I did! Yep, lil ol' me! Why? a couple of reasons actually. Mainly because I wanted to go through the experience as a client versus a photographer; would I be nervous? How would it feel exposing my cellulite AND nipples simultaneously to strangers?? Would I have a good time and eventually forget about my anxiety? I've always told women that they'd feel amazing AND confident by the time they left based feedback from my own clients but was that really true for everyone?
My second reason? So I could compare notes! I wanted to infiltrate enemy lines! How was the photographer succeeding in ways I wasn't? Did they have products that I should offer? Were my skills equally up to par? How would they make me feel comfortable and at ease? Would they offer me a little "swag" bag and if so, what would be in it? I had so many questions! I decided to stop delaying the inevitable and book my very own shoot.
My boudoir shoot was going to take place in a small renovated row house in DC. The photographer didn't offer hair and makeup so I used the extraordinary services of one of my own gifted makeup artists, Ivett; she came to my house and we laughed and chatted as she gave me my makeover. I was incredibly relieved that I had gals on speed dial who I knew would do a phenomenal job with "boudoir" makeup. Had I been new to this, I don't know if simply going to the local "MAC" counter would have done the trick! Even though boudoir makeup can be natural, eyes really need to be accentuated so they pop on camera.
Once my makeup was finished I grabbed all of my carefully organized (and frantically swapped at the last minute) items and headed out the door. I arrived at the location early because I knew traffic and parking could be a pain in the ass in that neck of the woods.
At the door I was greeted by 2 of the sweetest gals with huge welcoming smiles. They were super friendly albeit very young. My first thought was "Ok, so they look like they graduated from high school with my 19 year old daughter". Was I judging? no, my experience has shown me that being able to chat candidly about life is a big part of the "bonding" experience. I'm an almost 46 year old woman with adult children, cellulite and stretch marks, so I wanted to have a great rapport with the 2 people who were about to photograph me in my birthday suit. I also wondered if most of their clients had "Brazilian wax jobs"; I'm not a fan of having hair ripped from my vagina so I they were about to get an eyeful! LOL!
The duo quickly ushered me into a room (sans the swag bag I might add) and told me we had just under an hour left. I was ready to get down to business. I stripped down quickly and started doing my thing (Note: I'm naked more often than not to the dismay of my teenage daughter so this is my comfort zone) For the next 55 minutes, one lady took the pictures while her colleague posed me, adjusted my straps, and regularly put my gravity-stricken boobs back into place. They had me bending in ways my body hadn't seen since my more promiscuous ways as a young uniformed gal surrounded by hot military men (you'll get nothing else from me on that topic!).
"SMILE!" the photographer exclaimed repeatedly as my scarlet lips continued to get stuck on my dry teeth; I guess you could say I was PARCHED! Unfortunately, there were no water bottles in sight so it wasn't until I started dry hacking that the "posing" colleague grabbed me a coffee mug with water. I wet my whistle and we got back to work; smiling, arching, pointing and pouting. Once all outfits had been worn and we were finished with the photographs, I put my stretchy clothing back on and sat down with them so they could show me my pictures (on the same day!!! like, wow!)
I've never shown a client unedited photos before so this was new to me. Not because I Photoshop the hell out of images but because I like my pictures to have a certain aesthetic. They showed me pictures where my eye was slightly "lazy" and I looked like I'd stayed a little too long at the party. A couple made me look like a creepy stalker staring out the window. I also saw some that made me question whether or not my lower tummy was really "that big?" Ultimately, I loved about 10 of them and really liked another 15. I made arrangements to purchase my digitals and then I headed out; all of this in exactly one hour! (Note: the entire process takes about 3 and a half hours in my studio!) Did I feel confident and beautiful? Hell yes I did; my favorite pictures captured me perfectly as the fearless, strong and happy woman I am. Did I enjoy the experience? Honestly it was "meh" but I loved the photos. Did I make plans so I could go out that night and enjoy my gorgeous full face of makeup? Nope, I snuggled on the couch with one of my dogs under a blanket and watched Netflix through my fake lashes while sipping on cold chardonnay.
So what did I learn? Boudoir photographers are as different as the colors in a box of crayons. While some offer you mugs of water, others (okay.... me) offer a menu that includes bottled water, mimosas, tea, cheese and crackers, and European chocolates. Some photographers offer pictures for viewing on the same day, others wait until they've painstakingly obsessed over every detail (also me). There is no right and wrong; only what makes you feel comfortable, confident and beautiful.
As much as I'd love for you to choose me, my main wish is that you choose SOMEONE to capture your pictures because you're beautiful right now and you're worth it.