Model Misconceptions | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about models. The way they look, their IQ level, and the ease of their job are constantly being dragged through the mud by people who simply don't know any better. Yes, models are beautiful (that's #1 priority of their job!) but most are extremely smart, a lot of them using the money they make to put themselves through school, and their job is anything but easy. You'd know if you spent just one hour posing like they do! 

I recently shot with Danielle Maddox, a professional model and actress who travels between Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles and anywhere the job takes her! It was really refreshing not having to direct every move for once and just pretty much let her do her thing. And she is AWESOME. There's this thing she can do where she laughs on cue and it legit looks like she's having the time of her dang life! I mean, I know I'm funny but I'm not THAT funny. You'll see what I'm talking about when you get to the images.

I asked her to share a bit about the inside world of modeling for all of us and here is what she had to say-

"Not all models are created equal, just as much as in any industry, modeling is a multifaceted world full of all shapes, colors, sizes, and aged models. Though within the media we only see the glamorized runway super models that are human alien gazelles with perfect skin, features, and bodies, they are only a fraction of the job market. All types of people, including myself, are making a living by posing in ads, commercials, catalogs, e-commerce, look books, some of which are classified as "real people" or not Actor or Model types. Normal photogenic relatable  models. Some even make livings just being a "Parts Model" which includes hand modeling. I do it- and it is very much a Zoolander joke 24/7. Some of us lucky ones cross over from Commercial modeling to Fashion and dabble in all aspects of the industry. The biggest misconception is that being a model is easy and glamorous. Sure, it is a heck of a day job, and I love what I do. But I don't get sick days, paid time off, health insurance, weekends, don't have a salary, or always know when my next paycheck will come as it can take 30-90 days to get paid (almost always 90 days.) I have to 24/7 take extra care of my hair, skin and nails, and foot the bill on all of that upkeep. And most importantly I have to exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet, all while working on sets Monday-Sunday sometimes 10+ hours. It's a tough life, but it's also wonderful!" 

Yeah, now you don't think it's so glamorous do ya?

 

She also was kind enough to share with us how she preps for a shoot!

When prepping for a photo shoot there are a few important things I like to do!

First and foremost-

1. Don't stress! Stressing makes you break out, and boy do I break out!

2. Hydrate, hydrate. (You should be doing this daily anyways.) If your skin is hydrated it will glow and look fresh and smooth on camera!

3. Lower your salt and alcohol intake 1-2 nights before a shoot. Both will make you bloat and retain water! A little wine the night before is fine! Just not the entire bottle!!!

4. Get plenty of rest- posing can be exhausting and make you tweak or 'twerk' some weird muscles that you didn't know existed. A well-rested body will be more relaxed and flexible! You may be sore after!

5. Practice posing at home!!! This is important especially if you are doing a shoot in little clothing! Grab that lingerie and pop that booty and practice! Knowing your body and being confident shines through on camera!

6. Don't forget to shave!! Or don't- embrace your natural state! 

7. Moisturize! If you moisturize day of- use an unscented body oil so you don't stain or transfer to the garments. Use a clear deodorant for the same reason. 

8. Remember that your body is absolutely beautiful and don't let it hold you back from loving every inch!

9. Most importantly during the shoot BREATHE and have a blast!!

 

And without further ado...here is how a lifestyle boudoir shoot with a model looks! 

 

To The Fullest Capacity | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk about loving yourself and learning to love yourself A LOT. I practically shout, "YOU ARE A STUNNER!" to every woman who complains about their body anywhere within my earshot. But the truth is that it's not that easy to see your beauty when you pick yourself apart all the time. You don't just fucking wake up one day and feel at peace with the flesh cage that permits you to live this life. It takes WORK. And I talk about that a lot too. It's a real battleground for most women, and a lot of them are fighting on the wrong side. Wasting all of that precious energy attacking themselves instead of reveling in the miracle of being alive! This life is such a precious gift, something so trivial as your stretch marks should not control your thoughts. My goal is to help you flip that switch from hate to love, to show you just how amazing you really are, and to empower you to help others do the same. 

