EFFFFING AHHHHMMAZZIINNGGG, she says. | Austin Boudoir Studio

I'm admittedly lightyears behind on blogging, which is a shame of epic proportions because I am sitting on so.many.insanely.stunning.images that I simply haven't had the time to feature. But the good news is....I got at least one set on the blog for you today! So...that's something! ;)

THIS bombshell. Y'all. 

A pixie cut, a bold lip, a figure to envy, AND tattoos!?! HOLD ME BACK. But really. Miss K absolutely rocked her session, however nervous she says she was (believe me, EVERYONE is. But I got you, girrrllll!). 

"EFFFFING AHHHHMMAAZZZIIINGGGG. Kara made the whole experience so easy and comfortable. I never imagined my pictures would come out, they way they did. I'm still speechless!"

"I've never liked pictures of myself and I find myself staring at these. I would do it again 100 times. Thank you so much for such a great experience! I can't wait for an excuse to come back. Love you, girl! You truly are something special."

AS IF these incredible images and her kind words weren't enough...

Miss K booked this session for herself AND to gift an album to her new husband whom she was marrying out of country last month.  Unless my client's partner is at the studio with them for their photo reveal, I don't always get to hear what their reactions were to seeing the photos for the first time. THIS TIME, I did and I'm over-the-moon grateful that Miss K's husband was so thoughtful to send me a message after receiving his wedding present. They gave me permission to share it...swoon.

"UMMMMM so I got my wedding gift!!! (Insert a bunch of heart-eyed emoji's here...like...a bunch.) You are so freaking talented! I can't thank you enough for your photo shoot with my wife! She is so beautiful and your ability to catch that in every shot was just amazing. I'm so in love with this gift. Continue to be a badass! Just felt like I needed to reach out because I CAN'T keep my eyes off my book!"

See? Told ya. SWOON.

 

A big THANK YOU to Miss K and her new MR for the sweet words and the permission to share them. 

Hair and makeup: Lorena of LoLa Beauty, Austin.

Au Natural with Hannah | Austin Yoga Boudoir

It all started when...

I was approached by a yoga studio that I frequented back in 2008 to photograph the instructors in yoga poses. I had been practicing yoga for a while (admittedly, off and on), and found it to be so beautiful for my soul...but as a professional photographer, I can't believe I hadn't thought about how beautiful it would be to PHOTOGRAPH. 

Yoga + Acro Yoga guru, Hannah Gypsyon  | IG: @gypsyon__

Yoga + Acro Yoga guru, Hannah Gypsyon  | IG: @gypsyon__

Flash forward to my relocation to Austin, TX nearly seven years ago. A city flooded with yogis, and now I had a beautiful studio that was stunningly organic-looking and naturally lit in a heavenly way. When I would have a client in my studio for a boudoir session, and then found out she was a yogi, we would incorporate a few yoga poses into their boudoir shoot. 

The more I did this, the more I fell madly in love. Word began to spread, and soon, I was booked regularly for nude yoga boudoir photos. I love when my passions collide with those of others. These sessions are some of the most stunningly raw that I've ever captured. 

If you don't follow Hannah Gypsyon on Instagram, you must go NOW!  A beautiful and naturally raw yogi and acro yogi, her feed is flooding with the most organic images of her in practice, as well as her boyfriend Pablo. I assure you, you'll see this feed and go researching acro yoga classes in your city and then make your partner take them with you. (That may or may not have been me when I first discovered her feed....). So inspiring and couple goals AF. 

Anyhow, I commented on one of her insanely amazing videos and she reached out to me for a nude yoga session and it was every bit as inspiring as she is. Talk about disciplined talent!! There's not a whole lot I need to say about this woman or this set of images, the photos most definitely will do a better job of that. But check. them. OUT. 

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To view more of my nude yoga work, there's a special tab on my website since it's become such a "thing" for Kara Marie Boudoir. Check out the yoga boudoir page HERE. 

Infinite thanks to Hannah for sharing her skillset, gift, and beauty with me and the rest of the world. I continue to be so so grateful for the amazing things my camera allows me to be a part of. 

Namaste. ;)

It's not business...it's personal | Austin Boudoir Studio

I tried to ride out the flood of New Year blog posts and really contemplate on mine (that, and give all my readers a chance to not be annoyed by so many New Year posts.) I'm not a New Year resolution girl.  It's now 2017, and I'm still the same girl that's making a giant pan of 5 cheese macaroni and cheese for lunch on January 2nd. 

