Blooms On This Earth

I believe in God,
I spell it Nature.

Frank Lloyd Wright

I love seeing Mother Nature get all dressed up with Spring blooms (and not much else)!  May we always remember to celebrate our amazing bodies as microcosms of our wondrous planet, to be thankful for how it serves us so well we tend to take it for granted. May we stay attuned to its magic and treat it with great love and kindness.

And when we forget we do live in paradise, a toe curling verse on Flowers and Bees by @primalnightss:

How long would I
The ever thirsting supplicant
Dote upon the tender folds of spring
And with my breath
Awaken her from winters sleep
How might her petals unfold
If gently stroked by a wet
And patient tongue unyielding
And how sweet would be
One drop upon my lips
Of Morning dew so gently taken
From pink and tender buds
That I with nectar in my mouth
Would buzz and hum
To see your petals unraveled.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your gratitude for this amazing Eden we live in!



Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Best Headshot Tips

I always wanted to be somebody,

but now I realize

I should have been more specific.

Lily Tomlin


While I enjoy creating artsy glamour portraits the most, I have fun working with those who need  headshots for their businesses and careers, too. Here’s what you need to make the most of what you’ve got for such a shoot:

Makeup  You want to be recognizable the way you present yourself at work but with tweaks in consideration of the lighting situation at your photo shoot. Choose good coverage oil-free liquid foundation that is evenly applied to match your neck and chest.  Apply setting powder more generously than you normally would and bring blotting paper and powder to touch up right before your shoot. Even if you want a natural look, go for heavier shades on the lips and especially on the eyes and eyebrows because (artificial) lighting tends to wash out features.  Use black mascara that does not clump or smear. If wearing false lashes, choose the kind that looks natural with uneven lengths. Wax eyebrows a day or two before and darken them for the photo shoot. It’s all about the eyes! And shall I say it? Avoid (fake) tans.

If makeup is not among your strong talents, invest in a professional artist that, ideally, you’ve tried and liked before.

Hair  Clean and styled your best.  A headshot photo shoot is NOT the occasion to experiment with a new cut or color. Retouch (roots) a day or two before and schedule a maintenance haircut or color a week prior. While matte is what you want for your face, shine is what you need for your hair. There’s a selection of hair shine sprays for women at your local  drugstore like Biosilk spray. For my own wash and wear hairstyle, I just rub my palms with less than a quarter size drop of oil and run them through my hair while damp.

Nails  Clean nails and if wearing polish, choose clear, french manicure or pale neutrals so they don’t distract from your beauty.

What to wear  Choose outfits in solid colors for a classic look. Regardless of your size, shape, and how you feel about your body, form fitting is the most flattering. Highlight your best features and cover what you’d rather not show. Avoid distracting patterns and too much cleavage. V necks and long sleeves are flattering in general. If you’re an artist who needs to be quirky, express yourself through  a single piece of bold jewelry. Skin tones in the olive, brown, to dark shades are better flattered by pale or bright shades of the colors you like. To be clear, dark outfits look better on pale skin. Picking from my client’s favorite wardrobe selections is one of my small pleasures.

Accessories  You want people to notice your face so keep jewelry simple and stick to one statement piece or none at all. Best to wear a piece that can be your “signature” to give your client/prospects something to distinguish you from your peers in your industry.

Take care of yourself in the week before your headshot:  Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and smoking, and give your reflection in the mirror kind compliments daily.  All these habits help relax lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and make you glow. Get extra sleep the night before your photo shoot so you’re energized and perky in the morning.

I like to keep lighting bright, soft, and even to fill shadows and smoothen wrinkles. Daylight by a window is most flattering for women and on gray rainy days or windowless rooms, continuous lights are kinder than flash. As I photograph, I ask for the woman’s “best side” and keep a conversation to draw out her personality. Have fun with yourself and enjoy the experience! Angling the head, posture, as well as getting a twinkle in her eyes all help in capturing a woman’s unique best.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your bright ideas to this list.







Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman







Alice In Wonderland



Everything in the world

is about sex except sex.

Sex is about power.

Oscar Wilde


Scarier than zombies, ghouls and witches, my Halloween thoughts wander down the rabbit hole of sexuality having three know-it-all teens curious about tricks and treats. Excerpts from Deborah L. Spar’s Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection:

Until the shift in social norms that Helen Gurley Brown captured and Erica Jong brought to conclusion, women were still bound by the contractual nature of courtship: sex in exchange for a husband/protector, two cows or true love.

Women may lead themselves to believe that now that they can have casual sex, they are truly playing the same game as men. In theory, hooking up means men are now commodified as easily as women. In practice, though, it also means women are no longer in a position to ask for anything but sex in exchange for sex–not marriage, not a date, not even a phone call the next morning or a ride home.

Unless women actually enjoy casual sex, they may have struck a deal that works against their own best interests.  Women may like sex as much as men. They may want it as frequently and in the same infinity of permutations. But the link between sex and relationship is stronger for women, as is the social penalty for promiscuity.

Ultimately, the question is whether women truly enjoy the freedom of uncommitted sex.  Are women equally content to give and get sex for nothing, or have they given men what men want (easy and cheap sex) without getting much in return?

The widespread embrace of the hooking-up norm may be one of womankind’s greatest gift to men: No real commitment. No real feelings required. This is like a man’s paradise!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you have gained in pursuit of this liberty.







Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


Hail, The Non-Olympians!

Whenever I feel like exercise, 

I lie down until the feeling passes.

Robert Hutchison

Today, I swam my first mile faster than Allison Schmitt–thanks to a lifejacket and the downstream current of the Kennebec River, Maine.  One of the blessings of having three kids is that I can’t excuse myself from all family activities and had awesome fun whitewater rafting with http://www.NorthernOutdoors.   Like a true Olympian, I set my eyes on the gold:  if I survived this day’s epic adventure, the kids will let me have the rest of the family vacation in peace!

I am not sporty.   The one thing I care to do with a pool is to strike a pretty pose or host a party.   The only marathon I’d join would be sleeping.  Even in watching the Olympics, game technicalities can’t distract me from the sheen of muscles, the gentle curves on impossible abs, and the colorful makeup on the women athletes’ determined eyes.  As they struggled to calm their rush of adrenaline, I struggled to recall if  my body was ever that lean in my teens?   I was probably busy bemoaning how I didn’t have curves in the “right” places.

While the champions get all the glory and publicity, I’m interested in those who don’t get the gold.  What makes these men and woman dedicate a lifetime to a chance at winning and mostly losing?  What’s a life determined by the persistent ticking of the clock, the whistle, and measuring up?   How do they get over losing by a millionth of a second or a single misstep after giving their all?

And for mere mortals like us who don’t have the urge to compete,  or can’t stick to the persistence required by strict discipline, deprivation and diet, are we to consider ourselves less than?  In judging everything by a singular standard, are we blinding ourselves to the natural variations of strength and beauty as well as ignoring the effort it takes to participate in life without accolades?   Does happiness have to be derived from supremacy and other people’s opinion?   Can there be only one perfect tree in the forest?

In the adulation of youth and extraordinary achievement, are we more inspired to do better or dismay at our ordinary lives?  One thing I know is that Oscar Pistorius leaves me with no excuse to bitch about the size of my calves.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your thoughts on the Olympics.


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Model : Katrina Amato
Styling : Rosy Justo
Makeup : Tomoko Miyamoto
Hair : Yulitzin Alvarez Funes



Evita on the Peso

Give me a balcony in every town and 

I will win their hearts.

A deposed president of Ecuador cites Eva’s success

The iconic Evita Peron has been honored in song, in film, on Broadway, and last week, on the 60th anniversary of her death, her face now graces Argentina’s 100 peso currency–the only woman to be honored in this very manly country’s banknotes.

