Mother Morpho | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I’ve had the Mother Morpho concept floating around in my head for awhile now. To say it came to me in a dream sounds corny, but it’s 100% true, at least the name for the shoot did. And this shoot almost happened with someone else a year prior but it was pouring rain and we were downtown St.Paul and it just was not meant to be. So I put it on the back burner and waited. And waited. But then, when I thought I was going to have to shelve the concept for good I found out my favorite model Ashley was preggo! AND I was going to be in the Wisconsin area with Elle and everything aligned. We shot in my favorite spot which is just for realz MAGIC and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

I used one of my STUNNING Catherine D’Lish gowns as the base and paired it with Free People lingerie, a necklace as a crown, a long ethereal wig, and some butterflies. (All come from the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet so this could literally be YOU if you want it to be!)

Elle did her magic with the hair and makeup and kept it equal parts weird and dreamy in a way only she knows how to do and Ashley basically just ate a panini, hopped on the 4-wheeler, and then struck a pose (she’s THAT good).

As is my new custom I like to ask all of the people who get in front of my camera to talk about their bodies. the relationship they have with it, and anything they want to share. It’s kind of like an emotional baggage spewing catharsis for the writer and I think, well I KNOW because you all tell me, that it helps the people who read it.

I asked Ashley to stick with the theme of pregnancy because generally she is such a body positive force of a woman and I thought it would be interesting to hear her take on growing a dang human inside of her!

Here’s what she had to say-

“Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience but that doesn’t mean it has to change who we are as a person. 

 

I’ve noticed that as a society we tend to view pregnant women in a different light. Suddenly, because we are carrying a child, literally the product of our sexuality, we can no longer be seen as sexual beings. There is a great divide between the conception of pre-pregnancy women and mothers-to-be but in reality, are we not the same person we were prior to pregnancy?

 

Even with all the changes my body has and continues to go through during my pregnancy it’s been important to me to stay as true to myself as possible. Shooting boudoir has always been empowering to me and continuing through my pregnancy has helped to remind me that even though my body looks nothing like it did 7 months ago, I am still beautiful, I’m still sexy, and I am still me. 

 

Like every woman, I have moments when  I break down, when I feel I feel like my body is failing me, nothing fits, my skin is stretched to the max, I’m exhausted, and I look in the mirror and wonder who I’m looking at. I let myself feel feel the feels but quickly remind myself that my body is doing something amazing! I’m literally creating and nurturing a new life. My body deserves my respect! 

 

I hope to always inspire body positivity and through my continued boudoir work I hope to show society that moms-to-be are still sexy.”

Hellz yeah to THAT!

Heartbreak Hotel | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Getting over a break up is hard.

I don't have any recent experience, I've been with the same man for 12 years, but I still remember my last break up. It helped to shape me into who I am today. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

When it happened I was a complete and total mess for a long time, and it took years for me to finally heal all of the little pieces and fucking MOVE ON for good. I think it was because he was my first real love, my first real relationship, and the first time that I had sex. Oh, and I was like 16 or 17 so everything was very dramatic and I was going through a lot of other issues at the same time. It's not so much the break up that did the damage but the feelings of worthlessness that I held onto that I had to heal. 

I thought he was THE ONE. I thought that we were MEANT TO BE. I thought a lot of things back then. 

But time heals all wounds if you work on them and all healing takes time. 

I'm not really going to go into how shitty breaking up with someone feels, because most of us have been through it already and we know that it's a hell of a lot more than tubs of ice cream and Facebook stalking. 

I'm going to talk about the self-knowledge that comes from breaking up with someone. 

Because it can be a blessing in disguise in the long run, at least it was for me. 

When you're thrown into the deep end of the single pool a lot changes. You're suddenly on your own again. You only have yourself to think about, which for a lot of people turns into feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness. The woe-is-me mentality just sucking the life out of you day after day. 

But what if you treated each day as a single person as a day where you got to do exactly whatever set your soul on fire? What if you lived each day racing towards your bliss? And what if you could do this no matter what relationship status you are or aren't in? 

Newsflash-bang-POW! You can! It's really simple. Living your best life authentically IS the key to happiness, and it might even take you on the path to finding THE ONE who you are MEANT TO BE with. 

