Why I Shoot Boudoir PhotographyHow my Journey with Colon Cancer Helped Define my "Why" for Shooting Boudoir
Why Boudoir Photography?
Sometimes I find it hard to put into words why I shoot boudoir photography. To me, it is so much more than photos. It’s about self-acceptance, body positivity, and art. It is about getting glammed up and laughing your butt off. It’s about the transformation that takes place between the time you walk in my studio and walk back out that door. It is about feeling beautiful, and that is something I believe every person deserves.
I started shooting boudoir photography because I saw the beauty in everyone that came in our door. I believed I could show any person see what I see through my camera. Women tell me they feel they can’t look “that beautiful” because they feel too tall, weigh too much, or have too many stretch marks. I loved showing them the photos from their shoot and showing that they CAN, in fact, feel beautiful. Seeing their reactions to their pictures changed me. From that moment on, I knew I had found my passion.
It was now my job to be a mirror for my clients. Not the mirror that the world shows you that shames you, but the one who sees past all of the lumps, bruises, and imperfections. The one that shows you your sparkle.
The transformation that took place in our studio is the best part of the whole experience for us. When a woman arrives in my studio, most of the time she’s nervous, sometimes even visibly nervous. Shaky hands and voices, sweaty hands and faces are things I see all the time. Once they sit in the chair to get their hair and makeup done, the transformation begins. The client slowly starts to shed those signs and feelings of nervousness and anxiousness.
Then the shoot would start. The first series is to get you all warmed up. When I show the client the back of the camera after the first series, I usually hear “OH MY GOD, that’s me? NO WAY that’s me!”. As we go into the next series and then the next, the laughter and smiles start to come out. Then she starts to feel sexy. They sexy eyes come out. And you can tell that it’s starting to click with them.
By the time we finish the session and go into the reveal, we’re friends. We’ve just shared an experience that they will always remember. We’ve laughed and shared stories about our lives
Once I show them their pictures on the projector screen, their jaws drop. They see themselves like they never have before. This is one of the amazing thing about boudoir photography. I get a chance to show them how I see them, how their spouse sees them and be their mirror. When they walk out that door, their smiling so big and they can’t wait to tell all their friends about what they just did.
A Little Piece of My Story
I didn’t quite grasp the gravity of what I was accomplishing for women until June of 2016. I had been in and out of the hospital since the January before, for what we thought was extreme anemia and iron deficiency. We worried about anything from an autoimmune disease, to the worst case scenario, cancer. In June, the worst case scenario became my reality. I woke up from the colonoscopy to my hospital room filled with my family and my husband with weird looks on their faces. The doctor had come up before I woke up and informed them that my colon was 95% blocked by a cancerous tumor. You can read more about that here.
The next few weeks were a blur. They removed my colon with the cancer and reconnected my intestines to my rectum. I thought the worst was behind us, until less than 3 months later. I was woken up with horrible pain in my abdomen. I was rushed back to the hospital for emergency surgery. This lead to my doctors needing to give me a permanent Ileostomy bag.
Yup! That’s me at my boudoir shoot!
Having a permanent ostomy bag and a nice big zipper scar on my stomach is not usually the best for confidence. But what would have happened if I didn’t have this annoying bag hanging off my body 24/7? I wouldn’t be here. They are evidence of me going through the most challenging part of my life. These scars keep me humble and let me connect to people on a whole different level. I am PROUD of my ostomy bag. I am PROUD of my body and how it fought and won.
I started to think about the photos I was in, and how my daughter would be able to look back and remember me if I wasn’t around anymore. Would I want her to remember me being ashamed of my body and hiding from the camera? Nope. Would I want her to not have any photos of me at all? Absolutely not! Maybe one day when she was older she’d even APPRECIATE the photos where I wore my scars proudly.
For me, boudoir photography is a celebration of your body and who you truly are. I take pride in being able to help show women how to celebrate their bodies, their battles and their victories they’ve been through. Let me show you your sparkle. Let me help remind you how to love and be proud yourself.