Better with Age | Austin Boudoir Studio

Almost 5 years ago, Miss "S" and I had a boudoir shoot in a dark hotel room after the sun had set. Therefore I had zero sunlight (and I'm a natural light photographer....so you see the issue...), and I didn't really have a firm grasp on how to make that challenging situation work for me with lighting and/or available artificial light.

I worked through it anyhow. 

We had an AMAZING shoot complete with mega-makeup, elaborate hair, an Etta James playlist, and a fur coat. It was a ton of fun, and the photos looked great. To me. At the time. 

THEN...

From my shoot with Miss S almost 5 years ago. She was obviously a total babe. But the lighting makes me cringe, the post-processing makes me cover my eyes and peek through my fingers like I'm watching a horror movie. The composition is weird, but I remember thinking at the time how cool it was to get the damn lamp reflection in the window. And my posing direction could use some help. Even the watermark and business name screamed "amateur."

From my shoot with Miss S almost 5 years ago. She was obviously a total babe. But the lighting makes me cringe, the post-processing makes me cover my eyes and peek through my fingers like I'm watching a horror movie. The composition is weird, but I remember thinking at the time how cool it was to get the damn lamp reflection in the window. And my posing direction could use some help. Even the watermark and business name screamed "amateur."

Flash forward several years.

When Miss S's husband bought a gift certificate for another boudoir shoot, I was feeling a little nostalgic and I took a peek at our old set. I covered my eyes at my cliche posing and horrendous lighting. Miss S, of course, looked BADASS. And I gave the shoot and the client everything I had. Still, I can't help but be slightly embarrassed by my skill level at the time. 

Yet, 4 years ago I was even MORE embarrassed by my work 4 years prior to THAT. 

But guess what? 

NOW...

Obviously, still a total babe....and I would argue (not that any would fight me) that she's EVEN BETTER WITH AGE, 2 children and almost 5 years later! SIZZLE SIZZLE. Seriously. Such a babe! Photography-wise, I've found my lighting jam. My compositions are still "weird" but in a more intentional and artistic way. My posing is more about the "non-pose pose"...and I don't generally like to toot my own horn, but HELLLL---OOOOO custom black-and-white processing!

Obviously, still a total babe....and I would argue (not that any would fight me) that she's EVEN BETTER WITH AGE, 2 children and almost 5 years later! SIZZLE SIZZLE. Seriously. Such a babe! Photography-wise, I've found my lighting jam. My compositions are still "weird" but in a more intentional and artistic way. My posing is more about the "non-pose pose"...and I don't generally like to toot my own horn, but HELLLL---OOOOO custom black-and-white processing!

 

If I wasn't a tiny bit ashamed by my lack of skill in the past, that would mean that I wasn't advancing. I wasn't evolving. I wasn't learning. So...as embarrassing as it may be to see some of my stuff from years ago surface, it's also a valley-girl-slap-in-the-face reminder of just how far I've come. 

And if this isn't a concrete enough example of why documenting yourself over the years is so important, then I don't know what is! I'm THRILLED TO BITS that Miss S had a good enough experience the first time around to come back for more! And I know she is too :) 

In the weeks leading up to her shoot, I heard a bit about her "mom bod" and things that she felt just weren't the same. I assured her that we would do juuuuuust fine. And we did. 

Amazing!! I felt so comfortable and I am in love with the end results!! I’m also feeling pretty happy with this ‘mom bod’!

Love you Kara Marie! What you do for self esteem is amazing!!
— Miss S
My shoot with Miss S earlier this month.  She's obviously still a total babe. But now, here she is, 2 children later looking her most stunning. Less makeup, less wardrobe fuss, and with a FAR more advanced photographer than the one from the shoot to the left. 

Thank you, Miss S, dahhling, for another incredible shoot! Thank you for trusting me to show you that having a "mom bod" is a good thing....and I certainly hope to see you again in 5 years or less!!! 

Artistic Nudes: The ultimate in badassery | Austin Boudoir Studio

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

Straight out of a magazine: Miss W | Austin Boudoir Studio

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen little peeks of this blonde bombshell and her killer boudoir shoot. She showed up with her friend, a bottle of champagne, and a kick ass attitude, and left with a really incredible set of images just for her own damn self. 

Miss W Said:

"It feels damn good to do something for yourself! I turned 31 on Monday and thought 'Hey, you are't getting any younger!' Every day I thank my lucky starts for all the greatness I have in my life.  I loved how comfortable and beautiful everyone made me feel throughout the whole process!"

If you’re a girl out there contemplating a boudoir shoot....DOOOO IT!!! Kara is AMAZING!
— Miss W

"I love not only feeling sexy and confident but also LOOKING fuckin sexy!"