Lovers come and go, relationships come and go (so don't take them for granted) but you're stuck with yourself so you might as well cultivate a relationship with YOU. Treat yourself how you'd want your lover to treat you (Look up The Womanizer. TRUST ME). Take care of yourself how you want to be taken care of. In other words DO THINGS FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. You're all you've got, for better or worse, so you might as well love yourself. And if someone comes booping along your path and ignites something within you then you already have a strong sense of self that can let them into your life but not let them take over your life.  

Revenge sessions, like this one, are a great way to jump-start the healing. It's a visual reminder of the fact that you are sexy, powerful, amazing... and you don't need someone else's validation in order to feel all of those things. 

I'm not gonna lie, it's also kind of fun to show them what they are missing. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own revenge session- CLICK THIS!

All That Glitters Is Not Gold | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard being a woman.

Most of us are stuck in a state of MORE- a bigger, better, faster, stronger mentality that keeps us in a loop of perpetual unhappiness. 

The constant need to PROVE and BE THE BEST (what even is that?) gets to all of us at one point or another, no matter how zen you claim to be.

And the worst part? All of us are walking around unhappy wondering what the hell is wrong when the answer isn't that you need a new dress or a new body or a new house but that you need a new perspective. You need to look at your SELF, because you already have everything you need within you. You need to get off the damn hamster wheel and get into the self-reflection. 

If you love Netflix maybe watch documentaries that encourage you to think. If you feel like working out how about doing something you love instead of logging time at a gym you hate. And how about instead of scrolling on the phone for half an hour before bed you read a damn book. I know you've got a stack of them just waiting to be cracked open. These are small things that seem like they don't have anything to do with anything but in all reality are ways that you can disconnect from the 'machine' and reconnect with yourself and your goals and your BLISS.

I work with women's bodies a lot. Which really means that I deal with women and their issues about their bodies a lot. It's probably the most profound thing about us as women- that we all walk around hating our bodies. And no wonder, when everything we watch and hear is telling us that we need to be better, thinner, more like this and less like that. And then-CURVEBALL- all the rules change and what was the ideal body type 5 years ago is now not okay anymore. How the fuck do you ever win???? YOU STOP PLAYING THE GAME.

We tend to pick ourselves apart. We don't see ourselves as people, we see ourselves as thighs that are too big and boobs that are too saggy and stomachs that are too pudgy and teeth that are crooked. Not big enough, not small enough, not straight enough, not tall enough or light enough or smooth enough. Well enough of that. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE SO GODDAMN ENOUGH IT'S AMAZING HOW ENOUGH YOU ARE. 

The sessions I do with people are so much more than just glitter and gold. Yes they are glitz and glam but they are also raw and real. They change people. They hold up a mirror to YOU and all of your power. They help to teach you that the only person you need to look to for acceptance is yourself. And that all you need to do in order to accept yourself is this- say YES.

Own it. Own who you are, perceived flaws and all. Revel in the miracle of YOU. You are sensual and beautiful and brave and deserving. You are also strong and capable and can do anything you set your mind to. You can also be none of those things because YOU MAKE THE RULES. 

Everyone wants to blend in but by being yourself you stand out. You make a difference by owning your truth and accepting your unique you-ness. People look up to the people who are brave enough to be themselves. There is so much power in self-acceptance. It effects every aspect of your life. 

All that glitters is not gold. All that beauty you see in the world is surface, not substance. It's great to look at but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. What matters is INSIDE. Once you accept yourself for who you are and just love yourself so much time is freed up for other stuff. Imagine how much mental space you'd have if you could get rid of all of that negative self-talk? I would get whole entire years of my life back! 

These photo shoots help you see you for who you are, they help you get your power back, and they help you move on. You hang your portraits up and look at them every day and remind yourself that you are a badass. And then you go out into the world and kick some ass. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book your own session- CLICK THIS!

Vulnerability Part 2 | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talked A LOT about vulnerability in Part 1 of this set so I'm not going to harp on it too much more except to say that it's hella important, in life and during your photo shoot. So give it a read if you haven't already.

I'm here to connect with you, soul to soul, and capture a piece of it in images. I can't do that as effectively if you don't let your guard down.

Droping all of that over-thinking and just feeling the moment and connecting with me is the key to great images during your session. That's it! All you have to do is trust me. And relax. Because I've got ya!  

The proof is in the pictures!

