Best Self

It’s that time of year again….the time when your social media feeds are full of resolutions, motivational quotes, and targeted ads for your local fitness center.

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I’m proud to say that regardless of the date, I am constantly a work in progress, a forever student, a self-improvement junkie.

Creative brains, in particular, tend to struggle a bit with productivity, motivation to do non-creative things (and sometimes even creative things), and the ability to complete projects. I spend a good amount of time every year mentoring other creative professionals and helping them to create a schedule that works for them and for their bank account. My inbox is generally full of inquiries from other entrepreneurs in search of direction, as they’ve taken notice to my high-performing ways (probably because I won’t shut up about nerdy productivity and day planning things…but whatever, I preach my passion, yo!).

As 2018 has come to an end, there’s been a surge of questions about my day planning techniques and how to be more productive, so I decided to do two things!

FIRST::: The release of my next educational guide: Kara Marie’s Guide to Productivity for Creative Professionals 

This 28 page guide gives you actionable, bullet-point, easy-to-follow instructions for creating a productive day for yourself, allowing you to achieve the most in the least amount of time and stress, therefore maximizing effectiveness and profit while minimizing anxiousness and frustration. Complete with links to free and additional productivity resources, workbook pages, and chock full of information with no fluff, this is the perfect productivity manual for entrepreneurs and creative professionals. I intended for it to be a quick 5 page list of tips, but it turned out to be a full-fledged manual in true Kara Marie fashion. Download your copy for $25 to start your year off right!


SECOND: A detailed breakdown of my favorite planning tool, the BestSELF journal. Now, full disclosure here, I am a brand ambassador for the Best Self company…which means, if you take my advice and buy any of the products on their website using my code KARAMARIE, I’ll earn free Best Self products. Which is cool for me because I USE THE HELL OUT OF MY BEST SELF JOURNALS. I would never publicly attach my name to something I didn’t already use and adore. And it’s cool for you, too, because you’ll get 15% off with my code KARAMARIE and for every order, they donate 10 meals to families in need. Win win win.

Pictured: BestSELF journal with Self Shield in Natural Leather

Pictured: BestSELF journal with Self Shield in Natural Leather

Now, back to this sexy beast of a day planner slash note taker slash gratitude journal slash goal slayer.

This is a planner meant to be used every day for 13 weeks. It is broken down into sections for GOALS, a Weekly outlook/planner, and a daily planner. Also included are sections for notes and a monthly calendar. Since I’ve been broadcasting my love for this planner on my social media platforms, so many of you have reached out to ask how I use mine, so I thought I’d break it down!

13 WEEK GOAL ROADMAP

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One of the most poignant parts of this planner is the 13-week goal road map. This section guides you to write down your big goals—ones that take a little more time, ones that have many steps to completion, ones that…if you’re a creative brain, you may have a hard time wrapping up. You write down your big goals and then write out 3 main progress goals for the big goal, and then further break that down into 3 tasks you need to complete in order to achieve each progress goal. Breaking these big goals down into bite-sized chunks, and then working towards them every single day is HUGE.

In my photo example, I show the page from my own journal, detailing my goal of getting my first book published. Being able to reference this page every single day forces me to actively work towards this goal and complete it by the time I reach the end of this 13 week journal.

WEEKLY OUTLOOK + PLANNING

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The weekly outlook is a spectacular tool to give you a bird’s eye view of your week’s appointments, your top weekly milestones, and to list and track your daily habits that you aspire to complete every day. In this section,

I start with listing my appointments on the left— remember, there’s a more detailed section for daily tasks, so this just needs to be an overview.

On the right-hand page in the habits section, I list out all of the habits that I WANT/NEED to achieve every day. I’m always working on my daily routine, and use this section to work on things that I have a hard time making habitual —which is generally on the personal end of the spectrum. Things like “exercise” and “no phones past 7pm” are on this list. Then, each evening when I’m doing my daily reflection, I check off the habits if I did them, and total them at the end of the week.

The weekly overview also guides you to think about your 3 big wins for the week, what you can improve upon next week, and what your biggest lesson was.

