Click Happy Plus Week 5 | Building Your Creative Community + Posing + Styling

Mandi Lynn, a Master Photographer with the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography is an internationally award winning photographer and stylist whose work has been featured in Vogue Italia and in International Photography Magazines. Her work has been features in exhibits… which makes her sound all posh and stuff but really she is just a cheeky, playful, down to earth farm girl who happens to be epic at turning peoples inner beauty into fine art.
Mandi’s goal is to give you an experience where you will have your eyes opened to your mojo, your spark, your secret sauce of awesomeness. She wants to help ignite a change in your life where you see how amazing you are right down to your core and cheer you on to start really bringing it out in the world. When that happens it is a beautiful thing to behold and it is why she does what she does.

Building your Creative Community


Learning to Pose and Style

This week is all about Heart.

If we are in creative balance at the heart level we are able to give an receive in equal measure.  This means that we can help support other artists in their dreams and goals and we are fully capable of eliciting and receiving help for our projects as well. This genuine give and take develops and deepens friendships and progresses your art well beyond what you can do singly.

Even if you were a solo practitioner artist you still need people to create the art supplies that you use and also eventually consume the art that you create.  It is not only difficult but pretty pointless to create art in a vacuum.  Therefore it is necessary to touch others as the heart level.

So what does it look like when this is out of balance? If you have diminished energy in this area you are a loner and hide your heart away from others and don't trust anyone.  Or you are a taker and rarely return the favour to anyone else creating an energetic imbalance.  Take take take take take means that eventually the goodwill will run out and there will be nothing left to take.   This is the land of the wounded artist or the narcissist, your goodwill and grants will eventually dry up as the word spreads that you don't look out for those around you.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Martyr.  This person has been taught that their value is somehow less than others and so they give give give give give and never take the time to fill back up their own cup.  They assume that their only value is in helping others but forget to help themselves.   This leads to resentment and burnout.  It can also be a controlling behaviour...if I give enough to you then you will be required to give to me.   Culturally women are often taught to fall into this trap, that their only value lies in their self-sacrifice.    As an artist this manifests as you helping others to create their vision but rarely taking the initiative or welling up the courage to ask for help to create your own.   This dims your light until it eventually gets buried under the work of many others.  (your light has a right to let it, and yes it can be that helping and supporting others is your superpower and this is fine as long as that level of compassion is also directed inwardly and you are capable of receiving support as well without it feeling like it is diminishing you.)

So the trick here as it is with most things is to develop high levels of self-compassion.   Compassion enables you to give, Self compassion enables you to receive.   If you find you lean one way or the other on this scale the way to fix it is to focus on self-compassion.


film strip

My Hot Mess Family

My family of origin is a hot mess.   Loud love is a term that is used to explain us.   We love each other but our weaknesses drive each other crazy as well.   On the surface, we looked like we had it all together but in reality, my family was dealing with historical traumas.  This had lead to most of the adults and later many of the kids to turn to various substances as the means to cope with unexamined pain and hurt.    I didn't understand this as a kid.  All I knew was that I needed to wall up and watch my back even in my own home.   So you can imagine coming out into the world if I couldn't trust those closest to me how the heck was I going to trust people I didn't even know?

I was a loner for the most part.  I had a couple of very close friends that were loyal and saw me through the challenges I had in my own home but that upbringing left me unbalanced in the heart department.   I was angry and resentful.   The behaviours of an addict appear similar to a clinical narcissist (it becomes all about their needs at the detriment to others needs).    Growing up in a family riddled with addiction, I thought that that sort of behaviour was normal.  And I never got to witness what "balanced" looked like (Maybe Pappy my grandfather...he was pretty darn balanced and strong to my young eyes and I loved him deeply.)   He lived 9 hours away though and I didn't get to see him but a couple of times a year.

In my day to day life,  I would swing from loner behaviour to martyr behaviour because that is what I had learned in my co-dependant household.   I created dramas in my wake because that is what felt normal and comfortable.    It took me close to thirty years to unlearn this and learn to treat myself with self-compassion and to develop a more or less constant balance closer to what I saw in Pappy.   And by so doing my inner artist was given the air she needed to create with the support of others.  People were more willing to work with me and trust me when they saw that I was trustworthy and that I cared about them but I also respected myself and wouldn't be a doormat.

My focus as an artist now is to make sure that those I work with are receiving, thriving, and growing with each thing that we create and that I am getting my wellness needs met along the way.  I'm not always awesome at this but I am learning to put my foot down when I need to fill my cup back up, and commit to doing it.  I try to weave threads that create a community of mutual support.  So far we have made a movie, and have collaborated on many award-winning photography projects so we aren't doing too bad.


So what I am going to teach you here are a few of the techniques that I learned to help me find balance again.