I recently had an amazing session with Chelsea whose self-image is something to aspire to. I asked her to write a little sumthin' sumthin' for me and when I received the following response I swear to you I started crying in public. And you know why? Because SO MANY WOMEN HATE THEMSELVES THAT FINDING ONE THAT DOESN'T FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF A MAGICAL BEING. I encourage anyone who is not okay in their body to print this passage out and put it on their mirror. Let's all try to get our Chelsea on! 

Here's what she had to say-

My body is my vessel. No, not in a religious, spiritual, or metaphysical way, but in the truest most factual sense possible. There have been times when it has failed me, made me feel like a complete outsider, and hate every inch of my being. But I've also rejoiced within it, worshiped it like an altar and anointed every curve I have. Only within the past few years have I learned to balance forgiveness and self love. At 21 years old I've helped myself see how strong and beautiful my body truly is, and see that every possibility is mine to grab. I've been in awe of my muscles, gotten lost in the stretch marks that map my thighs, and fallen in love with my self. This is the only vessel that I'll have in this lifetime, it's the only thing I have to get me through this journey and to survive. Why would I spend so much time beating it up and forcing it to be things that it's not? I'm going to nourish it with the love and affection it deserves. I'm going to celebrate every day I get to spend wrapped up in its perfection. I am going to love myself to the fullest capacity.

Holy shit right? 

And to top it off, her images are just going to blow you away!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Corsets- Corsettery

To book your own Self-Love Experience- CLICK HERE

Blue-Haired Girl | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Sometimes I don't have much to say in my blog posts. The writing gods aren't blessing me right now and I don't feel like regurgitating the same 'love yourself' mantra to you again because honestly I'm struggling right now personally. 

Everything is sort of out of balance in a big way for me.

I'm working on getting things back on track, sorting through my priorities, and changing some things.

It gets old, this re-aligning. I feel like I have to do it a lot.

But maybe it's because I want the best life for myself, who knows. 

Either way I'm still taking on boudoir clients! And I'm pushing myself to try new things, to create in new locations, to just let the human in front of me BE more of who they are and then pose around that. 

This is Luna. A beautiful, currently blue-haired woman living in Memphis. We didn't really get to connect as much as I usually like but I can tell that she has stories within her. This was her first boudoir shoot and she really rocked it out!

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!

Kimono Flow | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I LOVE styling boudoir sessions. LOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE it! I think I could honestly just quit taking photos forever (sad day) and still be able to carve a beautiful life out for myself with styling photo shoots/movies/whatever floats your boat. Lingerie and vintage clothing bring me THAT MUCH JOY.

There's something so incredibly satisfying about pulling different elements together to create a narrative. You become what you're wearing. Everything makes sense and just clicks in. That's important with boudoir because sometimes we need help bringing out what we have deep within us and the styling of your session can really help do that.

I bought this vintage embroidered silk kimono recently at an antique store somewhere in the US and, even though it needed some work and had staining, I just #hadtohaveittakemymoneynow! Kimonos are quite plentiful out in the world. There are tons of different styles and fabrics but the QUALITY of most are sub-par. They are usually of the souvenir variety and I pass up almost all that I see. 

But this baby... I put it on and it just flowed. It had life. And it had me in one spin. 

SO. I knew I had to put someone in this and capture it on camera. 

I found this bra and panty set that goes perfectly with the robe and we were aiming for a really dreamy, beautiful session so Elle did a romantic braided up-do for the hair. 

Pair all of that with a serendipitous wind and Carley doing her thang and you've got magic! I feel like you can almost feel the silk of the kimono in these images.

If you want to do a session with me but have no idea how to style yourself please let me help! It would honestly be my pleasure. And I have a whole wardrobe of things to choose from! 

Wardrobe and styling- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair & Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS!

Pin Me Up | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have a great love for pin-up, old Hollywood glamour, and film noir styles, probably because I have been collecting vintage for literally over half of my life (It all started with a pair of snake skin kitten heels...).

