Outdoor Boudoir - A Rite of Passage

“I was unprepared for the truth that
this was actually a rite of passage.

We do so much work on ourselves as women, reclaiming our minds, our hearts, our soft energies and our fierceness, our freedom of sexuality, and the freedom to feel beautiful in our bodies, regardless of shape- but the missing piece, for me, was the tangible, embodied truth of my own sensuality. I realized, as I stared dumbstruck at Jen's portraits of me, that I had been carrying myself as if I were still a 16 year old tomboy. The proof and celebration of my grown woman's body, grown woman's sensuality, was soul shattering, life changing.

Seeing myself as such, while also still seeing the
parts of myself that I am familiar with shining through,

brought me home to a place
I had not known I was estranged from.

Keeping the spark over 50+!

Beautifully sensual couple’s boudoir session 50+

I was so excited to meet Samantha & Dwayne for their shoot from the very first email. One of the first things I said to Sam after reading their questionnaire was that I wanted to make a study out of their relationship because they’re so ridiculously in love with each other it makes me swoon! To my surprise, and delight, I found out that they are planning to create a business together to help other 50+ couples keep their romance alive through education and play!

Whaaaaat?!?! How awesome is that! Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting about their business once it’s launched!

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What was your biggest fear before the session? Did your fear come true, and if not, what happened instead?

I happen to not be into make-up -- nothing against it, it's just not for me, even when I'm dressed up. And I really wanted to recognize myself in the photos. I was worried my partner would be disappointed and that even I would be disappointed with the final results. Jen talked it out with us in a way that made me feel understood AND assured me that my choice wouldn't keep her from being able to take great photos. I gave it more thought and stuck with what felt right for me, but still felt unsure . Turned out I could not be more thrilled with our photos - maybe I have a few kind genes and definitely Jen understands lighting and posing. (Sam chose not to have her hair & makeup done).

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What was your favorite part of your Breathless Boudoir experience and why?

The guided preparation and anticipation was fun -- the questionnaire and timed tips generated lots of interesting discussions. The whole process was titillating and romantic. Meeting Jen in advance was exciting because she had lots of questions and ideas for us to consider. And comforting too because Jen told us lots about herself and other shoots so our trust had something and someone to latch on to. The shoot itself was The Favorite. Wait - seeing the pictures after, all the oohing and ahhing. Wait - getting our book.....

We opened the book together yesterday. It feels like rock solid take it to court proof of what we have, and who we are together. It was a glorious Told Ya So to ourselves. We've been glamorized by your expertise with poses and lighting and Enlightening (your earnest and upbeat and easy assuring all along the way -- the aura you construct is so real and wonderful), and it really is us -- we are so pleased.

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How would your describe your experience to your best friend?

You mean how WILL I? Because it would be wrong not to share! "This might shock you, but I've discovered something that every sexual couple should get to enjoy!....." I would be coy about details because like sex acts themselves, part of the fun is the secrecy. But I will definitely encourage friends to celebrate their romance this way.

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What do you want to take with you from this experience and never forget?

My partner and I are in the kind of love that makes every romantic song seem like it was written specifically for us. We have that ideal relationship, being together feels like home at the same time it feels like a trip to Paris -- and to the moon! Our love deserves to be celebrated, honored, treasured. It's like what people expect from weddings, only better because it's a huge experience that we get to enjoy all to ourselves.

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Would you do it again?

Hell, yes! We're going to do an outdoor session!

Back to my roots...

Crossing a sketchy as hell railroad bridge, looking down through the grate at the ground far far below, my stomach did a flip.  I'm not necessarily afraid of heights (well, maybe just a little) but my body was already feeling all sorts of giddy about where we were heading.  I was going back to my roots as a photographer.  A friend and fellow artist was leading me to an abandoned mill where I was going to photograph two traveling models: Willa Prescott & Katlin Tucker. I was feeling the excitement I used to feel so long ago, sheesh it’s been over 10 years now, when I used to shoot in derelict sugar mills in Louisiana.

#throwback

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The above photo was a self portrait I did at a sugar mill that no longer exists. Before I became a boudoir photographer, I used photography as a form of self expression.

Below are a few shots from our romp through the mill! It felt good to stretch my creative muscles again to shoot in a place where I have no idea what to expect!

I would LOVE to start doing more fine art nude shoots again. If that’s something you’re interested in, PLEASE contact me (button at the bottom) and let’s talk!

DON'T CHANGE YOURSELF for a boudoir session!

Boudoir photography should be about who YOU are in this stage of your life.

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"What should I wear?  I don't really have any lingerie..."

A huge misconception is that boudoir photography is all about putting on that expensive matching bra, panty and garter set and hiking up the stockings.  While it definitely can be fun to dress up if that's your thing, your boudoir session doesn't have to look like that.  I understand the misconception though, when you google "boudoir photography" most of the photos are about the lingerie, not the person wearing the lingerie.  In my sessions, YOU are the main focus.  Not what you're wearing or the props you bring.  If you feel the most sexy in an oversized t-shirt hanging off your shoulder with plain cotton underwear then THAT is the look that you will be the sexiest in.  I want you to be able to recognize yourself in your photos.  I don't want to fit you in my box of what I think boudoir photography is.  This is why I send out a questionnaire before your session so I can get an idea of who you are, then I'll work with you to help you find the right wardrobe for you.

