I’m relieved to finally be able to share some photos from this secret boudoir shoot that took place way back in March. Not only was Sam surprising her fiance with a boudoir album for their wedding in June, but their wedding itself was a secret and surprise for their guests! Yep, a surprise backyard wedding, how cool is that? When she told me about it, I knew we would get along sweetly.
What I didn’t expect from Sam was the wonderful storytelling she sent me when I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing her boudoir experience. As Sam herself writes below, she was shy and awkward when it came to the shoot, which is fine, we had a good time and she laughed a lot of the way through it, but she didn’t remember that. When she walked out my door after the shoot, she still mumbled something about being awkward…so I have never been so surprised and floored by someone’s reaction to seeing her images, nor the words and feelings that so easily pour from her fingers when she wrote about it. Sam continues to write me beautiful emails of the story of their wedding, her husband’s reaction to the boudoir images, and her feelings about it all. I love this gal for it. And so without further ado, I give you Sam.
Question 1: What was your reason for wanting to do a boudoir shoot? ie. boost confidence? gift? new experience?
My fiancé and I are getting married this summer, big birthdays for both of us, and I wanted to give him something special. I did some research on Pinterest (isn’t it amazingly, addictingly awful? All these ridiculous standards that were never in place before), and came across the idea of Boudoir several times. It was something that I had never even considered doing, but thought that for that same reason, it was something he would never guess or expect from me. That idea excited me and helped me push through the fears of the perception I had of it. The more research I did, the more I realized it wasn’t just a gift for him. The reviews that I had read (not necessarily of your work, Kristen) were those of women who went into this for someone else and came out with this new sense of sexiness and confidence. The idea of seeing myself in the way that my fiance does really fascinated me.
Question 2: What are the reasons you chose my photography?
I (honestly) did a quick Google search of Boudoir in the Kingston and Belleville area. There were a few names that came up, but after looking through the websites of past work, yours was amazing. Delicate and sensual, all the women in your art (wedding, engagement, boudoir, etc.) looked at ease, and comfortable opening up to you. They all looked so beautiful. They looked like they were having fun.
After we met, I got the feeling that you understood me as a person (not girly girl, don’t even try that shit on me). We had a tea that you sweetened with maple syrup (strange the things you remember, eh?) and we chatted for over an hour, starting with things like my relationship, my expectations of the session, and moving on to things that friends talk about, family, friends, career, life, passions, both yours and mine. It felt comfortable and it felt like we clicked and we weren’t strangers. I left your apartment smiling. As I did every time after that we met.
Question 3: What feelings did you experience prior to the boudoir session?
Oh my word. I was a basket case with emotions and anxieties (as the hundreds of emails will attest to). I was worried about everything from the wardrobe (am I bringing too much? Too little? The right things? How will this look on camera??), to the end result (Who am I trying to kid? I’m not sexy, my fiance is the only one who thinks that, even though he tells me he’s not), to how awkward I looked when I practiced my silly poses in the bathroom mirror. Everything went through my head, and everything was telling me to just cancel. But I had already told my sister about it. She was the only one except me who knew about it. And holy shit she was so excited about it. “How very Samantha (Sex in the City) of you! I wish I had the confidence to do that!!” She pushed me on, I couldn’t let her down, we’d come this far!! The morning of, I got up way too early, and sat stewing about this huge thing that was about to go down. But I had bought new lingerie and a garter for God’s sake, when else would I do this? It was this big secret, and as I’m telling you this, it still is. It’s eating me up inside!
What ultimately pushed me through wasn’t my sister, it wasn’t my confidence, it wasn’t my practice posing, it was two things: your excitement about the whole thing, building me up and relaxing me, and me knowing that my fiance was going to absolutely lose his shit over this. Even if I didn’t like the end result, he would.
