It’s no secret that BLACK + WHITE is my baby. Processing boudoir images in black and white makes my heart sing and feels like the way it’s meant to be. Doesn’t it?
Miss M, here, was such a lovely client to work with. Much like the others, she was nervous, but trusting, and super excited to see the finished product.
"This experience was a B.L.A.S.T. I knew this was going to be fun but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did (clearly...I purchased round 2 within minutes!)." -Miss M
"A true professional and perfectionist in every way. Every piece was planned out from the prep to the shoot to the reveal; I cant tell you how impressive the details were. Cannot thank you enough for making this whole process so unbelievable and personalized!"
She was NOT kidding when she said she booked round 2 within minutes. During her photo reveal she said… “Would it be weird of me to get my next one scheduled right now???”. Obviously not. ;) Looking forward to working with her again as round 2 ALWAYS blows round 1 out of the water….and….like….how is that even going to be possible?! I have a feeling it’s going to blow both of our minds and I cannot wait!
Thank you, Miss M for trusting me with the process, with your kind words during and after, and for booking round 2 with me (is it TIME yet!?!?! Omg. HURRY!).
Photography: Kara Marie Boudoir
Hair and makeup: Mayhem Boutique Salon
One of the perks of being in the photography industry is frequent conferences, retreats, and workshops that allow me to see my favorite photographer friends from all over the world far more frequently than I would any other out-of-town friends. Cate, here, is one of those friends. We are incredibly similar, only she's way more "likable" than me (she disagrees...but that only further illustrates my point).
Photographing other photographers is one of those things I used to shy away from...or if I did it, I was always incredibly nervous. NOW, I adore it and almost seek it out. It's so fun to give photographers, especially boudoir photographers, the experience that they themselves give everyone else on a regular basis.
I knew EXACTLY how I wanted to photograph Cate. I wanted it to be simple, natural, "undone", and, of course, black and white. All she wanted was to be made to look "cool", because apparently that's my boudoir style. It wasn't until she pointed it out to me that I recognized....that's EXACTLY what I try to do with all of my clients. I just try to make them look COOL AF (cool to me is confident, badass, strong, and like someone you'd want to be around.). I'm so happy to hear that Cate felt I delivered.
"One day out of the clear blue, my darling friend Kara sent me a beautiful note that simply said 'you are stunning and likable and I just wanted to tell you that.' I received it on a particular day when I couldn’t feel less stunning or less likable. I cried actually, and thanked her.
Later, when she told me she’d be available to photograph me during our trip to Miami, I jumped at the chance. Kara is one of the small few I knew could capture me in a way I could not only be proud of — but that could change that fear inside me and make me see myself the way others do. I was 1000% confident Kara had that magic and I was not wrong. "
"Kara gave me ideas of how she envisioned shooting me and it was if she read my mind. Her sense of style is innate and when I joked 'Make me look cool!' I knew she’d deliver".
"I was amazed at Kara’s swift and flawless posing instruction. Even as a photographer myself, it was impressive how fluid and easy she made it for me as a subject. My resulting images fully reflect grace and effortless beauty in a way I want to envision myself as a woman."
"As a fellow photographer, I have the opportunity to be photographed more frequently than the average woman. My friends, like Kara are some of the best boudoir photographers in our industry, and I’m very particular about who I feel can photograph me the way I want to see myself. It’s not because I’m a model or a hot young thang — it’s the complete opposite of that. "
"The fact is, as a photographer I’m often ashamed to say I hate being in front of the camera. I don’t like the attention on me, the focus, my own lack of awareness of what I might look like ....and so much more.
This was not my first boudoir shoot, but it was a completely eye opening, confidence boosting experience."
"I’m a 43 year old mom of 3 kids, (about to turn 44 soon) a wife, and a business owner. With each passing year comes an ambivalent feeling of being both proud of my years ... but also fearful. It feels vain and shallow to admit, but I do fear my youth and my beauty slipping away. That’s a very hard thing. I embrace my inner beauty always, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified to lose my youth. It’s just one of those things so many of us struggle with as women."
Check out Cate's reaction to her teaser photo that I texted here while sitting next to her and not-so-secretly recording.
