Flopping out of bed (too late, as usual), I threw myself together. In my wardrobe, my favourite black blouse was hidden under a pile at the back of a shelf. I donned the wrinkled garment anyway, exhausted from a late night of Internet surfing (I’m that cool).
When I glanced in the bathroom mirror, my hair showed evidence of its usual misbehaviour, but instead of even trying to tame it, I just shuffled out the door, bags under eyes and all.
My first stop of the day: Berns and Black Salon, to get pretty for a photo shoot.
To catch me on the street with hair and makeup carefully crafted is an anomaly. I approached the salon warily. Would they ask me what I want? How do I say, “next to nothing”?
Tony Nardella of Nardella Photography had sent me a message offering portrait shots for free. I was astounded by the offer and just had to accept. My website is currently being redesigned, so why not take some pictures for the occasion?
I wanted images that were true to my normal look, as one might find me in my natural habitat. But Tony clearly wanted some makeup on my face that day, since he had hooked me up with some artists at Berns and Black. I’m so glad I went, because these are the nicest portrait photos anyone has ever taken of me, thanks in part to the prep work done there.
Alysha greeted me and welcomed me into the salon. It didn’t take her long to make my hair sleek and smooth. Despite being tempted to let her spike it up or do something playful, I stuck to a more conservative look.
My esthetician, Carly, was happy to create a natural look for me, but Kitty, one of the owners of the shop, suggested that I pick a bright lipstick for a pop of colour. The effect was lovely, so I thanked the artists and headed to the studio.
I felt very glamorous as I walked through the exchange – put together, save for the wrinkled clothing. Thankfully, Tony had a steamer at the studio, so I didn’t look like a Picasso painting for much longer.
The photography studio was very easy to find, as Tony had a storefront on McDermot. He asked me about my favourite colour (orange) and set to work on the backdrop.
After seeing Tony’s work on his website and in his studio, I was intrigued as to why he would offer to do this for free. My early assumption was that he was new to the work and needed portfolio items. I was dead wrong – this guy has been working in the industry for 29 years, and his work is polished and beautiful.
Lights were expertly and efficiently maneuvered around me to achieve maximum awesome. He told me that he had done work for Red River College in the past and wanted to do them a favour. I made a mental note to thank RRC, because the favour benefitted me, too.
Thanks to everyone at Nardella Photography and Berns and Black! This was a lovely gift.