Tracey Olkus: Behind The Scenes


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024


Tracey Olkus:Behind The Scenes


Tracey Olkus and I have known each other for decades.  Philly is a small town amongst creatives.  We worked together on shoots over the years as she is one of the best hair stylists in Philly, but I never had a chance to photograph her as a subject, for years I only worked with her like any other colleague in the Arts. Tracey always had this allure but shy in a way or so it seemed. Last year I invited her up to my new studio in Elkins Park to assist on a shoot and I also invited her to attend a party at my house during the summer. That’s when it finally clicked that I wanted to photograph her for The Vixens Series.  The time was ripe.

After several back and forth communications, she agreed and noted that she had never been photographed by a professional photographer before.  I felt honored and I think she cherished the moment. So the process began.  I asked Tracey to put some fashion together from her wardrobe and explained the process of how I work with creative director, KVaughn. They too have known each other for decades so communicating  by Zoom was easy and so began our team’s creative journey.  There would be four to five changes within a two hour shoot schedule.  My lighting assistant, Anthony Colagreco was working the lights. Fortunately for us, Tracey had lots of interesting costumes that KVaughn curated and molded into the style in which the series has become known. KV especially knows I have a thing for hats. Tracey is also a headdress maker. A creative match made in heaven and the pictures are always the result.

Tracey indicated on the eve of her sitting that she was a little nervous.  That to me usually indicates the person that I am photographing is fully immersed in the creative outcome, which through my experience tends to lead to a positive result.  I simply assured her she was in good hands.



To be cast for The Vixen Series contact:

To access The Vixens Series gallery link here

Unveiling Your Professional Brand: The Art of the Portrait

Unveiling Your Professional Brand: The Art of The Portrait


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024


In today’s digital age, first impressions are often made through the lens of a camera. A professional portrait serves as a powerful tool to convey your personal brand, establishing credibility and leaving a lasting impact on potential clients or employers. However, achieving that perfect shot requires more than just a quick snapshot – it’s an investment in your professional image. So, what can you expect when you invest in a professional portrait session with Tony Ward Studio?

Firstly, you can anticipate working with a skilled team who understands the nuances of capturing the essence of your personality and profession. Our experts possess a keen eye for lighting, angles, and composition, ensuring that your portrait radiates confidence and authenticity. We will guide you through the process, offering direction on posing, expressions, and wardrobe choices that best complement your desired image.

In addition to the photographer’s expertise, you’ll have access to a professional studio setting. Tony Ward’s newly constructed studio is designed to create carefully curated lighting and backdrops that align with your personal brand. From voluminous cloud backdrops like the one used for influencer Katie Kerl’s  portrait, or to more creative environmental settings like the studios recent creation of a set depicting a French garden at night in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background, Tony Ward Studio provides a controlled environment to capture your ideal look.

Influencer Katie Kerl and writer for Tony Ward Studio has new headshot taken
Katie Kerl. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Moreover, a professional portrait session may include a comprehensive styling consultation with our in house creative director, KVaughn. Whether you require assistance with hair and makeup or need guidance on selecting the right attire, our team will ensure that every detail is thoughtfully considered to enhance your overall look and appearance.

Once the session is complete, you can expect a selection of high-quality, retouched images to choose from. A veteran photographer like myself understands the importance of post-production editing, meticulously refining each shot to achieve a polished and powerful result. This attention to detail ensures that your final portrait portrays you at your best, showcasing your confidence and professionalism.

Investing in a professional portrait is an investment in your personal brand, career aspirations and your acquiring a piece of fine art. While the cost may vary depending on your needs,  the benefits of a well executed portrait is invaluable. It’s an opportunity to create a lasting first impression, establish credibility, and present yourself as a competent and trustworthy professional in a visually driven world.

Our Team Work page

Call us to discuss your next portrait session or for additional services we may offer: 267-475-0828.

Lileet_Miriam: Work is Work Isn’t It?


Text by Lileet_Miriam, Copyright 2024

Photography by Tony Ward,Copyright 2024

Styling by KVaughn


Work is Work, Isn’t It?

The concept, by design, is meant to be transactional. An even exchange. You provide “x” set of skills for a particular field so therefore you should be paid “y” in return, right? The good ole “employer/employee relationship.” But, what happens when you are both the employer/employee that must rely upon a third party (cash app, social media platform, or even a reputable banking institution) that is designed, let alone meant to provide you with the steady income you worked for only to be told in return, sometimes without warning, “no, we can’t provide you with your hard earned money because THESE set of skills you possess, we actually frown upon.” Welcome to the constant struggle of the current sex worker.