"These images are SO me. She knew my style, my nature, and my assets. I saw these images and couldn’t believe I might *Actually* look this way? It is eye opening.
I’m not doctored, or morphed, or over styled, or 'too extra.' It’s just ME. A beautiful version of me I’m typically too busy/too fearful/too blind /too unwilling to see. But she saw it, and I’m eternally grateful.
I do a shoot each year for my birthday and share them. I’m proud that this is what I can show 44 looks like on ME. Love you, Kara."
Shooting with this knockout the way that I wanted her to see herself, and then being able to witness her reaction to her first preview in person was SO amazingly fun and fulfilling. I adore this woman and am absolutely delighted that I had the opportunity to show her almost-44-year-old-ass that she IS in fact COOL, sexy, gorgeous, beautiful, and badass.
Thank you, Cate for your sweetheart testimony and for allowing me to share your stunning images with the KMB followers. You. Rock.
The email correspondence leading up to Miss A's boudoir experience told me that we were going to have a fabulous damn time. She was so excited, and attitude is EVERYTHING when it comes to making the absolute most of your shoot. She told me that she's never done anything like this before, she'd never even had her makeup professionally done, and that she was awkward in pictures. EVERYONE tells me that. As you can see by the myriad of blog posts and client photos, not a single one of them look awkward. That's part of the magic of the KMB experience. ;)
This woman was so awesome, we had an absolute blast, and I'm obsessed with her final images. They show off her personality so well. Hearing from my clients after-the-fact fulfills me to the utmost. I adore hearing that their experience was everything I strive for it to be. I'm going to shhh up now and let Miss A take the spotlight with her words and images.
"As someone who regularly feels like I ruin group pics, signing up for a Kara Marie Boudoir session was something I admired from afar. I regularly followed on Instagram from the sidelines from the beginning and dreamed of the day I would gain courage to sign up. After some shenanigans happened in my life and I was feeling kinda down overall - I decided to gift myself a session for my 26th birthday almost a year in advance."
"Everything about my experience was better than I expected and more than I ever could have dreamed. From the prep information, to the outfit selection advice, the day of planning, the shoot and the reveal - I literally never wanted the experience to end. You made me feel SO comfortable in my own skin and the moment I walked in to the studio I was ready to bare all and do artistic nudes!"
"I never enjoyed taking pictures or posing in the past, but every position you put me in I loved. The shoot felt fun, quirky, silly, crazy, AND WAY TOO SHORT. I wanted it to last for hours and the way you make us feel in front of your camera is INSANE."
"Not only was this my first photo shoot, it was also my first time wearing a bodysuit and my first time getting my hair and makeup done. Everything about it was magical and I felt so comfortable the entire time."
"I told my friends after the shoot that even if I never saw a single image, it was hands down the best thing we can do for our body image as women."
"Now on to the reveal - not only was this experience amazing, it was almost surreal. Watching my photos slide by on the slide show and knowing that each and every single one was actually me, with hardly any retouching is insane. It just makes you feel incredible. You helped me through the decision making process the entire way, and next time I will walk out with insane wall art and the fantasy package because I loved EVERY SINGLE PHOTO."
"I am now a Kara Marie Boudoir addict and will 100% be back. I have already been sharing with all my friends and telling them it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. Honestly, without a doubt, you made this experience incredible and one I will never ever forget. I can't thank you enough."
"Post shoot, I felt on top of the world and like I was the most amazing beautiful woman ever. I mentioned before, that I didn't even need to see a single photo to feel how incredible this was for my mood and my moral and body image."
"Obviously once I had my reveal I realized that I need to buy everything next time and do the full works package! It was amazingggg. Before I went I thought I would buy maybe a few lose images in a box, and came out with 64 and a massive 8x12 luxury album. Would 100% do again."
My heart is bursting. What a sweetheart (eh hem...and a BABE!). She was lovely inside and out and it was an absolute honor to work with her to capture her femininity, her personality, and her badassness. Thank you, Miss A, for joining the KMB club. I adore you.
Photos Copyright Kara Marie Boudoir
Hair and Makeup: Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty
Motherhood is a beautiful, rewarding, selfless blessing and responsibility. It's SO selfless, in fact, that so many moms admit to having a hard time remembering who they were before having children. If they try *super* hard, they can recall the days back when....
