Pinup Therapy Before and After – A Rare Behind the Scenes

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

Pinup Therapy is the way I empower women to see their beauty.

I’m normally fanatically careful not to release any un-edited work because I never want anyone to see themselves in high definition. (It’s like a magnifying mirror times a hundred, no one needs a Hubble view of their pores.) However, I’ve been told that I make it all look too easy and people don’t realize the amount of work I put into each and every photograph. So today I am posting a before and after of my pinup art.

For Pinup Therapy to work, I want my clients to see themselves as I see them: that means only showing them the finished product. Sometimes I think my brain is like a Hollywood movie: glowing hair lights, fans blowing the hair around, 80s music and slow motion hair flip shots. But I see this stuff all the time. Sometimes I see it on a pretty women in the checkout at Target and then I feel like a creeper.

But that’s why I am an artist, to bring my vision to life where others can admire, share and enjoy it. (And creep if they want to.)

So when professional pinup model Dapper Dan Doll offered to be a public before and after, I agreed to it. It took some convincing on her part as she watched me work. She commented that she didn’t think anyone realized how much work I was doing and that she’d be happy to be the one to show that off.

I normally wouldn’t want to detract from anyone’s self-esteem, which insensitive before and afters can do. You’ve seen them. Mean.

A note: always start with an amazing hair and makeup artist. Cassandra Griego has recently joined our team and I’m super pleased with her work. I didn’t have to retouch the makeup at all and the hair had enough shape that I could tweak it beyond what was possible on set.

Here is the straight out of camera shot:

Iman Woods shares a Pinup Therapy Before and After

Pinup Therapy Before and After


I recently got a Lastolite Hilite  that has taken my edit time down dramatically. I love this thing, it’s portable, easy to set up and the results are phenomenal. I love this thing so much I might marry it. I’m almost divorced, it’s perfect timing for us. Don’t judge. I love it that much. (Kidding! Other high key photographers will concur once they’ve used one of these beauties. But the Hilite is MINE all MINE!)

I get a clean white all the way around my subject so it’s a quick edit with the lasso to fill with white. If I were to tweak this setup I might set my main light slightly higher. Or add one or two small lights to hit the floor for an even blown out white.

Here’s the after.

Iman Woods shares a Pinup Therapy Before and After

Iman Woods shares a Pinup Therapy Before and After

I do quite a bit of painting in highlights, mid tones and shadows to contour the body. I puffed up the hair and bow to be more dramatic. I do edit the eyes to brighten them, but I try to do that minimally so that it doesn’t look out of place. I’m not a fan of over-edited eyes that look like they’re glowing too much.

And part of the reason this shot works is just plain because Danielle is gorgeous. We had a blast on set and I look forward to working with her again!

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  • kellyswanson1

    It is a bold woman who allows us to see her work before it is complete. Thank you, Iman, for being bold. When you go beyond showing us where you are, and allow us to see where you have been, even in a photograph – you inspire us. You show us that success doesn’t happen in one step. And we feel better about where we start.

    • ImanWoods

      Thank you Kelly, it was difficult to publish this one. I’ve spent so many years “guarding” my process and “secrets” when I always grow and gain from sharing. This was a big step for me. I hope to be able to share much more in the future.

      • kellyswanson1

        I get where you are coming from Iman. It’s hard sharing secrets. But I think that when we share our gifts and some of our secrets with the world, it is much better than when we hold them close. But there are some secrets you do want to keep to yourself. I did so much sharing on how I got business through social media that they all started doing it, and suddenly I got bumped out. So we don’t have to always tell all. Just some. :) And, besides, most people will hear the secret and still not act on it. I’ve found this constantly in the speaking business. Even knowing what to do – many do not do it.

  • Karen ‘Bechtel’ Becker

    This was something very special to share! I am proud of you for doing so, AND proud of Dapper Dan Doll, bless her heart! Who is beautiful in BOTH shots, but it is really cool to see the before and after! And how much heart and work you put into your work Iman! Thank you for sharing this….BOTH of you!

    • ImanWoods

      Thank you Karen! This felt like a big gamble, but Dapper Dan was totally right. Lol, I’m glad she got to see the process as I worked one of her images. I know how I want each photograph to look and work backwards from that. Thank you for commenting!

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