“It’s not about seducing men. It’s about embracing womanhood.” – Dita von Teese. This is my business mantra.
I repeat it to myself at the beginning of every.single.boudoir.shoot. Because I make this philosophy very public, I tend to attract clients who are doing this shoot for themselves first. Gifting the photos to their spouse is an afterthought.
As I read Miss “L”s email, tears streamed from my eyes. She NEEDED this. SHE is the reason I do this. Warrior women just like her.
She is a mother of two who had recently been diagnosed with Lupus, and as a result, had lost a significant amount of weight. She was very insecure about her lack of curves, and her newfound “boyish” figure. She wanted photos of herself that would make her feel beautiful again, despite her condition. I knew that I had to be the one to photograph her. I wanted SO badly to make her feel gorgeous and girly again.
Her shoot was incredible and she was glowing. I focused on giving her curves where she didn’t believe she had them. I posed meticulously. I “geeked” out about every set, proclaiming how beautiful she was and how incredible these photos were. I wasn’t exaggerating my enthusiasm in the slightest.
She left that day feeling on top of the world and she hadn’t even seen a single photo yet. THAT is what we do as boudoir photographers. We spew the warm-and-fuzzies, empowerment, and self esteem. The images are the icing on the cake.
It is an absolute privilege to meet all of these women, hear their stories, be their friend, be their therapist, and ultimately be the main contributor to their new-found sense of self-love.
Here is Miss “L”s story:
“Not long ago, I found a lump in my breast. 5 doctors later, test after test after test, and finally an excisional biopsy, I found out I had a condition called SLE, or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. With this diagnosis, came a drastic change in my eating habits—I couldn’t eat anything but meat and vegetables. Since my diagnosis, I have lost a drastic amount of weight and my bust in its entirety. I know it doesn’t sound like much, and is probably so trivial a thing to complain about, but after having two children I felt like, after having my health and my favorite foods stripped away from me, I should at least still have my curves.
I contacted Kara in the hopes that I would see these pictures, and not see the absence of a figure and the plight of this otherwise sick girl that is trying every day in every moment to prevent this inevitability of what SLE means, but that I would see the me, that my husband and family sees.
Flash forward to the shoot, Kara is INCREDIBLE!! I was so nervous that I wouldn’t know what to do or where to look, or that the look of, “Oh my gosh, I can’t fill this out,” would show on my face. But she talked me through every pose. Every inch of my body was so meticulously positioned to get the most flattering shots! She listened to every word, hesitation and she talked me through it all! She would even burst out as she was snapping pictures, “Ooh I love it, You look Great, Eeee this looks soooo good!” Seriously, with that much encouragement who wouldn’t feel comfortable?!
I walked in an overworked, over-tired mom, and I walked out a supermodel! I never thought, after the year I have had, that anything this great could happen. It has been such a gift, and I know that these pictures are really going to help me to feel like the woman, the wife, and mother I am, and not like the condition I have.”
While this woman gushed her praise and thanks to my glam squad and I, I have to THANK HER and every strong woman that has come into my life thanks to my profession. I am touched on a daily basis by these women, their stories, and their bravery. It is absolutely my honor to photograph such stellar examples of womanhood.