire place!

      Current Status

      Many of you know what a pain it has been to schedule an appointment with us. I have a regular day job where I am work full time, and many of you do as well. However I am transitioning to a more part time schedule (which is great news for you all trying to get appointments!) as my availability is now almost wide open. So, if you have been thinking about coming in for a shoot this would be a great time!

      I also have been heavily researching ways to increase the traffic to this blog, my website, and my facebook page. Mostly this entails googling something like, “how to promote your website/blog” and reading the millions of articles it generates. One of the techniques I thought was interesting involved teaming up with other businesses that are complimentary to the product offered to combine marketing and promotional efforts. This made me pause for a second, what business’s or companies are compatible with sexy/boudoir shoots? While pondering this I was skimming the post on the facebook group “Oak Harbor Local Small Business’s” and saw a couple of ladies who did the passion parties and it hit me, “they would be great to team up with!” I have since talked to a few of them, and while we are still ironing out the details, don’t be surprised if you hear about Oni Studio at some of the local Passion Parties.

      Another idea I’ve been musing on is teaming up with another local photographer, not to compare skill or equipment, or to “steal” secrets, but just to see how someone else approaches their craft. If you’re a local and established photographer in the Whidbey Island area with your own website or blog please get in touch!

      Also, if you own or manage a business, or offer a service that you feel I might be interested in feel free to contact me; I’d love to hear from makeup artist, FX artist, costume designers, personal trainers, salon and spa owners, or something along those lines. Just shoot me an email or fill out the contact form and let me know your ideas!


      One Last thing before you go!

      We recently had a great surprise when one of our clients had a video interview.  The video featured a few of our pictures. It was the first time we had seen our pictures on video and it made me scream with delight! Many of the pictures came from one of our recent blog post, We’d like to thank the creator of the video and give a big CONGRATS to our client Jenn, who by the way just found out she is expecting!


      Thats all for this week dear constant reader, don’t forget to tune in next Monday for another exciting edition!

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        Being a military wife myself and living in the military community of Oak Harbor, deployments and work ups are something that we hear and talk about on daily basis. Be it a month, half a year, or a twelve month Individual Augmentee (IA) we dread it all and still brave through them. We know how hard our men work when they are away and so we try to give them a little piece of home in our e-mails, letters and care packages. Some new t-shirts and socks, home baked cookies, new video game… We try to be creative and figure out something new, but we should just stick to tried and true.

        Introducing a NEW Sexy Sailor Care Package from Oni Studio!

        There is a reason why pin-ups are so popular. They are no longer a trend. They are classic!

        Pin-ups became popular during  WWI and especially among sailors and pilots. They are tasteful sexy images of beautiful women that guys pinned up on the wall, over their bunk-beds, carried in their pockets and painted them on the side of their planes. They are good luck charms and reminders of better days ahead.

        Few weeks ago I attended the Pin Up Alooza seminar for photographers presented by Sandy Puc and Mike Long, both great photographers that inspire me. Mike specializes in the art of pin up photography and it was great to watch him do a live shoot right there on stage! I learned a lot of new tricks and ideas and that got me thinking that a pin up photo shoot would be something that any military wife needs to experience at least once.

        After the show I hunted Mike down just to take a picture. Yes, even photographers have groupies!

        Our Sexy Sailor Care Package includes an hour and a half studio shoot with a variety of backdrops and settings and several outfit changes. Bring a classic 20’s era outfit, a bathing suit, or a summer dress, stockings and a pair of high heel pumps. Being a pin-up is that easy! And if you need some ideas or would like to splurge on a new outfit check out the recommended links at the end.

        Professional makeup service is included in this package. Ashley, the owner of Make-Up Your Mind is very skilled at transforming you from an every-day girl to a goddess, and she makes sure that throughout the session you look your absolute best.

        In this care package you will find an 8X12 Print of your most flattering image. This PG rated print can be pinned up or framed and be proudly displayed in his private space.

        Also included is a page of 20 photo stickers. These he can peel and stick to the top of his bunk. That will keep him dreaming of you every night!

        Six 4X6 postcards with an envelope can be more revealing. Keep him counting the days with one-a-month hand written personal messages and a lipstick kiss. Spray a bit of your perfume on the back and he will read it over and over.

        Any additional prints can be ordered through our private online gallery and a web quality CD of purchased images is also included.

        Everything comes in a box and wrapped in brown paper packed with love.

        I WANT YOU

        To Support Our Troops!

        Call me for your consultation and to book an appointment or click here.

        The Pin Up Files is a great site for beautiful pin up art and great ideas.

        Also check out Portland Pin Ups by Mike Long. You will be inspired. I know I was!

        The Lover’s Package is a great local place to get great outfits, and don’t forget to get your military discount!


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