DAY PLANNING AND REFLECTION

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Ahhhh the juicy bits. The daily planning is what really changed my habits and routines. Every single morning when I arrive to my studio, I pour myself a cup of hot somethin’ somethin’, light a stick of my favorite incense, and crack open the day’s breakdown in this section. There are certain things that are constant, such as the time I wake up, commute time, and bed time. The rest of the spaces are for me to fill in with how my day is going to go down, hour by hour. I give lots of tips in my Productivity Guide on how to structure your day the most effectively based on energy levels and types of tasks, so I won’t get into that too much here, but the point is— I have a roadmap every single day of what I have going on.

In the notes portion, I tend to scribble things, doodle, write notes, and smaller to-do tasks that need completed. I keep this page open to the left of my keyboard (I’m a leftie. Put it to the right if you’re right-handed), so that if I’m working on a task and my squirrel brain thinks of something else I have to do, I can jot it down quickly, and continue on with the task at hand without switching gears.

On the right page, the planner guides you to write down your big goals for the day, and gives you a daily quote that always seems to be exactly what you need to hear. The lower portion of the right page comes later on, during reflection time.

At the end of every day during my nightly routine, I pull out my BestSELF journal again, record my wins for the day, what I’m grateful for, and my biggest lesson learned for the day. If my brain is swirling with lists of things I have to do tomorrow, I’ll go ahead and flip ahead to the next day and write those out. I call this BRAIN DUMP. Getting all those “what I have to do tomorrow” tasks out of my head and onto paper frees me from them until tomorrow, so I can turn my brain off, and go the hell to sleep.

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I’m currently on my 7th…SEV-UNTH BestSELF journal. They’re beat up, scribbled on, tattered, torn, stained with coffee, and considered my prized possessions. I finally wised-up and ordered the leather cover and started getting the set of 4 journals, because despite my inability to ever commit to a journal or a planner in the past, THIS planner has STUCK.

I’m obsessed and I’ve gotten so many of my friends, colleagues, mentorship students, and family members obsessed with them, too. It’s not a magic pill, you obviously still have to do the work, it just makes it a whole lot easier to see what you have to do, to break it down so you aren’t overwhelmed, and to encourage you along the way.

MORE PRODUCTIVITY RESOURCES:

Four Sigmatic Reishi Hot Cacao- https://us.foursigmatic.com/products/fsf-xoco-blue Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms. I ADORE Four Sigmatic products, no affiliation, just adoration. The Reishi Hot Cacao is an easy instant mix that you blend into just 3oz of hot water. Drink this rich elixir at bedtime and find yourself instantly calm and zen like. It’s magical, really.  Another product of note is Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga for your work day.  I know it sounds hippie-dippy and ridiculous, but it’s quite tasty (doesn’t taste like mushrooms, either), and the lion’s mane and chaga promote focus and lift brain fog. 

Iconosquare - App for Instagram scheduling! This tool allows you to map out your social media posts in advance to save you time and frustration.


JenGetsShitDone.com - Outsource like a boss. Jen Swedhin of Jen Gets Shit Done is the master of taking on allllll the tasks. Her team specializes in workflows, websites, retouching, and more. 


Tim Ferriss’ TOOLS OF TITANS and TRIBE OF MENTORS- Probably the thickest books you will own, but absolutely incredible information from the top performers across all industries, their routines, their advice, and thousands of motivational nuggets of wisdom to help you along your journey to being a top performer. http://www.tim.blog

TextExpander-  www.textexpander.com This is that nifty program I was telling you about that allow you to assign keyboard shortcuts to anything you want. Email templates, your most commonly typed out information like phone number/email address, social media responses, hashtags, the sky is the limit! TextExpander has rocked my world.

unroll.me- To clean up your inbox and unsubscribe from all the junk you subscribed to.

Now go forth and be productive!!! Wishing you all the best in your achievements for 2019!

xo

Kara Marie

Liana in Milan | Destination Editorial Boudoir

SHOOTING IN MILAN WITH A LATVIAN BOMBSHELL.

Ohhhh it sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it!? I’m not going to pretend like it wasn’t.

While in Milan, I was booked for a shoot with a fantastic photographer, Liana from Latvia, who had followed my work for years and had to take advantage of me being way closer to her than a Latvia > United States trip would be. She booked a little getaway to Milan for herself and her husband, and we had an absolutely incredible shoot.

