More on How We Approach Boudoir…

Raleigh Boudoir Photographer

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I love it when women start the process of approaching a boudoir shoot.  You’re cautious, you’ve got lots of questions… and deep down inside you know this is something you want to do.  It’s thrilling and nerve wracking.  It’s unknown and exciting.  You build trust with me along the way, and part of that comes through asking the questions that have been holding you back from this experience.  Some of these questions I get a lot and usually address one-on-one with women, but I want to take a chance to talk about a few here (these are all real questions submitted by women interested in a boudoir shoot) …

* “This might be a weird question, lol, but do you provide a lot of direction during the boudoir shoots? I literally have no clue what I would do in one and in my head imagine something that would end up being an awkward Amy Schumer skit, HA!”

I love this question because it came from one of our “repeat offender” clients who we have photographed many times.  Those of you who I have photographed know that during your session or wedding portrait time, I might set up a moment and give you a little instruction, but then I let you act naturally within that structured moment.  When it comes to boudoir, I approach it all very differently.  I have learned that if I stop talking or directing, that’s when you start to worry.  I take my job very seriously to keep directing you and encouraging you at all times.  I will even show you the back of the camera periodically to show you how amazing you are looking in camera.  This shoot is usually very outside-the-box for women — no one comes into this shoot feeling like they know exactly what to do.  For other types of shoots I do not always feel this way, but with boudoir I do feel like it’s really helpful to look at boudoir poses on pinterest.  I even suggest pinning your favorite poses and trying them out before you get to the shoot.  While I do guide you and pose you the whole way through, I think it doesn’t hurt to already know how it feels to move and place your body in the poses that speak to you.

* “I’m interested in doing a boudoir shoot, but hesitant too and wanted to get your thoughts. I’ve gained weight since having my first baby and I have the typical Mommy ‘scars’ all over my belly. Would a boudoir shoot still look good if I did it? I know my hubby would love it but I want to look sexy, too. Thoughts?”

I believe that all women can be photographed in a way that is flattering to their body, and it is my job to figure out how to photograph each woman to showcase her unique beauty.  I have learned that each woman approaches her body differently.  Some women have scars that they want to show in their images and they don’t want me to photoshop away.  Other women have scars that they would rather not show in their images.  These could be scars from surgeries, accidents, pregnancies, etc.  I do ask ahead of time if there are any scars that I need to be sensitive to.  You can always choose outfits that will cover your scars if you don’t want them shown, or we can also do other things in posing to help hide the scars.  You are right though, sweet woman asking this question, your husband loves you with or without those scars!!

* “I am really not your typical girly girl who would actually wear lingerie, but I do love this concept.  Do you have any suggestions on outfits/clothes that I can wear in this shoot that show who I am?” similarly… “What if someone (like me!) is normally super conservative and modest?”

While boudoir is typically known for it’s lingerie or implied nudity, it is completely up to you how you would like to dress for your shoot.  You can go the “traditionally boudoir” route of lingerie/bra&panty sets for your shoot, or you can think outside of the box with other types of clothing that make you feel sexy.  Often women approach the shoot wanting to stay very covered up but then as the shoot goes on they get braver.  You could wear a cardigan with flirty briefs, or knee high socks with your favorite form-fitted t-shirt.  Kimonos are popular right now and can photograph beautifully, managing to be sexy yet covering a modest amount.  Some women approach outfits for boudoir shoots and want to feel like themselves, wearing things they might normally wear, just in a different way.  Other women feel that a boudoir shoot is so outside of the box for them that they might as well go wild and choose outfits they would never think to wear in any other context.  Check back soon for a blog post with visual examples of outfit options.

My NUMBER ONE RULE when it comes to what to wear to your boudoir shoot is this – wear things that you love how they look on you.  This means that you know they are the right size for your body (who cares what size it is, let’s ignore those numbers and letters on the tag).  If something isn’t the right size then it might create some spillage of skin that you don’t love, which can be fixed with the correct size.  This also means that you have tried on the items before coming to the shoot, so you know what you look like in them.  Which means that you know that they fit.  The boudoir experience already makes you feel vulnerable so do yourself the favor of choosing outfits that make you feel good so you don’t have to worry about them.

* “Will the shoot be done by a female and not shown on the blog to protect my modesty?”

These are two questions that I get over and over, so I do address them in my initial emails with women when they inquire about booking a boudoir shoot.  The shoot is done by a woman – either myself (Ashley) or in some cases April, who is also a Story Photographer and was the first in the Raleigh area to begin shooting boudoir.  I cull and edit all images from beginning to end.  We even work with female hair and makeup artists.

I wrote a few months ago in great detail about the subject of sharing and not sharing your boudoir shoot on the blog.  I take this matter very seriously and would never share any image from your shoot without your direct and specific permission.  You trusting me is key to the boudoir experience and I would not want to do anything to break that trust with you.  After your shoot we talk about the different ways you could choose to share your shoot – publicly on the blog, privately in a gallery with women interested in a boudoir shoot, privately with your images in sample albums that women look through on the day of their shoot.  Or you can choose not to share your images at all.  That is completely up to you.

