P.S. you're amazing | Austin Boudoir Studio

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*

We.need.reminded.

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."

I hadn’t even seen my pictures and I didn’t care, it was so easy and fun and just what I needed.

"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!

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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. 

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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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The anonymous Miss "A" | Austin Boudoir Studio

A friend of a recent client, Miss "A" used her friend's amazing experience (and a peek at her images) as her gentle nudge into booking her boudoir session with me. She had never really heard that boudoir was a "thing", but it intrigued her and she knew it would make a killer anniversary gift for her husband. 

She came to me rather nervous and not knowing if she had what it took to be a sex pot in front of the camera. If you follow my blog at all, you know that I preach that EVERYONE has what it takes. It's up to the photographer to bring it out of them. 

I can’t think of anything that I would change! As my first experience with a boudoir shoot I can say everything was perfect.

The whole experience was so relaxed. From the make-up and hair time to the end of the shoot. Kara and her team are so easy to be around with and they truly make you feel as if you are one of their friends just hanging out at the studio.
— Miss "A"

If you're reading this, you probably DO know that boudoir is a "thing"...but what I hope you know by viewing my work specifically, is that it's meant to be a celebration of YOU. It ABSOLUTELY makes the best gift (like...ever.), but don't forget how much of a boost this gives. 

"It's not about seducing men. It's about embracing womanhood."

Are you ready to celebrate yourself? I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's long overdue. Let's chat, dahhling!

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This is 30... | Austin Boudoir Photographer

Well holy crap. Here I am. 30 years old today. 30. I distinctly remember an episode of Friends where Rachel cried at the dinner table when Chandler gave her a funny card about being old. From the age 20 and on I have dreaded the big 3-0. But now I find myself oddly excited for what this decade brings. I have never really made a very big deal of my birthday...this year, though, I'm doing it up big and celebrating!

Copyright Go West Photography

Copyright Go West Photography

So, does 30 make me "legit" yet? Have I finally been on this planet long enough to be taken seriously by anyone older than me??  I hope so. Because all the comments about being "just a baby" or "too young to know what hard work is" got really old. Eventually I just kept my age quiet to avoid hearing all of the inevitable comments. 

Here's to living life to the fullest, to making inappropriate jokes, to laughing at things that sound dirty but aren't, to wearing purple nail polish, to being told by my 6 year old that I'm being annoying, to whining about having to eat healthy. Here's to spontaneous dance parties with my kids, a closet that is overflowing with shoes, and acting like a teenager with my husband.  Here's to continuing to bust my ass at work...but only because I want to and not because some corporate big shot is telling me to.  Here's to slugging champagne from the bottle while sitting in a bathtub with balloons wearing nothing but heels and a tutu.

Copyright Go West Photography

Copyright Go West Photography

Copyright Go West Photography

Copyright Go West Photography

CHEERS TO 30! Now who's coming dancing with me tonight?! ;)

 

I have to give a huge freakin' shoutout to MICAEL of Go West Photography! I came to her for a concept of a bright, colorful, fun boudoir shoot filled with balloons and bubbly and she hit the nail on the head!  She suggested the location which worked out perfectly and she was a flash-master (thank goodness!) in a small and dark room.  Also the amazing Kendall of Mayhem Beauty who rocked out my hair and makeup. We had SUCH a fun shoot and I'm so glad that I celebrated my birthday with a boudoir shoot for ME (although I will tell you that my husband has already set the background for his computer and phone to the bathtub picture...so I guess he kind of benefitted too!)!

(If you feel like watching an animated ice cream cone twerking...I highly recommend you check out my music video choice of the moment below ;) )


The ONE Thing | My journey into specialization | Austin Boudoir Photographer

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My journey into specialization started years ago. Only it didn't start with me actually specializing as it should have.  It started with me thinking in the back of my mind (way back there with high school algebra and "how to be a domestic wife") "I really should be JUST a boudoir photographer. That's it."  

Then of course, at "OTHER" voice in my head said things like:

"But lots of people pay you to photograph those other things!"

"But about 40% of your income is based on everything but boudoir!"

"But you would lose so much of your existing target market!"

"But so many people have negative feelings towards boudoir!"

"But the numbers! Do the numbers! It doesn't make sense!"

"But it's so hard to promote yourself as a boudoir photographer. I mean...not everyone wants their photos online...and, after all, that IS how you accumulated so many of your existing clients...because they saw your photos."

"But Facebook hates boobs."

"But your expenses will go up tremendously. You'll need a studio. And furniture for the studio. And insurance for the studio. And electricity for the studio. And, and, and..."

"But, but, BUTTTTTTTTT....."

I, of course, heard all of those specialized photographers talking about how fantastic it was, how it's the ONLY way to go. I read those books about specializing. I read ALL the books.  

It wasn't until a few years later that I told that "OTHER" voice to STFU.  I did it. I made the switch. I decided to specialize.  And you know what?! The CRAZIEST THING HAPPENED. All of the things I had read in those books, all of the AWESOME results that those other specialized photographers bragged about CAME TRUE. 

+ I am booking MORE of my ideal client. Clients who VALUE my time and my work. 

