First Time's a Charm | Austin Boudoir Studio

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."

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"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."

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Miss A's happy face during her photo reveal appointment

Miss A's happy face during her photo reveal appointment

"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."

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"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

Taking it ALL off | Miss S | Austin Boudoir Studio

BY THE END OF THIS BLOG POST, I WILL ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE IT ALL OFF FOR YOUR BOUDOIR SESSION. 

Yep, down to just your birthday suit. There's something so damn freeing about not wearing even a stitch of clothing...yet that thought is often derailed by our intense fear of not looking the way we're "supposed" to, our crippling insecurities, or, maybe just the "weird" factor of being photographed by a stranger (Hi! I'm Kara Marie! Lovely to meet you. Now that THAT'S out of the way....

I GET IT.  I GET IT ALLLLL.

But if you're going to be nude in front of anyone's camera, mine is the one to choose. I've got the whole naked female form thing down to a perfectly lit and posed science. I'm also pretty easy to be comfortable in front of. *in my best Lamar Burton voice* "But you don't have to take MY word for it!", check out the RAVES page for more on clients being comfortable in such a "weird" setting. 

You'll giggle, then belly laugh. You'll wonder how these photos could possibly turn out with all your bits hanging out there. Then you'll see them, you'll gasp, and you'll fall deeper in love with yourself and the way you and your body are right now. And you'll probably wish you would have done your entire session in the buff. But it's fun to have the variety of wardrobe, too. ;)

Miss S reached out to me in order to help her celebrate herself in her 40th year of life. We started out clothed...then less clothed...then nude. She felt silly in the poses, she admits, but never imagined that she would love the photos, and so many of them, the way she did. Read on:

"When I turned 40, I promised myself that everyday would be better than the last. The power of intention led me to have the most amazing year of my life. As I round the corner towards 41, I wanted to do something extra special for myself. Enter Kara Marie Boudoir. I really enjoyed looking at images to give Kara an idea of the style that I like. "

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"Kara nailed my vision and I'm thrilled with the results. Every step of the journey was easy and enjoyable. Kara's website has a ton of great info and she was quick to diminish any anxiousness that I had about being naked or doing a weird pose."

"I'm a glass half-full kind of gal so luckily, I don't struggle in the self esteem department. I did not expect to fall madly in love with so many photos, though!"

"I feel great and am proud of the hard work I've put into my body. I'm excited to look back on these when I'm older."

It was time to strip down, be vulnerable, and trust me completely. She did. And the resulting images make my heart skip a beat. They aren't hyper sexualized, but reveal a woman who is proud of her sexuality. They aren't "traditional" boudoir, rather, they lean more towards fine art nudes.  They aren't heavily retouched, but they are strategically posed and lit to show off her natural curves. They don't bare it ALL, but they bare her soul and show her in her most natural form.

"What a fun present to myself. I'm so happy, thank you a thousand times over. Hopefully I get to see you next year, too!"

Nudes are intimidating, I admit it. But you can truly rest assured that you are in the very capable hands of a professional. I'm never going to have my camera all up in your business in an uncomfortable way. I won't expect you to do ANYTHING at all and will monitor your comfort level the entire time. I will photograph you in an artistic and classy way. You will laugh and have fun and be surprised that you are able to have such a good time while being naked in front of a "stranger".  You won't be showing me anything I haven't seen before. Your body won't offend me, and when you see your final result, your body won't offend YOU, either.

If clients are considering a nude set of images during their boudoir experience, I always encourage them to bring an extra outfit, just in case they aren't feeling it. Yet I've never once had a client who was CONSIDERING doing a nude set decide mid-shoot that they weren't comfortable with it. If anything, they decided sooner into the shoot than planned that they were ready to take it off. This experience isn't about being someone you aren't. It's about showing EXACTLY who you are...who is hiding under masks. I only want you to do what you are comfortable doing. It's just that I have this uncanny ability to make people comfortable with themselves. That is my super power. 

