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!

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!

Self-Portrait= Self Love | Florida Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I am so nervous to post these that I might throw up. 

I'm feeling allllll sorts of emotions but the main one is FEAR. I'm scared to show people my body because it's a body now. And as much as I might preach self-love and all that mumbo-jumbo I am kind of ashamed of where I'm at in this current body. It's physically uncomfortable right now and for someone who can't even look at themselves in the mirror most days it's fucking terrifying to show it to the whole world. But that's exactly why I need to do this. I need to do this for myself. And I need to do this for you

But let me rewind a second.

Like many women, I've had (air quotes) body issues. But unlike a lot of women I've had at different points in my life what's considered as issues issues. The heavy hitters. Anorexia, bulimia, bingeing/purging, orthorexia,  exercise addiction, and body dysmorphia. Those are just the body-related ones! I'm a little bit messed up I guess. And I was really damn good at hiding all of those. It was kind of like a game for me, except the risk was losing my life if I won. The blind hatred I felt towards my body truly was all-consuming. 

But. 

I'm happy to say that I'm more or less recovered from most of those issues but the mental mindset doesn't ever leave you. And because of that I take certain precautions. I try not to go to the gym anymore by myself. I don't watch food documentaries. I don't count calories or have a scale or look in the mirror (for better or worse) or let myself go too long without eating. I spend a lot of time just being naked in an attepmt to normalize my body with my self. I even got rid of that folder on my computer with pictures of skinny people that took me years to compile. That one was hard to do.

But now that I'm 'better' I'm just another chubby girl who's ignored by society. 

I'm just stuck with myself. 

And so. 

If I have to be stuck with myself I'm going to try to live with it. Maybe even...(oh my god here's a radical notion) love it. 

I've come to realize that I'm a god-damn renaissance painting in a world that currently worships a different body type. Or at least that's what I tell myself these days. I'm fleshy and full and got lumps and bumps and lovely lady humps! 

But just because I was born in the wrong time period for my body type doesn't make my body wrong. It just makes it unique. And uniqueness, at the very least, is NOT boring! 

I'm at my highest weight, I think. And I've reached a truce with myself.

I used to do a lot of bad things to my body...and none of them fixed anything. The underlying issues, which had nothing to do with food or weight, were still there. So now I'm going to try to do some good things. I'm going to work out in moderation with love and respect for my body in ways that bring me joy. I'm going to fill it with real, whole foods instead of sugar and simple carbs (also sugar). I'm going to stop comparing myself to people because, as Theodore Roosevelt wisely said, comparison is the thief of joy. 

I'm not going to hide anymore, nor am I going to wait to do things until I'm perfect. Because we all know that doesn't exist. Perfect is an ever-moving target, an oasis of death in the desert race of life. And frankly, I've got more important shit to do. I'm going to buy the expensive lingerie (for myself, not just my clients anymore!), I'm going to take the self-portraits, I'm going to wear the bikini, and I'm going to have sex with the lights on (well I kind of already do this but it's not what I would describe as my favorite kind of sex ifyaknowwhatImean.)

And the best part is that I'm not alone! There is a whole movement of body-positive people coming out of the woodwork and boudoir is just one of the many ways that they are using to not only jump-start that journey and embrace their own uniqueness but also change the way the world views sexy. Sexy is raw, sexy is real, sexy is...whatever the fuck you want it to be. It's tanned and toned AND big and bodacious. 

Because I'm a boudoir photographer (if you didn't know that already where the heck have you been!?) I hopped on the bandwagon to do it for myself. I kind of chose the dumbest time to to it too. High noon in Florida with the sun shining brightly (the worst time for photo-taking) and in a semi-public walking path. I could feel myself burning as the minutes ticked by and this weird guy kept circling back on his bicycle. Luckily I had Alex along to keep a look out.

When I got home and looked at the photos I have to be honest, at first I didn't like what I saw. I started to think that maybe I shouldn't have done it, it was a waste of time (soooo much time. Self portraits are HARD), and that I was most definitely NOT going to post them. NopenopeNOOOPPPEEE. People would see that I'm fat under all of those clothes! People would think that I let myself go or that I'm lazy or that I'm ugly.

But. Then. 

I had a glass of wine and looked at myself with kindness. I looked at myself objectively as if I was looking at one of my clients. And then I fell in love. When I removed all of the mental bull-shit that runs through my head all of the time and just looked at that woman staring back at me...I cried. I cried for all that I have become, for all that I have lost in the battle to whittle myself down, and for all that my life is yet to be. And I'm crying now! 

So.

As it stands today I'm far from peace....but at least I'm not at war anymore. 

And that's good enough for me.

P.S. Other that color-changes and pimple removal I did NOT photoshop my body. I purposely used photos that flaunted my stomach in 'unflattering' poses because it's my biggest personal 'flaw' in my eyes. I think showing you that is the ultimate form of bravery, and it's set me free. 

Paintings-

Jan Gossaert's Venus and Palma Giovane's Venus and Cupid at Vulcan's Forge

(Hmmmm....Venus is a goddess. She looks like me. Therefore I am a goddess?!)

 

If you're ready to love yourself NOW just as you are and book a shoot with me- 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!

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!

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

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 3 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Here it is people!

Part 3 of Darling Just Fucking Own It!

If you haven't yet I suggest you go back and look at Part 1 and Part 2 so you can better acquaint yourself with Kit and the message behind these posts. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own self-empowerment session- 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.