Miss "Almost Cancelled on account of the blahs" | Destination Boudoir

It happens about once a month: I get a frantic e-mail from a client whose session is coming up and they just CAN'T go through with it.  They didn't lose the weight they wanted to lose, they can't stand the sight of themselves in the mirror so how could they POSSIBLY like photos of themselves right now? Plus, they don't have anything to wear and everything they try on is horrendous, and...oh shit....maybe there's even a monstrous pimple arising and their monthly horror movie of a flow is about to rear it's ugly head just in time for the worst time to be bloated with the blahs. 

Listen, I GET IT. BOYYYYY DO I GET IT. I have those days/weeks/months myself, and GET THAT CAMERA AWAY FROM ME, are you NUTS!? But here's the thing, it's not MY camera. I fully recognize that this is about to be the most horn-tooting statement ever, but I KNOW what my capabilities are. I know what I can do with a pose, with the light, with a sheet, with a hug and some encouragement, and with a tiiiiny pinch of post-shoot magic. I know that, for my shoot style, wardrobe doesn't matter. I know that I can camouflage whatever it is that's bothering you without making it look like we're obviously trying to hide something. 

I don't WANT you to feel that way, but I also don't think when you DO feel this way some days, that it's the troublesome-deep-seeded-self-loathing/depression/whathaveyous that media/society makes it out to be every time we feel that way. I think that we're women, and HORMONES ARE DICKS. I think, regardless of what the scales say, our bodies could look completely different at the end of the week than at the beginning. I think that we all have times where we feel kind of shitty about ourselves and that could be something as minor as feeling fat because we just binge watched Man vs. Food on Netflix and tried to recreate the 17-layer loaded french fries we just saw last night, or something as major as having a baby and going through the "WHOSE BODY IS THIS!?!?" stage for a few months or a decade. 

WE ALL GO THROUGH THIS.  And here's the thing, I will never ever force a client to have their session if they're feeling this way. But I will pep talk the shit out of them, and now, maybe just point them to this blog post. Because everyone FEELS that way occasionally, and even though I do my absolute best to educate on all the reasons why you should trust me on this and post review after review from women saying "I CANNOT BELIEVE I LOOKED SO GOOD. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW COMFORTABLE I WAS.",  for all you know, every single woman on my blog/Instagram/website are in the best shape of their lives and have zero cellulite and obviously are not mothers, etc etc etc. 

UNTRUE. SOOOOOOO untrue. Everyone just looks amazing in their photos. Everyone just looks CONFIDENT in their photos. And CONFIDENCE, my loves,  is my dirty little secret gift that I give to each and every one of my clients.  I cannot be giving all my secrets away here, but I'll tell you that women leave my studio feeling like She-Ra and they did NOT come in that way. 

Now, on to Miss "Almost Cancelled in lieu of the blahs", here. It's true. She was not just saying "I don't think I can do this. She said "I need to cancel.". This girl was going THROUGH it. Not only did she say she was at her heaviest weight ever, but also had an absolute mess of personal stresses.  I felt for her, and even *I*, knowing my capabilities, thought: "Maybe it's just not a good time for her"....and then quickly squashed that thought and gave her my pep talk.  A photographer herself, I thought it might be even harder to gain her trust. But I gave her my best encouragement pep talk and told her she needed this especially right now. She did. And she came. And she ROCKED. And here is what she had to say:

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"My life lately has been less than fantastic, with numerous family issues, personal issues....basically ALL the issues! Because of all this stress and just general life-ness, I have completely and totally let myself go. I have gained so much weight that I now weigh more than I did when I was pregnant with either of my boys. It's bad....real bad.

But, when I saw that Kara was coming to Dallas I just instantly booked with her without thinking twice because I love her work so, so much and I desperately wanted just one beautiful photo of myself, even at what is undoubtedly the most unhealthy and fattest of my life. "

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"About two weeks before my session I had a meltdown, and told her that I just couldn’t do it, I was just too overwhelmed with life and circumstances and I was fat and ugly and had nothing to wear….and she gently told me that she completely understood how I was feeling, but that I NEEDED to do this.

And I did.

But y’all, I was a WRECK. I arrived with no lingerie, no shoes, nothing except a robe. Because none of my lingerie fit and I was feeling so awful about my body that I didn’t want to spend money on buying new stuff. So I told her to just shoot me with a sheet and to do her best."

"I was so nervous and shaking the entire shoot, and my inner monologue was basically 'Don’t look down, don’t look down' because if I even glanced at my body or what it was looking like I was going to freeze up and have to stop.

But I made it, and I had fun, and I didn’t die."

"And in my car on my way home after my session I cried. I don’t really know why, precisely, I was just so glad I went through with the session and just so proud of myself. And as anyone who has ever had a session with Kara before knows, I got WAY more than one gorgeous photo of myself!"

So not only did she get her ONE good photo (which is, TRULY, all she expected or wanted), but she told me she had to have them all, and she got that much-needed self-love boost. THAT is what it's all about. I was SO very happy that she'd showed up, she let me guide her, coach her, and even happier she had an amazing experience and got an incredibly badass set of photos to remind her, every time she needs it, that she is incredible. 