From “Simply Irresistible” by Ellen T. White:

Pale, humorless, and uneducated, she used the only capital she had at her disposal–an uncanny ability to seem heaven sent.  Some say Evita slept her way to the top, but if sex were all it took, any number of women might have taken her place.  What was the magic dust she sprinkled on their eyes?

Evita’s lessons for every Goddess:

1. Take the higher road.   Keep a physical, as well as psychological, upper hand.  Always stand tall and establish a regal presence by throwing your shoulders back and keeping your chin up.

2. Create an air of quiet mystery.  Evita had no talent for conversation, but it seems the less said, the better.  Her unexpected silences made others a tad nervous and eager to please, yearning for more, curious to know what’s on her mind.  Leave a lot to the imagination and set yourself apart from the reality TV crowd that’s eager to tell all.

3. Overdress for success.  She charmed the masses by addressing them as “My descamisados” (shirtless ones) while maintaining a closet that was very far from empty. Even if you don’t own designer clothes or a crown, make an effort to look queenly.  Always wear what makes you feel like a million–and never tell where you got it for less. 😉

4. Choose your words.   Evita’s rise to power erased records of her mongrel birth.  Officially sanctioned accounts of her early years began to sound like myth: “Like Venus… Eva Peron was born from the sea.”  Jobless?  No, my dear, I’m between opportunities. Held on drug charges a decade ago?  That was a wild experiment in spiritual growth.  Divorced more times that you can count?  I’m passionate and tend to leap before I look.  As they say, “It’s never too late–in fiction or in life–to revise.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us what makes you feel like a million.

 © Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Makeup by Kristen Pickrell


Woman, Like Water

Someone showed me a glass of water and asked,

“Is this glass half full or half empty?”

So I drank the water. No more problem.

Alexander Jodorowsky


A wet and happy photo session with the Goddess Katrina inspired this poem I dedicate to every woman:

Like water, she is buoyed by joy

tranquil in self knowing

flowing with the current of what is.

Often told she’s but a fragile raindrop

she knows she has the wisdom of the ocean.

Stronger than a raging wave, she gushes

 submerged passions and

creativity swelling from the depths of her soul.

She floats over adversity

Soaking in pain that wakes her to action.

No, no, no

her brave heart won’t sink into surrender.

Woman, like water and life itself,

seeps unstoppable through all creation.

Drink her up.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Model: Katrina Amato
Makeup: Tomoko Miyamoto
Hair (pre-dunk) : Yulitzin Verenice Alvarez

A Very Blessed Birthday

Age is something that doesn’t matter,

unless you are a cheese.

 Billie Burke

“Show me who’s taller!”  My teen asks his little sister to mark his height standing head to head with his younger brother.  He turns around dismayed to see his sister’s hand inches short of his brother’s top.

I tried to console him with a version of Hallmark greeting cards, “You know, it’s not how tall, it’s how happy…”

And his brother–the same one who never lets their sister win an argument–chimes in, ‘Then you win, Dude!”

I am blown away by the fullness of this past year!  I may not have grown an inch taller –without platform heels– but I have definitely reached new heights by coming home to my native talents and strengths, woven together seamlessly in service of chronicling a woman’s many joys.  I’ve been richly blessed by those who have inspired and nourished me:  friends, family, clients, models, teachers, fellow creatives, and fans, people who have given generously of their time, talents, wisdom and praise.  I feel full with gratitude that my art helps a woman celebrate who she is beyond her roles of mother, daughter, and wife.  I most love soaking in the memory of laughter shared at photo shoots, stretching comfort zones in embracing a woman’s beauty, telling her story for posterity, and honoring her amazing body that serve so many, so well in one lifetime.

THANK YOU, All, for the gifts you are to me!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your blessings here.


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

PS  Many thanks to Sumit for this sparkly 4th of July photo…


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