Due to my reverence and respect for the past I am very wary about photographing the different genres (because those are 3 different genres, and even those three can be divided further into sub-categories) unless we hit all of the boxes-

Hair and makeup needs to be on point- check

Outfit needs to be on point- check

Posing needs to be on point- check

Location needs to be on point- half-check (we did the best we could with this shoot!) 

Once all of those details are squared away I'll agree to shoot the concept, because that's kind of what this style of photography is- a fully thought-out production. It's like a mini-movie!

I've seen a lot of bad work out there, and most of it comes down to lack of/poor planning. If you've got the outfit but you don't have the hair and makeup to match then the illusion is shattered and you're just a lady wearing some old style knickers. (There's nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't label it pin-up.) It's the difference between the utter perfection of Mad Men and... not Mad Men. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for breaking the pin-up rules but you have to know the rules first in order to break them. And a lot of people are just clueless when it comes to authenticity. 

Even this shoot could have been either improved upon or changed if you're looking to be cynical. The hotel is modern (which is actually kind of cool and ended up being a neat twist) and therefore not authentic. The outfit is freaking amazing (thank you Bettie Page Lingerie for existing and making new versions of classics in fun colors!) but would have, if worn in the fifties, had stockings attached to the garter belt. (I brought those along but much preferred the bare leg because DUH look at those gams amiright?!) And tattoos weren't mainstream back then so Ginny's beautiful body art would have been sorely absent. 

Nevertheless this shoot turned out wonderfully and I'm very proud. It was even featured in Delicious Dolls Magazine (although they kind of spelled my name wrong) which was a nice surprise since it was my first time submitting to a magazine. Ahhh validation! 

So if you've got a hankering for the vintage glam let me help you make your pin-up, old Hollywood, or film noir dreams come true! It'll take planning but it's really fun for me to create little worlds, in fact it's kind of how I started out when I first picked up a camera. Costume, set design, makeup, posing, the whole shebang! 

Even if you don't care for that style you can at least appreciate the utter perfection that is Ginny Rosewater here! And Elle Allen killed it on hair and makeup! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own Pin Up shoot- Click THIS!

You Are Safe With Me | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I want to talk about how important it is to me that my clients feel safe when we are working together.

Boudoir, for the most part, is a deeply personal experience. You are baring your soul and your body and tapping into parts of yourself that you probably rarely let see the light. It's a little uncomfortable but it should be because you're growing. 

All of these things are wonderful and powerful and can sometimes be the catalyst for changing your entire life. Imagine if you actually started to believe that you are beautiful and sensual and important and can do anything that you set your mind to! It happens. Self-reverence opens many doors. 

BUT none of these things can happen if you don't feel at ease, if you don't feel secure enough to let your guard down, if you don't feel like you're in a safe space.

You will ALWAYS be in a safe space with me, physically AND mentally. 

If you decide to book an outdoor boudoir session, which people are starting to request with more frequency, your photo shoot will take place on my family's private property. (Unless, on the rare occasion, you have an amazing spot or idea of your own that won't get us arrested!) No strangers are going to be walking by as you frolic naked in the woods. It'll be just you, me, and the bugs. And while it's not the most glamorous place to get dolled up, my parents' house is ours to use to get ready in. (They won't be home!)

You probably don't think of the privacy factor when you're daydreaming about your own epic outdoor boudoir photo shoot experience but shooting PRIVATELY outside is something that most boudoir photographers don't have the luxury of offering. I feel very fortunate to be able to give this to my clients, especially since shooting outside with Mother Nature was how I started my photography journey.

You should feel safe with me emotionally as well. 

Girrrrrlll let me tell you....

Whatever mental hangups you have about yourself I've either experienced in the past or continue to experience. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dissociation, self-loathing so bad I couldn't look in a mirror, and, only recently the journey to self-love and I'm here to tell you that you will not be judged by me.

I'm not going to be thinking about your stretch marks (we all have them, it means you've grown silly!), your cottage cheese butt (please tell me I'm not the only one with this!), or your two different sized breasts. I don't care about those things. I'm not going to be picking you apart like you're some sort of weird specimen or something that needs improving (you probably do this enough to yourself every day). 

What I will be doing is looking at you with kind eyes, coaxing you to really let your inner self out, and making sure that you point your damn toes. 