The most important point that I try to stress to my clients is that your boudoir session should be about YOU.  It should reflect who you are as a person at this point in your life.  You don't have to go out and buy things specifically for your boudoir session unless that's a part of the experience that you really want to have.

"Should I shave everything for my session?"

I think that may be the question that gets me the most when I hear it. My answer to that is "DEAR GOD NO!"

It pains me to think of women feeling like they need to fit themselves into the box of how mainstream media represents women. You don't need to be a certain way, or look a certain way for a boudoir shoot, you just need to be you. Whatever that means to you. If sexy to you is fully shaved then go for it!  Get that full Brazilian and rock that shit! But if you don't typically shave, don't feel like you have to for your session.  The full bush is beautiful!

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"I need to lose ____ pounds first..."

This is the most common one I hear.  So many women think they have to fit into the cookie cutter shape of the way the media portrays women, but SO FEW women actually look like that!  That cliche saying "life's too short" fits perfectly right here.  They're called cliches for a reason, right?  Life IS too short to not live your life to the fullest due to some "excess" weight!  I realize this is the main issue that carries the most shame.  Shame about our appearance can be crippling.  It can stop us from putting on a swimsuit to join a pool party or go to the beach.  It can stop us from even going out in public.  Some of you probably cringe at the idea of taking your clothes off in front of a stranger (me) and having photos taken of you.  You fear being judged and being seen.  I totally get that.  It IS terrifying!  In my opinion, it's one of the most radically vulnerable things you can do.  It's in our most vulnerable moments where the biggest transformations take place.

Check out THIS BLOG about a client who booked her second boudoir shoot with me BECAUSE she gained weight.

Even if you don't do a boudoir session, make the decision TODAY to stop letting your weight or appearance stop you from doing the things you want to do.  Make a commitment to yourself, your family and your loved ones RIGHT NOW to show up no matter what.  Drop that exhausting guard you have up and let loose.  Dance when you feel the music moving you, laugh with wild abandon, jump in the pool!

 

She booked a boudoir session BECAUSE she gained weight.

This isn’t Ashley’s first rodeo.

She knows the power of a boudoir session from our shoot together 4 years ago. Since then we’ve both been through the emotional roller coaster of a divorce. She gained weight and wasn’t feeling super in love with herself, but her man still finds her sexy so she wanted to see it, too.

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Was she scared of this decision?

Hell yeah she was. She was afraid of the way she would see herself in the photos. After her shoot she said:

While I struggle with my self image these days, I was very happy with the results of our session and it truly made me see my inner and outer beauty.

When I asked her what she would want to take with her from this experience and never forget, she replied:

That our bodies can change over time and through certain life stages but that will never define what’s on the inside and how sexy confidence is whether you’re a size 2 or 20.

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The biggest reason I hear from women why they’re not ready to do their shoot yet is because they want to lose weight first.

And I totally get it. If you’re not feeling in love with yourself and they way your body looks why on earth would you put that body in front of a stranger wearing barely anything?! My response to that way of thinking?

You can’t afford NOT to do it.

Life is absolutely precious. Every single second of every single day we get to live of it is a sacred gift. You can’t afford to waste one more day wishing you were thinner, or younger, or something other than what you are. You know better than anyone how much your self judgement seeps into your everyday life. The way it manifests as irritability with others, or exhaustion, or hiding yourself from the world. Finding your self confidence is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It affects every area of your life.

Whether you book your own boudoir shoot or not,
do something right now to help you build your self confidence.

Don’t know where to start? Let’s chat, I can help.



"Wow... have I always been this beautiful?"

My biggest fear was that I wouldn't look good, no matter how much photoshop, lighting, etc. was done. I am blown away. I had a hard time choosing what photos to purchase because even the unedited ones looked SO GOOD. I can't believe someone like me can look so sexy.

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This was so much more empowering than I thought it would be. As an (overweight) mom I often feel like I'm not attractive or sexy. I want to remember what it felt like to be in that moment, looking at those pictures right after and thinking, "wow...have I always been this beautiful?!" I wish I would have done this years ago.

My favorite part was the directing. It made me feel very comfortable and like I was capable of doing the shoot, even though I had no boudoir experience.

Next time I want to do an outdoors shoot.


I'VE DIED AND GONE TO LINGERIE HEAVEN!

 

You need to know this badass woman.

And her lingerie shop in DC.

(Trust me, you’ll thank me later.)

Meet Stephanie, owner of Le Bustiere Boutique in Washington DC and TOTAL badass at helping women feel sexy in the perfect lingerie.

Meet Stephanie, owner of Le Bustiere Boutique in Washington DC and TOTAL badass at helping women feel sexy in the perfect lingerie.

I had a lingerie experience yesterday that I never knew existed!

Let me start by saying that I have no affiliation with Le Bustiere Boutique, I’m not getting paid to write this blog. I just love singing the praises of people running businesses that I admire!