Infinite thanks to Miss S for trusting me with her boudoir experience, for loving the process, and for allowing her words and images to be shared with the KMB audience. 

WHETHER YOU'RE READY TO BARE IT ALL, OR ONLY A LITTLE....LET'S CHAT.

Name *
Name

Tattoos and Scars | Austin Boudoir Studio

Way back, when I first started offering boudoir photography, I would hear from clients who were about to get married and wanted some sexy photos of themselves in their wedding night lingerie and veil to gift to their husband on their wedding day.  My boudoir photography has evolved right along with modern women, and now, women are coming to me for far more powerful reasons. 

I can't quite describe the feeling of assisting women in such impactful soul-searching and self-celebration...except that of extreme honor. Which is why I don't just simply share my photos without also sharing each woman's story. That wouldn't do the experience justice. As far as photographers go, there are a million out there who are better than me...but it's not about the photos. It's what I help them discover through the process. It's what I help them celebrate. It's what I help them remember. It's what I help them realize for the first time. 

This client in particular, Miss K, had a very transformative 2016 and knew that she wanted to celebrate what she's accomplished.  She had a preventative bilateral mastectomy, and on top of that, lost 40 lbs and counting after finally taking herself off the back burner and embracing self care.  She came out of 2016 on fire and booked a boudoir experience with me to celebrate...and I couldn't be more honored. 

"Kara, I don't have words to tell you how much I love these...except that you're a fucking boudoir genius."

"My body has undergone some huge changes over the last year. In April 2016 I had a bilateral mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction as a preventative measure since I have a nasty family history of breast cancer and the genetic predisposition as well. I have also lost about 40 pounds this year. I wanted to celebrate my body and my strength.

This past year I have spent a lot of time thinking about self-care and self-preservation. I know taking care of myself is what my mental and physical health require, but like most people I know, it gets pushed to the side in order to finish whatever has to be done. "

"I don't remember how I found Kara Marie on Instagram, but her aesthetic is so similar to mine. The love for black clothing (I'm not sure if I own anything besides black, gray, and white anymore), the stunning photographs, the studio, the natural light. I knew I wanted to do a boudoir session only with Kara. "

"I jumped at the chance to book when and spend a night away once I made up my mind. My time in the studio was amazing. It was self-care that keeps on giving. Having my make-up and hair done for me (with some bonus product tips from Kendall!) was a treat."

"The shoot was empowering. Months later,  I still feel the same empowerment when I think about that morning and look at the pictures and video. I suppose I justified booking the shoot as a gift for my husband, but it was just as much a gift for me. I love the way Kara captured me. Even in the midst of laundry and dishes and keeping life moving, the reminder that I am strong and sexy is in these images. "

"After my mastectomy I decided instead of doing 3D nipple tattooing, I wanted flames. The artist I worked with designed the tattoos and they were one of my final steps in healing from my surgery. It was emotional to know I had fully healed from my surgery and was able to take this last step. My tattoos and scars tell my body's story."

"On my right forearm I have the phrase, 'take my hand through the flames' in my husband's handwriting. It's a line from the song "Sucker for Pain" from the Suicide Squad album and became our mantra during his last deployment."

In Miss K's case, she already had the tools. She knew and embraced her strength as a badass woman...she just needed me to document it.  In so many other women's cases, they need to discover that strength first, which I am always so incredibly proud to do. 

Wherever your peg falls on the "I am woman, hear me roar" board, it would be my absolute pleasure to document that exact stage in your journey, and hopefully help you progress to the next. It is *not* about the photos. It's about the uninhibited, strong, powerful, raw, beautiful woman in them. 

Infinite thanks to Miss K for sharing her words and photos with myself + the Kara Marie Boudoir readers. It was an absolute pleasure. 

WHETHER YOU'RE READY TO CELEBRATE YOUR BADASS WOMANHOOD OR DISCOVER IT FOR THE FIRST TIME...LET'S CHAT!

Name *
Name

It's not business...it's personal | Austin Boudoir Studio

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. 

XOX

KARA MARIE