Unruffled | Austin Boudoir Studio

In 2017, I've been setting a weekly mantra for myself. Undoubtedly inspired by quotes (I'm a quote girl, you know it...I know it...and it's never gonna change!), each week I repeat the quote or mantra each day and look for ways the mantra presents itself in my world. 

This week's mantra is to "remain unruffled", inspired by a pretty spectacular quote by Thomas Jefferson that's been giving me life this week amidst lots of things that would normally "ruffle" me. 

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
— Thomas Jefferson

I won't go into a long-winded story here (I know, that's a first!!! More on Instagram)...but this set of images of Miss D seemed so calm, cool, collected, and UNRUFFLED AF. Something about her demeanor in these photos says "Whatevs. I'm just gonna keep doing my thing." and these photos are giving me life this week! ENJOY!

Client wearing La Perla from Teddies for Bettys

Client wearing La Perla from Teddies for Bettys

AHHHH! Yes. Unruffled AF. I adore these images and am so delighted that more and more clients are opting to do an artistic nude set. The resulting images are so classic, timeless, and FREAKING STUNNING. 

 

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! 

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 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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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!