Listening to Liana tell me why she selected me to photograph her, gave me a reaffirming grasp for what my work says about the women featured in it. She told me that she didn’t want some distorted view of herself, or an overly glamorous one. She loved my black and white work, and that the women weren’t overly retouched. She loved the editorial/fashion style of my work and was so enthusiastic about the entire process. So we rocked out ALL those different facets and created magic together.

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We laughed a TON, flowed like crazy, took what felt like 3 million images, ran way over on time, and shot until the sun would no longer let us. Then we hit the hotel bar for a little libation and a chat between now-friends as I was in NO hurry whatsoever to navigate my navigationally-challenged self back to my house .

"I knew it would be an amazing experience, but it actually far exceeded that. The easiness of feeling completely free in your bare skin- it is life changing! And then, when the images do come in and you get to see all your badassness - well, not many things in life can make you feel like that."

"The good old term “self love” has gotten materialized. Subtle and not so subtle changes in all levels of self awareness, which was not the goal, however turned out to be a major bonus. The best money ever spent (way above shoes and bags and other feminine treats 😁)!"

"It all came together in a best possible way." -Liana

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I ADORE my studio, I do. I love it love it love it. I know every nook and cranny, I can photograph a woman there in 3 zillion ways, and because I know all of those ways so well, I can do it in record time. But there’s something to be said about a shoot in a new place. New inspiration, new light, new shapes, new lines, new shadows. It’s all the reason why I will ALWAYS opt to schedule “work” any place I travel to, because I ALWAYS adore the outcome so much.

Thank you so very much, Liana, for choosing me, for traveling for me, for trusting me, for laughing with me and not at me when I made a fool of myself (how many times did I fall???), and for allowing me to share your images and your experience with the world.

Until next time!

Kara Marie Studios | Photography for the Modern Woman

EVOLUTION OF A BRAND

After my 10 years in business, 6 years with the boudoir studio, and upon acquiring my second studio space last year (Kara Marie Portraits), my shoot style continued along it’s path of evolution toward impactful and minimalist. My boudoir work blurred the lines into fashion portrait photography, and my portraits blurred the lines into boudoir….

I was beginning to notice that my sources of inspiration were becoming visually apparent in my work. 70’s fashion film photography. Music. The aesthetic of the rock and roll lifestyle…the “cool girl” look. OH MY GOD. Do I have…a….style?! This is huge! A pivotal point in any artist’s art is when they actually FIND their style.

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When I realized this, the ideas were swirling, my creativity was reignited, I checked myself. I spent time in the desert alone really analyzing what it was I wanted with my brand, my career, myself. I dedicated an ENTIRE BestSelf journal to studying my own work for crying out loud. It’s amazing how easy it is to not really know anything about yourself when you don't actively invest time in getting to make your own acquaintance.

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It was apparent in that reflection that continuing to operate two separate website, brands, blogs, and Instagram handles made less and less sense. It occurred to me (and was validated to me by others in the industry I respect), that shedding the WORD Boudoir was the right move for this particular brand. It was the right move for me personally.

Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and ultimately happy life.

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I’m a no-fuss kind-of woman. I wear an all black capsule wardrobe. My makeup “kit” fits in the palm of my hand. I like things clean, minimalist, distraction free, black-and white. Through the years I’ve learned that my photography and my business style should follow the same mantra of minimalism.

If my personal style and my photography style are authentic and minimalist….why wouldn’t my brand be?

HENCE, the umbrella company that I’ve been operating under, Kara Marie Studios, is now the forward-facing name. My name is Kara Marie, I own multiple studios, and I am the modern woman’s photographer. With or without clothes. (But probably mostly without ;) )

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When the next step makes you uncomfortable, you know it’s necessary for your growth. I’m in the midst of it now. And that makes me REAL excited…because every time I feel that discomfort, it thwarts me to the next level of fulfillment and that is a beautiful thing. It’s been a while.

BLURRING THE LINES

It’s so hard to define a style of photography with a cookie cutter…especially the longer a photographer has been in the art. I chose boudoir because of the concept of RAW NATURAL BEAUTY. What is more natural than nudity? BOUDOIR is one of those words that has as many interpretations as there are photographers who shoot it. Because of that, the word itself is confusing and often (mis)defining what it is that *I* do.

