About

( my approach to boudoir photography )
I'm kind of obsessed with confidence. I think it's one of the most disarming and attractive qualities in any person. It's also something most of us wish we had more of and aren't terribly sure how to get.

And I'm not talking about fragile-confident like feeling cute last Thursday when everything worked with your outfit and your tummy was tight. I'm talking about real, durable confidence; the kind that can withstand bad haircuts and getting older and a constant barrage of media messages about what you need to change about yourself to be beautiful.

In my experience, a tempting approach to feeling more confident is by altering your appearance. Like, "when I lose weight *then* I’ll feel better about myself”. Or "when I have the right hair and makeup *then* I'll feel beautiful".

This has never worked for me.

As a tween I was SO self conscious. I felt super awkward and unattractive and I believed this was objectively "true" because I saw it validated in photos. ​Chcek out my tragic run of middle school yearbook pics:
Seattle Portrait photographer

Hi, I'm Andrea

I'm kind of obsessed with confidence. To me, confidence is the single most magnetic quality in any person. 

And I'm not talking about fragile-confidence like maybe feeling cute depending on how your hair looks and how your outfit fits. 

I'm talking about real, durable confidence; the kind that can withstand bad haircuts and getting older and a constant barrage of media messages about what you need to change about yourself to be beautiful.

In my experience, most of us, most of the time, would like to feel more confident; we'd like to look at ourselves and like what we see. 

And there's this super tempting approach--I'll feel more confident if I just "improve" some aspect of my appearance, right? Like, "when I lose weight *then* I’ll feel better about myself”. Or "when I have the right hair and makeup *then* I'll feel beautiful".
I'm kind of obsessed with confidence. I think it's one of the most disarming and attractive qualities in any person. It's also something most of us wish we had more of and aren't terribly sure how to get.

And I'm not talking about fragile-confident like feeling cute last Thursday when everything worked with your outfit and your tummy was tight. I'm talking about real, durable confidence; the kind that can withstand bad haircuts and getting older and a constant barrage of media messages about what you need to change about yourself to be beautiful.

In my experience, a tempting approach to feeling more confident is by altering your appearance. Like, "when I lose weight *then* I’ll feel better about myself”. Or "when I have the right hair and makeup *then* I'll feel beautiful".

This has never worked for me.

As a tween I was SO self conscious. I felt super awkward and unattractive and I believed this was objectively "true" because I saw it validated in photos. ​Chcek out my tragic run of middle school yearbook pics:
This has never worked for me.

What HAS worked for me, to help me develop a healthier, more resilient, more expansive self image, is portraiture. 

You know how a bad photo of yourself can ruin your whole day? You've probably looked so bad in some photos that you wanted to hide and then burn them? I sure have. 

Look at me in middle school. I STILL cringe!
awkward 6th grade pic
awkward 7th grade pic
awkward 8th grade pic
Turns out, photos are really powerful! Even though most of us know better, our brains still tend to relate to photos as if they're a document of objective reality. So, what if we used photos in a deliberate way to *improve* confidence?

Full disclosure, there was no master plan here to heal years of negative self image through portraiture. I stumbled upon this mostly by accident.

The first time in my life that I didn't just entertain the possibility but actually *believed* I might be beautiful it was while looking at some photos I shot of myself in my basement (this was a while ago so "selfie" wasn't even really a word then).
sexy selfie
I knew nothing about photography at the time and was scrambling to learn it because I had accepted a position as a photography teacher at a large public high school.

So there I was getting experimental with lighting and composition and pretty soon I was experimenting with my outfit and my hair because why not? Nothing was at stake. Just practicing and experimenting.
And then I'm scrolling through the photos on the back of my camera and there are a couple of real  bangers in the mix! Plenty of dud shots and a good amount of "oh shit burn these!" moments  but DAMN, there were a couple of real hot ones! And I'm looking at myself in these pics and I can't deny that this is me but this woman looks....cool. She looks bold and confident and powerful. 

I was hooked.

I've continued experimenting with self portraits (10 years and counting!) and I'll be damned if I haven't gradually chipped away at my negative self image and, in it's place built a more dynamic, more resilient, really confident sense of self.
To be clear, I haven't reached some sort of static state of peak confidence. It's more of an ongoing practice of choosing to see myself, with the help of portraits, as the complex, beautiful, and capable woman that I am.