I set my goals year round, I truly do. I set monthly goals for my business (which I'm really good at achieving), I set quarterly personal goals (THOSE sometimes...err...often fall behind...but I'm working on that), and I keep the most extensive and organized to-do list I've ever seen for every day tasks (though often forgetting to add things like "take a shower" and "work out").

One ongoing to-do list item I always keep at the top of my list is a reminder for me and it says "It's not business...it's personal."  If you've been following me for a long time, you may remember that my old photography website had that phrase written at the bottom of every single page. 

Obviously, this *IS* in fact a business, and I do operate it as such on most levels. But the one facet of my business that isn't business is ME. It's my relationships with my clients. It's my passion for my work. It's my love affair with the stories that each client tells me.  It's how seriously I take each and every customer's review of my services. It's my dedication to making sure that every person has the warm and fuzzies about their experience. It's my desire to continue to do something for a living that I'm SO passionate about without majorly sacrificing my time with my family. 

KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL is the reason I don't have a (probably much needed) large staff of additional photographers, virtual assistants to answer my emails for me, a sales person doing my photo reveals, and someone else running my social media accounts.  It's the reason that sometimes I rock a messy top knot that contains far more dry shampoo than hair.  I have had to actively try to keep it small. And to be honest, it's outgrowing me. It's become bigger than I can handle on my own with just myself and an assistant.  But like any business, I need to continuously adapt, and I will strive to do so while keeping.it.personal. 

While I most definitely have help, *I* am the only person that is fully invested in this business of mine. It's a part of me.  And in such an intimate line of work, I find it to be utterly important that you all get to know me. I want you to feel like you know me before you meet me. I want you to feel completely at ease, like you are working with an old friend.  I want to be the one to sit with you as you see your images for the first time and get all watery eyed. I want to be the one that gets more excited than you are to see your images blown up huge and hung on your wall.

Ok, ok, so maybe that makes me a wee bit selfish. But I genuinely feel the personal touch adds so much to the experience for my clients.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with not having a hands-on approach in many businesses. In fact, my apparel line Blonde Black and White is one that I dedicate about an hour a week to, I outsource just about every aspect. And my husband coincidentally just publicly announced yesterday that his fitness studio Heat Bootcamp is now officially a franchise.  There's most definitely a time and a place for expansion, but for Kara Marie Boudoir, that is not in the foreseeable future. 

Sometimes people will stop me in restaurants/grocery stores/coffee shops and say "HEY! I follow you on Instagram! I love your work!". I think "Who? ME!? You recognized ME!?!?!" *commence crawling into a hole in embarrassment and trying to remember what the last embarrassing thing I posted was...*  But then I realize that's a pretty awesome thing. I definitely put myself out there a little bit (lot bit) more than most other photographers. And I'm ok with that...in fact that's very intentional for all the reasons I've already listed. 

So, in 2017, I want to officially pledge my commitment to KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL. 

Thank you all SO, SO much for the most incredible year KMB has seen. Thank you for keeping me booked. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for every single "like" and Instagram comment. Thank you for understanding my mission to helping women feel a way they haven't felt in a long time (or ever). Thank you for your grace when I go a month without blogging because I'm swamped with edits. Thank you to each and every woman who has trusted me with their boudoir experience. I don't take the privilege lightly. 

I ADORE YOU. 

XOX

KARA MARIE

 

Loving Photos of Yourself | Miss A | Austin Boudoir Studio

There probably won't be enough client stories and reviews that will make you believe that even YOU will love images of yourself.  But let's try for just one more, shall we?

You see, I *get* it. I'm a woman... well...a GIRL if you want to consider my reaction to photos of myself. I nitpick. I'm not proud of it, but I do. I am getting MUCH better about that...yet I seem to have a really long road ahead to getting to the point that I love myself from every angle, posed and unposed, candid or not. In the meantime, there's professional photographers like yours truly. 

I wish I kept track of the number of women who came in to me saying they were SO nervous about this experience because they aren't photogenic, they hate photos of themselves, they aren't as thin as the women on my website, etc etc.  Guess who calls bullshit? MEEEEEE!  It's not my client's job to take amazing photos of them. It's mine. And I will. And you will leave your photo reveal saying "I cannot believe I LOVE photos of MYSELF." It's a really awesome feeling....and this client here got to experience it!  