Beyond that, when examining my shoot style (and as recently pointed out to me by a photography mentor who oozes with authentic, often hard-to-hear but oh-so-needed-advice), I shoot like a fashion photographer, ironically…given the lack of clothing featured in my images. The word BOUDOIR just didn’t seem to fit for my style. The word itself became a pigeon-hole for me.

I’m not changing what I’m shooting, or how I’m shooting it. Just learning. Improving. Evolving. And un-pigeon-hole-ing. Ya dig?

I’m a photographer to the modern woman.

THE MODERN WOMAN

The modern woman wants to see her authentic self. She wants exist in exquisite photographs and have imagery to properly represent her legacy for the rest of time. She wants see her confidence and doesn’t feel that has to mean a full makeover transformation and elaborate wardrobe.

She wants to look cool…like, album cover cool.

She doesn’t compete with other women. She knows she is destined for great things and likely already doing them. She’s a lover AND a fighter.

The modern woman wants to be photographed by me for HERSELF. She may have a partner….but the experience isn’t for them. Though ultimately, it will certainly have a ripple effect.

Whether she’s seeking this experience because she wants to find herself herself or because she already knows exactly who she is and that she is someone worth celebrating….the modern woman is the exact type of woman who seeks me out and invests in herself through my work.

THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your continued support, for growing with me, for allowing me to photograph you, for trusting me with such a personal experience. This work is for me, yes…..it HAS to be for it to be any good. But this work is also for you. All of you. Because it isn’t just about cool photos, it’s about the person who is represented in them. It’s about their story. YOUR story.

I cannot wait to have you in front of my lens.

Classic Black + White Boudoir | Austin Boudoir Studio

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.

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"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!

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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!).

xx

Photography: Kara Marie Boudoir

Hair and makeup: Mayhem Boutique Salon

ALL SMILES | CLIENT FEATURE MISS A | AUSTIN BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER

The literal SECOND that Miss A walked into my studio, her energy was 100000% apparent to me. She sported the most incredible smile throughout our entire shoot. Anytime we attempted a "serious" shot, it only resulted in a subsequent shot that was exuberant with laughter.  She was DAMN excited for her session, damn excited about her badass finger waves that she got special for the occasion, and she had a great reason to be doing it all (for.her.DAMN.self!).

Just TRY to scroll through these images without a big smile on your face.  I dare you. What an incredibly beautiful soul. 

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It was AMAZING! Kara and her staff went above and beyond and I would most definitely do it again.
— Miss A
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It made me feel even more comfortable in the skin that I’m in. I LOVED it, keep doing what you’re gifted to do!
— Miss A
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Miss A!!! A MILLION "THANKS" for bringing your positive energy into my studio that day, and leaving me with these incredibly happy ages to remember you by!! You are a FORCE and I hope to see you again in the future!

 

HIGH ON LIFE | CLIENT FEATURE: MISS D | AUSTIN BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER

H I G H  .   O N  .   L I F E . 

That's about the best way I could  describe the feeling after your boudoir experience at Kara Marie Boudoir. These women are high. on. life and THAT is what it's all about.  Can you remember the last time that you were?  I make it a point, now, to create as many experiences as possible in my own personal world that allow me feel those feels. But I certainly remember a time, not very long ago, and not very long before that...and before that....and before THAT (it's quite cyclical, isn't it?!)...in which I was struggling to find joy, struggling to love myself, and just struggling in general. 

Being a mom, or being a career woman, or being BOTH, or being NEITHER......just being a HUMAN is difficult. Treating YOURSELF properly is not something that comes naturally to most women. The women that come in to my studio are trying to remember who they are independently of their jobs, their marital status, their motherhood status. They are taking a really big and important step in reconnecting with themselves and learning to love all the things.  

This young woman was an absolutely incredible addition to the KMB family. She had survived a crazy car accident that broke her back. She glowed through her session, she glowed through her photo reveal, and every now and then I get a sweet e-mail from her just to let me know that she's STILL glowing about her experience. 

         THAT IS WHAT THE KARA MARIE BOUDOIR  EXPERIENCE                I S  .    A L L  .    A B O U T  . 

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"After following Kara on Instagram for a while, I really started to think that a boudoir experience could be positive for any female. After experiencing my boudoir session with Kara I was able to see what really set her apart from other photographers offering this service.

