Everyone should get to experience the chance to step outside of themselves and see themself in a new light. The way that other people do, without the blurred vision that comes from focusing too much on our own flaws and imperfections. Without the skewed light of our preconceived notions of what we THINK we should look like, based on society's impossible beauty standards.
I have spent the last few years as a content creator on social media, so taking photos of myself, recording videos, being in the public eye - none of that is foreign to me. I enjoy it! But what a lot of people don't know about me, is that I often have a lot of self confidence and body image issues. I know, I know... people see me - a social media influencer who makes thirst traps and posts videos for thousands of strangers to see - and assume that I am super confident and comfortable with my body. Truth be told, I have pretty severe body dysmorphia that I have struggled with my entire life. But when I'm making content, I can see myself in the phone screen. I can see what angles work best for me, and can adjust myself accordingly. I'm in the control.
I met Erika through social media and a mutual friend. We had been following eachother for a little while, and I loved seeing all her beautiful photos. My friend had done some work with her previously, and always told me how great she was to work with and that she was just an awesome person. After several conversations about wanting to work together, Erika and I finally decided to set up a boudoir photoshoot together.
When I got to the studio that day, the first thing Erika did was sit me down to talk about everything. She picked my brain about my expectations and what I wanted from this shoot. She also wanted to make it very clear that if I felt uncomfortable in anyway, we could stop and change things up at any time. We were almost ready to start shooting, when she asked me, "so are you nervous?" I was! I told her about my body dysmorphia and how I'd never allowed someone else to have control over the camera and not been able to see exactly what I looked like any given time. I'd never even let anybody else watch me make content before. The lack of control made me feel a little vulnerable and unsure of myself. Then, she admitted that she was a little nervous too, because this was going to be a new experience for her as well. She'd never really done a boudoir shoot with a masculine-presenting woman before. A lot of her work focused on femininity. We talked about the difference between masculine and feminine energies. We also talked about how the poses differ between the two, and the vibe we were going for with this shoot. This was kind of a whole new world for both of us!
We got started, and once the initial nerves faded for me, and we really started getting into it, I had a blast! I completely forgot to be self-conscious, and slipped right into sexy, badass mode! And Erika was the BEST hype-woman! If she wasn't hyping me up, she was CRACKING me up! I think we spent a good portion of the shoot, laughing our butts off.
We threw ideas back and forth, figuring out what worked, what we liked, and what we didn't. And the whole time, Erika was continually checking in with me; making sure that I was comfortable with everything we were doing.
Laying half-naked on a bed, and having someone I'd just met standing over top of me with a camera pointed at my body... you would think that would make me feel incredibly uncomfortable, but it didn't. On the contrary, it was actually empowering! Sitting, standing, laying in these positions, in my most vulnerable and raw state, unable to hide behind clothes, or cross my arms over myself to hide my stomach... Yet, feeling powerful! Confident and sexy in my own skin, and being hyped up and guided by Erika. It was an amazing experience, in itself... but seeing the finished photos afterward...
Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that made you do a double take? Looking at these gorgeous photos, with this sexy, seductive, badass woman in them, and realizing that that woman was me... it was very surreal. It was like seeing myself for the first time, through someone else's eyes. Everything that I'm self-conscious about in every day life - my stomach, the lines on my forehead, stretch marks on my thighs - never even registered to me looking at these photos. All my flaws and imperfections, that I normally hoehne in on... they just didn't even matter. It was like they didn't even exist. It was beautiful.
When people think of boudoir photography, I feel like the general image that comes to mind is typically a feminine one. But truthfully, my images and my experience show that boudoir - and just beauty in general - can be for any and everyone. It isn't JUST for the "pretty girls". Beauty is for masculine women and feminine women. It's for men and nonbinary folk. People with curves and rolls, wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars. It's for skinny people. People with or without tattoos. Tan people, pale people, black, white, Asian, Hispanic... and the list goes and on. Beauty is everybody. Beauty is for every - BODY. Everyone should have photos of themselves that make them go,
Because everyone deserves to feel beautiful.
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