"I used to be more fun. I used to be more spontaneous. I used to be in better shape. I used to have ME time all the time. I used to stress less. I used to have a ton of friends....and I used to actually HANG OUT with them." -Me. And just about every mom I know.
It's true that the majority of my clients are moms....most of them longing to remember the woman that they were before they were "Mom. MOMMY!!! MOMMAAA!?! Mom?? MOMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!". And it's not just the duties of motherhood. It's LIFE. The responsibilities of adulting have a way of changing you and making you forget the most important relationship of all--the one with yourself.
My clients come to me for many reasons, but re-connecting with their womanhood is top.
Today's featured client is one of those truly blessed, truly exhausted moms who has overcome a ton of heartache, personal loss, and lost a large part of herself in the process. It was clear to me from our first communications that this woman needed this. She needed to reconnect with herself, not as a mom, not as a wife, not as anything else...but as a woman.
There is not much more that I can say to preface this post, because Miss C has written the most beautiful testimony of her experience and I hope that you take the time to read through it. Those who have lost a child, or were never able to conceive at all and had feelings of failure as a woman should especially read on. She is one STRONG woman, and I'm so delighted I had the opportunity to work with her.
"GIRL you are a genius!!!! I truly don't know where to start. From the first email exchange to the photo reveal it has been the most amazing experience and has forever changed me.
As an angel mommy to 2 boys who have passed, I have felt like a complete failure as a woman. I have never seen myself as sexy ever, and have had some horrible relationships that have torn me down in so many ways. For the last 12 years, I have been 'Mom' and have put myself on the back burner. This [boudoir experience] was my way to help heal myself and start being ME in a way I've never been. As a soon-to-be 33 year old, and mom of 7, I decided I had to just jump in and go for it."
"I have never felt so comfortable around someone else in my entire life, not even my husband. The process was so easy the day-of. My nerves that were all over the place when I arrived, were easing away by the time my hair and makeup were done. I left the shoot on cloud nine feeling a confidence I had never felt before."
"The photo reveal left me speechless and just in pure awe that I was looking at MYSELF in these stunning photos! I called my husband on the way home with this amazing empowering feeling, like I hope my daughters always feel about themselves! I told him how shocked I was and how I think he will be pleasantly surprised at the photos. He laughed a little and said 'Nope I won't be surprised, I have eyes and see that in you all the time. I know they are going to be amazing and beautiful.' "
"My self-doubting ways are going away and I am finally confident in who I am and focusing on the positives. I am happier, spunkier and for the first time feel like I am good enough. My album arrived today I am again left in awe of this amazing experience!"
"I am already looking forward to doing this again it is truly addicting!!!! You are a true professional who feels like someone you have always known. Without you, it would not have been the same experience. Thank you for lifting my spirits and finally showing me what my husband sees." -Miss C.
ALL. THE. EFFING. FEELS.
I cried reading this e-mail when it came in, and cried again composing the blog today. I am so honored to have been able to work with Miss C to help her reconnect with her womanhood, gain confidence, discover her SEXY (I mean, did you see these photos!?!? HOT DAMN!), and do it all so comfortably. I work really hard to make this a comfortable experience for all of my clients, so hearing it in the majority of my client raves makes me so incredibly happy.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, Miss C for your candid review, for your trust, and for choosing me. I cannot wait to have you back and put another notch in your boudoir belt! You are strong, beautiful, and BADASS.
IF YOU NEED A LITTLE BIT 'A HELP REKINDLING THE ROMANCE WITH YOUR 'OLD' SELF....LET'S CHAT!
Ahhhh the boudoir experience::: a source of mad anxiety from the time of considering the session to showing up to the studio. It doesn't matter how much I preach about how EASY it's about to be for a woman, the idea of stripping down in front of a stranger's camera is stressful...and...well...terrifying.
Let me try one more time to emphasize the ease for any of you who may be nervous about this. If the oodles of rave reviews aren't enough for you, I'll add one more and explain the process along the way. Miss M was insanely nervous. Like....REALLY REALLY nervous. One of the more nervous women to walk into my studio.