From the initial contact to the shoot itself, to the reveal, to walking me through ordering, she was not only professional and clearly talented but legitimately excited for me to experience the empowerment that comes from a boudoir session. Kara herself comes off as the kind of girl everybody wants as a best friend. I’m already dreaming about the next time I can work with her!

Not only has this changed the way that I see myself, but also how I look at other women. I wish everyone could feel as fabulous in their own skin in their everyday life as Kara made me feel."

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Even four months later I am still in awe of the whole experience! And every time I see a picture of ME on YOUR Instagram it’s the coolest thing ever! It really is the gift that keeps on giving :) I can’t put into words what you have done for my confidence and self love.
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I am so proud of her for recognizing, how important it is to invest in yourself...especially considering she is at such a "young" age for self-realization. Every moment of creating this experience for her was inspiring and refreshing and I truly hope to have her back in again. 

And with that I leave you with the KMB mantra:

D O .  I T .  F O R .  Y O U R .  D A M N .  S E L F .

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. 

 

Snowstorm Can't Stop Her | Austin Boudoir Studio

I'm stepping back into the blogging game finally (I know, it's been a minute), and lucky for me (and you), I've got QUITE the stockpile of incredible women with incredible stories and images. So let's get this show back on the road!

Miss Y. This girl was so much damn fun to work with.  

A photographer herself, Miss Y understood the value of a boudoir experience and she braved a snowstorm to fly to me from across the country, and we shot on a day that Austin was SHUT THE EFF DOWN because of a little bit of ice and cold. (We're wimps. I'll be the first to admit it as a girl who was born and raised in the #1 snowiest city in the country many years). 

We both brought our A games and came up with a collection of photos that was so representative of her and her badassery, while glamming it up a little with some leather and boots, letting her show off some story-telling scars of hers, and just overall killing.it.

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"Having a boudoir experience with Kara Marie was my dream. I had been following her for over 2 years before the stars aligned. I wanted to do this to celebrate myself. "

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"I traveled all of the way from North Carolina to Austin during a snow storm. It was worth it. She is absolutely on point in everything that she does. Seriously does this woman sleep? I am obsessed with my images. I am ready to do it again." 

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"I have always been a loud person. It is within that loud personality that I hid my insecurities. That is until now. I feel liberated. Words could never begin to explain how looking at an image of yourself and falling in love with that image of yourself changes the core of you. I thought I had confidence before, NOPE. Now am this new woman who exudes confidence in all facets of her life."

"This shoot changed me. I am happy with myself. I am content with my scars. I feel powerful."

And THAT is what it's all about! Hearing from my clients that this experience helped to improve their self-image is  job satisfaction to the nth degree. Thank you thank you Miss Y for your candidness, for your badassery, and for flying all the way to Austin from North Carolina in a snow storm ;) 

Don't be a Lady | Austin Boudoir Studio

With all the feminist "noise" lately (it's.about.TIME.), comes a surge of female voices who are no longer afraid to stand their ground, to be heard, and to flip the bird to societally pressured gender roles that don't really suit them. 

I've become fascinated with the female trailblazers who are shattering the "rules" and doing their damn thing. I'm fascinated by the legends who just.don't.give.a.fuh what anyone thinks. And it's who I want to be.  It's who I'm actively working to be.

Like any aspiring badass, I turn to Stevie Nicks for wisdom. And Stevie says:

"Don't be a lady. Be a legend."

This quote, and the woman who muttered it matter-of-factly in the way she does, reminds me so much of the client featured here. She also adores Stevie Nicks....and had quite a bit of a modern-day-Stevie thing going on! 

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So enjoy these photos of a legendary human who completely SMASHED THE HELL out of her first boudoir experience. 

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"It was such a comfortable environment. I was so nervous but Kara immediately made me feel right at home. Treat yourself, its worth it!" -Miss H

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I couldn't adore these images from 2 years ago more. It was a happy surprise to see the photo use permissions come through my email recently! Now you can enjoy her legendary badassness, too!

Go forth and be legends. 

 

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 ;)&nbsp; &nbsp;My all time favorite photo of Cate + I that speaks volumes. I thought this should most definitely accompany her boudoir photos.&nbsp;

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.