One of the Boys | Austin Boudoir Studio

I can totally relate to the women who come to me saying that they're just "one of the boys" or "a  total tomboy, good luck making me girly."...because...uhm...hello! Not sure how well you know me through all of my ramblings by now, and while a homegirl loves herself some little black dresses and a dappling of makeup, I find myself completely out of my element when surrounded by "girly girls". When in a group situation, you can find me conversing with the guys. When my girlfriends need to have a 2 hour conversation about how their going to dress for an event, I find myself retreating from the conversation and thinking about other things...probably food. (Still love you, girrrllls!)

So when clients think they're throwing me a curve ball by telling me they aren't "girly"...they really aren't making my job any more difficult. Boudoir isn't about transforming you into the girliest of all girls. It's about showing off your personality, playing up what you want to play up, and having a great time. 

Miss C here was "just one of the boys", so we obviously had the best time evah! She opted for some sexy black numbers *be still my heart*, and a nude set which made her love her curves a little bit more without a stitch of clothing. 

"I've always been one of the boys and I still get surprised when someone tells me I'm beautiful. However, after my boudoir shoot, I felt absolutely gorgeous!"

"From beginning to end, Kara was absolutely top notch! Seriously, when it comes to boudoir photographers, Kara is the way to go. From getting scheduled, figuring out what style of shoot I wanted it to be, the studio and photo shoot, and picking out photos for my album, everything was perfect."

"Sure, doing my hair and makeup will make me feel pretty, but this shoot made me feel like a total BOMBSHELL."

"And can we talk about those curves?! They clearly need to be embraced more and I now know they also look good without anything on them ;-)"

"There isn't anything that I would change about this experience! And I'm so glad I went out of my comfort zone for the nude shots. I LOVE them! Oh my goodness, I'm floating on cloud nine." -Miss C

 

WOO! I love enthusiastic messages like this! Miss C's personality SCREAMS through in these images and it was so much fun to document her personality, her "boyish charm", and her killer curves that she now recognizes don't need any clothes at all to look fabulous!

*high five, dude.* 

xx

Sorry, I'm washing my hair that day... | Boudoir Editorial

Just a fun little boudoir editorial that I rolled into my South Congress Hotel "staycation". Loving the visual of this. Straight out of the "Sorry, I'm washing my hair that day" magazine. ;)

Model: Savannah Kinney  IG: @scubasavvy

Location: South Congress Hotel, Monroe Suite (worth.every.penny.)

 

A shattered woman on the mend | Austin Boudoir Studio

If you've learned only one thing by following along with my work and reading my blog, I hope it's that my message is about SO MUCH MORE than sexy photos. So. Much. More.  There is a very specific reason that I choose to share words direct from my client's mouths along with their photos. Those words tell the story of each woman, and those stories bring us together.

The images aren't anywhere near as important as what the images represent for the women in them.

The story that I share today is the very REAL and raw testimony of a recent client who has been working on putting her shattered world back together after the stillbirth of her daughter. SO many of you, unfortunately, can relate to such a loss. Things like this often cause us to shut down emotionally, focus on the negative, and lose our relationship with ourselves....lose our sense of womanhood.  

It's up to us to attempt to find ways of healing and reconnecting with ourselves and our bodies after such mental trauma. It was an absolute honor to be a part of helping Miss M get a little bit of herself back. 

She shares:

"After the stillbirth of my daughter I was a woman shattered. With her stillbirth came a complete disconnect from my sense of "womanhood.

I was so angry with my body. I wanted to separate from my physical self, to ignore it. I'd lost my strong, sexy, confident self. I was embarrassed. Others couldn't see why I was 25 pounds overweight. I had no child to hold. And yet, honestly I was holding onto the weight because it reminded me of what was. I wasn't ready to let that go.

"I'm working to rebuild my relationship with my physical self one piece at a time. This photoshoot was a big piece. Kara has beautifully captured me as I am today. She's frozen my body in time.  This body, the one that grew my precious baby girl, will forever stand still in those beautiful images. I can begin to let go of what was and move into what will be."

