Merissa Pratt honed her eye for composition and color from behind the lens of a camera, but it didn't take her long to apply her talents to painting as well. To help others discover their penchant for the brush, she began Painting Parties by Merissa, leading groups in recreating her personal paintings. She travels to the location of the party host’s choice, transforming a room in a client's home or office into a temporary studio as she covers precious floors with drop cloths and fills the space with easels, paints, and brushes. She invites guests to supply snacks and, most importantly, their favorite libations to help draw out creative impulses. At the end of the session, she and her crew handle the cleanup while the newly initiated painters admire their frame-ready works of art and master gallery-friendly phrases such as, “This really speaks to me,” and “No, seriously—I think this painting is talking.”
Pitter Patter Pix's award-winning founder has captured artistic images of over 2,000 babies and their families with in-studio portraits and on-location shots, and has used her expertise to train hundreds of photographers. During her workshops, she teaches parents how to nab the best possible pictures of their children—whether they're using high-end equipment, a camera phone, or a Diane Arbus impersonator—through lighting techniques, posing, and props.
DeBoudoir photographers specialize in setting their clients at ease, carefully directing poses and maneuvering lighting to elicit flattering shots that smack of self-confidence. During trademark boudoir sessions, subjects wear sumptuous lingerie or drape their nude frames strategically in sheepskins and blankets before posing in-studio or on the beach. DeBoudoir tweaks this photo formula for its other services, which include engagement sessions and pinup shoots, during which subjects wear stylish vintage garb.
DeBoudoir's lingerie boutiques brim with corsets and accessories such as hats, gloves, and thigh high stockings. Lingerie, meanwhile, runs the gamut from negligees to underthings more delicate than an aging movie starlet?s ego.
Photo Element Studio is a photographer’s dream—the interior is a Rubik’s cube of different settings, colors, and backdrops, and the half-acre garden studio has rural, rustic charms such as a rushing creek and a tattered shed. For photographers Tait and Julie DeBaca, the studio is the setting for their family, newborn, and high-school-senior portrait sessions. Many of the photographs in the duo’s portfolio have saturated, contrasting colors, which help to accentuate the green trees and blue skies of an outdoor shoot or highlight the subjects’ faces and emotions of a black-and-white photo against a white backdrop. The photographers also let the sun's natural light impart a sense of warmth, but not like the one you get in your cheeks when someone catches you eating ice cream straight from the carton with your finger.
Victoriana Antique & Fine Jewelry stocks shelves with handpicked relics and vintage accessories ranging from authentic Victorian pieces to modernist baubles from the 1950s. Proprietors scour jewelry shows and contact international buyers to scare up authentic, top-quality pieces instead of candy necklaces covered in dust to appear and taste older. Century-old cases shelter a variety of outfit enhancers, including simple sterling-silver earrings ($20) and engraved oval lockets ($145) from the 1890s. Add antediluvian-flair to straight-laced garments with a piece of costume jewelry, such as a buckle-styled art-nouveau brooch ($85) or an aqua brooch ($145) with dangling turquoise teardrops wiped from the eyes of proud papa unicorns at their colt's graduation. Customers can also apply their Groupon toward more expensive in-store merchandise ranging from onyx brooch and ring pairs to 1930s white-gold rings.