My friend and I wanted to peruse lingerie stores in DC to see what there was to offer my clients for boudoir photoshoots. We had went into several stores and felt just ok about things, and then we stepped into Le Bustiere Boutique. As soon as I stepped through the door I knew I was in the right place. Gorgeous natural light spilled through the window, illuminating the lace textured walls and… the best part… the most unique AND SEXY lingerie I’ve seen curated in one place before! And I never knew lingerie shopping could be so much fun! We talked about it for the rest of the day!

BODY DIVERSITY IS WHERE IT’S AT!!!

I was absolutely blown away by Stephanie’s (the owner) passion for the variety of lingerie she carries in her beautiful store. Not only does she source the finest…. not. even. kidding… lingerie pieces that she hand selects from Paris, causing her collection of lingerie to be the most unique I’ve laid my eyes on, but she also is very aware of body diversity and carries obscure, hard-to-find sizes from 30A-46K. Stephanie’s team will measure you for a proper fitting and then bring you a variety of sizes and styles to try on that support you and your body shape in all the right ways.

Small ribcage with full/small breasts?

You may typically have a hard time finding a bra with a band that fits snug enough and cups that can still contain your breasts. Stephanie has you covered! There are hard-to-find sizes like 30E that might be just the trick for you! And if you have a small cup and small ribcage and you’re looking for that tantalizingly sexy piece that fits like a glove, I guarantee you Stephanie and her team knows the perfect set for you.

Large cup size and you’re used to settling?

On bras that aren’t all that sexy because most designers think… what is it that they’re thinking exactly? That women with large breasts only want “practical” bras and aren’t concerned with being sexy?! I can write a whole blog post on what I think about that!!! Stephanie disagrees with that concept as well and carries BEAUTIFUL and sexy bras in sizes up to 46K! As I was asking about the styles she carries in larger cup sizes, she pulled out this gorgeous black sheer bra that had full “coverage” (as in the sheer covered the whole breast for support, but nothing would actually be “covered”). It was fiercely sexy!

I was insanely excited to see this because one of the biggest complaints I hear from my curvy clients who want to explore taking more risqué photos is that there aren’t many options for lingerie that’s actually sexy in the bigger cup sizes.

Not afraid to stand out!

Much like myself, Stephanie is a fan of the more risqué lingerie (proof of my love of the risqué here). She carries the sexiest pieces out there! From black strappy bondage-inspired pieces and the good-lord-I-want-to-photograph-it-all super sheer, to the elegant lace and oh-my-god-how-can-I-love-something-so-much velvet mixed with sheer bustiers.

All these reasons above are why I think Le Bustiere Boutique is the perfect place to shop to find lingerie for your boudoir photoshoot. I can’t stress enough how important it is for what you where for your boudoir session to be an extension of your personality, and at Le Bustiere there is so much variety that you’re sure to find something that fits whatever facet of your personality that you want to express PERFECTLY. I was blown away by the customer service, the selection, and the size range of Le Bustiere. I can not recommend them enough!!! It’s the perfect lingerie store in Washington DC.

Tell you what…

I believe in what Stephanie is doing with her lingerie shop SO MUCH, (and I’m completely and utterly in love with her lingerie and want to photograph it all) that I’ll give any woman who purchases a matching bra and panty set, bodysuit, robe, corset or gown from Le Bustiere Boutique a

-$200 photo credit-

toward a boudoir photoshoot with me. (This can go toward a couple’s shoot as well). I just know firsthand how unbelievably sexy the right lingerie can make you feel, and I want that for YOU! Especially for your boudoir shoot, your confidence from your experience will be life changing. If you want to go shopping for your boudoir shoot but are nervous to go alone, let me know! I’d love to join you! I could use another excuse to go back to Le Bustiere!

A sneak peek…

Below is a short video from Le Bustiere Boutique’s Instagram to give you an idea of what magic lay inside the store. I can’t even stop drooling over this lingerie, and how much I love this place! I’m already planning my next trip back! If you’re going let me know! And make sure you follow them on IG so you can keep up with the fabulous new pieces they add to their stock! Because some of their sets are so unique, their extremely limited and once they’re gone, that’s all there is. That’s the upside AND the downside of Stephanie curating her collection from the Parisian Artisans. =)

***EDIT

I had to come back to edit this blog because I completely forgot to even mention the BRIDAL LINGERIE SELECTION! Most bridal lingerie that I see offered here in the states is soft, sweet and innocent, upholding the image of the virgin bride. If you’re getting married and you don’t fit into the “virgin bride” box, you need to go to Le Bustiere! That’s all I’m going to say about that, you’ll just have to go and see for yourself!


Charlottesville Bridal Boudoir - The Perfect Wedding Day Gift!

What better gift could you possibly give the person you’re promising your heart to on your wedding day? Seriously, if you can think of one, let me know! I know I’m biased, but I honestly can’t think of a single gift that would be better, and more appropriate, on your wedding day than gorgeous photos of the person your significant other loves enough to commit to for the rest of their life!

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