I am finding ways to remind myself that I am a woman. Her death does not change that fact. And these photos are helping me rebuild a broken relationship piece-by-piece, image-by-image.
— Miss M

"For someone who has an innate anxiety around new places and people this could have been bad. Thank you for making me feel comfortable and at ease."

I'm so grateful to Miss M for choosing me to be a part of her journey to reconnect with herself and her womanhood...and infinitely grateful to her for sharing her story with all of us. I know it will be such an inspiration to so many women who have experienced a similar loss. My heart breaks for every single woman who tells me a story similar to this. Yet I am so proud that they are taking this huge step towards loving on themselves with a boudoir experience.  If you think that a boudoir experience may help you cope/recover/mend/breathe/smile again, I encourage you to reach out! 

I'm in a hugging kind of mood, so I'm sending virtual hugs to all of you, and an extra one to you, Miss M! 

It's not about the photos...though, that's a perk! | Austin Boudoir Studio

Miss "K" had a plethora of one-liners that made me smile. First, when she arrived at her shoot and told me she had her nails painted for the first time in forever and actually felt like a GIRL. Then when she showed up for her photo reveal and said "I brought 3 different credit cards!". Then again when I read through her review.

You may notice that I almost always include a little bit of a story from my clients in their blog posts. Do you know WHY I do that!?!?! Because you all need to know that EVERY WOMAN that I photograph faces the nerves, the insecurities, the "devil on their shoulder" about whether or not they could POSSIBLY look sexy.  And also, I desperately want each and every woman that is considering this process with ME to realize that this is so much more than the photos. THIS is an EXPERIENCE. 

If she were never to even see a photo from the shoot, she had already experienced a self-esteem boost, she already experienced being pampered, she experienced being encouraged, she experienced being the star of the show. 

"I never take time for myself... As a full time working mother of two kids, manager of a women's cycling team, competitive athlete, wife, I am constantly sacrificing and putting others' needs first. When I stumbled across Kara's Instagram one night, I was instantly intrigued. The images were breathtaking. These women not only looked gorgeous, but FIERCE. "

Miss K's hair and makeup by  Lorena of Lola Beauty, Austin TX. 

Miss K's hair and makeup by Lorena of Lola Beauty, Austin TX. 

"After a few months of thinking, "Man I wish I could do that!" I decided why the hell not!?! I booked the appointment, put my deposit down and then totally freaked out. I'm pretty athletic, more comfortable make up free with a tank top and ball cap. I really wondered how it would be, totally exposing myself to someone else, and how it would feel to have the critical camera eye pointed at my bare ass. I almost postponed my appointment because I have *gasp* SHORT HAIR and wondered if I'd be able to look sexy, instead of my usual 'sporty'. "

"I prepped for the shoot by getting my first mani/pedi in (LITERALLY) years and packing my Xanax! I shouldn't have worried one bit. Seriously, the moment Kara came down and greeted me warmly with a hug I was instantly put at ease. "

"While getting my hair and makeup done, the atmosphere was relaxed and completely comfortable. My make up and hair was unbelievable. I looked in the mirror and felt transformed, but still ME. Just a badass version of me. Kara was the penultimate professional and is incredibly talented at putting nervous half naked women completely at ease. At the end of the shoot I felt so incredibly empowered."

I didn’t even need to look at a picture, I FELT amazing.
— Miss K

"The photo reveal completely blew my mind. I just sat there, kind of in shock. "This was me???" Kara is incredibly talented and was able to make me look like the women I had admired on her Instagram. I looked FIERCE. Kara never pressured, only guided me in my selections. This was by far, one of the best experiences of my life. From the very first time I reached out to Kara until the photo reveal, every single step in the process has been positive. It's not just having pretty pictures taken of yourself. It's something I feel every single woman should do for herself at least once in their life. And like I've told my friends, don't get a Groupon photo shoot. You are worth the very best. I can't wait to do this again."

