What is Portland Pin-Ups? What is a Bombshell?

What is “Portland Pin-Ups? What is a Bombshell?

Not really a ‘Frequently asked question’, but more a ‘sometimes asked question’…so it deserves it’s own note!

People sometimes wonder what exactly Portland Pin-Ups is. In business, it’s useful to have a short ‘elevator pitch’ lined up so that when you are asked what you do, you can relate it quickly and confidently. Here then, is the elevator pitch for Portland Pin-Ups…

We create custom, unique and stunning artworks of ladies who want to own one-of-a-kind portraits of themselves to celebrate how beautiful they are.

That’s pretty much it. Sometimes our clients come to us wanting a present for a loved one, sometimes it’s because they have lost a lot of weight, or hit a birthday milestone, or because they are newly single. Sometimes it’s just for fun. Always, they leave with artworks they cherish.

Portland Pin-Ups is a full time pin-up photography studio. We don’t photograph weddings, or babies or buildings. Our creative team is made up of photographer/artist Mike Long, make-up artist Hollie Olsen, hair stylists from Allure Spa, and a team of Bombshell Models who help show what we are capable of.

Our Bombshell models also cause some confusion sometimes, so maybe a little explanation as to what, who and why they are with us!

Portland Pin-Ups started when Mike was testing some lighting for weddings (he shot weddings back then, and has actually photographed over 200 special days) and local model, Cherry Dollface came along to pose for him. After the testing, Cherry suggested they do some pin-up, since that’s what she did. An hour later, Mike was hooked on pin-ups, and it became his obsession. Two other local models joined that year, Mandy Apple and Dottie Diamond. Between the models and Mike, they created some fun, silly, nostalgic and unique portraits – mainly just for fun, and for Mike to flex his artistic muscles.

As time went on, the public started to become interested and requests for pin-up sessions started to rise. Over the following few years, this quickly became Mike’s speciality and he devoted all his time to creating a full time pin-up studio. With clients taking up the bulk of the time, model shoots started to tail off. In the last two years though, Mike realized that the model shoots were essential to the company for a few reasons.

First, we have clients from all walks of life, and even though the art we create isn’t really what you’d call ‘risqué’, some of our clients don’t want their portraits splashed over the internet. So we need fresh and new work to show the world on a regular basis.

Second, while Mike has a (very) over-active imagination, and an idea list that could stretch to the moon, creative people love to spur off of others, and as a team we come up with a final idea that is often better than when first conceived.

Finally, every artist needs to let off steam now and then, and model sessions allow Mike to have fun and create without the pressure of supplying a final product for a client.

With all that in mind, Mike began to see the value of having a ‘team’ of models that can help represent the studio, come up with ideas, look fabulous and help to show what’s possible – and the Portland Pin-Ups Bombshell Models were born.

Little known fact – ALL our current Bombshells are actually ex-clients! Part of the reason they are chosen is that Mike has had the opportunity to see how they take direction and how they contribute to the creative process. We currently have four Bombshell models.

Erienne has been with us the longest and first came to us via a Groupon deal! She came along to her session with her mum, and was awesome, bringing a ton of creative ideas with her, along with her goofy faces! She was a Bombshell from that moment on.

Nicky first met Mike at a wedding a few years ago, where she was the hair stylist and Mike the photographer. A couple of years later Nicky came to Portland Pin-Ups to record how awesome she looked pregnant, and when Mike saw how she was in front of the camera, he knew she’d be back as a Bombsell when a little less pregnant!

Katie joined us late last year. Always obsessed with pin-ups, Katie wanted a cool album for her and her hubby to enjoy. Katie is enthusiastic about everything pin-up, and this was very clear from the first meeting…have we mentioned she’s obsessed?! She embodied the very spirit of the girl next door who can be a pin-up star, and is every bit the Bombshell we wanted.

Erienne, Nicky and Katie also helped Mike when he spoke at the largest photographer’s convention in the world, in Las Vegas.

Which brings us to our newest Bombshell, Kim. Again, a client from recent times, Kim also showed great pin-up credentials so when we decided to add a 4th lady to our team we thought long and hard about who could join the team and BE a Bombshell, and Kim’s name kept arriving at the top of the list. Her first Bombshell session is later this week – wish her luck!

So. Portland Pin-Ups creates stunning artworks for any lady that wishes to commission us. We have no requirements on who can book, we just ask that you are ready, willing and able to have a huge amount of fun, and that you want to leave with portraits you will love forever. Sometimes people ask why we don’t have many older/different shaped ladies in our galleries. The answer is fairly simple and rather boring. We show every client that allows us to – some ladies, as we have said, don’t want their portraits online. Also, in general, we do have less ladies who are older or who are fuller figured. But, any woman can be a ‘Portland Pin-Up’!

If you have read this far, then thank you!

July 2013.

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