You've likely witnessed the onslaught of social media posts that read "Me too" in reference to those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. Genuinely, I would be shocked if you haven't been, as well.
While sexual assault is an actual physical violation that likely will forever scar the victim, harassment is so rampant that it's normalized. Hell, *I* have normalized it. If I were to let myself get all up in a tizzy every time a man relentlessly cat called me, every time a man licked his lips at me, every time I got a honk followed with "where you going, baby?!", I wouldn't have any time left for happiness. I've begun to shrug it off as normal. I roll my eyes, occasionally flip the bird, and don't make eye contact.
I've experimented with my outfits, I've experimented with my reactions, I've experimented with my body language as I'm walking. None of it makes a difference, the harassment continues, and I'm feeling really embarrassed that I even toyed with the idea that I should be doing something different to avoid the harassment.
With the rise of feminism, I'm happy to say that the US population, especially women, has become more vocal about harassment and assault. People are coming forward more than ever before saying, "Me, too. And it's NOT fucking ok!" Victims are finally beginning to say "It is NOT my fault." Though, society isn't fully on board with that just yet.
Questions are still being asked following a proclamation of sexual assault. Questions like "But did you see how she was dressed?!", "What did she think was going to happen going up to his hotel room for a business meeting?!", and "She should have been more in control of her body and not drank so much." NO. NOT OK.
"Why did you wait so long to report it?!" Is a question I hear so often when women wait years...often until another woman speaks up about the same individual, before making it publicly known that she was assaulted. I was one of them. Years. And it was a common story. Young girl, older boy, often in a place or situation I shouldn't have been in. I didn't speak up until years later when the rapist resurfaced and began stalking me and threatening me again and I was so terrified that he would get to me, that I finally reported it. Yet I was still asked by people close to me, by law enforcement..."Why are you just now reporting this?". EMBARRASSMENT. SELF BLAME. FEAR OF JUDGEMENT, AND THE FACT THAT I NEVER EVER EVER WANTED TO VOCALIZE THE DETAILS OF MY ASSAULTS. That's why.
When I went public with my story several months ago to raise awareness for young women who have been raped, abused, neglected, I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support....and also not at all surprised to hear so, SO many people tell me that it has happened to them as well. It's absolutely sickening.
Almost 20 years after my assaults, I've made my peace (with a side of "mad as hell") and have found my happiness. My husband has restored my belief that there are still good men out there.
We have voices and need to be heard. If we stop normalizing this behavior, maybe this behavior will stop. If we start calling out the pigs, maybe he pigs will disappear. At the very least, making ourselves heard is giving permission to other victims that it's important to speak up.
My choice in career should come as no surprise to those who are closest to me. I continue to help women reconnect (or maybe connect for the first time) with their bodies, to claim their body as their own, to claim their sexuality as their own.
And that is why my narrative at Kara Marie Boudoir is do it for yourself. Do it for you! Own your own body, own your sexuality.
Sure, you can gift a book of images to your partner and they will love them. But the experience...that's for you. The moment that you lose your breath while sitting with me at your photo reveal appointment....that's for YOU. The strong, proud, badass feeling you get when you see your favorite image on your bedroom wall every day...THAT IS FOR YOU. No one can take that from you. And if they try, we can call them out on it. We WILL call them out. I stand with you.
It is more than OK to love yourself...it's necessary. The more we love and respect ourselves, the more we will call out these unacceptable behaviors that pollute our society.
YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE OF...
NOBODY deserves to take those choices from you. NOBODY deserves that kind of power over you...but yourself.
And call out all the assholes that don't.
I love you all so much, thank you so much for all of the support. Know that I'm here for you and will continue to be a voice against those who try to take your power from you.
It's here, it's HERE! For most Austin moms, it's the bittersweet day that their precious, miraculous little demons (ok, SOMETIMES angels) head back to school. I'm one of *those* moms. Sure, I teared up as the school bus pulled away, but it was literally about 4 minutes before I felt relief and thought "I need ME day!"...and...y'all...I've been off work for the last WEEK.