I can’t remember the last time I really felt beautiful. Even without seeing a single image, I walked out of that photo shoot feeling incredibly empowered. And when I saw the photos, my mouth dropped. I had no idea I could be sexy. No clue. And there it was, in living color, me looking like a vixen. And it wasn’t contrived, or filtered. My tan lines (sorry!!!) and scars were still there. This was ME. And I looked amazing.

It was so awesome to HEAR the very thing that I preach constantly from a client herself....that it wasn't about the photos. Before she even saw one, it was worth it to her. But, of course, the photos are the icing. The sweetest, most indulgent (yet obviously fat-free, sugar-free, calorie-free, gluten-free and dairy-free) icing you could ever fathom ;) So it's totally fair to do it for BOTH the experience AND the photos. 

Are you finally ready for your own boudoir experience? I promise to put you at ease. Even in your underwear. It's what I do. Let's chat, dahhling!

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Name

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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New Mom, New Outlook | Austin Boudoir Studio

I was thrilled to get my camera on this beautiful woman. I originally met her when I taught a beginner's photography class to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization....and Miss "G", here was a big sister. She contacted me shortly after for a private lesson, and has since booked me to shoot several milestone shoots for her little family. When I switched my focus to exclusively boudoir, she mentioned a couple of times that she wanted to do one... "but"... and then the usual excuses flowed out. 

We talked about it a few times...I didn't want to pressure her, but I knew that she needed this. I know that new mom feeling all too well. It's almost guaranteed that you feel like a shell of your former self. 

Then finally...she bit the bullet. 

I was absolutely freaking out. I thought for sure I would be the one client who wouldn’t look sexy in her pictures. Plus, walking around in lingerie is a frightening idea, especially when you’re not oh-so-happy with your body.

Kara you are a rock star. I felt super comfortable and I knew that I wasn’t being judged. You had one goal, to show me how amazing I really am. And damn did you show me. Actually it was more like a hit to the face, I was so shocked at the end result. I couldn’t believe I was looking at myself!! Even my husband said “wow, you’re like a model!”

Like I said during the reveal, this was the validation I needed for myself. For a year and a half, I put myself last. I’ve never been super girly, wasn’t into make up or doing my hair. Hell, I could be ready in 5 mins. But times when I probably should’ve cared more about my appearance, I didn’t. And over time I got into some really negative self talk. The baby weight hadn’t gone away, I take full responsibility but I wasn’t happy with myself. My self esteem was at an all time low.

I did this to show myself that I still have it and gosh dammit I am pretty. And now I can say, holy hell I’m hotttttt!

Now, post-shoot, I do my makeup *almost* everyday and have gotten pretty good at styling my hair. I feel good. I look good. And I’m in a good place.

Thank you so much,Kara. Thank you for doing what you do and being fantastic amazing at it.
— Miss G
Hair and makeup by Kendall Koehler of  Mayhem Beauty

Hair and makeup by Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty

This gorgeous woman needed this shoot. She didn't do it for anyone but herself...though I'm sure it's benefited everyone around her with the extra pep in her step! I'm SO SO SO SOOO proud of her and over-the-moon that she went out on a limb and trusted me with this boudoir experience. 

CAN YOU RELATE TO MISS G'S MOM-ESTEEM? I CAN HELP. LET'S CHAT.

Name *
Name

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!

 

Name *
Name

Exploit yourself! A guide for boudoir photographers.

I get asked loads of questions on the daily about how to market a boudoir business, social media, blogging, etc.  I don't foresee myself ever jumping on the "TEACHER" train, because, well, I just love shooting way too much! Creating this guide was my solution to being able to help photographers who contact me for help, all while continuing to live my passion through shooting boudoir full-time. It's the best of both worlds!! ;) 

I launched the original "EXPLOIT YOURSELF" guide last year and got some really amazing feedback from it. I really beefed it up with LOADS more content and am really excited to be rolling it out today!  Read more about it and purchase yours for $30 for a limited time!