Question 4: How did you feel during and after the session? Describe your experience. ie. everything from makeup to a comfortable environment
I arrived to your place a bit early. I had brought my suitcase of my wardrobe choices (because let’s face it, I can’t decide on what to have for dinner, let alone what to wear to this shoot that I’m investing in). You had some fun but calming music on and your makeup artist, Laura, started working on me. I sat in the sun while you went through my suitcase and telling me about how hot this would look, and this is awesome, and this will look great on camera, pair this with this… it was great. I didn’t have to make those decisions. I obviously had a few pieces that I really wanted to use, and we did, but the rest I left to you. You’re the artist, you’ve done this before, I haven’t. So while I sat getting pampered, hair poofed and made up to look like a model, I got to listen to you and Laura laughing and having fun, you telling me how great the makeup was coming, and Laura agreeing on pieces that you’d picked from the suitcase.
Getting onto the actual photo session. Oh man, did I feel awkward. I don’t think that ever went away, but luckily for me, when I feel awkward, I almost make up for myself which makes me laugh. Those are the smiles and moments that you were able to capture. I’d strike a pose (which shockingly looked great on camera) and then laugh at myself. We had fun. I brought a little bottle of bubbly that we played with as a prop. We tried multiple outfits and multiple poses and a lot of just rolling around laughing. We got a couple “money shots” for my fiance (he’s obsessed with my ass), and we just played for a few hours to get a few shots.
One thing that you did that helped was you showed me the back of the camera from time to time, you wanted me to see that the pictures were turning out amazingly, even pre-edit. That certainly helped boost my confidence that even though I felt awkward as anything, it didn’t look it in end. “Feels weird, looks great”.
I had sent you a few pinterest images that I had seen that I wanted to try and mimic, and you had pulled a few that you wanted to try. We got so many great shots, and a few crappy ones that we were able to laugh at and say “okay, this [pose, outfit, location] isn’t working, let’s change it up”. We moved on, shook it off and tried something different. Sometimes we came back to the pose with a different outfit and it turned out awesome.
After I left the shoot, I’m not going to lie, I still knew why I felt nervous, I hadn’t seen the finished product yet, and I still felt awkward, but after seeing the images… oh my word, they are amazing. I can’t believe that it’s me. And he’s going to lose it. He’s going to go bananas. And that excites me. It’s so tough to keep it a secret.
Question 5: Would you recommend it to other women? Why?
Absolutely. I have got to be the most awkward, shy person and I love what came out of this. I look at the pictures and can see myself how my fiance sees me: sexy, gorgeous, outgoing, happy. That’s new for me. I know that I was made up professionally, but it wasn’t even that. My body is my body. This is how I look, and with all the ridiculous standards that magazines hold women to these days (between body size, prominent features, and that every woman should be trying to improve their body) it was a breath of fresh air to have someone tell me over and over again for 2 hours “wow, that’s hot, you look amazing”. And I did. I wouldn’t just recommend it to other women, I’d recommend it to myself to do again sometime. We’re not perfect. We don’t have to be. We just have to be comfortable in our own skin, and embrace ourselves the way our partners do. They think we’re beautiful and it’s so refreshing to be able to see ourselves the way they do. Looking at ourselves through someone else’s lens. Through Kristen’s. Not to mention the reaction I’ll get when my fiance gets his present (oh can I hardly wait!!!).
Thank you Kristen. For everything. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You’re a very calming and soothing force. I had a great time.”
And if that isn’t enough of a boost, I received this thoughtful email from Sam’s new hubby a few days ago after he received the boudoir album she gifted him.
We’ve never met, and perhaps never will, but I wanted to send you a quick note to sincerely express my gratitude for the amazing photo shoot you did with my wife, Sam.
All of the photos you took look amazing. I’m sure your work is a lot easier when the subject of your lens is someone as gorgeous as Sam. It never occurred to me that she would do a boudoir shoot, so needless to say when I got the book it was totally blown away!
As much as I appreciate the album (and trust me I do!), I really wanted to say thank you for what you did for Sam. When she looks at those photos she sees herself the way I see her every day – joyful, full of life and stunningly beautiful! To be able to do that for someone must be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
Thank you again.”
It’s true, I do find my work can be very rewarding and fulfilling, especially when I receive emails like these with clients letting me know how positively they have been affected by the experience and photos. So what are you waiting for? A brand new experience awaits you. Let’s talk about your next photo shoot.