Motherhood is fulfilling as hell...it is. And I love my little boo thangs more than life itself. They complete me and I'm #hashtagblessed to have them in my world. But dang....not only is it HARD work, but it's NEVER-ENDING work. It's not easy to feel like a WOMAN when you're used to feeling like a MOM all.the.time.
Kid: "Hey, MOM??! MOMMM??? MOMMYY!?!?!? MA!! Hellll-OOOO!?!? MOM!?!?!?"
Kid: "Do you know where my ____ is?"
^^^THAT. About 20 times a day. Then finding the ____ that has been sitting in the very first place they should have looked. Then forgetting what you were doing before you were interrupted. Then starting something new. Then racing to work. Then realizing that you were so busy packing the kids' lunches that you left yours on the kitchen counter even though you SWORE you weren't going to order delivery at work anymore.
MOMS NEED "SHHHH" TIME. THEY NEED LOVE. THEY NEED TO FEEL LIKE WOMEN. THEY NEED TO FEEL DESIRED OUTSIDE OF FINDING LEFT SHOES AND LUNCH BOXES. THEY NEED REMINDED THAT THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. Ok, dads, too. But I don't photograph dudes...sooo...back to the ladies ;)
Enter the Kara Marie Boudoir experience.
It's true that the majority of my clients are moms themselves. They often arrive feeling frazzled because they've just had a morning like the one I just described and they can't quite get in the "it's about ME now" headspace.
But guess what I'm real good at?! Making.you.forget.while.making.you.remember.
I help you forget your gigantic to-do list...even if it's only for a few hours.
I help you remember that you are a WOMAN. A beautiful, strong, skilled, independent, badass, and SEXY woman.
Miss R, here, was a classic case of 'complete ball of nerves because how could she possibly be sexy for this shoot because she's a mom and stuff....and life...and....gahhh so many nervous feelings'. But, HELLL-OOOO BOMBSHELL! We lit that right on fire and dominated her boudoir experience together.
She walked away from her experience realizing that bombshell was still in there, and recognizing that her husband isn't just blowing smoke when he tells her how beautiful she is.
"Thank you so much for the absolutely beautiful photos! As I sit at home in the most mom-ish pajamas possible, and house shoes too, I can't help but smile thinking about how glamorous you and your team made me feel for a day! I am SO glad that I was able to step out of my comfort zone and embrace this experience, and beyond thankful that I was able to have you lead the way. I am pretty sure I have repeated, "I can't believe that is me" at least a thousand times today. You are truly gifted with what you do, but photography skills aside, you helped show me that there is still something more to me than just plain mom, and for that I can't thank you enough!"
"I feel like I can see that the girl that existed before babies is still living in there somewhere, and that I need to stop being so hard on myself and try to see myself through other people's eyes!" -Miss R
Raising my "#1(ish) MOM" mug to you, Miss R. THANK YOU for hanging in there with me through your nervousness about the session and for trusting me with the process. You are an amazing mom....and while that's an incredible title to hold, you're so much more than that, too!
Now if you'll excuse me, ladies, I've got to get back to my emails....because....holy crap do the flood gates OPEN at back to school time! So I guess we should all know that we aren't alone ;)
NEED TO MAKE IT ABOUT **YOU** FOR ONCE!?! I CAN HELP. LET'S CHAT...
Way back, when I first started offering boudoir photography, I would hear from clients who were about to get married and wanted some sexy photos of themselves in their wedding night lingerie and veil to gift to their husband on their wedding day. My boudoir photography has evolved right along with modern women, and now, women are coming to me for far more powerful reasons.
I can't quite describe the feeling of assisting women in such impactful soul-searching and self-celebration...except that of extreme honor. Which is why I don't just simply share my photos without also sharing each woman's story. That wouldn't do the experience justice. As far as photographers go, there are a million out there who are better than me...but it's not about the photos. It's what I help them discover through the process. It's what I help them celebrate. It's what I help them remember. It's what I help them realize for the first time.