If you are already in balance then brilliant, these will help you when you start to stray one direction or the other.  And if you are out of balance due to traumas that have upset your equilibrium then brilliant, these might help.

Heart Balance tools

#1 - Own your stuff. - Ends never means

If you do something that sucks energy from someone else, make sure you figure out what you can do to help replace the energy taken.  Otherwise you remain in energetic debt to someone and even if you don't "care" that debt remains and draws energy from you.   This can be something as unseen as "badblood" even if someone doesn't actively talk bad about you because of what you did they will hesitate to work with you again, or their non-verbal body language can relay to others that you are challenging or difficult to work with.  So fix it.  Find out what it takes to return balance and do it.   Essentially this is karma playing out and it always will.  Give good energy and get good energy, hurt others and you will hurt in return.  So find the middle way instead.

When dealing with others the most important thing is to make sure that you are treating them as ends in of themselves never means to your ends.  Meaning that they have deep inherent value just by being human and alive and their purpose is not just to help you do your thing...because that would make you a jerk.  But unfortunately, if you think about it most world economies and businesses treat people as means to their financial ends which is why we are witnessing riots and having to hashtag up.  So if we really want to impact lasting change in the world it has to start with our day to day interactions with others the rest will follow.

Ends never means.

#2 Learn to breathe from your heart.

Heart Math is a whole science that looks at the impact of syncing your heart rhythms with your brain waves.  Now this sounds like a whole bunch of huey when you just speak about it.   But think about it.  We can track brain waves with a machine (Electroencephalogram) and we can track and EKG (electrocardiogram).  There is something called entrainment which is when they start beating in rhythm with each other, when this happens your energy is less dispersed and is able to be channelled into your creative work much more efficiently.  You can do this by the following method.  The trick is to find a thought that brings you joy and hook into that to bring that joy into your life when you request it.   This can help give you control back if you start finding stress and anxiety creeping up into your life.



#3 What would a best friend do? (developing your self-compassion muscles)

If you are starting to feel like crap and your inner critical voice is giving you horrors...imagine you are shutting it down shrinking it and putting that voice into a mason jar and sealing the lid.  It can flap around there like a pissed off bat but you can't hear it.  Now tune into the sound of your own inner kind voice.  What does it have to say?  The sort of voice that would belong to your most loving thoughtful compassionate friend who thinks the world of you.

That is the voice to tune into. The other one is an energy vampire and they have no right being in your energy space.

I boil down most interactions with people as suns and vampires.

Suns fill you with energy.

Vampires tend to drain your energy.

Spend more time with suns.  Become a sun yourself.

Limit your exposure to vampires.  Which leads me to...


#4 - Develop and Support Your Boundaries

Tune into your yes and no compass.  Get used to emotional "sweating"

Watcht he video for a clearer explanation.

Boundaries give you your energy back so that you can use it to make much cooler stuff.

#5 Attitude of Gratitude

This also is your homeplay exercise.

Pick a person that you are grateful for.

  • Ask at least 3 people that are also grateful for them to write down 5 specific reasons why they are grateful for that person.  Add your 5 reasons as well for that person.
  • Take a portrait of them incorporating the colour green somehow.
  • Get a Gift box and put their picture on the top of the gift box and put the papers with the reasons why people are grateful for them in the box.
  • Give them the box.
  • Repeat as many times as you can...because each time you do you will create a positive vacuum that will be filled with positive feelings towards you and towards that person for themselves.
  • Send in a photograph of the gift box full of gratitude.


Post your homeplay here

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Posing is one of the hardest things to learn in photography.

It has taken me 12 years to feel completely confident and competent at it.  I now feel fairly certain that I can make any person look their best in a photo most of the time.

This is an art.

If you plan on photographing people you need to make it your mission to learn it.

Because if you make them look bad they will delete it or not let you use the photograph.

Learning posing is an act of respect for your subject.

Here are the broad brushstrokes.

  • If something is closer to the camera it looks bigger.  So if they want to make their butt look smaller don't aim it at the camera, tuck it behind.
  • Shooting down on someone makes them look less important so don't photograph women in business this way.
  • Shooting low tends to make someone look bigger and more important so drop below eye level when photographing women if possible to give them visually a more powerful stance.
  • People hate photographs where they have a double chin so pay attention to this and have them push there head forward like like it is sliding on a shelf and then drop the chin slightly (instant facelift).
  • arms against the body create bulk so create gaps between the arms and the rest of the body.





If you plan on photographing fashion or models it is important to develop relationships with hair and makeup artists that have a similar aesthetic to your own.


Clothing and props

Pinterest is your friend.  Create a board and fill it with things that inspire you.  Share with your team.   Source the things.  This is the most fun part of it.



Click Happy Plus Week 5 | Building Your Creative Community + Posing + Styling

Updated on 2021-06-21T14:25:03+12:00, by Mandi.