F*CK That Guy...| Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I'm a Do More Photographer. It's a group comprised of the best boudoir photographers in the world and I'm freaking proud to be one of them. We have a private group where we discuss 'boudoir' issues and help one another out and one concern that gets brought to the group way more frequently than it should is this-

A client wants to book a shoot but their husband/fiance/lover says NO and cites various excuses such as "I don't need to see you naked in photos when I can see you naked at home" (NOT the same) or  "You don't need to be spending money on something so frivolous" (OKAY I'm sure he's never spent any money on anything 'frivolous' in his life) or (my personal favorite to hate) "Only sluts get those types of photos taken." (I don't even know where to begin with this one.)

Sometimes a client does a boudoir shoot as a secret surprise for the husband and then the husband gets MAD because they spent money on this experience as a gift for THEM and the client is left feeling like shit and the photographer is left feeling like shit and there is just way too much shit floating in the air.

Yes ladies, this happens A LOT.

And it breaks my fucking heart. 

And you wanna know why?! (Here we go...)

You aren't doing this for HIM. THIS.IS.NOT.FOR.HIM. This is for you. This is a celebration of YOURself and YOUR body and all the goddess that you are. This is an experience that honors your life, your self-love and your uniqueness. He doesn't get a say in that, even if you are married.

Everything from the lingerie you choose to wear (or not) to the setting you want to shoot in to the dang color of your lipstick is about YOU and what makes you feel your best self. It's a time to be truly self-centered, and I'm here to help guide you through it and create images that'll document who you are. 

At the end of the experience you'll BUY something material, an album and some wall art or a collection of images but that's not all that you are getting, you are getting that self-love experience, maybe a new outlook on life, maybe a WHOLE NEW YOU. And some men find that sort of intangible thing hard to understand, so they get mad.

I cringe when I get an email from someone and the first thing they say is something along the lines of, "I'd love to do a boudoir shoot for my husband." 

WELL LADIES, I'D LOVE FOR YOU TO WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR SHOOT FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. (Yes I yelled that, it was necessary.) 

You aren't wrong for wanting to give the gift of your sexiness to your man, there is nothing wrong with that. But it shouldn't be the main reason why you're booking with me, it should be reason 15 or 16. It should almost be an afterthought.

You should be booking with me because you want to wear a dressing gown so glamorous you thought only the people in Vogue wore those types of things.

You should be booking with me because you want to get naked in the woods and grab your titties and not feel guilty about being a sexual person. 

You should be booking with me because your friend who did a shoot with me told you it'll change your life. 

You should be booking with me because my products are the best (okay no one books BECAUSE of that but it makes a hellava difference when it comes time to order your goodies). 

You should be booking with me because you hate yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you love yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you feel like you know me even though we haven't met yet. 

I just listed 7 possible reasons that have nothing to do with a man. 

This sounds like a bunch of man-bashing but I promise it's not. I love men. I just think that sometimes they think this whole boudoir thing is about them. It's not about them. It has nothing to do with them. They are LUCKY if they get to reap the benefits of your session. They are PRIVILEGED to get pictures of your ass. 

So FUCK THAT GUY. Fuck that guy that says a woman can't do what she wants with her own body. Fuck that guy who makes a woman feel guilty for wanting this for themselves. Fuck that guy who says you're a slut for getting sexy pictures of yourself taken. 

(And much respect to the partners who support their women, who worship their women, who love their women. You deserve a picture of their ass.)

 

 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To FUCK THAT GUY and do this for yourself- Click this!

Vulnerability is the Birthplace of Connection | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I want to talk about vulnerability for a minute. Specifically how dang important it is. 

Vulnerability is the gateway to a more fulfilling life.

Trust me, I know. I've been working on different pathways to better know myself and vulnerability is one of the most effective ways to suck the dang marrow out of life. So, I've been experimenting with this whole 'allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to alllll the feelings and experiences and joy and pain' thing for the past few months and my life REALLY is changing! 

I think Brené Brown phrased it best when she said, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive." 

In order to make meaningful connections you have to allow yourself to be seen. So I've started letting people see me in all my socially-awkward glory. I've stopped pretending to be happy when I'm not and I have stopped apologizing for things that don't need apologizing for. things like saying sorry for taking a little longer than usual to walk through a door that's being held open for you. (First of all don't hold a door open for me when I am so dang far away that I have to practically run to get there so you aren't standing there holding the door for me for all eternity because now I have to RUN and I HATE running. Rude.) 

