Always wanted to be a pinup girl? Say cheese at
Old School Pin Ups
By Rebecca Garland
February 19, 2010
Special to NWsource
Take former Hollywood professional photographer Lance Wagner and makeup artist, stylist and burlesque teacher Trixie Lane and what do you get? Old School Pin Ups -- a self-professed "retrophile" husband-and-wife team who bring out women's beauty through '40s-, '50s- and '60s-era pinup photography while fostering their love for midcentury life and style.
Lance and Trixie opened Old School Pin Ups in Seattle in 2006, and since then they've brought out the pinup girl in hundreds of Seattle-area women (as well as celebrities like Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois and other characters on TV's "Family Guy"). A majority of Old School Pin Ups' business consists of wedding gifts from the bride to the groom, as well as Valentine's Day and Christmas gifts. Old School Pin Ups also caters to many military wives, and Trixie notes that their pinup books and calendars are in Iraq, Afghanistan and even on a nuclear submarine. No matter the reason, "It's a win-win gift," Lance said. "You get three hours of being pampered, and your significant other gets great photos."
Once you arrive at the Old School Pin Ups studio, Lance and Trixie give you a tour, which includes four sets -- the Bachelor Pad, the Oriental Bar, the Tiki Bar and the Boudoir -- all decorated in vintage furniture and accessories to match each set's particular style. You'll then spend two hours with Trixie in hair, makeup and wardrobe. She can accommodate all shapes and sizes -- her style arsenal contains lingerie, corsets and bathing suits from a size two to a 22 -- and she will discuss with you any problems areas you want to conceal. With imperfections that can't be hidden by wardrobe, Lance says there are a few options, including lighting and certain poses, as well as editing touch-ups.
The shoot lasts approximately one hour. Never modeled before? Lance and Trixie make you feel at ease by talking you through the shoot, which progresses through 8 to 13 different poses with different angles and lighting. After the shoot is over, you "slip into something less comfortable," Trixie says, while Lance performs a quick edit and projects a slideshow of the shoot. Though you will schedule a time to come back to meet after Lance has performed a more thorough edit, you don't walk away empty-handed that day. You will leave with two small "peek-a-boo" viewfinders, with one of the pictures from the shoot visible inside.
The beautiful and period-accurate pictures that Old School Pin Ups produces are a testament to their passion for the work. Lance says, "It's the most fun to let someone see how beautiful they can be." Trixie agrees. "To see her eyes light up when she sees herself, and you know the person who loves her sees her just like that... It's the biggest thrill of my life."
Gain Confidence and Surprise Your Sweetie With
Old School Pin Up Photography
By Jenny Flack
Seattle Bride Magazine
Old School Pin Ups, a vintage-style pin-up photography and makeover studio in Lake City, specializes in creating "old school"
looks and photographs for brides-to-be and their wedding party. Founded by photographer Lance Wagner and hair, makeup and
wardrobe stylist Trixie Lane, this retro-fashioned husband-and-wife team fit right in among the various sets in their 1950’s-themed
photography studio. Whether you want to floor your fiancé and pose as Jungle Jane in the palm-tree decorated Tiki Room or put
on your bedroom eyes and lingerie in the Boudoir, Lance and Trixie provide a new twist on bridal photography. Here, they explain why
being a pin-up model is such a fun thing to do for your man—and yourself.
Seattle Bride: What does a typical day at Old School Pin Ups look like?
Lance: It’s very Madmen, except a lot more politically correct and fun! Our most popular service is pin-up photography, where we shoot
brides in a variety of sexy costumes and settings in our studio. Then the photographs are made into gorgeous prints, books, calendars
and even playing cards. Brides can give them as gifts to their fiancé as a little teaser before the wedding. Military wives will often send
calendars or books to their husbands overseas. We also take retro-style engagement and wedding portraits of couples. We’ll
dress the bride in a 50’s house dress and the groom in a Rat Pack suit or smoking jacket, so the men have fun, too. The couples want
to emulate that classic style of their grandparents’ era.
SB: Your studio always looks primed for a party! Do you host parties here, too?
Trixie: We open our studio to bachelorette parties, where the bride and her girlfriends can all get dolled up and photographed as pin-ups.