 

Cool Cate | Destination Boudoir

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. "

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"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".

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"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. "

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"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."

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"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."

I see boudoir photography as one of the ways we can celebrate and get an objective view of these fears and squash them whole.
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Check out Cate's reaction to her teaser photo that I texted here while sitting next to her and not-so-secretly recording. 

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"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."

Birds of a feather flock together ;)   My all time favorite photo of Cate + I that speaks volumes. I thought this should most definitely accompany her boudoir photos. 

Birds of a feather flock together ;)   My all time favorite photo of Cate + I that speaks volumes. I thought this should most definitely accompany her boudoir photos. 

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.

 

New Orleans Charm | Destination Boudoir Photographer

My studio is a dream...I absolutely adore it. The light is just perfection, the concrete floors are reflective and swoon worthy, and it's polluted with positive juju...you can feel it when you walk in. 

HOWEVA--- shooting in other places is so creatively refreshing for me. I keep a VERY full studio schedule, so I don't get out much (there has never been a truer statement in any sense of the phrase.), but when I get to travel for a destination boudoir shoot, a little extra magic happens. 

When I first heard from Miss M, it was 4 days before what ended up being our photo shoot date. She lived in a knockout historic apartment in New Orleans but was moving in less than 6 weeks and wanted to know if there was any way I would be able to travel to her for a boudoir shoot before she moved. Typically based on my nutty schedule, this wouldn't have been a possibility with such short notice. HOWEVER-- the boudoir gods(eh hem...goddesses) were looking down on us. I just happened to be scheduled to speak at a boudoir photographer's conference IN New Orleans THAT weekend. Talk about dumb luck!

I rearranged my schedule and changed my flight to arrive a day sooner, and VOILA-- boudoir miracle made.

With zero time to plan, Miss M was ready for her session in a few short days. 

Honestly, I'm inspired shooting ANYWHERE with good light. It could be a giant cardboard box. Butttt when I walked in to her apartment, I wasn't prepared for the gorgeousness that awaited me.

#1- This woman...sitting there...barely a lick of makeup on yet, was just GLOWING from the inside out. She had SUCH an amazing spirit about her, and I KNEW this was going to go spectacularly. Attitude is translated so loudly in every photograph I make, and she had the best one!

#2-HOLY CRAP her apartment. The light was pouring in from the most beautiful floor to ceiling windows that had the best window treatments. The whole place was obviously very expertly designed and furnished...and I knew that working with such an incredibly awesome client PLUS having such an incredibly amazing setting.... look.out.

I could have shot all day (and was quite sad that I couldn't, actually!)

Miss M on her boudoir experience:

"Having the opportunity to embrace my body in a sexy, tasteful and creative way was such an amazing and eye opening experience.

Not only did I push myself to do something I have always thought about and wanted to do but I absolutely love the images.

I wondered what I was going to look like after a shoot like this and I could not be happier with the end result :)"

"I think anytime you do something new or test your yourself in some way, it affects you.

The boudoir experience helped me see myself in a different light and having photos of myself and my body that I am proud of is invigorating.

It shows and reminds me of how my fiancee sees me daily. I wouldn't change a thing about the experience." -Miss M

Miss M dabbles in art (read: She's pretty insanely amazing! There were a couple of her paintings in her home and they were breathtaking!) and mentioned that she is so intrigued by the female form, and, in particular, the curve of the back. I wanted to make sure I created a lot of images that featured her figure, and that long beautiful curve of the spine. 

I was truly inspired by every nook of the apartment. The light coming into the study was magnificent and I knew I wanted to create something unique there.

The living room was masculine and fascinating. There wasn't any natural light in there, which always presents a challenge....for a natural light photographer ;) But it was the kind of living room that just NEEDED to be photographed, especially with Miss M gracing it. So I pushed my camera to it's limits and I'm so freaking glad I did. 

^^^ That one there. THAT ONE is my favorite shot from the entire set. It represents what I aspire to create for each client. The black and white tones, the composition, and her figure framed perfectly within it. THIS. ONTHEFREAKINGWALL. BIG. 

These final images just make my heart explode. They turned out exactly how I envisioned them, maybe even slightly better. I love the artistry, the fine art feel of her figure in the window. It's all just so...AHHH. 

I truly cannot say enough about this experience.  What my blog audience/social media following doesn't always realize is that EACH interaction with EACH and every client is an experience for me, too. Hearing everyone's stories and the reasons they are doing their session....hearing how their session has affected them. It's ALL so personal. It's personal for each client and it's personal for me. 

Ironically, I attribute much of my business' success to my whole "It's not business, it's personal" mantra. Because these aren't just photos. These are experiences. These are people. And I'll bet you can relate to them more than you think. 

Thank you to Miss M for the warm NOLA welcome, for letting your positive energy boom throughout your entire session and photo reveal, and for letting me share your words and images! 

READY TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE IN 2017? LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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