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 felt you 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!
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).
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.
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.