What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. Perceived 'flaws' and all. Anyone who isn't a walking zombie or a huge douche canoe is going to be immediately drawn to you if you're an emoter (see my previous post) or you show vulnerability. Why? BECAUSE BEING WHO YOU REALLY, TRULY, UN-APOLOGETICLLY ARE IS FUCKING BRAVE. And everyone recognizes that vulnerability and courage at a cellular level.  

So what even is vulnerability? 

It's the willingness to say 'I love you' first when you have no idea if the other person feels that same way as you do. 

It's taking the leap and doing that thing (like moving to a different country or quitting that job that is sucking the life out of you so you can try to make a living off of a passion that you have) even though everyone around you is saying that it's too risky. 

It's getting on the stage and singing in public for the first time.

It's telling your partner about a sexual thing you want to try.

It's SO many things but basically it's just being brave. Having courage. Opening up. 

I see the lack of vulnerability in boudoir SO DAMN MUCH and it looks like this-

"I'd love to do a shoot but I'm to old/fat/thin/not pretty enough/not good enough/don't have enough time/money/support to do it but someday maybe I'll do it."

SOMEDAY.....MAYBE...

All of these things are excuses that people use to ring around the rosey the REAL issue which is this-

Lack of self worth. 

You see, it's easy to say, "I'm gonna go into that boudoir shoot and rock it out when I'm perfect and toned" but the truth is that rarely happens. You'll either be paralyzed by fear and shame because your looks aren't the real issue OR always be chasing the impossible perfection because to stop and look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I'M GOOD ENOUGH' would mean you'd have to be vulnerable enough to sit with yourself and confront who you are right now. And then accept yourself and alllll that you are....and all that you perceive yourself not to be. That takes true vulnerability.

I promise this isn't a post trying to guilt into into booking a session. You'll book when your self worth barometer goes up a bit, or when you've saved up enough, whichever comes first. 

This is a post about being vulnerable so I'm going to digress some more about MY FAVORITE DAMN THING ABOUT MY JOB! 

My favorite thing is when I get you in front of me and I look into your eyes. Not with my camera, but with my own eyes looking into yours. And you know what happens? YOU CRACK OPEN. You spew your vulnerability everywhere and I capture it for all time.

It's so much more than great butt pictures y'all. It's connection and soul gazing and vulnerability and emotion AND YES it is also good butt pictures.

This is what I love about my job. I get to give you yourself.

The you that maybe you've always known was there but from a very young age were told in tiny little ways wasn't good enough so, piece by piece, you shoved your YOU-ness into a box that you hardly ever (or maybe never?) look at. 

The you that you're starting to get to know a bit better and are learning to love who she is, 'flaws' and all.

The you that maybe needs someone like me to come along and push you off the vulnerability cliff so you can feel what it's like finally to be just un-apologetically yourself, even if it's just for a photo shoot. 

Shooting with me is an exercise in the art of vulnerability. Not just because at some point you'll most likely be naked but because your emotions will be out on display and you'll have to tap into feelings that maybe you don't always show people. But I got you boo, that's what I'm good at. And if you don't believe me then just look at these dang pictures. 

This is Autumn. She started out a stranger and became a great friend. We connected, she was vulnerable, and you can feel her vulnerability in the images.  

 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

If you're ready to be vulnerable with me CLICK THIS

Mother Goddess | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Okay I'm going to be very honest here and tell you that I don't want kids. I don't even really like kids. I'm that person that awkwardly holds little babies when I'm forced to but only because saying HELL NO is apparently considered rude to most people. I know, you're probably thinking I'm a horrible human but WHATEVER KAREN not everyone has that maternal....thing. I mean I have it hardcore for my dog but people tell me that's not the same. 

BUT. BUT. I love photographing women and their babies together. Like a LOT. 

And you know why? Because their maternal THING is totally rocking and they look like glowing goddesses of love and light and earth and soul and they have this human that they are in charge of now and look at them being so connected! It's goddamn beautiful and I get to dress them up, make them look their best, and capture this moment for them for all eternity.

These photos really come in handy when you're staring at a puke-inducing diaper and wondering why the hell you got yourself into this whole 'kid' business. You can just look at that gigantic photo that's hanging on your wall and remember that sometimes you gotta wade through the shit to get to the good stuff. 