I also do wedding-day hair and makeup from our studio, so we can use the bachelorette-party photo shoot as a trial run for how brides
want their hair and makeup on the big day. I teach every bride a basic bump-and-grind burlesque routine to perform for their new
husbands on their wedding night to set the mood for their honeymoon, and I always send them home with a handmade hair
flower of my own design. Brides can even enroll in my Kindergarten of Burlesque, a five-week course that teaches women how to
develop their inner starlet and ends with each student performing her own burlesque skit in front of a live audience! The students
design their own glittery costumes and invent sassy character names like “Dirty Mississippi” and “Violette Von Shpankitt.” It’s a
blast, and so rewarding.
SB: Why do brides want to pose as pin-up models?
Trixie: Of course brides want to give that special, spicy gift to their fiancés, but posing also gives them a more empowered sense of
self. The most important thing a woman can do is learn to stand on her own two feet, but sometimes being a breadwinner, a
mother and so many other roles doesn’t leave space for expressing femininity. I know burlesque performers who are lawyers and even
marines, so you can be badass and beautiful. It’s so thrilling to help brides feel confident before their weddings. Once, a bride scheduled
a shoot and contacted us three weeks before her wedding to tell us her fiancé had just died in an accident. She was devastated, but six
months later she came in with her girlfriends for the bachelorette party she never had. She wanted those photos to lift her spirits and
as a way to lay her fiancé to rest.
SB: How did you two combine forces in the name of pin-up photography?
Trixie: I was torch singing at a retro lounge in New York and Lance, who was scheduled to do a shoot for a business in the city,
contacted me about my performance. We corresponded constantly for the next few months until I decided to meet him in Seattle.
I planned on staying for two weeks and never left! While searching for venues to perform in, I fell into the nouveau
burlesque movement that was happening at the time. Lance began photographing our burlesque performer friends while I styled their
hair and makeup. We did the shoots in rented photography studios and one corner of our tiny apartment that we’d converted to a
Lance: I knew other couples who worked together and fought all the time, so I was hesitant to start a business with Trixie. But she
believed we could do it and eventually I saw things her way. In 2005 we were accepted into Artwood Studios, an artists’ collective
housed in the former Cedar Park Elementary school, and set up our studio in the kindergarten room.
SB: What is the difference between what you offer—posing as a pin-up or burlesque girl—versus a Playboy centerfold type of photo.
Trixie: A Playboy centerfold focuses on in-your-face eroticism that is designed just to titillate. A pin-up photograph focuses on the tease.
It might display a woman looking surprised because the wind blew her skirt up, exposing her stockings and garter. The sexuality is
incidental. A burlesque performer never exhibits full nudity; you might only glimpse her pastie-covered breast for a few seconds
as she dances behind feather fans. Plus, the performances can include choreographed dances, skits, props and lavish costumes.
They can be dramatic, playful, satirical or funny. The burlesque performances you see in Seattle today are run by women and
performed by women confident and powerful in their own skin, and audiences are full of both men and women. When a bride
poses at our studio, she’s becoming much more than just another busty bikini babe.
SB: How do you get brides comfortable with the idea of being scantily clad and photographed?
Trixie: From the moment brides come through our door we try to make our studio a safe, inviting and fun place. We begin in my
private dressing room where I get to know the bride. What is she most comfortable showing off? Does her fiancé love her long neck
or curvy hips? By the time I’m done styling her hair and makeup and have dressed her in a fabulous corset or lacy teddy that shows her
body to its best advantage, she’s excited and eager to step onto the set. Then Lance guides the bride through the entire process with
directions as specific as “lift your chin” in a patient, gentle way. He respects the bride’s space and conveys himself as the artist behind
the camera. If so much as a bra strap gets twisted he calls me in to assist.
Lance: We start with simple poses to build the bride’s confidence, like having her lean against the edge of the bed in the boudoir set
with her legs crossed—very demure but sensual. As she gets more comfortable we progress to more complicated shots. If she needs
encouragement, we’ll upload one shot to the computer for her to see, and she’s usually so blown away by how great she looks that
it gives her the boost she needs.
SB: Do women have to bring their own costumes and lingerie to the shoot? Where do the clothes come from?
Trixie: Our clients are largely regular working women who may own some lingerie, but most borrow vintage undergarments and
pin-up outfits from my collection. I’ve collected vintage clothing since the 1980’s—I have hundreds of pieces!— and I rely on
reproduction corsets and shapewear by Lady Marlene, Rago and Wenatchee-based Orchard Corset. Incidentally, any of these
shapers would work wonders beneath a wedding dress.
SB: How do you help brides decide what to wear and which setting they’d like to be photographed in?