Her close friend and roommate actually had a boudoir experience with me last year, and Miss M came with her to her photo reveal and was blown away. Even with her friend's promise of a super easy and FUN experience, she was uneasy about how she would photograph.
Months and months later, she finally worked up the courage to book, though her shoulders were tensed up to her ears and her voice was shaking a bit as we talked through the session on her shoot day.
About 10 minutes into the shoot, she began to calm down, and by the end of it, I had to many incredible images of her that even I was STOKED for her finished product.
So, what's it like?? What *exactly* goes on during a session?
First and foremost, by the time you walk through the doors, you've already received so much information from me that there really isn't anything left to wonder about. You know how long we'll be together, how many outfits we'll be photographing you in, how long hair and makeup takes, and that I'll be giving you guidance along the way.
We go through your outfits together and I'll offer you a beverage while you're slipping into your robe. My makeup artist chats with you about how much fun you're about to have (She should know, she's done it 6 times!!), and calms your nerves.
When it's shoot time, I give you another run down of the process, how it's actually fun and silly and not at all a "sensual" experience. We'll be chatting along the way. I'll encourage you the whole time. I'll be mindful of your "insecurities" and play up your favorite features. I'll direct EVERY SINGLE POSE. Every limb. Your hair. Your face. All of it. All you need to do is copy me.
Time will FLY. It ALWAYS done. If I don't make a very conscious effort to check on the time, I would shoot all day. It's fun for me, it's fun for you, and it's over before you know it. You'll already want to do it again (and probably will...they always do ;) )
Miss M agrees:
"I'm so happy that I treated myself to this experience! I spent months worrying about choosing the right outfit, planning, and wondering if I made the right decision to be semi-naked in front of a camera; all of my stress was for nothing!"
"I felt informed every step of the way and the entire process leading up to the shoot (booking, communication, what to expect) was so easy. The shoot itself was even easier!"
" I felt welcomed and comfortable from the moment I got to the studio. Between talking, posing, and outfit changes, I didn't even have a chance to worry if I looked "pretty enough" or "thin enough." I was able to submerge myself in a judgment-free zone and really take in how I felt in my body in those moments"
"I left feeling proud that I did something that I had wanted, but been afraid to do, for so long!"
She sat through her photo reveal slideshow in stunned silence...along side her friend and roommate who had been in a year before. When it was over, she breathed a deep breath of relief, and did a little clap. The photos, of course, turned out incredible. Turns out I really *do* know what I'm doing. Tee hee.
ALL of my clients are nervous, some more than others...but they all have that self-doubt that all of my clients are models and naturally good in front of the camera and that they will be the very first person that I cannot photograph. Yes, the women on my website look modelesque...they do. But very few of them are actually comfortable in front of a camera. Not many of them would describe themselves as photogenic and sexy. Yet every single one of them looks that way.
I got you, girrrrrrlll! Promise. You will laugh at how nervous you were and will most definitely want to do it again...knowing that if your photos turned out THIS good when you were terrified....they will be even better the second round when you know what to expect.
Ready to bite the bullet? Let's chat dahhling!
I tried to ride out the flood of New Year blog posts and really contemplate on mine (that, and give all my readers a chance to not be annoyed by so many New Year posts.) I'm not a New Year resolution girl. It's now 2017, and I'm still the same girl that's making a giant pan of 5 cheese macaroni and cheese for lunch on January 2nd.
I set my goals year round, I truly do. I set monthly goals for my business (which I'm really good at achieving), I set quarterly personal goals (THOSE sometimes...err...often fall behind...but I'm working on that), and I keep the most extensive and organized to-do list I've ever seen for every day tasks (though often forgetting to add things like "take a shower" and "work out").
One ongoing to-do list item I always keep at the top of my list is a reminder for me and it says "It's not business...it's personal." If you've been following me for a long time, you may remember that my old photography website had that phrase written at the bottom of every single page.
Obviously, this *IS* in fact a business, and I do operate it as such on most levels. But the one facet of my business that isn't business is ME. It's my relationships with my clients. It's my passion for my work. It's my love affair with the stories that each client tells me. It's how seriously I take each and every customer's review of my services. It's my dedication to making sure that every person has the warm and fuzzies about their experience. It's my desire to continue to do something for a living that I'm SO passionate about without majorly sacrificing my time with my family.
KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL is the reason I don't have a (probably much needed) large staff of additional photographers, virtual assistants to answer my emails for me, a sales person doing my photo reveals, and someone else running my social media accounts. It's the reason that sometimes I rock a messy top knot that contains far more dry shampoo than hair. I have had to actively try to keep it small. And to be honest, it's outgrowing me. It's become bigger than I can handle on my own with just myself and an assistant. But like any business, I need to continuously adapt, and I will strive to do so while keeping.it.personal.
While I most definitely have help, *I* am the only person that is fully invested in this business of mine. It's a part of me. And in such an intimate line of work, I find it to be utterly important that you all get to know me. I want you to feel like you know me before you meet me. I want you to feel completely at ease, like you are working with an old friend. I want to be the one to sit with you as you see your images for the first time and get all watery eyed. I want to be the one that gets more excited than you are to see your images blown up huge and hung on your wall.
Ok, ok, so maybe that makes me a wee bit selfish. But I genuinely feel the personal touch adds so much to the experience for my clients.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with not having a hands-on approach in many businesses. In fact, my apparel line Blonde Black and White is one that I dedicate about an hour a week to, I outsource just about every aspect. And my husband coincidentally just publicly announced yesterday that his fitness studio Heat Bootcamp is now officially a franchise. There's most definitely a time and a place for expansion, but for Kara Marie Boudoir, that is not in the foreseeable future.
Sometimes people will stop me in restaurants/grocery stores/coffee shops and say "HEY! I follow you on Instagram! I love your work!". I think "Who? ME!? You recognized ME!?!?!" *commence crawling into a hole in embarrassment and trying to remember what the last embarrassing thing I posted was...* But then I realize that's a pretty awesome thing. I definitely put myself out there a little bit (lot bit) more than most other photographers. And I'm ok with that...in fact that's very intentional for all the reasons I've already listed.
So, in 2017, I want to officially pledge my commitment to KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL.
Thank you all SO, SO much for the most incredible year KMB has seen. Thank you for keeping me booked. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for every single "like" and Instagram comment. Thank you for understanding my mission to helping women feel a way they haven't felt in a long time (or ever). Thank you for your grace when I go a month without blogging because I'm swamped with edits. Thank you to each and every woman who has trusted me with their boudoir experience. I don't take the privilege lightly.
I ADORE YOU.
Another story I hear often from my clients is that they often feel cute or maybe even "pretty", but hardly ever sexy. That's one of our curses as females. We don't see our potential. We put ourselves in "cute" boxes and when someone suggests that we are sexy, we laugh it off. No way. Me? Nope.
One of my biggest strengths is showing women how sexy they are. I want them to embrace themselves as powerful and, GASP, sexual beings. It's much easier for us to grasp the concept that we are hard workers, decent moms, devoted wives. But the sexy thing is harder for us to recognize.
But I promise, if you come in to my Austin boudoir studio for a boudoir experience, I'll show you. The shoot won't feel like you're trying too hard to be someone else. In fact, you may even think "There's NO WAY this photo is sexy!" or "There's NO WAY I'm doing this right." The magic of it is that I'm about to show each client her sexy AF self and they don't even expect it.
I think so many people book boudoir experiences with me thinking "Well, I'm not going to look as amazing as the other women on her website, but if I can walk away with one good picture of myself I'll be happy." And those are the clients that are absolutely awestruck by the images in front of them at their photo reveal.
Miss M had a specific aesthetic in mind that, to me, resembled magazine cover portraits. She had a very regal and poised look about her, and we worked together beautifully to create an elegant set of portraiture and boudoir images. Read about her experience below:
"Kara creates a space that makes it easy to feel like a total badass wearing nothing but your own skin. I walked out of the shoot feeling confident, driven and fearless. The whole experience was absolutely fabulous and it has been so empowering knowing that I did it for myself."
"In a lot of other pictures I have of myself, I can be described as looking "sweet" or "pretty." This experience is exhilaratingly different. When I look at my boudoir pictures, I'm empowered to see myself in a new light that reflects so much more of who I am and what I want to be."