This client in particular, Miss K, had a very transformative 2016 and knew that she wanted to celebrate what she's accomplished. She had a preventative bilateral mastectomy, and on top of that, lost 40 lbs and counting after finally taking herself off the back burner and embracing self care. She came out of 2016 on fire and booked a boudoir experience with me to celebrate...and I couldn't be more honored.
"Kara, I don't have words to tell you how much I love these...except that you're a fucking boudoir genius."
"My body has undergone some huge changes over the last year. In April 2016 I had a bilateral mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction as a preventative measure since I have a nasty family history of breast cancer and the genetic predisposition as well. I have also lost about 40 pounds this year. I wanted to celebrate my body and my strength.
This past year I have spent a lot of time thinking about self-care and self-preservation. I know taking care of myself is what my mental and physical health require, but like most people I know, it gets pushed to the side in order to finish whatever has to be done. "
"I don't remember how I found Kara Marie on Instagram, but her aesthetic is so similar to mine. The love for black clothing (I'm not sure if I own anything besides black, gray, and white anymore), the stunning photographs, the studio, the natural light. I knew I wanted to do a boudoir session only with Kara. "
"I jumped at the chance to book when and spend a night away once I made up my mind. My time in the studio was amazing. It was self-care that keeps on giving. Having my make-up and hair done for me (with some bonus product tips from Kendall!) was a treat."
"The shoot was empowering. Months later, I still feel the same empowerment when I think about that morning and look at the pictures and video. I suppose I justified booking the shoot as a gift for my husband, but it was just as much a gift for me. I love the way Kara captured me. Even in the midst of laundry and dishes and keeping life moving, the reminder that I am strong and sexy is in these images. "
"After my mastectomy I decided instead of doing 3D nipple tattooing, I wanted flames. The artist I worked with designed the tattoos and they were one of my final steps in healing from my surgery. It was emotional to know I had fully healed from my surgery and was able to take this last step. My tattoos and scars tell my body's story."
"On my right forearm I have the phrase, 'take my hand through the flames' in my husband's handwriting. It's a line from the song "Sucker for Pain" from the Suicide Squad album and became our mantra during his last deployment."
In Miss K's case, she already had the tools. She knew and embraced her strength as a badass woman...she just needed me to document it. In so many other women's cases, they need to discover that strength first, which I am always so incredibly proud to do.
Wherever your peg falls on the "I am woman, hear me roar" board, it would be my absolute pleasure to document that exact stage in your journey, and hopefully help you progress to the next. It is *not* about the photos. It's about the uninhibited, strong, powerful, raw, beautiful woman in them.
Infinite thanks to Miss K for sharing her words and photos with myself + the Kara Marie Boudoir readers. It was an absolute pleasure.
WHETHER YOU'RE READY TO CELEBRATE YOUR BADASS WOMANHOOD OR DISCOVER IT FOR THE FIRST TIME...LET'S CHAT!
Yesterday I had the ultimate in lazy Sundays. My son's soccer tournament was cancelled...which is a good thing because I just so happened to have a raging hangover from an embarrassingly little amount of alcohol the night before (HELLLL-OOOO adulthood.), and it was cold and rainy. I worked from my laptop in bed all.day.long. and watched movie after movie.
I probably wasn't mentally prepared to watch P.S. I love you in my current state, but I did. For some reason it resonated with me so much more yesterday than it did the first time I saw it nearly 10 years ago...before kids. There was a message hidden in there that I didn't pick up on the first time.
For those of you aren't familiar, it's about a recently widowed woman Holly (played by Hillary Swank) whose late husband (Gerard Butler) left letters with her friends and family to be delivered to her intermittently after his passing to help her cope and move forward. He challenged her even after he was gone. As you can imagine, it's emotional AF.
In a really pivotal scene for me, Holly's mother (Kathy Bates) says "Ohh how your father used to make me laugh..." and Holly responded by saying "I don't remember you laughing...". Mother, looking absolutely crushed says "Well that makes me sad. Because I did." How many of us have lost so much of our young spirit because...well...life?! I know I have. I know that I don't laugh as much as I did before kids. I know that I'm far, FAR more serious now. And I know that I'm not alone. We need reminded.
Without giving away too much of the movie (if you haven't seen it, wait for a lazy Sunday, grab 6 boxes of tissues and a tub of ice cream and be prepared to cry it all out), it was one sentence in the final letter Holly received that drove the point home and had me ugly crying. You see, Holly, like so many of us women, lost a bit of her young free spirit. She got very serious over the years. The young woman who met the love of her life in a really adorable and quirky way on a winding road in Ireland while lost was actually the LEAST lost when she had no idea where she was.
In his final letter to her, her late husband said "You see, I don't worry about you remembering me. It's that girl on the road you keep forgetting." *ugly sobbing accelerates*
If you hung in with me for that, you should get the correlation. That is my goal during your boudoir experience...to remind you. This experience isn't about the mom version of you, the wife version of you, the boss or employee version of you, the flat out EXHAUSTED version of you. It's about you...the WOMAN.
Today we are hearing from Miss Z. A hardworking mom who, like most of us, needed a boost, and got it when she needed it the most. She was an absolute honor to work with, and when I received an email from her immediately after her session before even seeing the photos speaking of how great she felt, I knew my mission was accomplished.
"Kara, you have a gift and it is so inspiring to see you use it to lift women up in a positive way. You make people forget about their body image and embrace beauty."
"This has helped me regain some self-confidence and self-respect. I know it sounds silly but as women we don't see ourselves in the most positive light. Especially coming out of a situation where I was doubting the person I was."
"Thank you for being my silver lining in a time when I needed a boost the most! As I am writing this I have tears in my eyes because I don't think you and your team realize what you did for me. My pictures are stunning, I'm so incredibly happy with the results."
Rave reviews never get old. It reiterates to me (because, yes, I need self esteem boosts just like the rest of you!), that I am doing what I've always intended to do: Make women not only FEEL amazing, but make them realize that they ARE amazing. All the time. Boudoir photography can be categorized so many different ways...but for me it's about boosting confidence long-term. It's about self-appreciation. It's about self-acceptance. It's about being reminded of who you are as a WOMAN, not just a mom/wife/paycheck generator/exhausted human being.
Thank you, Miss Z, for sharing your experience and allowing me to remind you of your badassness. ;)
DO YOU NEED REMINDED? I CAN HELP. LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!
Ahhh yes. I've heard it a hundred times before...the ol' "I've always felt CUTE...but never sexy."
What most people don't realize is that "sexy" doesn't have much to do with appearance. It's about the way you carry yourself. It's about confidence. It's that feeling you get when you know you're amazing.
And with me directing your poses, facial expressions, and encouraging you the entire time, you are guaranteed to feel SEXY through the whole process. Especially seeing your photos.
It was an absolute pleasure to blow Miss K away and show her just how sexy she is!
"I have always considered myself 'cute', but I never would have described myself as sexy."
"The whole experience from arrival, to hair and makeup to the actual shoot, it was a great day. Having my sister with me was the icing on the cake!"
" I felt very confident after the photo shoot. It was so much fun and definitely an experience I could do again."
I'm so grateful for clients like Miss K that can come into the studio, trust me to do what I do best, and who finally get to see the SEXY in there. Because the more you experience, the more you can carry that SEXY with you every.single.day.
ARE YOU READY TO SEE MORE THAN 'CUTE' WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR? LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!
Insecurities are pesky little bitches, aren't they?! One of the best compliments I can get from my clients is that all of those little nagging bitchy insecurities that they have every single time they look in the mirror.......they don't see them when they look at their photos. They see themselves the way their partner does, the way I do! They see a strong, amazing, gorgeous woman!
Check out Miss G thang (I just made that up on the fly. I know, I know...it's a gift.) and read about her experience!
"I wanted a boudoir shoot before my wedding, but I just didn't get around to it. What I came to realized is that the fates had something better in store for me because not long after I got married, I found Kara Marie Boudoir and began stalking her blog and social media, dreaming of the day I would get to have my own shoot, not just a boudoir, but A KMB shoot."
" I would see outfits and imagine what they would look like in Kara's photos - not super creeper like, just seeing her talent and knowing she would make everything AH-mazing."
"As my husband and I started to talk about having kids, I knew I wanted to get the opportunity to have a "pre-mom" body experience and so I ask (begged, pleaded) and we went all in with the full package - hair/makeup/shoot/book."
"It was really the best way to go - I felt like a million bucks after Kendall got done with my hair and make up and Kara was so wonderful to work with as we laughed and posed and had a ball."
" I felt like a Victoria Secret model! I KNEW the shoot went well and couldn't wait for the reveal. When reveal day came I had over 100 photos to have to choose from - and I was worried about even getting the 10 to fill the book! Choosing which ones to get was the hardest part because they were all so good."
" Everyone is always critical of this or that on their body. Everyone always thinks, I need to be a certain weight/shape/size/personality/whatever to do something like a boudior shoot and let me just say - no, you don't, you just need to be YOU and make the call to Kara"
"The whole experience makes you feel like a million bucks, which makes the cost a pretty good ROI if you need to justify it. Getting your make up and hair done, getting to listen to music, and letting your inner goddess/diva out is an exhilarating experience. Almost addicting, which is why I understand people going back for multiple shoots with her."
It isn't about being vain either, it is truly letting you be a little selfish and saying,
Hell yes. This rave made my heart sing! We all want to feel this way. And I assure you, an amazing boudoir experience with me will do the trick. Come see for yourself!!
READY TO FEEL LIKE A BADASS SEXY WOMAN!? LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!
While so many women find themselves coming to me for a boudoir experience for the same reasons, each of them is so different. Different in personality, in stages of life, and in appearance.
The female form is utterly fascinating to me. There are so many body types and shapes, so many different facial structures, so many complexions....it's incredible how so many individual features come together to create a completely unique woman.
As a boudoir photographer, I'm asked often what my favorite feature is to photograph. While that's a question harder to answer than "What color would you wear if black were no longer an option?" (is really, really dark grey ok?), I would say that a strong contender would be birthmarks and freckles. I ADORE birthmarks and freckles. Put a birthmark or freckles on a tush or hip, and now I'm in boudoir photographer heaven.
All this to lead into the fact that this blog feature contains a pretty amazing woman with a pretty amazing birthmark and other pretty amazing features that we pretty amazingly captured together!
"The experience was so much fun! I felt completely prepared between all of the communication and advice that was given from the time I booked the appointment and all the way through the reveal session."
"You are truly gifted at what you do and you made me feel so relaxed and excited at the same time." -Miss G
I adore the classic filmy feel of these images, which, based on her mood board, was what Miss G was feelin' for her images. Mission accomplished!
What's more, she ended up with 3 outstanding artistic nude fine art prints to hang over her bed, which, by my calculations, should be arriving on her doorstep any moment! Ohhh the excitement (I swear I get more excited about seeing my clients' wall art than they do!) It's SO fulfilling for me to see images that I've created together with the client end up as art pieces in their homes. And, trust me, photos look WAYYYY more awesome in professional art print than they do on a screen.
Thank you, Miss G, for allowing me to be a part of your journey, for trusting me to create this experience for you, and allowing me to share some of your images and words!
READY TO DOCUMENT YOUR UNIQUENESS? HIT.ME.UP, DAHHLING!
There's this little genre of boudoir photography that I happen to adore...kind of a "sub-niche" if you will. It's not everyone's bag, and it doesn't need to be the entire duration of your photo shoot experience, but most women that I talk to are drawn to this type of imagery.
A R T I S T I C N U D E S , y'all. artistic nudes.