Kids are magical beings. They aren't jaded by life yet and everything is new and wondrous to them. We can learn a lot from kids. Or UNLEARN a lot. But at the same time they tend to sap a lot from their parents. I know this because I see (and hear) it all the time. When you have a child they will come first from now on. Period.

And that's okay. But that doesn't mean that you get forgotten. You are still a woman. Still sensual and beautiful and now filled with so much more than before. So don't neglect yourself. Don't forget who you are when you're caught up with who you're trying to be as a parent. Make sure that you are taking time to re-align with your soul and what brings you joy or you'll eventually bring everyone down. And for goodness sake  EXIST IN PHOTOS DAMMIT. You never know what day will be your last and now that you have a child you're going to have to have memories WITH YOU IN THEM for them to look back on. So go ahead and get those cute photos of your kid dressed up as a princess or wearing an uncomfortable (but very adorable) suit. Get them done every year, and make some of them embarrassing. But then make sure you go and get some professional photos taken of yourself every once in awhile. Who cares if you're overweight or haven't gotten your hair cut in forever. Your kids won't care. All they will see is their mom. Which means all they will see is LOVE.

Capturing moments and emotion is important. As a photographer that's what I'm here for. So when you're ready to take some time for yourself let me know!

Here's Katie and Edwin being stunning in the early morning sunlight! Their connection is tangible and it made me allllmmmmoooost for a second want that for myself. (And then I got a dog.) 

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own shoot- Click HERE

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 2 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Remember when I wrote about this awesome powerhouse of a woman? If not, hop on over HERE to catch up and check out the first set of images.

In that first post I also talked about how I'm doing things a bit differently now and I'm following my heart more. Which really is a fancy-ass way of saying I'm gonna just get a bit more RAW and SEXY and make imagery that give you ALLLL THE FEELS, HOKAY?!

So without further ado here is Part 2 of my session with Kit.

And YESSS PEOPLE THERE IS A PART 3!

So stay tuned for even MORE. 

Also p.s. aren't those balloons the BEST!? (And that ass gives me serious squat goals.) 

Wardrobe (and balloons)- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book a shoot with me- Click This! 

Skyclad | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I always feel the most electric type of alive when I'm communing with the earth. 

There's always such a deep sense of welcoming home when my body and soul are in their most natural state. All of my insecurities melt away and I'm so utterly consumed by the breeze on my neck and the grass slipping through the space in between my toes to even care that I'm twenty pounds overweight and my breasts aren't what they used to be and I'm starting to see wrinkles from always frowning with concentration. When I'm out there my face relaxes and my soul breathes deeply and all I feel is infinite love

We are universal beings and there is no shame in reveling in this fact. 

I love photographing people in nature because it's just so damn magical when a person's skin is being illuminated by the sun or the wind is caressing their face and they tip their head to accept it's embrace. I love how the sense of awkwardness that usually comes from being naked and getting your image preserved is just swept away and replaced with a sense of freedom and unity. It makes for some great imagery I tell ya! 

But enough of me gushing about Mother Nature and being clad in nothing but the sky. You can see for yourself! 

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book a photo shoot like this- Click HERE

Hay Isn't Just For Horses! | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Excuse the pun-filled title! You know I had to do it. 

I've been wanting to do a barn-themed shoot for quite awhile now. I'm from Wisconsin and half of the people I grew up with either lived on a farm or knew someone that did. 

There's something so beautiful to me about barns...the smell of the hay, the well-worn wood, the way the sun glints in through the cracks. I just love it, and I knew the perfect place to shoot at! 

 I wanted this look to be a little less typical than the cowboy hat and plaid shirt simply because this was a stylized shoot. I wanted to show that you can do a photo shoot in a barn if you're more of a country girl without losing the fashion aspect. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a cowboy hat and plaid shirt, but if I've got a chance to put someone in thigh-high boots...well I'm going to! 

I wish I had more time in this barn, I wish I wasn't so tired when we shot this concept, and I wish I had known that Samantha was scared of chickens! Still, in the 15 minutes we spent there I think we got some awesome stuff and I cannot WAIT for someone to book me for a photo shoot who wants to shoot in a barn or on a farm!