+ I am WORKING LESS. Yep. Working less. It's funny how when you do what you're good at and really work on that ONE THING--it comes pretty naturally to me.  Not to minimize the amount of work that I put into my "job", but when it comes easy to you, and when you're only doing what you love, it really doesn't feel like work. AND it takes you less time than when you do something you AREN'T naturally fabulous at and then have to work EXTRA EXTRA HARD to compensate for your lacking skill in that department.

+ I am making more.  Uh huh. When I took an in-depth look into the number of hours I was pouring into other types of shoots (weddings, especially!) vs. what I was charging for those services...I was profiting an embarrassing amount per hour. If you look at the figure alone, you think "Wow, yeah, that's awesome. She really does well for herself!"....if you look at how many hours invested each month.....OUCH. It's not just that those hours were spent working hard. The kicker is that those were hours that WERE NOT spent on really important things like time with my family that I will never get back, like trying new things, like stopping to smell the roses. 

+ I am able to be selective.  If someone comes to me and asks me to photograph their family, I can easily say "I'm so sorry, I specialize in boudoir now." It's the truth. It doesn't mean I don't like that person. I know there are AMAZING family photographers out there that will do so much better than me and will be a better fit for that person. While it may sound like I'm being snobby...it's QUITE THE OPPOSITE. I've accepted the fact that I am NOT AWESOME at every type of photography. Just not. I've squashed my artist's ego. I find that the clients who I turn down but happily refer to another photographer are GRATEFUL for my honesty and end up most likely being far happier with their final images with that other photographer than the would have with mine (even though they might not realize that!).  Then they come to me down the road for boudoir. Because that's what I do. And I do the hell out of it. 

+ Doors are opening and they're opening WIDE. It is still absolutely BAFFLING to me how many opportunities have come my way since specializing less than 6 months ago. I can't talk about all of them just yet, but I assure you,  these things would have never happened if I was still trying to juggle weddings, families, fashion, etc etc etc.  It is so exciting. I'm still just stunned. And I know that it's only going to get better from here. 

 

My final takeaway from all of this:  I should have done this a LONG freaking time ago.

 

So you're not a photographer? So what. This blog post is still for you. What are ways you can change your life by being more selective about what you do? This doesn't even have to be about work, but life in general. What if , when you were playing with your children......wait for it........ you were JUST playing with your children?!  That's it. 100% of your attention on your kids. Can you imagine how your relationship would grow? Improved behavior? Improved quality of family life? 

Think about that. 

ALSO- I strongly, STRONGLY recommend that anyone struggling with this topic pick up the book:  "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" which obviously covers this very topic. 

40 and fabulous | Austin Boudoir Photographer

40 years and 5 children under her belt, and she's still kicking ass and taking names.  Miss "R", here, is absolutely awesome. I've photographed her a few times in the past and her enthusiasm about the experience is a reminder to me that I am doing EXACTLY what I'm supposed to be doing. For women like her. She rocks. Read on for her story. 

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"I have worked with Kara over the past three years and every time she announces she is coming to Erie I try to book some time with her. This last time I had a boudoir shoot, the 2nd one in 3 years, only this time I felt differently about myself. I am 40 years old, 30 lbs. heavier then last time and with 5 kids, the oldest being 20....a lot more haggard.

I hide from having my picture taken, the person I saw in photographs just didn't fit the image I had in my head. The idea that I wasn't that young flat bellied perky breasted tight butted hottie that the media spreads across the masses as the ideal woman left me feeling less then desirable, no matter how much my guy said I was the prettiest woman in the room. Kara wouldn't hear of it, between her and Lindsey, my make up artist, (Kara only works with the best) I not only looked like the hottie I saw in the media but I felt like it too. I just couldn't believe the those images were me!"

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I now see the same thing my boyfriend does when he says I am beautiful, sexy...HOT even. What I walked away from with this shoot was more then just some pretty images... I got my groove back, I got to see that woman that the media portrays as ideal, only she’s beautiful and desirable. She’s on the 30 lbs.-heavier-side-of-40, and she’s me. Thank you Kara....
— Miss R

I also must share an email that she sent me after her experience....it's so sweet, touching, and the last line just HAD to be published for all to see!!! LOVE HER! 

"I'm so glad I met you. Truly... its not just about your photos, which we all agree... you are talented, its about you too... You have this awesome Leo personality that just shines. You put all our insecurities out of our heads.. literally out of the room, and you instantly become our life long friend, our greatest support and confidante. What our men can't do... no matter how hard they love us, no matter how hard they try, you can do in a matter of 10 minutes. The self esteem you provide is undoubtedly priceless. That my dear, whether you believe it or not, is an extraordinary gift. You can share it so freely. You are more to me then just my boudoir photographer... You are my life long friend. You are like my favoritest bra... close to my heart."

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Miss R just showed 40 who was boss.  Your turn. Let's chat!

 

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Well she was an American girl... | Austin Boudoir Photographer

I hope everybody has an absolutely fabulous 4th of July! Be safe and have a blast! And watch out for that combo of drinking and playing with explosives, too! ;)

 

(P.S. The vintage American Flag used in the photo above did NOT touch the ground during the making of this photo. Not even once. ;) )