When she first contacted me about a photo shoot, her email signature was followed by a quote. If you know me or follow me at all, you know that I'm a quote girl. SO...I knew we were a match made in boudoir photographer/client heaven before I even met her. It said:

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.
— E.B. White

Hellllooooo, RED! Amiright!? Yasss. 

This set. This set with the classy red lingerie, chanel pearls, red bottoms, and fur coat just SCREAMED magazine ad to me! Miss W seriously rocked it! I'm thrilled with our finished product. 

Hell yes to rocking a boudoir shoot. Hell yes to doing so for YOU. Hell YESSSS to feeling even better about yourself after you're done. I love these kinds of stories. 

Thank you Miss W for your badassness ;)

Makeup credit: Kendall of Mayhem Beauty

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL LIKE A GODDESS? LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me...? | Austin Boudoir Studio

I am certainly not known to be the smoothest talker. I'm much better at premeditating my dialogue or otherwise inserting my foot-in-mouth when put on the spot to come up with something to say. It's really quite unfortunate because generally I do have the very best of intentions....but sometimes the dumbest thing imaginable comes out of my mouth...

...like when I'm trying to maintain a professional but comfortable client/photographer relationship during a shoot, and I ask my client to get into a pose, and I immediately say "Is it getting HOT in here!? Or is it just me!?". And I swear.to.God.I.meant.the.temperature.  But, coming from a photographer who is photographing a woman scantily clad, you could see why that may seem a bit creepy. Ok...maybe more than a bit. 

Luckily, my clients are awesome. When I say something that stupid, I make fun of myself incessantly and hope for at least a genuine laughing shot. 

I think that happened at least twice during my shoot with this client. Her images make me happy. Check them out!

"This was one of the best experiences I've ever had! Kara was such an amazing, bubbly, and badass photographer! She made me feel so beautiful in my own skin. Also, her makeup and hair artist was INCREDIBLE!"
"I never felt an ounce of body shaming or negativity. I loved that she would just talk and we had causal convos the entire shoot! She made me laugh a bunch and the images she captured were AMAZING! I would recommend her to anyone that was looking at doing a boudoir shoot!"
I feel so strong, beautiful, and comfortable in my skin. It really brought my confidence up overall.

Thank you to Miss "M" for bringing her A++++ game to her boudoir session. And to my makeup artist, Kendall of Mayhem Beauty for doing yet another stand-up job. 

IF YOU'VE BEEN TOYING AROUND WITH THE IDEA OF HAVING A BOUDOIR EXPERIENCE, LET'S CHAT MORE! 

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Just do it already! | Austin Boudoir Studio

If you have been a long time follower slash boudoir yearner but haven't taken the plunge yet, you are not alone. 
 

SO many of my clients don't actually become my clients until they've followed me and my work for a few years, and then they read a particular blog or see a particular image that speaks to them and they finally have the nerve to send an email.

After that, it's all easy as pie. Mmmm. Pie. There's a pumpkin one in my fridge riiiiight now. Waiting for me. Calling me. I imagine the pie has a very seductive voice. "Karraaaaaaa! EAT ME! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO." Whoah. Sorry. Note to self: No hungry blogging. 

But really, I do make everything SO completely easy for my clients. From prepping/shopping for your session to making your final selections, I really do direct you on every little thing. So sending that email is the hardest part. Promise. 

Miss H, here, was one of those "long time followers" who finally bit the bullet! I'm so glad she did! We had SUCH a fun time at her shoot, and even more at her photo reveal when she brought her girlfriend in for a surprise date. I MIIIIGHT have pretended that I was an ordained minister and that I was about to marry them on the spot before finally revealing that they were there to see Miss H's boudoir photos. Might have. 

Makeup by Kendall of Mayhem Beauty

Makeup by Kendall of Mayhem Beauty

"I have always wanted to do one and missed out last year!  I made it a priority this year, does Christmas shopping get any easier?"

"Seeing the photos?  We set it up as a surprise date for my girlfriend - Kara of course was awesome as always - probably one of our best dates EVER!  Can you beat hot pictures and Lana on vinyl?  I don't think so!" -Miss H

Do it! You don’t have to have someone to do it for, except YOURSELF! Do it for you!
— Miss H

"Kara will walk you through it all, step by step.  You just show up, ready to be beautiful! #NoExcuses #BeYouTiful #YoureWelcome"

It's true. Step.by.step. 

Thank you so much to Miss H for rocking out her session and for being one of my favorite new Snapchat buddies. And thank you to Miss H's girlfriend for not passing out when I tricked her about what we were about to do. ;) 

LONG TIME FOLLOWER WAITING TO TAKE THE PLUNGE? THIS IS ME (AND MISS H) TELLING YOU, IT'S TIME! LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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Motherhood hasn't stripped you of your womanhood | Austin Boudoir Studio

When you have a baby, you pretty much want to wear the largest poncho that Costco has to offer and a bag over your head. Learning to love yourself after you've birthed a human is no easy feat.  Some of us hold on to 40lbs for what seems like a lifetime. Some of us bounce right back and have to deal with all the other moms hating us even though we still have mom insecurities, too.  Some of us develop crazy hormonal mental problems and can't see anything but our flaws.