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

To Book your own barn-themed shoot- CLICK THIS! 

'Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum' | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

To me boudoir isn't really a gender thing, it's a human being thing. We are all just trying our hardest on this here planet to 'Nolite te bastardes carborundorum' and all that jazz and it's so easy to forget who we are when the whole world is telling you who you should be. 

I don't really care what your gender is or your sexual identity is or your ethnicity is. I don't care what you weigh or if you've got a face full of acne (still have that myself) or if you've had a double mastectomy. Those are just things about your body, and while they may seem important to you when you're crying on the kitchen floor about it after a bottle of wine at 1AM (wait, that's just me?!) they don't REAAALLLLYYY matter. And you know this. Deep down buried under all that crap you tell yourself every day, all those little ways you cut yourself down, DEEP DOWN YOU KNOW YOUR CELLULITE DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. 

And it might seem counter-intuitive for someone like me, someone who technically profits from taking everyday people and 'glowing them up', to tell you that beauty doesn't matter. That the outer you doesn't matter. That the images of you don't matter. 

But here's the thing peeps: those images really do matter. But not in the way that you might think. I know this because people tell me that their photo shoot has changed them. It's made them see just how beautiful they really are and blah blah blah. What they are really saying through all the fluff that they don't know how to articulate other than "EEEEEE I love these photos" is that they now know SELF WORTH. They know their POWER. They have seen a piece of themselves captured and given back to them that they can look to when THE BASTARDS ARE JUST GRINDING THEM DOWN. 

That's why my images matter. And everyone deserves that. 

This is Jon. He's a stellar human. He's also very tall and I feel like a dang munchkin next to him, but that's beside the point. He bared his soul for me and now you get to see the results. He's powerful and sensual and vulnerable and god-damn beautiful! Just like you. 

I Will Fly On Scorched Wings | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Kayla and I are Soul Sisters, a bond that runs deeper than blood or distance or time. I think we both knew, from our very first meeting back in middle school that there was something special between us. A bond that is one step past friendship, a baser vibration that could not be ignored. 

And so we became inseparable for a beautiful period of time. Whenever I think back on it I am overwhelmed with memories- running barefoot in the prickly grass, belly dancing on the back porch under a full moon, sharing clothes and food and heart ache and secrets. And always, the smell of incense. It was truly the happiest time of my life.

Well shit happens and life happens and people drift apart because they are going through things that they think no one could possibly understand and so they push people away. And that's what we did to one another, in small ways, during what I would call the 'in-between years.' 

I think though, looking back, that it was the right thing, the necessary thing to do, because we were so linked to one another. If we were close when our own personal shit was hitting the fan we might have just helped one another drown. 

And that's not how you get better. You slay your demons on your own, in the middle of the night, every night bit by bit until you can breathe again and get out of bed again and give yourself food again and look in the mirror without hatred again and accept the love you DESERVE. 

Needless to say I love taking her photograph, but not just because she is beautiful. I feel like each time we shoot together I am getting closer to capturing for everyone what I see in her- strength, courage, determination, loyalty, love and perseverance. 

So here's to my lioness, my soul sister, and to everyone out there who's got a bond that cannot be measured in words.

Watch me. I will go by my own Sun. And if I am burned by it's fire, I will fly on scorched wings.  -Segovia Amil

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Bodysuit- Duende Boudoir Closet 

To book you own session- Click this!

The Body Says What Words Cannot | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Half of my life has revolved around dance. I was one of those kids who started taking lessons but didn't quit when the fun stopped and the real training began. My parents probably spent a good chunk of their earnings on all of the classes and costumes and traveling it took to feed my passion, sacrificing so I could go to competitions or get new shoes. I thrived on the rules of ballet and the freedom of jazz and the precision, yet absolute abandon, of it all. Dance was my constant, my solace, my outlet, my teacher.

At some point during junior year in high school I fell into a depression and dance stopped being all of those things. I no longer had the energy to get out of bed, let alone move my body and the few times that I did I just spent analyzing and nitpicking and just utterly tearing myself apart for not nailing every step. My perfectionism, combined with the constant looking into the mirror, became my enemy. So I simply quit. I walked away. 

And DAMMIT I miss it. Mainly I miss the freedom. The absolute letting go. The body crying or laughing or loving or screaming through movement. The most amazing release it gives. It's therapy, if you let it be. So I think I'm going to bring it back into my life a little. Maybe take some time, some good music, and just MOVE when life gets just a little bit too overwhelming. 

