Liana in Milan | Destination Editorial Boudoir

SHOOTING IN MILAN WITH A LATVIAN BOMBSHELL.

Ohhhh it sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it!? I’m not going to pretend like it wasn’t.

While in Milan, I was booked for a shoot with a fantastic photographer, Liana from Latvia, who had followed my work for years and had to take advantage of me being way closer to her than a Latvia > United States trip would be. She booked a little getaway to Milan for herself and her husband, and we had an absolutely incredible shoot.

Listening to Liana tell me why she selected me to photograph her, gave me a reaffirming grasp for what my work says about the women featured in it. She told me that she didn’t want some distorted view of herself, or an overly glamorous one. She loved my black and white work, and that the women weren’t overly retouched. She loved the editorial/fashion style of my work and was so enthusiastic about the entire process. So we rocked out ALL those different facets and created magic together.

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We laughed a TON, flowed like crazy, took what felt like 3 million images, ran way over on time, and shot until the sun would no longer let us. Then we hit the hotel bar for a little libation and a chat between now-friends as I was in NO hurry whatsoever to navigate my navigationally-challenged self back to my house .

"I knew it would be an amazing experience, but it actually far exceeded that. The easiness of feeling completely free in your bare skin- it is life changing! And then, when the images do come in and you get to see all your badassness - well, not many things in life can make you feel like that."

"The good old term “self love” has gotten materialized. Subtle and not so subtle changes in all levels of self awareness, which was not the goal, however turned out to be a major bonus. The best money ever spent (way above shoes and bags and other feminine treats 😁)!"

"It all came together in a best possible way." -Liana

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I ADORE my studio, I do. I love it love it love it. I know every nook and cranny, I can photograph a woman there in 3 zillion ways, and because I know all of those ways so well, I can do it in record time. But there’s something to be said about a shoot in a new place. New inspiration, new light, new shapes, new lines, new shadows. It’s all the reason why I will ALWAYS opt to schedule “work” any place I travel to, because I ALWAYS adore the outcome so much.

Thank you so very much, Liana, for choosing me, for traveling for me, for trusting me, for laughing with me and not at me when I made a fool of myself (how many times did I fall???), and for allowing me to share your images and your experience with the world.

Until next time!

Snowstorm Can't Stop Her | Austin Boudoir Studio

I'm stepping back into the blogging game finally (I know, it's been a minute), and lucky for me (and you), I've got QUITE the stockpile of incredible women with incredible stories and images. So let's get this show back on the road!

Miss Y. This girl was so much damn fun to work with.  

A photographer herself, Miss Y understood the value of a boudoir experience and she braved a snowstorm to fly to me from across the country, and we shot on a day that Austin was SHUT THE EFF DOWN because of a little bit of ice and cold. (We're wimps. I'll be the first to admit it as a girl who was born and raised in the #1 snowiest city in the country many years). 

We both brought our A games and came up with a collection of photos that was so representative of her and her badassery, while glamming it up a little with some leather and boots, letting her show off some story-telling scars of hers, and just overall killing.it.

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"Having a boudoir experience with Kara Marie was my dream. I had been following her for over 2 years before the stars aligned. I wanted to do this to celebrate myself. "

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"I traveled all of the way from North Carolina to Austin during a snow storm. It was worth it. She is absolutely on point in everything that she does. Seriously does this woman sleep? I am obsessed with my images. I am ready to do it again." 

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"I have always been a loud person. It is within that loud personality that I hid my insecurities. That is until now. I feel liberated. Words could never begin to explain how looking at an image of yourself and falling in love with that image of yourself changes the core of you. I thought I had confidence before, NOPE. Now am this new woman who exudes confidence in all facets of her life."

"This shoot changed me. I am happy with myself. I am content with my scars. I feel powerful."

And THAT is what it's all about! Hearing from my clients that this experience helped to improve their self-image is  job satisfaction to the nth degree. Thank you thank you Miss Y for your candidness, for your badassery, and for flying all the way to Austin from North Carolina in a snow storm ;) 

She forgot to hate herself.... | Austin Boudoir Studio

I'm one of those weird "everything happens for a reason" people...you know, the kind who believes if you put good shit into the universe, you'll get good shit in return. I fully believe that my new assistant, Elaine, is one of those good shits. 

I am highly picky when it comes to letting people in to be a part of my business. I've spent nearly a decade building my brand and preaching my purpose. Someone coming to work for me can't just be "like, really, really good with people." or "a huge fan who has always been interested in photography!". On top of needing to have very specific character traits, work ethic, and qualifications, I had to KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this person was a perfect fit. 

 For that reason, I poured through hundreds of applications and interviewed over a dozen candidates for the new assistant position. Then, finally, I met this uber passionate, intelligent, friendly, qualified, and freaking adorable super-ball of  energy. She actually wanted to interview ME for her research paper on how boudoir photography could be a complementary therapy for sexual assault survivors. Instead, she got a job. 

Elaine "before" her boudoir transformation......still absolutely gorgeous. 

Elaine "before" her boudoir transformation......still absolutely gorgeous. 

In her short time working for me, I've breathed so many sighs of relief. I've been blown away by how amazing her young mind works, how quickly and efficiently she completes tasks, how INSANELY fast she learned my retouching style, and how much more at ease I've been about trusting someone else with some of my work load. 

On top of being the perfect fit for Kara Marie Boudoir, she also is a bit of a "super fan", and had her own photo shoot booked prior to speaking with me about a job opportunity. Because of her chosen research path, the shoot was approved by UT and considered "ethnographic research". So on her SECOND day of work, she had her scheduled boudoir experience. 

I have so much to say about her, her experience, and her photos....but she does a FAR more eloquent job, herself...so I will allow her to elaborate. I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine or whiskey, and really read this woman's testimony. She is wise beyond her years.

Makeup by Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty

Makeup by Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty

Elaine said:

"During the spring semester, I had a family emergency and ended up missing roughly a month of a school. The experience, the drop in my GPA, plus my weight gain completely devastated me. When I went home for the summer, I was considering transferring universities or just taking some time off altogether. I stayed by myself a lot, splitting my time between moody poetry and mindless pinterest-ing.

And it was through one of those night on Pinterest that I came across a boudoir board. From there I ended up on a Texas boudoir board and soon I found myself googling Austin boudoir photographers at four in the morning. And then I found Kara’s page."


"I wept reading the blog, seeing the stories and pictures of these women who were loving themselves again, or were at least on the path too. Reading Kara’s site from front to back and back again, it was obvious that boudoir was a tool of empowerment for these ladies.

Even though her work only reflected a small population of women, it had to be possible that Kara’s style of boudoir could help a large volume of women- and I started thinking maybe even women with a history of trauma or violence, where self-love isn’t as easy. So I poured over databases looking for academic articles on boudoir photography and it’s ability to empower sexual assault survivors or trauma patients or any group of women in general. And there was hardly any work out there."


"That’s how I knew I had to go back to school in the fall.
If I could pour all of my energy into this research project, (at arguably one of the best research universities in the world,) then I would have the motivation to stay in school and stop spending energy trying to figure out how to make myself feel better, but instead, work towards helping other women feel in control and empowered. So I rushed a lot of paperwork, sent way too many frantic emails, and miraculously got my project approved.

I immediately signed up for a shoot with Kara once I had a general plan for my research. The shoot was considered 'ethnographic research’ and was meant to give me a better perspective on the boudoir experience. And it did. But more importantly- and yes, this is cliche but I am going to write it anyways- it gave me a better perspective of myself."

I had always considered myself as someone with a “nice personality,” but moreover, someone overwhelmingly podgy and homely with a good dash of anxiety thrown in just to keep things interesting.
And I was certain Kara was going to make fun of me for being some silly undergrad coming in taking silly photos for some silly research.

If you know Kara and her blog well enough, you know that didn’t happen.

I completely forgot to hate myself when I was with Kara. I thought the shoot would be 95% me straining my body as Kara barked disappointed orders. I couldn’t be more wrong.
— Elaine


"Literally, as long as you can take deep breaths and breathe, you can do the shoot. Let me repeat: your basic human functions are all that you need to shoot with Kara. She makes it so easy to just show up and be genuinely happy. That’s because, honestly, Kara is a genuine person and that kind of naked authenticity makes a huge impact (particularly when you’re practically naked).


"Now I read stories about women crying after their shoot or after their reveal, but for me, it wasn’t until last week. There I was again, at four in the morning, but this time I was turning in the first part of my research. And I couldn’t help but think back to the spring when I didn’t want to be in school anymore. Now I have a project that I’m not only passionate about, but has passionately changed me: I stopped sighing every time I looked in the mirror.