As The New York Times reported in November of 2023, “workers in sex-related industries – whether creating online content, or working in a strip club or even a legal brothel, – often risk their safety and face social and employment discrimination. But a lesser-known struggle is that it’s often difficult to maintain a basic bank account and other financial relationships that most people take for granted.” The ability to maintain a business bank account, a line of credit, or to generally use the financial services of banking institutions or service providers like Zelle or Venmo, are essential to commercial undertaking. In the life of a small business operator, that quickly bleeds into one’s personal life and ability to perform basic economic functions like use a checking account, obtain a mortgage, or even keep a credit card. Unfortunately, for many sex workers, who are disproportionally women, these basic rights are denied, forcing them into a continuous cycle of financial instability and hardship. 

Whether driven by moral condemnation or financial risk assessment, too often women involved in sexually explicit work find their access to banking institutions and financial service providers denied. According to a May 2023 report from the Free Speech Coalition, nearly 40% of workers in the adult sex industry have experienced account closures and denials of service in this past year alone. 

Some of the dangers are clear. The inability to access financial services and banking causes significant financial instability and prevents the creation of new businesses and wealth. This cycle in turn forces workers in the adult sex industry to depend on less reliable third parties or operate through the use of far less secure payment methods like cash and cryptocurrency. The negative impact far transcends the business end of the operation for most small business operators. Lack of credit and easily documented income can quickly have a negative impact on one’s personal credit, impacting the very basic needs of modern life. 

Work is work, except for when a bank decides that it is not the type of work that one should be doing. Then work becomes an arduous journey to secure a glimpse of financial security. For many women, who comprise a significant sector of modern adult sex work, this has become a reality which often compromises their ability to work for a living. 


Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana: You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup

Beautiful tall black woman models a KVaughn couture jacket photographed by Tony Ward Copyright 2024
Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Text by Antoinette, AKA Scorpiana


You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup


You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

This was the single best piece of parenting and life advice I have ever received and my continuous reminder to take care of myself. Navigating multiple polyamorous partnerships requires a lot of time and effort but those relationships continuously fill my cup. It was thru one of those relationships that I was introduced to rope bondage, and with it a whole new world in the BDSM community.

Chinese woman hanging upside down in bondage in her bedroom
Savanna. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024. Rope Work by Scorpiana.

Rope spoke to me in a way nothing had previously. The artistry, the physical challenge, the emotional connection it can foster. Being restrained was the first time in my life I could turn my brain off and just be in the moment, in my body. Learning to tie others was the most fantastic puzzle that continues to challenge me physically and mentally years later. It is a rare situation where I have never gotten bored, and boredom is ever present in my life as a human with ADHD. Balancing my kink life with my vanilla life as a working mother of two kids has me literally and figuratively pulled in multiple directions every day. Yet it is thru rope that I keep my cup full for the rest of the things in my life. Rope bondage has provided a unique emotionally connective experience with friends and partners alike. It is an expression of my creativity and an artistic outlet unlike any other.

closeup bondage photo of woman's butt
 Tony Ward for KVaughn Scarves, Copyright 2024. 

Sculpture with the human body, a transient dynamic living piece of art. Expanding access to rope bondage for those who are traditionally not included due to body size and ability is this intersection between my professional life as a physical therapist and my personal life as a rigger that allows me to share my love of learning and teaching with other marginalized groups. Tying others, and being tied, has been a source of joy that has kept me happy and grounded and better able to show up in all other aspects of my life; as a parent, as a partner, and as a physical therapist. 


Beautiful tall black woman models a KVaughn couture coat photographed by Tony Ward Copyright 2024
Antoinette. AKA Scorpiana. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Behind The Scenes With Savanna

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2024


Behind The Scenes With Savanna


Photographs by Al B For, Copyright 2024.

I was introduced to Savanna a few months ago at an exhibition of my work curated  by my  friend and colleague Bob Neroni, owner of Prism Arts Philadelphia.  When we met at the exhibit she seemed very enthusiastic about meeting me, so I reached out to cast her for The Vixens Series, a series of portraits inspired by women from all walks of life that exude; strength, intelligence, heroism and inner beauty.

We settled on a date and aligned the production crew to meet at my studio for the series of pictures that would define the beginning  of a new year as we enter 2024.  I contacted veteran Philly photographer, Al B For to cover the behind the scenes of the production involved in creating Savanna’s remarkable series of pictures.  Al B is quite known in Philadelphia creative circles as a go to guy for candid event photography . His bubbly personality makes everyone around him comfortable as evidenced in the photographs captured on shoot day.  Al B is the ultimate fly on the wall.

Many thanks first of all to Savanna, who was fabulous to work with.  She’s quite daring and provocative as you can see.  Thanks also to my team including: creative director KVaughn, lighting assistant Tony Colagreco, Shibari rope specialist, Scorpiana,  makeup artist extraordinaire, Octavia Monroe and behind the scenes pictures by Al B For.


To access the complete set of Savanna’s pictures for The Vixens Series, link here: