I've been wanting to write this blog post for a while but in light of everything that's happening in our country, I couldn't think of a better time than now! And PS, you CAN be a 10 with a flat chest. When I decided to pursue makeup artistry, I wanted to go in a direction I was passionate about. Yes, I love makeup and playing with products & colors, but there is so much more to it than that. As a bridal makeup artist, I've had the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing women. They trust me to make them feel their most beautiful on one of the biggest days of their life, and that's a responsibility I do not take lightly. About the same time I started my business I met a photographer whose main focus was maternity & newborn. I did makeup for a few of her maternity sessions and fell in love with her style of photography. When she told me she was going to start offering boudoir photography and wanted to team up I was excited, but I had no idea how much this would impact me on a personal level.
As I do with every client, I ask them to come with a clean face. No makeup. I find it incredibly interesting that whenever a client sits in my chair, whether it be a bride, bridesmaid, mother, etc they say at least one negative thing about themselves. More mature clients focus on their wrinkles and crows feet, others focus on their pesky breakouts, and some talk about discoloration. When it comes to boudoir though, it goes much deeper than that. Too many times I see and hear women say they'll book a shoot "once I drop a few pounds" or they don't want to because "I'm too old, it's for young people". And the ones that do decide to book a shoot make comments about how their body just isn't what it used to be after having 3 kids, or how they've put on a few pounds, or ask if I can cover their stretch marks. It makes me sad when I hear these words come out of women's mouths so often, but the more I thought about it the more I realized these thoughts are manifested because of the way society makes us think we should look.
When you step out of your comfort zone it feels as though your "flaws" are being lit up with a hundred red flashing arrows. Something I started noticing as I did more of these shoots is how many women went in to the shoot feeling self-conscious but came out feeling excited and liberated. The transformation that happened in such a short amount of time was night & day! Around this same time, I was in the middle of a fitness challenge and wanted to do something special to celebrate my hard work when I was done. I contacted Kate, friend and owner of Boudoir by Kate Juliet, and asked to book a session. Now don't get me wrong, I felt the nerves and the pressure to look my best, but I was excited! I trusted Kate and knew she would help calm my nerves. She looked at me like I was out of my mind when I started doing pushups and squats before we started LOL I had never done anything like this before - I wasn't married, or engaged, or even dating anyone. I did this because I wanted to do it for myself. I wanted to push, or more like shove, myself out of my comfort zone and do something that was solely for me. These photos weren't to impress a man, they were for me to love myself and all my flaws.
The song Try by Colbie Caillat resonates with me so much when it comes to this topic. After talking about what we do to impress or please other people (makeup, hair, nails, buying designer clothes), there's a line that says "Wait a second, why should you care what they think of you? When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?" Whoa. Do YOU like you? That can be a tough question to answer after spending so long being our own worst critic. Between Instagram/Instaglam, Facebook, YouTube, and all other social media platforms that only shows the best of the best, it can be easy to feel inadequate. This is why I love boudoir photography so much. No matter your insecurities, it gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to see yourself in a way you may not have seen before.
I've done two boudoir shoots for myself now and I've come up with a list of my Top 5 Tips based on my own experiences:
1) Hire a photographer that specializes in boudoir: These aren't photos you want your best friend's cousin taking. We've all had a picture taken that was NOT flattering, then immediately untag ourselves from the post. Photographers that specialize in this area have done their research and have an eye for capturing your most flattering features. Also keep in mind this can be a very intimate experience and your photographer should handle it in a professional manor. Respecting your comfort level and the way they speak to you are both going to play a major role in your overall experience. If you feel more comfortable hiring a woman, do it! If you love a male photographer's work and want to hire him, do it! If you like the look of studio photos, don't hire someone who only does outdoor shoots. This is about you and your comfort level. Photographers that specialize in boudoir will also have a system in place for handling your photos with care. They'll be using trusted sources to develop the photos vs the teenager at Walmart.
2) Makeup: I may be biased on this one but I highly recommend getting your makeup done. In a lot of photos you'll be looking down, which means your lids and lashes are going to be a focal point.
3) Stretch: I'm not kidding on this. Do it! You will be twisted like a pretzel the entire time, arching your back, and flinging your hair around. Try to incorporate a little yoga in to your daily routine leading up to the shoot. I made the mistake of skipping this step for my first shoot. I'm in the gym regularly and I was sore for a solid week.
4) Eat: As I just mentioned in Tip #3, you're essentially doing yoga the whole time, which is a workout! If you don't eat, you're likely to get light headed or weak. It doesn't have to be a big meal but get something in your stomach to give you energy.
5) Embrace the Experience: It's completely normal to feel nervous coming in to a photoshoot, especially one like this, but I encourage you to enjoy being pampered, rock the body suits, and let yourself live a little!
BONUS! Top 10 Things Every Woman Should be Reminded of:
1) Everyone has rolls when they bend over.
2) When someone tells you you're beautiful, believe them. They aren't lying.
3) Sometimes we all wake up with breath that could kill a goat.
4) For every woman unhappy with her stretch marks is another woman who wishes she had them.
5) You should definitely have more confidence. If you saw yourself the way other see you, you would.
6) Don't look for a man to save you. Be able to save yourself.
7) It's okay to not love every party of your body, but you should never stop trying.
8) We all have that one friend who seems to have it all together. That woman with the seemingly perfect life. You may be that person to someone.
9) You should be a priority! You are not an option, a last resort, or a backup plan.
10) You're a woman. That alone makes you pretty damn remarkable.
xoxo - Laura