"I see so much more that a sweet pretty girl. I see the story of a woman who is beautiful, brave, strong and interesting, a woman who has enough confidence to unapologetically love and accept herself as she is."
I have really grown to be madly in love with tasteful nude imagery. There is nothing more raw, more natural, and...in my opinion...more rewarding for the client, than to have such timeless photos of yourself and nothing but yourself.
Generally my clients come in, knowing that nude images are an option, and at the beginning of the session when we're reviewing her wardrobe, she gets shy and flushed and suggests maybe if she's comfortable towards the end she'd maybe sorta kinda like to possibly do some photos without any wardrobe.
It's always so amazing to watch the transformation between the shy girl thinking she could possibly do this with enough champagne, to the badass confident woman halfway through the shoot that says "You know what!? Screw this lingerie!" Enter the classy nudes.
I know why clients are a little intimidated by the boudoir experience process. The women in my photos look SO confident, so sexy, like they really owned the shit out of their photo shoot. Practically pros, right!?
During your photo session, other than holding pretty uncomfortable poses for several minutes at a time, you'll be thinking "This can't possibly look sexy." and "Oh none of these are going to turn out.". It doesn't FEEL like a sexy experience while you're doing it. FUN...hell yes. But sexy?! Not really. I'm not speaking in a seductive voice while using sexy verbiage in a dimly lit room with candle light and Marvin Gaye playing (although, I do believe "Let's Get it On" is on one of my playlists...we usually just laugh when it comes on.).
NOT AT ALL. The room is bright AF, generally some upbeat music playing, and it's pretty much an hour long chit chat with me about every day life with the occasional "Ok, now arch your back a tiny bit more and give me a good exhale out your mouth.....PERFECT!!! You're doing awesome!!!"
It's generally only 5 minutes into the shoot before women start to realize "hey, this is WAY easier than I thought it was going to be!"
So, trust me, the idea of taking off all of your everything in front of a stranger's camera IS scary to think about. But I assure you, it's business as usual for me and you can't scare me with "all this" (what women usually say while motioning to their bodies in reference to being nude), and, in fact, challenge accepted and you will LOVE your nude images, likely more than your clothed ones. I will pose you to perfection, I will use strategic lighting, I will coach you through every minute of it, and you will be SO GLAD YOU DID THIS!
Round of applause to this badass woman for taking it all off and being oh-so-proud to be documented wrapped in nothing. She actually didn't need any champagne and knew from the beginning she wanted to do nude artistry. And the final product reflected her confidence in that decision!
GET IT, GIRRRRRRLLLLL!!!!!
WHETHER YOU WANT TO TAKE IT ALL OFF OR KEEP IT ALL ON, IF YOU'RE READY TO FEEL AMAZING IN YOUR OWN SKIN, LET'S CHAT!
Miss R's shoot happened to fall on an "off-day" for me. I was frantic and frazzled. For the first time ever, my makeup artist and I had a massive miscommunication which resulted in her hopping on a plane at the moment that I had her scheduled to do Miss R's face. Well....shit.
Panic ensued as I frantically began to call my other makeup artists to see who may have last second availability... a Saturday afternoon at that! By some miracle, my other brilliant artist happened to be finishing up with wedding makeup for an entire bridal party (SEVEN FACES.) and was cool enough to STILL swing by and help a sista out. Miss R was just sitting there, smiling.
I apologized profusely for the mixup and suggested that we start with some anonymous shots that didn't require her face to be at any level of "done-upped-ness" while we waited for Lauren to arrive. Miss R assured me that she wouldn't have even known there was a mix-up if I hadn't told her, and just kept smiling.
And I totally got lost in the shoot. Her positive attitude was absolutely infectious and we just had the best time. Lauren came to the rescue with some seriously badass makeup skills at the ideal moment, and the shoot came and went with smooth perfection.
I love being around life-breathers. She was one of 'em.
Thank you Miss R for being so kind, so positive, and so much damn fun!
And thank you to Lauren of Lola Beauty for coming to my rescue and giving Miss R the most ooh-la-la eye makeup eva!