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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Giving insecurities the finger | Austin Boudoir Photographer

I preach a LOT about self-esteem and self-love. I KNOW EXACTLY what it feels like to be a woman who has insecurities about their body/face/life choices/education/social class/what I ate for lunch. It is so easy for us to look at other women and see their perfect figure, gorgeous hair, perky boobs, etc and compliment them (even wish, with every ounce of our souls, that we had that too!). But we have a really difficult time paying ourselves the same compliments.  I spend my life making sure that women see all the amazing things about themselves, yet I have the hardest time doing the same for myself. This is especially difficult when, as women, we put down other women FOR their insecurities.  

Being a 120 pound, relatively fit woman myself (who hasn't worn a 2 piece swimsuit, like, EVER), I know in advance that I'm really not "allowed" to verbalize my tummy insecurities, because to other women, I'm "crazy" for feeling that way because I'm so "tiny". 

Women of all shapes and all sizes have their insecurities. It is so important for us, as women, to be understanding of other women's insecurities and not write them off as crazy just because you don't see it. Instead, let's lift each other up and spend so much time complimenting each other, that we elevate the mentality of ALL women to the point where their insecurities fade away. After all, how many times have you complained about your body only for your friends to tell you that YOU'RE crazy?! Stop competing. Start encouraging. 

I got off on a little tangent here, but it's because Miss "T"  did an absolutely eloquent job at pointing out that insecurities do not discriminate. Read on. 

Shy. Insecure with my body. Modest. Anxious. Professional. Mother.

My story is not unlike the story I’ve heard repeatedly by my female clients. Women in general have a difficult time with their bodies, no matter what shape it is. It is a struggle that does not discriminate. Women of all ages deal day to day with the feeling of inadequacy.

I have struggled my entire life with body image issues. I am extremely shy about my body. In fact, there have been only a few years of my life where I can remember having the courage to wear a bathing suit in front of other people…and I was still utterly uncomfortable. It is lonely, constant, painful, and internal. When I’ve ever voiced my fears and discomfort I’ve only been met with the response of “you’re crazy”.
— Miss "T"
Each day of my life I coach and encourage women to believe in themselves, be healthy, and accept and embrace who they are physically. I truly believe and preach that all women’s bodies are beautiful. So why do I not believe this about myself? Why is each day a fight with myself in the mirror…a fight to feel beautiful?

Kara had been encouraging me to do a shoot for years. My anxiety always held me back. I’ve always felt confident in her abilities as a photographer (she has been shooting my family for years). I now know that Kara is much more than that. Kara’s gift is the gift to show a woman her beauty from the eyes of another. Where my eyes see only flaws and imperfection, Kara’s lens reveals reality…a reality I had never seen before.
My shoot was incredible! As nervous as I was leading up to the day (including my 15 minutes in the parking lot telling myself I could do it), all anxiety melted away the minute I saw Kara’s smiling face. I’ve never felt more comfortable with my body. I didn’t once worry about how I looked. I trusted her. I left feeling invigorated!

The moment my images were revealed I was awestruck. I couldn’t believe it! The images were stunning…as was the subject…ME?

A feeling of pride has replaced the pain.

Beautiful. Confident. Sexy. Empowered. Proud. Woman.
— Miss "T"
Makeup by Lindsey Allen, Erie Pennsylvania

THAT is what it is about. 

Do I see Miss T's flaws? No. No I don't. I see an absolutely STUNNING, intelligent, talented, hardworking, birth-giving, perfectly curvaceous, KNOCK-OUT.  Do I think she's CRAZY for having insecurities?! Absolutely not. I get it. 

The number one first comment I get from my clients when they start viewing their images is... "IS THAT REALLY ME!?!". The number two and three comments are always expletives. In a good way. 

There's something about seeing yourself in amazing boudoir photos that really puts into perspective what you *ACTUALLY* look like to others. You're seeing yourself in a completely different way, and it's such a breath of fresh air compared to the nit-picking we generally do to ourselves when looking in a mirror. WHICH is why I get my boudoir photos done so frequently. ;) 

THANK you, Miss "T" for your utterly inspiring words and for pointing out the obvious that isn't always so obvious to us "crazy" ladies. OH, and whatever your butt workout is....I need that in my life, like yesterday. ;)

 

GIVE YOUR INSECURITIES THE FINGER! LET'S SHOOT! START THE CONVERSATION BELOW...

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