Miss A speaks on her Kara Marie Boudoir experience:

"The experience was surreal. I didn't know how to prepare for it other than the typical "let me lose weight and tone up before I strip down in front of a camera!"

"The week of my shoot was funky - I was in an emotional headspace and feeling pretty down. Needless to say, on the day of my shoot, I did not feel like being sexy. Luckily, Kara made me feel 100% comfortable right off the bat. She explained what to expect during the shoot and how to make a sexy pouty face. And just like that, the shoot was over and I could eat fried chicken again."

"The day of the photo reveal could not come soon enough. I was feeling happy and normal again and SO ready to see the pictures. This was far more exciting than the shoot itself. I couldn't believe how much I loved the pictures."

Most people don’t LOVE pictures of themselves, but damn ... I L.O.V.E. these pictures.
— Miss A
Makeup by Kendall of Mayhem 

Makeup by Kendall of Mayhem 

"I cannot wait to have the prints in my hands and the art on my walls. If you want to feel great about yourself in a way you haven't felt before, you must have a shoot with Kara."

" I'm a bit shocked to see myself in a such a pretty, sexy, and natural way."

" I usually try to take "selfies" so I have control over the picture and can decide if I like the outcome. I wasn't sure if I would like pictures of myself taken by someone else. Honestly, I was most terrified of seeing professional pictures and still picking myself apart in each image. This is where 'trust the professional' really comes into play. Kara knows what she's doing and DAMN it felt good seeing myself like that."

" I feel excited and happy with the pictures, I want to show everyone! And I want to tell everyone that you will look like that in your own photoshoot, too."

You will look hot, sexy, beautiful, and like yourself. And by the way, I am not staring at them picking myself apart.

"I wanted to add that I did this shoot for myself - these pictures are not for a significant other or fiance. These are for me to show myself how beautiful I am and to preserve when I'm 80 and no longer have my younger body. I highly recommend everyone do this, even if there is no special recipient in mind - YOU can be the special recipient of these beautiful images."

And if you're wishing and hoping that she printed some of these for her wall, you'll be pleased to know she went BIG....ANNNND went home!!! <3 

YASSSSS!!!!!! Just another example of a woman in shock at how much she loved photos of herself. She walked away with boosted confidence, self love, a mega thick boudoir album, and the most badass wall art pieces for over her bed that anyone could ask for! 

I know it's not always easy to place your trust in a stranger when it comes to seeing yourself in this manner. But, I assure you, you are in VERY CAPABLE hands. I photograph each and every client as I would want to be photographed. From the moment you book your shoot experience with me, you are in my hands, you are under my wing, and you are part of the Kara Marie Boudoir family. Consider me Mother Goose...I'll take amazing care of you.  

Thank you to Miss A for the amazing blog feature! You.are.ahmazinnnnggg!

Ready to trust me?? Good. Let's chat. 

Name *
Name

EVERYONE is nervous....at first. | Austin Boudoir Studio

This gem....THIS gem of a woman! We had been in "talks" about a boudoir experience for quite some time. Eventually, Miss S finally pulled the trigger before her wedding as a gift to her new husband and herself. She had such a cool demeanor about her. I loved that she wanted to go with a Brigitte Bardot-esque hair and makeup style. It suited her beautifully. 

 

"Completely, totally, 100% one of the best experiences of my life! I left already thinking about what to wear (OR NOT) for my next shoot. Kara makes you want to take your clothes off...for real!"

This comment made me chuckle big time!!  100% of my clients are nervous about their boudoir experience. At first.  Their nerves are usually settled a bit during the makeup. But then I take over. And I REAAALLLY take over. There isn't much of a chance for you to feel unsure about what you're doing. Because I tell you EXACTLY what I want you to do. And I show you. And all you really have to do is be here with me, and follow along! 

Within the first 10 clicks of my shutter, I witness my clients transition from deer in headlights to a state of relief, and soon after, to a woman who is having SO much fun and is SO at ease that she forgets that she's not wearing much. Truly. Not an exaggeration. 

I know that you probably have a hard time standing in front of the mirror naked and REALLY taking a good look at yourself. I know that you cringe every time you lean forward and see what gravity does to your boobs and belly. I know that, because I experience it myself. And I know that most of my clients do as well. We're women, and unfortunately that's pretty typical for us. 

However, what I want you to know is that I take all of this into consideration. Even if I don't see the flaws on your body that you do, I know that the insecurities exist. I don't write them off as my client just being "blinded by insecurities." 