The miracle happens when you have see yourself looking incredible for the first time after having a baby. You NEED to know that you've still got it....and that motherhood hasn't stripped you of your womanhood.

Because it hasn't. 

You're still a woman. You're still gorgeous...sexy even. 

Miss "M" here had a shoot and got to experience this first hand. Yes, she's a slim girl...but that certainly doesn't mean that she doesn't have any "mombod" insecurities. All women have them...no matter their shape or size. 

She rocked the hell out of her photo shoot and got to see that, damnit, she still had it!

"I did this shoot as a present for my soon to be hubby to give to him moments before the wedding! It's taking all the power inside of me not to tell him!!

I LOVE the pictures so much and am so happy I did this for him and for myself

"After having my son, I never thought I'd say 'DAMMMNNN I look GOOD!'. It definitely took the stress away from wedding planning and had some much-needed fun."

So. I repeat. Motherhood does NOT strip you of your womanhood. You are woman, hear you roar and stuff. ;) 

WANT TO EMBRACE YOUR WOMANHOOD? LET'S CHAT!

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Meet Livvy | Austin Boss Chicks Portrait Project | Austin Boudoir Photographer

I first met Livvy shortly after I moved to Austin. She was the model for our Austin Fashion Week Mash-Up team for which I was the photographer. This girl exuded such natural beauty and so much character through a simple gaze. 

Fast forward several years and she is now a 20 year old badass musician with more direction in her "young" age than many people achieve in their whole lives. 

I told her about how I started my first business at the age of 18 and of all the obstacles I've faced being a "young", female business owner.  Bottom line, neither age NOR gender have anything to do with whether or not a person will be successful. I know plenty of 60 year old males who haven't accomplished a thing. ;)

YOU DO YOU! 

Meet Livvy.

Q: What do you do? What’s your business?

A: I’m a musician and I study Music Business at UT. A few months ago I started a new group, The Wipe-Out Gang in which I sing and play guitar. I write all our songs in my very small room north of campus. Then I bring it to practice and play it to the guys who then write their parts to it. I also record and master along side my drummer and boyfriend in our hodge-podge home studio.

Q: Where can people find your work?

A: https://soundcloud.com/livvy-bennett-4

 

Livvy Bennett | Austin TX Musician.

Livvy Bennett | Austin TX Musician.

Austin Boss Chicks Portrait Project

Austin Boss Chicks Portrait Project



Q: Why is being in charge of your own success so important to you?

A: I really enjoy the aspect of freedom that comes with making music. Its such limitless field and theres so many facets I’ve yet to explore. There’s nobody standing over me managing what I do, at least at this point in my life, which is something I really like. Any positive feedback is extremely rewarding because what we produce is entirely from our own hands. With all this great freedom comes spider-man like responsibilities which can be pretty intimidating but its really worth it.

 

Q: Have you ever experienced gender discrimination? How has that affected you?

A: A couple times after we’ve played people have said I’m “a great chick guitarist,” which is interesting because nobody’s ever told our bassist, “you’re such a talented dude bassist”, that just sounds hilarious.

 

Q: What advice would you give to those women looking to take charge of their own success?

A: I really do think its important for us to completely commit ourselves to what makes us happy because all of us are going to die one day and we only have this short time to immerse ourselves in those things, right?! I found out when I was really young that for me, playing music with and for the people I love is what makes me happiest.


Q: Where do you want to be in 5 years?

A: I’d love for more people to listen to and enjoy my music. Learning about music business at UT will undoubtedly benefit me, so hopefully I’ll be in a studio or office somewhere working with music in that way as well. I’m 20 years old so hell if I know, but I couldn’t be happier with the way things are today.

Come see The Wipe-Out Gang play August 12 at Trailer Space Records!


THE AUSTIN BOSS CHICKS PORTRAIT PROJECT

I LOVE portrait projects and I do them often. One of my favorite things about being an Austin boudoir photographer is that I get to meet SO many women from different walks of life. Something I find in common with all of them is that they are total badasses at what they do! Austin is FULL of independent women and it makes my heart sing. I've dedicated the entire month of August to capturing as many Austin Boss Chicks as possible and sharing their stories (and their portrait) with y'all. I want to create a sense of community amidst badass local ladies and introduce them and their line of work to as many people as possible. 

If you are an Austin female business owner and want to be a part of this project, fill out the contact form below! I've had an OVERWHELMING response already but am trying to get some variety (apparently I have 30,000 photographer contacts.) in industries! I'd love to hear from you ladies!

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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!

austinboudoirstudio_missm-3.jpg
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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