When it comes to boudoir photographers, a big question that clients (and even other fellow photographers) ask is, “What’s your “why”?…aka, “Why did you get into boudoir photography?”
My connection with boudoir is so personal. I did my very first boudoir shoot in front of the camera in 2021. And subsequently did 2 more sessions shortly after because I fell in love with it so much. The experience was magical. The wardrobe, hair, and makeup made me feel incredibly confident. It was almost like I stepped into a new persona…but it was just me all along. Most importantly, I finally had photos of myself that I ACTUALLY liked. No, not just liked. LOVED.
I truly enjoy getting to know each of my clients before and during their shoot, and learning their “why” and what brought them to Le Boudoir Studio. Sure, oftentimes it’s a wedding, birthday, or anniversary gift for someone else. But you and I both know that there is always another reason underneath. 😉 Women that book a boudoir shoot want to experience and feel something for themselves. They yearn to feel incredible, exude confidence, and experience something exclusively for themselves.That’s precisely why we prioritize and advocate for you being the paramount reason behind booking with us.
Boudoir is so incredibly powerful. I want to share with you my personal experience with it, and why I am such a strong advocate for booking your very own shoot.
I needed to see my “imperfections” as perfections
I never thought I would have photos of myself that I truly cherished and admired. Growing up, I took every opportunity to hide myself, stay out of photos, or be the one that takes them instead. Because of this, I now have very few photos to look back on during my youth. It’s a regret that I have, but after discovering professional photography I have decided to make up for lost time and get in front of the camera more often than not!
I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. My self-confidence and self-worth was shaken from the time I could look in a mirror and see that I was so different from everyone else. I’ve dealt with stares, questions, bullying, exclusion, and rude comments my entire life. I’ve actually lost count of how many surgeries and dental appliances I’ve had over the years to try to correct my bite. Because of my deep rooted insecurities, I have always been painfully shy even with my family and close friends. I kept quiet, and when I did speak it was almost a whisper. I found dance and choir in high school which helped me step outside my comfort zone a little.
It wasn’t until after I had my last surgery when I graduated high school that I finally felt like I was able to be myself. I had major upper jaw surgery and crowns put on my top teeth when I was 18 years old. It took me 18 years to finally be able to smile without hiding my face, or smiling with my lips closed. 18 years to look at myself in the mirror and have some semblance of confidence, feeling just a sliver of what it was like to “feel pretty”.
From Fashion to Lingerie: Unleashing My Authentic Confidence
In college I began studying fashion and costume design, and soon it was the outfits I made and put together that gave me what little confidence I could muster. Whether it was Halloween, Comic Con, or any opportunity to dress up and get my hair and makeup done, I could let my outfit and skills do the talking.
Enamored with Old Hollywood and 1950’s styles and icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe, I began to adopt some of the features from this time period and incorporate them into my own personal style. I loved how classic and clean the hair, makeup, and clothing was yet it was different from what most people my age were dressing like. I always felt like the odd one out, but I started to embrace it in my outfit and physical choices. As I would have more money and started buying more pieces that fit my new aesthetic, I began a fascination with lingerie. Dita Von Teese and Bettie Page were other major influences of mine and once I was bit by the lingerie bug, there was no stopping. The first time I tried on a 3-piece set complete with garter belt, stockings, and heels, it was like an instant both physical and mental transformation. I felt great in my own skin. I love how the pieces looked on me. I admired the seductive and feminine style and felt powerful in these pieces. It was like I was able to take a small piece of what made up these iconic women and somehow felt like I was joining their ranks.
I have always been a big believer in the transformative power of clothing, but stepping into lingerie for me specifically solidified my preachings. As I started dressing more often in the Pin Up style, my confidence started to grow.
My First Boudoir Shoot
In 2020 I did not one, not two, but three boudoir shoots! Saying I was addicted is an understatement! The main reason why I was even interested in doing these shoots was for me. I had struggled with my appearance and self-confidence for most of my life and thought this might be a good opportunity to see myself in a new way and try to overcome my deep insecurities. And it absolutely did! As soon as I got the photos back from my first one, my jaw dropped. Not only did I FEEL pretty during the session, but I actually really loved (for the first time in my life, mind you) the images. I couldn’t believe it was me. I never thought I could look photogenic or even sexy. My perception of myself started to change. I started to carry myself differently. I took pride in the way I looked when I had my hair and makeup done. I felt like I could take on the world in a great outfit. I just wanted to keep doing shoots again and again to keep the boost going! I finally felt like “me”, both inside and out.
The impact boudoir had on my regular everyday life was literally life changing. I felt a new sense of purpose and desire to actually start embracing my differences, share my cleft journey with others, and emphasize how important it is to celebrate yourself no matter how you think you look. I started a YouTube channel and got involved with the Cleft community online. I wanted to show others that it is possible to love the skin you’re in and feel confident! I knew that this was part of my calling. But the positive effects from boudoir didn’t stop there! I continued to try new things like pole fitness and burlesque dance classes which only helped further tap into my femininity, strength, and resilience.
Just as I was starting to really come into my own, my jaw started to relapse. Before I knew it, I was back in braces and seeking out adult cleft treatments teams. My confidence was once again shattered. How could all of the confidence I thought I gained over the years be so fragile and easily disrupted by something so minor such as braces? I soon realized that my confidence wasn’t gone, it was just temporarily misplaced.
Whenever I read or hear a woman protest about reasons that she can’t/doesn’t want to do a boudoir shoot, it honestly makes my heart hurt a little! I have been a version of you. I have lived through so much physical and emotional pain, and boudoir helped me come out the other side of it. I had a part of me missing for so long and the confidence boudoir helped me find made me feel whole. Whenever I have a rough day, I look back on my favorite boudoir photos and I remember who I really am. Even without all the makeup and outfits, I am always still me. I am still always as beautiful as I feel in those photos.
Many of you might have noticed that I was wearing a mask earlier this year. I had double jaw surgery in March, the results of which can take 6 months-1 year to fully show and heal. These past 6 months were so emotionally and physically draining. I was battling my insecurities once again.
My birthday was on the 11th of this month and between the swelling finally down, me just plain missing the feeling of feeling good, and my newfound personal growth to get the f*** over myself and just take some dang photos, I finally took a step out of my own shaken comfort zone and took these photos. If I am going to constantly preach to others why they should step out of theirs and do it no matter how they might be feeling, I need to “be about it” and “walk the walk” as they say! Yes, I still have my braces on, I am still healing, my mouth and chin are still half numb…but still I stand in front of the camera and say “I am beautiful”.
I’m sure not everyone who does a boudoir session has as transformative of an experience as I did. But if I know I have the opportunity to give that feeling to someone else, even just 1 other person, then there is no other job in the world that I want to have.