But guess WHAT?! I am really good at this.  I don't do a lot of tooting of my own horn, but I know that first and foremost I am REALLY good at making people feel comfortable. Really comfortable. Like "Oh? I can't just walk out of the studio in my birthday suit?" comfortable.  Second to that, I understand women's bodies and their insecurities. I know how to pose women of all shapes and sizes. I know how to use light strategically to make you look your absolute best. 

So when Miss "S" says "Kara makes you want to take your clothes off!", I take that as the highest form of flattery...because I know how difficult it can be for a woman to just take her clothes off. Let alone in front of a stranger WITH a camera. 

Just know that I'm not a stranger. From the second you send me the first e-mail that starts with "I can't believe I'm finally emailing you about this....", we are friends.

"I was shocked at how at ease I felt from beginning to end, and how easy she made it to look/feel like a total babe. I honestly didn't believe the woman in the photos was me! Super hot!!"

"I want to show everyone!!! Even though they're a gift for the (future) hubs. I want to print giant photos of myself and hang them all over the house for everyone to see. I'm soooo proud!"

**Note from Kara: A common side effect of a boudoir experience with me = lots and lots of gorgeous wall art!

Thank you to Miss S for being a firecracker during her photo session, and for allowing me to share her photos and her testimony with the world. 

If this blog post speaks to you, and you're ready to start the conversation...let's chat, dahhling!

Name *
Name

She kicked cancer's ass | Cocktails + Curiosity Event Recap

Last week, I had the honor of being a part of the Cocktails + Curiosity event hosted by the Piazza Center for Plastic Surgery and benefitting the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas. Held for the third year in a row, this swanky-pants cocktail party at the Terrace Club in Dripping Springs really blew me away. 

Last month, I had the pleasure of working with Lora...a breast cancer ass-kicker-survivor who was introduced to me by the Piazza Center. We wanted to create wall-art that really captured her journey through photos.  If you missed the first blog on this, check it out HERE.

When creating the art for the event, it quickly became clear that one single image just wasn't going to cut it.

How could one image represent the roller coaster of emotion that someone experiences when fighting cancer?  I ultimately decided on the three images you see below.

The first, representing a newfound wisdom and confidence. The second, clearly representing the sadness and remembrance of all that occurred, and the final representing her joy and spitfire attitude that I'm guessing she's had all her life, but was fueled when she kicked cancer's ass.  

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And a few more from her shoot:

We were too wrapped up in the event to take "real" photos, but here's a few iPhone snapshots! (BAD, photographers, BAD!!!)

Lora in front of her display

Thank you SO much to the Piazza Center for including me in this event, to the Breast Cancer Resource Center of TX for all you do to help those affected by breast cancer, and mostly to Lora for trusting me with this photo experience and for being another inspiring badass to enter my life through my work.  

The Day Before Chemo | Austin Boudoir Studio

This post just leaves me speechless, so I'm glad it's not verbal. Like many other women with the same diagnosis, Miss W reached out to me wanting to document her body before so many changes took place due to her recent breast cancer diagnosis. While I have been close to many people affected by cancer, I cannot even begin to wrap my head around going through it myself. Yet the women that I have had the pleasure of working with in any stage of their breast cancer journey have been nothing short of awe-inspiring and courageous as hell. 

We scheduled her shoot the day before her first chemo treatment, and hours before having 23 inches of hair cut off to ease the transition. I can't even imagine the emotional state that she was in. Just can't imagine. Yet we conquered the shoot, and created an absolutely breathtaking account of this woman as she was THAT day.  

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I will let her carry on from here, where my words would fail:

 

"This experience meant so much to me! At just 30 years old, I had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and really wanted to capture my body in its natural state so I could always remember it. Driving over to the studio the morning of the shoot was a little bittersweet because I knew it was the last time I would have the opportunity to capture my body as it was then. That afternoon I was scheduled to chop off all my hair and the following day I would be starting chemo with a mastectomy to follow."

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But as soon as I arrived any sadness I felt immediately disappeared because Kara and her team made me feel so welcome and excited.
Hair and makeup by Kendall of Mayhem.

Hair and makeup by Kendall of Mayhem.