**** I AM CURRENTLY RUNNING A SPECIAL FOR BOUDOIR SHOOTS BOOKED FOR JULY 2015!   I HAVE NEVER RUN A SPECIAL BEFORE AND MIGHT NEVER DO IT AGAIN.  IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BOOK YOUR BOUDOIR SHOOT WITH US!!!  ****

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Boudoir at the Inn

Chapel Hill Boudoir Photographer

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Here in the south I have always found that boudoir is easily misunderstood.  I hear all the reasons why and I want to try to change the conversation.  Ever since I first started this adventure of shooting boudoir I have been learning who else in the wedding and event industry “gets it” and who still isn’t sure about it.  As much as I am naturally a people pleaser, boudoir is too important for me to worry about the people who don’t “get it”.  We have had the honor of being invited on to The Carolina Inn’s preferred vendor list for a few years now, and they understand our vision with boudoir.  They are partnering with us (as well as another vendor, which I will mention in a minute) to offer boudoir shoots at the Inn.  Their rooms and suites are gorgeous and loaded with southern charm.  I love shooting boudoir in this location!  We wanted to do a shoot to show women what their boudoir shoot could look like at the Inn, while also providing images that we could all use in marketing.  When we shoot boudoir at the Inn, the amazing ladies from Makeup for Your Day will provide the hair and makeup – for this shoot we got one of the boss ladies, Jennifer Buenviaje.  They always do such an awesome job at keeping your look natural and fresh and are such kind, professional women to work with.  The beautiful Kristen Snider modeled for this shoot and The English Garden contributed a beautiful flower arrangement.

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Every Woman Should Experience This…

Raleigh NC Boudoir Photographer

“I feel that this experience is absolutely necessary for every woman to experience at least once. The empowerment that goes with feeling confident and sexy in front of the camera is amazing.

Ashley made me so comfortable and did a wonderful job with the poses and the photos. My boyfriend was blown away that I was able to do this in secret. I love the images so much. I can’t wait to do it again!”  Thank you for sharing these words and these images, lady!


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See Her Story Event

Raleigh NC Boudoir Photographer

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It is often my job to photograph women. I photograph them in many contexts – with their fiancés, surrounded by their families, on their wedding days, or being brave in lingerie. I hear over and over again that women do not love being in front of the camera. They tell me the ways they want me to change how they look or hide their “flaws” when I photograph them. They confess to me what they don’t love about themselves as they also reveal their anxiety about being photographed alone. They hide behind other family members, wanting to be in the picture but just not sure how to be there. And I get it. I really do. I understand these feelings.  I tried my hardest not to over-think being in front of the camera in the above picture… which I had David take because hello, I am trying to practice what I preach!

We are so vulnerable when we are photographed alone. There is no one else to hide behind. But my goodness, it is thrilling to watch a woman feel comfortable in front of the camera and a gift to see a woman love an image of herself. I want you to have a photograph of yourself to give to your family. I want you to have a photograph of yourself for the generations to come after you to know who you are. I want to you to have a photograph of yourself for you. Because you, your story, is important.

In taking the time to have your portrait made on April 9, 2015, you are also taking the time to help other women through InterAct of Wake County. I can’t phrase this any better than their website – “InterAct is a private, non-profit, United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. InterAct fulfills this mission through the support of its volunteers and community.” You are empowering yourself while empowering another woman. We are each other’s community, whether we have met or not. Through this event I want you to see your beautiful self in this image – I will take your picture and you will be emailed a copy to use however you would like. In exchange for taking your picture and sharing it with you, I am asking that you donate a minimum of $30 and/or a minimum of 6 items off the current needs list (see below).  InterAct will accept cash or checks made out to “InterAct”. I want to help the women that InterAct serves to be seen as well by shedding light on their needs and their stories. We encourage you to give generously (and scoff at how low I’ve set the donation minimum)! It is important to be truly seen – by yourself and others.

Please join me at the Merrimon-Wynne House on Thursday April 9, 2015 starting at 6:30 and ending around 9:00pm to have your picture made. We have some amazing sponsors who will be providing refreshments while you relax and makeup touch-up before you get in front of the camera. Space is limited, so RSVP today to let me know you (and the ladies you are bringing with you) will be there to seeherstory@gmail.com.

An event like this can not be done alone.  I am beyond thrilled at these amazing people that are partnering with me to see this event come to life.  These vendors are not only awesome at their jobs, they are truly wonderful people.  I would like to thank our sponsors for being so enthusiastic, giving and amazing to work with (check back to see this list grow):

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Makeup for Your Day

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Here is the list of needed items you can choose from to donate:Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.27.48 PM

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I can see ME.

Chapel Hill Boudoir Photographer

This beautiful woman wants to share with you her experience doing a boudoir shoot: “We all define ourselves with words… we use words like outgoing, shy, adventerous, bold, intelligent, (think online dating profile). We try to find verbage to represent our spirit, to show the world what makes us unique. Maybe we describe ourselves as who we are to those around us- we are moms, sisters, teachers, neighbors, friends, wives. Before doing this boudoir shoot, I think I could have given a pretty compelling paragraph (with a whole lot of fancy verbage) to describe myself. I could have found decent enough words to do the job. After doing this boudoir shoot- all someone needs to do is look at a single picture. It’s ME. It’s every word I would use to describe myself embodied in one amazingly true-to-character, timeless image. You know I am a mom because you can see my stretch marks. You know I am a wife because I proudly display my ring. You know I am a bit shy (but pretend to be bold) because I can’t make a “sexy” face without laughing. My choice for black lace says something, as does how relaxed I look when my eyes are closed. You can see how sassy I feel with my hair curled. You can see me. And guess what? I can see me. I can see me… unphotoshopped, beautiful, sexy, confident… the way every single woman deserves to see themselves. This experience gifted me a newly found pride in my story- so much of which is told through these images.

I would recommend this experience to everyone- whether you do it as a gift for a boyfriend, fiance, or husband, know that it will ultimately be a gift to yourself. You are beautiful. You image is beautiful, and if ever you feel it isn’t, you will have an entire album to remind you, that you are STUNNING!!!”

Hair and Makeup – Makeup for Your Day
Shoot Location – The Carolina Inn

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