So my first thought was, me do a boudoir shoot? Oh hell no! That’s been my over all feeling for years although I have worked with a Boudoir photographer and have been able to be a part of this amazing experience.
Wait, Im not done, I finally did one and it WAS truly amazing. Enough so, I really had to share my thoughts on the whole thing!!
So who am I and why is this relevant? I’m the friendly makeup artist, usually the first person you meet when you arrive for your shoot. I’m the one that greets you when you come to Lea’s studio (The Boudoir Suite). Yup, I am the one to help calm your nerves, ask what music you prefer and offer you a drink while sorting out your clothes to see what look we’re going for.
You see Im the first person who will also feel your anxiousness, see your hesitation, and hear about how nervous you are and all the flaws you think you have. I’ve spent years building up other women, making them feel comfortable, putting them at ease, getting them photoshoot ready with hair and makeup, all while listening to their stories. Each unique story, the why, the insecurities and every time after hearing these women out, I got asked the same question. “Have you ever done this?”
Umm nope..... no i have not! They usually laugh and ask why? I was always reluctant and slightly embarrassed to say, it was for all the same reasons you’re nervous today.
I’ve had three kids, my boobs aren’t perky, I have stretch marks, I hate my nose, I’m overweight, and the list goes on! Every time their response would be the same, and very much what I would say to these women, “no girl, you look great!” Or “no way, you’re beautiful just the way you are!” how about the, “what are you crazy or something?” One of the biggest lessons and empowering moments i had while in the boudoir studio was when a client, whom I am supposed to be making feel amazing (Chelsea) really just pumped me up and spoke life to me after I shared some of MY insecurities with her. She made me realize I should do this! Ive been telling Lea for some time now, “one day I will do it, one day.” But like most of you have probably experienced, one day turned in to several days and then several months. Then life happened some more and two surgeries later my husband had to have his thyroid removed due to cancer.
Yes I said the word! It was a rude awakening and I was left with many thoughts of the life we created, the family we built and the friendship I love so much. My hubby, he is one of a kind! I know, that I know, that I know, the way he sees me, in all my raw, I am beautiful to him. He loves me for me, not how small my waist is, (was) LOL and not how my breasts looked before nursing our three kids.
I wanted to do this! I too wanted that “thing” that I get to see every time we do a shoot! Women of all shapes, sizes and different backgrounds, open up and be vulnerable. I wanted that, not only for my husband, but I realized I wanted it just as bad for me!
You see what I have witnessed all these years is magic! These women come in, have their hair and makeup done by me. Some come in broken, hurting, unconfident. However they start to get into their groove while the music is playing and begin really vibing. All the while Lea is building them up, speaking life words to them, and all of a sudden there’s a power shift. This is not just about pictures for their boyfriend, their deployed husband or their spouse of 20 years, this is about them! This was about me! I wanted to feel that way. So I booked my session.
Fast forward a couple weeks and I obviously knew the process. I scheduled a wax appointment, got my spray tan in, and had my nails and feet done up. PHEW, this was hard work! Now, for those of you women who do not normally go out and pamper yourself on a regular. let me just say this, you will really need to think of some clever things to tell your hunny, if you are going to keep this a surprise. I swear to you, all the little purchases I had to hide were getting hard to explain. I went the week before and bought outfits and kind of let it slip at that point to my hubby that I was doing it. Some of you will prefer not to tell anyone, some tell everyone, but that decision is totally up to you! Besides my hubby kind of knowing now, I told a few friends for emotional support and I was ready to do the damn thing!
Or so I thought! The days got closer and I got overwhelmed with nerves. And mind you I know Lea, so I was really able to have empathy for you women out there who have done this and was like oh man, you poor ladies!
I arrived to the studio with my clothes in tow. I had several outfits picked out and went through them with Lea and the sets I wanted to use but also gave her full control of my session as she’s the expert. I will say, I almost wish I would have let someone else do my hair and makeup as that’s such a HUGE part of the experience that I didn't get to have since I did my own.
Although my hands were absolutely sweating like crazy in the beginning, as we began further in to the shoot, It went amazing!
The music was on, Lea gave me great direction on posing and what to do and most importantly I felt relaxed, comfortable and safe without one feeling of insecurity or judgement. By the end of the session, I felt like a damn sex kitten!
After the session, Lea explained the process to me just as she would any other client and told me I had to wait about a week or so to see my photos. The excitement and anticipation was on 10! For anyone that’s done a shoot, you know this time is nerve wrecking. How will I look? Did she get what I wanted? Some of the poses felt awkward. What if I don’t like the pictures?
Fast forward to the reveal and the moment I sat in the chair. Lea dimmed the lights and the music began to play on the big screen. I saw the way she captured the emotion. I so understood now, why she says the pictures are just the icing on the cake!
You see, it wasn’t about the sexy pictures, it was about me seeing me, truly seeing me. No longer all my so called insecurities and imperfections. Just me, perfectly captured by a woman who I already knew was going to make me see what she sees through her lens.
Needless to say, after a few tears and laughter the slideshow ended and I was VERY happy with everything. My husband loved his anniversary present and my job there was done!
So please, I know that there are many women out there that are hesitant about doing this! this is me sharing my heart with you, if you still have doubt about doing a boudoir shoot, trust me and give it a chance! Understand, these pictures are more than just pictures. This experience is about you, no matter where you are at now, no judgment. This is a moment you will forever remember as it is frozen in time. You will remember what you were thinking about, how you felt, what was happening. More importantly, whether you’re providing this gift for someone else or just for you, you will be able to treasure and cherish it forever! Jess