I am a thousand percent dedicated and happy to be at my university again and I’m now slightly obsessed with academic databases. And yeah, I’m not going to lie, I may or may not have been the background on my laptop for a few hours because I looked amazing. And I felt, well, overwhelmed. But this time, not by my flaws or insecurities or anxieties- but by my value. No one could give it to me or take it away . It was something that was intrinsically and inherently mine."

 

"Having an amazing shoot with Kara and making it through this semester didn’t give me my value, just reminded me of what was always there. And so, I poured all my energy into this research project and got more back then I could ever ask. I trusted Kara just the slightest bit and she showered me in an abundance of warmth and genuineness.

So I guess the lesson here is that there is a huge return on investment with boudoir and if you’re not booking your shoot right now, it’s gotta be because you’re already scheduled. If you’re unsure then just wait- at about four in the morning it’ll hit you and you’ll know that I was right."

 

 

I couldn't have said it better myself. No....really. I couldn't have. This young mind is brilliant beyond words and I am honored to have her as a part of this little business of mine. I applaud her for her extensive research and for really understanding what empowerment through boudoir is all about. 

Do a boudoir shoot. Don't do it just because you need a gift idea (yes, yes, it would be an unable-to-be-topped gift idea), but do it because you need to stop hating on yourself. Do it to stop sighing at yourself in the mirror. Do it to embrace your beauty, your body, and your soul. DO. IT. 

READY TO START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT YOUR OWN BOUDOIR EXPERIENCE? I'M MORE THAN READY TO SHOW YOU HOW AMAZING YOU ARE. LET'S CHAT.

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The bombshell in hiding | Austin Boudoir Studio

I hear it all the time...some variation of: "Is that ME!? Hot damn! I didn't know THAT girl was hiding in THIS girl all along!"  

My personal boudoir philosophy involves rocking your beauty right NOW. Yep, we do hair and makeup and even "zzshush" photos a tiny bit, but I pride myself on bringing out the inner bombshell without completely changing someone's authentic appearance. After all, where would be the pride in that if you LOVED the photos but they weren't truly of yourself...rather a model caked with makeup and photoshopped to death? At my studio, you'll STILL look like you. On your best day ;) 

This woman, here, may have been a wee bit nervous for her session. She may or may not have had a cocktail fit for an old Irish man in her coffee cup. But she DEFINITELY rocked it, showed her confident self, trusted me, and got some absolutely FABULOUS images to be forever proud of.

"I originally booked this session as a gift to my husband for our one year wedding anniversary, as it turned out, and I've learned it often does… this was such a gift to ME! I loved my experience all the way from booking my session to hair and make up to the shoot to the reveal…"

Every single moment was empowering and authentic. Every moment was ME, I just didn’t know THAT me was in there!
— Miss C

She was gorgeous and funny as hell. I love a girl with a solid sense of humor and a great smile. Thank you, Miss "C" for sharing your story and your photos! 

Winner Winner, (insert food of choice) dinner | Austin Boudoir studio

Following me on Instagram has it's perks, y'all!  A while back, I did a mega huge giveaway with a slew of prizes from local Austin businesses. That giveaway included a boudoir experience with me.....the WORKS, actually! Miss "M" here was given over $2,500 worth of goods and services and her shoot couldn't have gone more spectacular! 

She was a ball of positivity and enthusiasm and it was an absolute honor to get to photograph her!

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I had the most amazing experience with Kara...she made me feel so beautiful, so sexy, and so confident, things that I have struggled with. It was so much FUN!

I felt so honored to have gotten to experience this and see how special it is and think all woman should do it to celebrate their bodies.

Kara made the experience unforgettable, she was so accepting, non judgmental, open and encouraging. I couldn’t believe that she gifted this experience to me! And with that which just goes to show how genuine she is, she didn’t treat me any different than a paying client.

It is an experience I will never forget (and always remember with my sexy photos!) and hope to do soon and often!

THANK YOU KARA! Thank you for your generosity and thank you for making me feel so special and so confident in my own beautiful body! You have a true talent and gift and I am so happy you are using it to touch and impact people’s lives.
— Miss "M"

Isn't she just amazing? I'm so super in love with these photos and this lovely lady. 

Thank YOU, Miss "M"!

PSSSSSTTTT: And if you're not following me on Instagram, go do it now! You never know when there's going to be another giveaway....but more importantly, I'm way cooler on Instagram than I am on any other social media platform (and in real life). ;)

Hair and makeup by Kendall of Mayhem Beauty.

ARE YOU A WOMAN? IN AUSTIN? HAVE WE SHOT YET? WHY NOT? LET'S CHAT.

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