A body is just a shell to me- some are bigger or smaller, some are shorter or taller, some are lighter or darker, some are lumpy-er or more toned but NONE OF THE FEATURES OF YOUR BODY DETERMINE YOUR WORTH. I'm looking deeper, I'm looking for the soul. And you should too.

I'm starting to realize that this is why people come to me- they want to feel seen for more than what they look like on the outside.

I will pose you so effortlessly that you don't even realize you're posing most of the time. You'll be focusing on the way the wind caresses your cheek, the feeling of the dewy grass meeting your body as you lay down, the noise of the pine needles crunching underneath your feet, the mosquitoes eating you alive, the stick prodding you in the back...you get the picture! And yes, you will look good. I'll make sure you tighten the stomach muscles, pop that booty, lift the chin...and breathe.

I want you to know that you can feel safe with me, you can trust me, and that together we are going to hopefully open that door to realizing just how amazing you truly are.

But don't just take my word for it. Here's what someone recently had to say about their experience-

"I was unsure how I would feel getting photos, feeling unsure and vulnerable about how they would turn out. As soon as I arrived, I felt so comfortable. Starting with hair and makeup, I was feeling my best self after just that! Letting myself do this and allowing myself to be my most free and best self in front of the camera turned out to be one of the best and most liberating experiences I've had! Paige is so professional, and she makes you feel like you're the most beautiful person she's ever seen in front of the camera. I've never seen anyone with so much patience! Awkward ladies out there- this girl is for you! Would highly recommend a photo shoot with Paige!! Do it for your awesome self." -Samantha

  Yup. Awkward girls unite!

Anywho...

Here's an outdoor photo shoot that took place on my family's land this past summer. Looking at these, I am instantly transported back. I can smell the wildflowers, I can hear the big bumblebees, I can feel that warm early morning breeze.... take me back! 

We got a little creative and stuck wildflowers in one of the sheer bodysuits from the boudoir closet. We only had about 10 minutes to capture this look but what we got is stunning! Carley really blends right in with the beauty of nature!

Enjoy!

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book your own outdoor shoot this summer- Click THIS!

Feel All The Feels- Part 2 | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

If you haven't read Part 1 of Feel All The Feels then you're missing out (on both the message AND the images) so do yourself a favor and getonitdammit!

In the first blog post I talked extensively about how being in touch with and honoring your feelings can help you lead a better life. 

And let me tell you I've been doing a lot of that in the New Year. And it's fucking hard.

It's been an interesting few months. Things that were once very important to me have, for the time being at least, ceased to really matter. 

For all intents and purposes I'm running for cover. I'm introverting hardcore and I do not even care because I'm trying to figure things out and people and places and things (all of those damn NOUNS!) just distract me from what I'm learning about myself right now. 

And I'm learning that emotions kinda suck. I mean they are great and all when they are great and all but when you're letting yourself feel things that you usually just SHOVE RIGHT DOWN it can be kind of intense.

Especially when you're discovering that maybe all of the 'things,' the 'stuff' you surround yourself with and all of the times you ate at nice restaurants but didn't really appreciate it because everything is magic until it becomes routine could have afforded you the luxury of traveling the world multiple times over by now. When you discover that maybe you give too much and get too little from the people around you because you want them to like you and you don't want to be alone in the world. When you feel like you're wasting your life sitting around all day waiting for it to come to you instead of fucking going to IT. Etcetera, etcetera. 

So yeah, I'm feeling lots of emotions OKAY. 

But that is part of the growth process, the way to bliss. Or so the wise ones say. So I'm going to sit with it and feel all the feels (even if it means that every.single.time I meditate I start crying what is even up with that). 

I'm learning a lot of stuff about myself by allowing myself to feel, even if it is REALLY hard. And some of it is even good! It's almost like I'm reuniting with ME. Which is comforting and weird but whatever. All of this is hippie-dippy talk anyways and if you're catching the vibe I'm throwing out you'll understand and if not...well maybe you should get WOKE already.