Great boudoir images, to me, are all about connection and emotion and letting go. They make you feel something and at the same time they show you a glimpse of the soul of the person whose image is being captured. Dance is very similar.

So obviously I wanted to smash the two together. With smoke bombs. Because duh. 

And this is the result! It helps that Jess is crazy talented and that she trusted my vision and just went with it. My only regret is that we only spent about 6 minutes getting these shots (yeah, I know, she NAILED IT!) when I could have easily spent hours. 

I love capturing non-typical boudoir images like this dance-inspired session and I hope to book many more in the future! SO WHERE ARE MY DANCERS AT?!?!  

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

To book a dance session of your own- Click Here! 

Darling Just Fucking Own It-Part 1 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

You know what I really want to photograph?

I want to photograph women being raw and sensual and sexual and free. I want to photograph the lions, the daring ones, the luminous beings that dig deep within themselves and find diamonds buried in their depths.

And you know what I want even more than that?

I want to help women find that part of themselves and bring it out and document it for them.

And you know what I want even MORE than that?

I want those women to put those images on their walls somewhere where they have to look at it every. damn. day and are reminded of who they are at their very core. And I want those women to go out into the world every day knowing and FUCKING OWNING who they are.

And I want those women to help other women get to that place of self love and acceptance and just general bad-assery as well. Because empowered women empower women and anything is possible if we just work together on raising one another up instead of ripping each other apart. 

I'm going to start shooting more from my soul, speaking from my heart, and living my truth authentically. I'm going to start PUSHING IT past just a pretty image and begin creating art that makes you FEEL SOMETHING, dammit!

I just want more- more in-the-moment, intense, powerful images from and for my clients.  I'm digging deeper, and I welcome you to come along for the ride. 

Kit is a perfect example of a woman who just OWNS IT. In addition to being a va-va-voom powerhouse, this lady is an extremely talented and driven hair and makeup artist. She makes plans, lists, goals and then just CRUSHES them. And if life gets in the way and she falls on her ass for a bit (which happens to all of us) guess what- she gets back up. A woman after my own heart, truly. I admire her soul and I'm grateful that she trusted my vision and was open to the experience of creating meaningful images with me. I think we captured some great stuff.

Stay tuned for part 2... it gets a little steamier!

 

Hair and makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Wardrobe- The Duende Boudoir Closet

If you're ready to FUCKING OWN IT ALREADY hit me up!

Shine On | Wisconsin Outdoor Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

This girl right here is my oldest friend. We met on the first day of kindergarten and never looked back. Samantha and I have hunted ghosts together, belted out Spice Girls songs at the top of our lungs, and had lots of sleepover talks about cute boys. 

Well, life keeps on going and before I knew it this girl was a married woman (to her high school sweet heart!) and had a beautiful girl of her own. Time is funny that way. It just zips on by if you don't pause every once in awhile and take it all in. 

Although we've remained Facebook friends for as long as Facebook has been a thing, our physical distance from one another has made it hard to go out for coffee, stay connected or spend the day thrifting! 

That's why I'm so elated that we finally found the time to be together and that I had the opportunity to photograph her!

I'd like to think that I captured the sensual, free-spirited woman that Samantha has become while keeping true to the giggly, wondrous girl that I grew up with. 

To book your own outdoor boudoir shoot CLICK THIS!

Hair and makeup by Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe from the Duende Boudoir Closet

Sundays Should Be Spent in Bed! | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I rarely get a Sunday off, it's just the way it is right now. I'm not complaining because sometimes you just have to do the things you need to do now in order to get to the place that you want to be in the future. For the people who work the daily grind the weekend is something of a countdown, a finish line, a punctuation to end the week. I fully believe that you shouldn't save all of your enjoyment for two dinky days and have varying degrees of malaise during all of the other 5. There's kind of something wrong with that, don't you agree? Instead, aim to have little moments of serenity mixed in during the week. Sprinkle some serenity and joy around like confetti into your weekday life, however you see fit! Get off your phone for ten minutes and go out into nature. And if you don't have time to get 'to nature' get yourself a cute little succulent set up and stare at that adorable thing for ten minutes. I promise it'll help lower your stress level, and you might just have enough mental brain space free up to solve a problem that's been keeping you up at night. 