In fact, I still look like a total doofus in pictures sometimes (ok oftentimes, lol!). What's changed is that I've built up a resilience that lets me take those bad pics (and bad hair days) in stride. Instead of an "OH GOD" self-esteem downward spiral, I look at bad pics of myself and think, "Yep, I looked like that in that moment. But that's now *what I look like*."

Here's a totally unglamorous behind the scenes shot so you can see that looking awkward AF is still very much a reality for me [scroll all the way down to see the shot I was after, thigh-deep in a lake].
I share all this personal experience because it is what my approach to boudoir photography emerged from.

As it turns out, sexy portraits are a slippery slope. After showing a few friends my basement selfies I started getting requests to shoot this kind of portrait for other people. People started calling me a "boudoir photographer".  At a certain point I figured I'd better look around the industry and see what this boudoir photography business was all about; this helped me refine my process and clarify some of my deeply-held beliefs.

Professional hair and make-up is standard for boudoir photo shoots; same with sexy lingerie and hotel rooms. But this just never felt right to me.

For one, I don't think anybody needs to be "transformed" to be "camera ready". So I don't bundle hair and make-up with my boudoir photography sessions; you get to choose if that sounds fun for you.

Second, I don't think we need to put you in a super sexy context (like on a bed) for you to radiate sexy. Sexy is about ATTITUDE. That's why I love studio photography so much (no context, just you), and off-beat locations.

I also don't send out a pre-shoot guide to which lingerie styles are the "best" for which body types. Instead, I send out a series of emails, written as if I'm talking to a friend, detailing all the things you don't need to worry about, and, even more impactful (or so I'm told), offering ways of framing the experience so that you can show up for it with an open heart and curious mind. 

Because there's much more to be gained from this than pretty pictures.

I shoot boudoir portraits from a place of purpose and clarity:
I don't want to make you look beautiful.

I want to help you see that you already are.
lake boudoir photo
awkward 6th grade pic
awkward 7th grade pic
awkward 8th grade pic
Ugh. I still cringe looking at them.

Sadly, as tends to happen, much of my tortured self image stayed with me into adulthood. Countless times I was distracted by self-consciousness during what could have been joyful/hot/thrilling moments.
And then I discovered portraiture.
The first time in my life that I didn't just entertain the possibility but actually *believed* I might be beautiful...it was because of a portrait.

It wasn't a fancy portraits. In fact I had shot it myself in my basement. But for some reason, I could see something in this photo that I just could not see in the mirror. How I looked hadn't changed (no special hair or make-up or transformation). 

What had changed was how I was *looking* at myself. This felt different. And like those terrible middle school pics, this photo felt "true", only in a way that made me feel powerful instead of miserable.
I was hooked.
I've continued experimenting with self portraits (10 years and counting) and I'll be damned if I haven't gradually evolved into the bold, confident, badass lady I see in my pictures.

Come, explore with me!

I'd love to take your picture

YES LET'S!

Hi, I'm Andrea

Seattle Portrait photographer
If you don't typically like how you look in photos, if you feel uncomfortable or awkward in front of a camera, you are a NORMAL PERSON; you are my kind of person.

What makes me a great headshot and dating profile photographer is less about my technical skills and more about my way with people (when folks leave me reviews, 9 times out of 10 this is what they call out). 
I believe every person is their most magnetic and attractive when they are relaxed and unself-conscious.
I don't believe you need to be transformed with professional hair & make-up or a new wardrobe to look fantastic on camera. And I won't photoshop you to look substantially different than you look in real life. You are just fine as you are.

My secret sauce for making people look authentically engaged and confident in their professional headshots and dating profile photos is by actually engaging them in real life.
How do I make people feel confident? 

If I had a recipe I would definitely share it, but I'm kinda like a granny with a "special casserole"--it's a little different every time and it changes depending on my mood and the person I'm cooking for (lol! I love metaphors but mine always seem to unravel toward the end. You get the picture). What I can tell you is that some of the ingredients are: 

--empathy (I get that you're probably out of your comfort zone)
--candor (I'm honest as hell. If I compliment you, I mean it)
--humor (frequently self-deprecating)
--a fair amount of acting/demonstrating/looking silly
--groans and grunts of approval (when I love what I'm seeing on camera, you'll know)
--occasional swear words :)
“I think what I appreciate the most about Andrea is her ability to adapt to the person in front of her. She makes others feel comfortable by sharing her own experiences, acknowledging the vulnerability of the moment, and always with a great sense of humor."

-CHARLOTTE

profile pic of beautiful woman

If I seem like someone who could put you at ease in front of a camera...

I'd love to take your picture

LET'S DO IT!
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