But ANYWHO here is Part 2 of Feel All The Feels with Catherine at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC. My goal is to get everyone who comes in front of my camera to emote with me like she did. Cause DUH. Also this is probably my best work. I've peaked. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet 

Hair and Makeup- She did her own. Which you are allowed to do if you know how!

To Feel all YOUR feels in front of my camera- Click THIS

Roccoco in the woods | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

When I first picked up a camera 4 years ago it was to take all of the ideas that were hogging space in my head and bring them into the world. I grew up on the (small) stage and both my grandmother and mother were part-time seamstresses so my head has been filled with pouf dresses and ballerinas and faeries and glitter for as long as I can remember. As I grew older I also became positively addicted to vintage and antique clothing, a love affair that will last me until my dying breath. 

I carry all of these things inside me, all of these loves and knowledge of different time periods and fantastical elements just waiting with me until they can be released into the world. I'd like to think that I do a pretty good job of making my dreams a reality with Duende Imagery. 

But at some point I became a little bored. I wanted a bit of a challenge. And I wanted to show that there might be a different type of boudoir that you can do if you're seeking something a bit more unique. So I decided to smoosh the whimsical world that I play in at Duende Imagery together with Duende Boudoir. 

Et Voila!

That's what I've kind of been doing. Half the time I'm in the hotel room getting people to bare their souls for me and the other half I'm cavorting around outside making dreams come true with lingerie and wardrobe styling and the whole she-bang! Both are extremely fulfilling, and to me that plays a key role in how good the images are. 

This particular set is a more romanticized, loosely based take on Marie Antoinette. The corset style is different than she would have worn and the hair and makeup is more beautiful than authentic but I think that everything works well together as a modern interpretation. 

Just think about all the things we could do with a boudoir twist! Sultry mermaids and dark goddesses and glam princesses galore! If this is something you'd like to do just let me know and we can work together to make it happen! You could even do half of the session creative and the other half more of a boudoir version! 

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own unique photo shoot- 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

Feel All The Feels | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have such a profound weakness for an emoter. I'm instantly drawn to anyone who is in tune with their emotions and can harness them for their art. You know you're in the presence of an emoter when you feel more alive just by being near them. They are the truth tellers, the light bringers and probably members of the frequent criers club. Because they don't deny themselves of all the feelings that being alive brings up they aren't numb to the world like most people are on a day-to-day basis.

Think of it, all the ways you deny your feelings.

You're at a stop light and see a homeless man asking for money so you pretend to fumble with the radio because you don't want to lock eyes with him and FEEL (pity, sorrow, contempt). 

You find out that your spouse has been cheating on you so you start drinking because then you don't have to think of them with someone else and FEEL (worthlessness, anger, blame).

You are sexually assulted so you start focusing on your body and how to make it disappear because you don't want to FEEL (guilt, loss of control, hatred). 

You are finally on a much-needed vacation and all you do is complain about the food and take pictures for your Instagram because you don't want to FEEL (present, humble, your own mortality).

And the list goes on.

There are SOOOOO many feelings in a day. If you open yourself to them and let them flow through you instead of hoarding them and letting them take root and weigh you down I promise you that your life is going to change. It'll be like someone picked you up, turned you upside down, shook you out and set you back down. It might fuck up your hair but damn you're lighter now! 

As a fellow emoter myself I believe that our stories have power, and by sharing them and living our truth we can help others.

Every single one of us has stories to tell and lessons to teach. We are more connected than we realize and emoters just smack you in the face with feelings and force you to look within YOURself and find common ground. 

Usually artists do this best. Dancers, singers, poets, musicians, painters, actors.

ACTORS. They have this uncanny ability to dig deep down and pull up the type of complex emotions that most of us need two bottles of wine to tap into.

Catherine is one of those people. As you can see from the following images she can display a wide range, although we stuck to the brighter side of things this time around. We shot in one of my favorite hotels, the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC, pretty much the only place I stay when I visit The City. The anonymous-ness of a hotel really created a blank slate for Catherine to do her thang and emote. (And if you're wondering, yes she can cry on cue!)

So go forth and feel all the feels!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book a shoot like this in NYC or any other place- 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.