But back to the Sundays in bed idea. I'm all for it. I can't wait to be able to sip some coffee, snuggle with my love (and probably like 25 dogs) and just generally relax. So if that is your life right now you better be savoring it and reveling in your fluffy pillows and your sloppy dog kisses or kitty nudges or kiddo snores. And what better way to do it than in some fancy AF lingerie?! Because you're a dang queen and life is too short to wear the holey underwear amiright? 

Here's some images of what I think a stylized Sunday in bed should look like! 

 

Photographer- Yours Truly! (Duende Boudoir)

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

If you want to spend a glamorous Sunday shooting in bed with me just let me know! 

Badass Biker Jacket | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

There was a photo on the wall at my grandparent's house that always caught my eye growing up. It was a picture of my grandma wearing a motorcycle jacket all glammed up with the big hair and the bad-ass come hither look that stopped me in my tracks every time I saw it. It's stayed with me all this time, that photo. And so I decided to try my hand at the motorcycle jacket photo but put a boudoir spin on it. I think it's safe to say it turned out well! 

Jacket- All Saints    Lingerie-  Kisskill    Hair/Makeup- Elle Allen    

If you want to look like a badass and wear a leather jacket hit me up!

Experimenting with Tulle | Minneapolis Boudoir Photographer | Duende Boudoir

Every time I shoot I try to push my comfort level a bit and experiment with something new for a few shots. Usually it's a pose I've been wanting to capture but sometimes it's a new lighting set up, a mood I want, or even a specific prop. Experimentation helps us grow as photographers (and people!) and keeps us from getting stuck in a rut. Clients love it too. They get to be a part of creating something new! Sometimes it doesn't work out and you learn from it. And other times.... well you might just find yourself with something you want to add in as an option for other shoots! 

I've been dragging this tulle around with me for awhile now. Tulle is airy and light but this stuff was starting to weigh me down. I was sick of it staring at me with it's beautiful, pretty tulley-ness and so I made the decision that I was abso-freaking-lutely going to use it on my new shoot. And I did. And it was cool. And I can't wait to do it again! 

Here are some images! (I mean that's why you REALLY came on this blog anyways, right?!) 

The last image is of my awesome hair and makeup artist Elle being a very helpful assistant while all three of us figured out how the heck we were going to try to get this to work!

If this gorgeous tulley-ness is right up your alley and you want to do it for your shoot let me know and we will make it happen! 

My Mother is Beautiful | Wisconsin Boudoir Photographer | Duende Boudoir

My mother is what most would call unassuming. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just mean that she's a normal lady doing the normal things that moms do. She doesn't get her nails done, she only dresses up for 'occasions' although she always looks nice, and she doesn't go to any big cities unless she's visiting me or on a vacation. She is, however, an amazing woman. She is strong, kind, cooks yummy meals even when most of us look in the cupboard and see 'nothing to eat' , and gives great advice. She is also beautiful, although somewhere along the way I think she forgot that. Well ladies and gents, Elle and I helped her remember during a boudoir shoot that she bravely undertook this past summer at the Charmant Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This was meant as a surprise for my dad and he was completely blown away! She was a badass and totally tapped into this whole other confident persona that I had the privilege of preserving forever. We had a blast and I am lucky to call her my MOM. The book she ordered is now sitting proudly in the living room, because something that beautiful shouldn't be hidden away. 

If you are a mom, or even a woman who is looking to reconnect with your sensual self feel free to get in touch and we can work together to make it happen for you! 

Letting Go in the Shower | Minneapolis Boudoir Photographer | Duende Boudoir

WARNING: NSFW (Because boobs and butts are distracting and some people get offended by the human form.) 

In order for boudoir to 'work' and for you to get those amazing images that really take your breath away you need to be able to LET GO. It's something that is very hard for a lot of people but if they do, just a little bit, for a little while....we get pure magic! That's what I got here.

I think every woman (or maybe I'm just weird)  has those moments when we are in the shower and the steam is asteamin' and we feel alive and sultry and GALLDANGGIT why isn't someone here to take my picture I look downright MAGICAL with this water dripping down my skin!! 

I hear ya girl. And I can take your picture you beautiful, magical, water dripping creature. Maybe you'll even hang one IN your bathroom!