Saturday I worked from 8am until 5pm shooting women in a beautiful suite at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton, MO. At 7:15pm after Chris brought me a huge burrito from Chipolte I passed out on the bed. I did wake up an hour or so later to hang out with my sweet husband but I can’t even describe to you how tired I was. The awesome part of it was though, is that it wasn’t exhaustion like I have after a wedding or a full day of kid-mini sessions. I’m tired after those kind of days but this was different. It felt like I was absorbing every single woman’s insecurities and nervousness while trying to give them empowerment and the truly strong belief in the fact that they’re gorgeous.
You guys, I take a lot of photographs in a year. A lot. I should check my shutter clicks from last year! And a lot of shots that I take are important life moments. Weddings and births come to mind as some of the most important. And they are. SO are newborn photos and family sessions and really, any photograph you take that allows that person to have that exact moment captured forever is important. A lot of photographers say photographs are the first thing you’ll run into a burning house to get (after your family is safe). They’re all important.
But after this weekend I truly believe that boudoir photography might be the most important shots out there.
A woman walks into the room clutching a bag filled with items she purchased for that day. Pieces of clothing that she felt bad spending money on because she so rarely spends so much just on herself. She stands there praying for confidence, probably having skipped a meal that day and most likely having done some kind of crash diet that week. She’s greeted and told to make herself comfortable so she sits but all that’s running through her mind is how in the HELL are they going to hide my cellulite and what do they do about stretch marks and as she goes down the list of things she hates about her body she’s also accutely aware that since giving birth no one has seen her this naked with all the lights on in a very long time. Her palms sweat a little, she feels the tingle of heat under her arms and she starts trying to calm herself down to stay cool. When she’s asked to go change she stands in the bathroom and quickly disrobes while carefully looking at all she brought to figure out what the hell she was thinking and wondering if it’s not too late to back out. Choosing the most conservative thing she owns she takes the tags off and slips it on. Slowly and breathing ever so carefully she looks up at the full length mirror and shudders. Three babies and eating too late at night and too much soda and never making time to exercise and that damn sweet tooth is staring back at her. It’s painful. Her eyes go directly to all the bad parts and tears spring to her eyes. Is she insane? How can she go through with this?
She knows they’re waiting so she puts on a brave smile and walks slowly out into the room.
Something changes during a boudoir session. You go from being completely insecure and making excuses for your body shape (whether you’re skinny or fat or somewhere in the world of chubby like me), blaming it on kids and age and whatever to feeling free.
At the end of a very long day I somehow got the nerve to let Missy and Katie photograph me. And I’m talking photograph ME. They saw my nipples and my chub and well, everything aside from the true nether region that no one needs to see unless a baby is popping out. As they photographed me and told me I was beautiful and looked at the back of the camera smiling over the shots they were getting something in me started to change. Or melt. Or open. I’m not sure how to describe it but something MOVED in me. I began to feel sexy. I started to believe them when they said I was beautiful. I was excited to try new poses and asked them to keep going.
In my opinion, every single woman needs to do this and some (like me) need to do it multiple times. Not for our boyfriends or fiances or husbands but for ourselves. I don’t care if you’re a size 14 like me or a perfect size 4, there are parts of you you’re insecure about. Every woman is. If you’re skinny you’re too skinny or worry your boobs are too small. If you’re chubby you’re probably worried about a whole lot more. But regardless of what you hate about yourself, when you take part in this kind of session you stop worrying about what isn’t perfect and start loving yourself.
I got my photos uploaded and even looking at them after the fact I looked at myself with different eyes. I could appreciate my curves. Actually, I love the softness that they bring my body. I have great boobs and have never been more proud of them! Even with all the quirks and pieces that I’m not in love with I kind of fell in love with myself. Not in a conceited way but in a way that is so much healthier than when I was in the bathroom near tears as I put on my first ever piece of lingerie.
I’m not saying that I’m the best boudoir photographer out there or that Katie is the best boudoir stylist out there. We still have things to learn and bumps to smooth out if we’re ever going to do mini sessions again.
Here’s the thing. IT’S NOT ABOUT US. It’s about YOU. Whether it’s us or someone else, you should suck it up and let someone take these images for you. Chose someone you trust and that’s good at shooting+editing of course but do it. This was life changing you guys. Life. Changing.
Next go HERE and read about what another woman who came Saturday felt after the session!