Trixie: Women sometimes look at our Web site and have a good idea of what they’d like to do and other times they let us take the
reins. One bride talked to her long-distance fiancé on the phone habitually and wanted a photo of her talking on our retro rotary phone.
Another bride had received a scarf from her fiancé so we incorporated that into the shoot. If you’ve got special jewelry or
lingerie that your sweetie loves, bring it!
Lance: Each of our sets lends itself to different costumes and “looks.” So if you want to wear lingerie or a nightgown, the Boudoir is a
good choice, and the Tiki Room is perfect for bathing suits, hula skirts and animal prints because of its exotic bamboo décor.
SB: How do men react to the receiving such luscious gifts?
Trixie: They’re completely floored! Some brides will surprise their fiancés with the prints 10 minutes before their ceremony and the
men want to consummate the marriage right then and there! They get emotional, too. A 60-year-old woman posed, and her husband
cried and told her she was as beautiful as the day they first met. The gifts are especially meaningful for military men; it really keeps
SB: What’s the most important advice you’d give couples looking for a wedding photographer?
Lance: Look at as much of the photographer’s works as possible and pay attention to the quality. Ask yourself: If I could see myself
in this photograph, would I be happy with it? Find a photographer’s work that chokes you up emotionally because it’s so beautiful.
Check online testimonials and the photographer’s Web site; a sleek, professional page with plenty of weddings signals a
photographer is devoted fulltime to his or her work. Experience is key.
SB: What’s your favorite part about shooting pin-up photography?
Lance: Seeing these real, everyday women squeal in delight at their pin-up photos gives us the biggest rush! Fifteen minutes after they
leave, glowing with confidence, Trixie and I shake a martini and thank our luck that we get to do what we do.
Trixie: And we’re even luckier because we get to do what we love with the one we love most.
Lance Wagner and Trixie Lane's Old School Pinups specializes in making all women look and feel beautiful through Retro PinUp, Boudoir & Intimate Photography. You'll receive a Complete Retro Makeover by Trixie, including perfect vintage style hair & makeup. She'll assist you in choosing the perfect outfit, from her vast collection of vintage & retro lingerie & costumes. Wagner took his 30+ years experience in commercial photography to design a unique approach in vintage style pinup. He lights each pose with old fashioned Hollywood Hot Lights to sculpt you in soft lighting, accenting the very best of every woman. He & Lane designed a wonderland studio, with eclectic sets, The Bachelor Pad,The Bamboo Bar,The Tiki Room The Pink Jewel set w/ a Round Bed, The Pink Kitchen, The Mod Set, & a Blue Starry Night. You'll enjoy a delightful experience & receive classic images that you'll treasure forever. OldSchoolPinUps is the BEST in Retro PinUp, Boudoir & Intimate Photography.
Old School Pinups began in the NE corner of Seattle, when husband & wife team Lance Wagner and Trixie Lane moved their studio to an old elementary school, built in the mid century by Paul Thiry. For some time, they had been nurturing their love of pinup and retro style photography. This studio provided them with a great opportunity to establish their style & their business.
It did not take long for their work to get noticed, 1st, Alex Borstein of Fox's "Family Guy" came in to shoot the cover for "Drop Dead Gorgeous" her stand up routine, release by FOX. Right after that, Seattle Bride Magazine named Old School PinUps "Best Groom's Gift From the Bride" and The Daily Candy called OldSchoolPinups "An affair to remember". Soon after, they became the 1st, and only-exclusively intimate studio to be accepted in The Prestigious Seattle Wedding Show. Old School Pinups is proud that they now have a client from every Continent in the World.
Lance Wagner studied photography, both at the University level and by assisting several of the top commercial and editorial photographers in the business. In Los Angeles, he was fortunate to receive much of his training while assisting in lighting celebrities, dignitaries and politicians. He worked on shoots for Vanity Fair, Major Hollywood Studios, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, National Geographic and more, he put lights on subjects ranging from Pee Wee Herman to Ronald Reagan.
As a Photographer, Wagner's clients include; Nordstrom, Donna Karan, Home Depot, Seattle Mariners, 20th Century Fox & Estee Lauder, just to name a few.
He and his wife Trixie Lane, him the photographer and her the stylist, created Old School Pinups and Seattle Retro Photography out of their love for classic Mid Century Modern- furnishings, advertising and most of all Pinup photography. Recently moving their business to World Famous Pike Place Market in Post Alley.