So many times my clients will have images like this saved on their required "homework" mood boards but then when I say out loud on the day of their session "Ok, so you want to do some artistic nudes, then?" they're eyes swell to a terrified state and they emphatically shake their head no. NUDE?!
Yes. Nude. Those pictures that you saved that you said you loved? Those women are nude, silly. And to be honest, my style of artistic nudes are often more modest than the rest of my typical boudoir images. They cover just enough and reveal just enough to make the image ultra powerful.
There's tons of ways to shoot nude boudoir photos...so obviously you want to make sure that you and your photographer (hopefully that's ME since you're on this blog right now) are on the same page about what you want these images to look like.
The Kara Marie nude boudoir style is definitely on the artistic and classy side as you can see in these self portraits of yours truly. I play up highlights and shadows with the help of strategic lighting, REALLY strategic angles and posing, and with my secret weapon for incredible skin for these images. More simply put: We hide your naughty bits one way or another, even if they feel exposed during the session.
Throughout the shoot we make sure that nothing is "hanging out" that you don't want to be hanging out. And we do NOT shoot nude crotch at our studio...no way, no how. So you can rest assured that your lady bits will stay covered and you will walk away from your photo reveal will some really incredible wall-worthy artistic nudes
This type of imagery is amazing for ANY woman of any shape or size. The light and shadows are incredibly flattering (believe me. This is the ONLY way I will EVER agree to be photographed completely nude. Everrrrr.), and the finished product is insanely striking.
So there, I did my duty as a boudoir photographer and showed you that shooting a few nudes at your boudoir shoot really doesn't have to be terrifying. At least not with me!!!! It's my job to make you comfortable. It's my job to make you forget your body insecurities. It's my job to make you look your ABSOLUTE BEST. And I'm ....like....REALLY good at my job. ;)
Don't be afraid to incorporate artistic nudes into your Kara Marie Boudoir experience! You'll be happy you did. xoxo
It's probably no secret that I'm a fan of nudity. I think every woman should be able to rip her clothes off, whip them around her head, and have her photos taken confidently. (Note: I have not yet achieved such confidence myself...but I'm one step closer with each personal boudoir shoot I do).
Boudoir is my baby. It's my niche, my specialty. It's what I do 92% of the time. Yes. I did the math.
The *OTHER* 8% of the time is spent doing BEAUTY portraiture. So. What's the difference?
While boudoir photography almost always involves a certain level of undress or nudity, it is also a little more raw, candid, unposed LOOKING (although we do pose you throughout the entire shoot!). Boudoir is meant to embrace a woman's sexuality, independence, femininity, and badassness. Because of the posing and the wardrobe, these images tend to be more intimate in nature. We do retouch all boudoir images for our clients with standard retouching techniques and the finished product is generally a variety of about 50-60 images with a natural retouch that include "detail" shots such as legs, tush, breasts, back, shoulders, collar bone, lips, as well as full bodyscapes and imagery that includes the face.
Now, BEAUTY portraiture is a bit more polished...with a finished "fine art" look and feel. Beauty portraiture is a great option for a woman who wants a smaller collection of absolutely breathtaking portraits of herself that are wall-worthy. Our beauty portraits always containing the full face and have more "statement" wardrobe which can mean a ball gown, little black dress, lace bodysuit, fabric draping or even nudity. There are also more special effects such as fine art tectures and extensive retouching done on these images. The finished product is generally a smaller collection (roughly 15-20) fully enhanced, wall (or Facebook profile pic)-ready images.
Beauty portraiture also tends to appeal more to the masses.....it may be a little less intimidating for a woman who is hesitant to bare it all for my camera (although I maintain that, regardless of your wardrobe or lack thereof, I *WILL* make you feel comfortable. Promise.)
These are images that you can gift to mom or grandma and they will gush over without instructing you to cover up your bits.
They don't necessarily need to be taken in our studio, as you can see. These can be taken outdoors, in your own home, on the street, in a car....you get my drift.