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"The studio space was beautiful and seeing all Kara's previous work posted on the walls made me really glad I was getting to do this with her. While I was getting my hair and make-up done and feeling super glamorous, Kara selected her favorites from the outfits I brought which took so much pressure off me and ensured everything would photograph really well. Once we started shooting, Kara demonstrated every pose like a rockstar and guided me to do it right too. I am not someone who knows how to make sexy faces, but Kara pulled them out of me somehow! By the end of our shoot, I couldn't believe it had already been an hour and I wanted to keep going because I was having so much fun! I left feeling like a model and was certain that she had created some beautiful images. "

"Over the next two weeks, I counted down the days until the photo reveal! I was so excited and it gave me something to look forward to in the midst of feeling crummy from chemo. Once the day finally arrived, I was in stunned silence throughout the entire slideshow. I couldn't believe how beautiful the images were. Every pose she had put me in was incredibly flattering and hid any areas I felt self-conscious about."

I am so thrilled to have had this experience before undergoing all these huge body changes and I know I will cherish these pictures for a lifetime. And I also can’t wait to do it all over again in a year to celebrate my journey and get comfortable with my new body!”
— Miss W

A Photographic Love Story | Austin Maternity Boudoir

Hands down the best part of being a photographer is the relationships that I develop with my clients....and the one thing that I truly miss about shooting weddings is being a small part of a couple's journey over the years. Many times, I would photograph a couple's engagement photos, followed by their wedding photos, followed by their maternity photos, followed by their family photos. Sometimes in a completely different order too. The biggest compliment I can receive is being chosen again and again. 

Now, I know that I'm no longer shooting weddings, families, and children. But guess what I still shoot? Maternity beauty and boudoir. AND I WAS SOOOOOO OVER-THE-MOON GIDDY when Laura contacted me and asked me to shoot her maternity boudoir photos

 

 

THE PROPOSAL

Years ago, Jackie contacted me via e-mail and let me know she was coming into town from Houston with her girlfriend Laura, and wanted me to play paparazzi and capture her surprise proposa

I arrived to Castle Park and played tourist. At one point Laura pointed me out and I thought for sure I was busted, but later found out she was just telling Jackie how much she wanted a camera like mine. Phew! Needless to say, the proposal was outstanding, I had a BLAST photographing them, and it was truly special to be involved in this part of their relationship. 

This shoot was even featured on a popular inspiration blog for "Lesbians, Queers, and Everyone Else" called "On a Bicycle Built for Two.". Go check out the post HERE.

In 2013, I photographed Jackie's proposal to Laura at Castle Park.

In 2013, I photographed Jackie's proposal to Laura at Castle Park.

THE WEDDING

Eventually I got the call about the wedding! Jackie and Laura wanted me to capture their Austin wedding at VUKA. It was seriously amazing. I loved it to bits. Umm...HELLO....they served HOMESLICE PIZZA at their reception. Seriously badass. They are a stunning couple with killer personalities, and the camera...well.....MY CAMERA (back off other camera people, they're MINE) loves them!

In 2014, I photographed Jackie + Laura's Wedding at VUKA

In 2014, I photographed Jackie + Laura's Wedding at VUKA

 

THE BABBBYYYYY

And then...AND THEN I got *THE* email. "HEY KARA! SO to add to our little love story that you've captured every step of...We're PREGNANT!!"

WEEEEEEEEE!!!

Pregnancy beauty + boudoir is seriously just so stunning.  I wish it's something I would have done when pregnant with my boys. It's so easy to feel "BLAH" when you're pregnant...but these beauty sessions really help you to remember the miraculous parts of it all. Our bodies are just incredible to be able to grow little humans.  Eventually I got the email that Jackie would be joining us for a few shots which was even better!  Check out a small handful of a really stunning collection of maternity boudoir:

 

SERIOUSLY. Can we just talk for a second about what a freaking GODDESS Laura is!?!?! She is as a woman, alone....but as a pregnant woman!? Holy fox!  She makes pregnancy look DAMN GOOD! 

During a maternity shoot, I'm always sure to photograph my client sans belly...just a gorgeous beauty portrait. Because they don't *ALWAYS* want to think of themselves pregnant. Women aren't JUST a vessel for a baby! So while I take care to photograph the MOM in them, I always am sure to take care of the WOMAN in them, too. Which is what this photo below is meant to portray. RRAWRRR!!

It's genuinely one of the biggest honors to be a part of people's story like this. I hope to someday shoot Jackie + Laura's mommy + me beauty session after they have their little girl!  They are such beautiful people, inside and out, and I'm blessed to have crossed paths with them a few years ago. 

Thank you Jackie, Laura, + Baby R for coming back to see me and my lens once again!! <3