The Best Reason to Have a Boudoir Shoot: YOU

About seven years ago, I was doing mini sessions for clients at a fancy hotel all day, and since I had the hotel room anyway, I decided to set up a date night with my then husband. I packed all my own sexy lingerie with the idea that he would come up to pick me up for dinner and he could play photographer. He knew absolutely nothing about photography but I kept my lights set up and had the camera all set up so all he’d have to do was point and shoot. I figured it would be a fun way to kick off our date night, and would be SUPER hot. I thought about it all day. He got up to the room, I excitedly showed him my outfits and explained my idea and he said “I’m tired. Lets go eat.” I was absolutely crushed. I was already feeling vulnerable about my post baby body and was trying desperately to feel sexy and desirable. I had put so much time into the outfits I chose-thinking about what he would like, what poses I would show off for him and instead we had . . . pizza.  

I have learned a lot about myself since that day, but the most important thing is – you do a boudoir shoot FOR YOU. Your partner may happen to be the lucky recipient of beautiful images IF they appreciate it. I photograph women whose partners never even see their images. They don’t even know they have had photoshoots!  

As women, we do this to reconnect with our sexuality, our need to feel desirable, our need to feel like the absolute bombshell that we can’t always be (or don’t WANT to be) in everyday life. But every now and then we need to reconnect to the fiery goddess that we know is there. And she is in everyone.  

Since that failed boudoir attempt, I managed to bravely pick myself back up. I have been photographed multiple times, and for different reasons. Each time though, I embrace a little bit more of MY feminine power and sexuality. MINE. Each time I figure out a little bit more about what *I* find sexy. And each time I get a little bit stronger. I have explored cosplay boudoir, frolicked in the woods and in the lake naked (I felt like a nymph), played in a bathtub, sprawled out on a wooden floor, and more. And tomorrow, I’m being photographed again. This time, I’m going to explore a burlesque fantasy of mine, and eventually the rooftop (we will see how warm it is). 

I know it’s hard when you don’t feel seen or appreciated by your partner. I feel your pain-I have been there and I remember. And boudoir isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some of them would prefer pizza. But it is okay to want this for yourself – to want to feel sexy and glamorous, and to DO it for yourself too-multiple times even. <3

Here is a shot from my last session-more to come from tomorrow’s shoot.

xoxo

Melissa

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming out day for 2019, and I stand proudly with those who have already come out, for those who chose today to celebrate their authenticity, and for those who don’t feel safe or aren’t ready yet. Love is Love.

Secret Project: Featured Shoot-an Evolution

I choose Miss H for the project because her story resonates with so many of us-the ladies of the lost an found club. We get lost somewhere in a marriage that isn’t right for us, and find ourselves in a place of glorious rediscovery. A boudoir shoot is definitely a rite of passage for the newly divorced – so freeing, reaffirming, confidence building, and exciting. Not to mention celebratory. Here is what she had to say about participating in the project:

“I believe in Studio M’s mission- that all women and all people are beautiful and important in their own ways, no matter what! I stumbled upon the Babes Group at such an important time for me and it was exactly what I needed. 

The past couple years have been evolutionary for me. Last year I got out of a bad situation and got divorced and now am growing to be the happiest person I know, for my son and I. I’ve lost 40 pounds so far and am feeling energetic, positive and carefree. And my confidence is shining so bright that other people are noticing. I’m coming to realize that it’s ok for me to be happy for myself- and I know this “new Me” would shine brightly as a model for Studio M!”

Shining bright, indeed-that smile is stunning as are all of her images.

Secret Project: Featured Shoot!

I loved working with Miss M, and I chose her because I see her story over and over again. We do a shoot, motivated somewhat by a partner. Choosing wardrobe based on what we think they might like, etc. We get a taste of the experience, and crave more, emboldened by the process. Then we come back for ourselves. Confident, liberated, ready to push ourselves more. She absolutely glowed during her shoot and I had a hard time narrowing my favorites for her blog post!! This is what she had to say about her shoot:

“I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with Melissa. She is so amazing! I decided to do this shoot because I felt like I wanted to do something for myself and get out of my comfort zone. Melissa helped me to see my beauty and sexiness that I usually overlook since I tend to be very critical of myself. I feel this photo shoot was a great teaching moment to help me remember to see the best in myself no matter how I may be feeling. This is an experience I will never forget and I’m already looking forward to having another shoot with Melissa sometime!”

How to Save Before Pricing Changes in 2020

I have always believed that boudoir is for everyone, and I want shoots to be accessible to everyone. As women, especially mothers, we often put ourselves at the bottom of the list, especially when it comes to an experience as luxurious as a boudoir shoot. We tell ourselves we don’t “need” photos of ourselves, or that breathtaking lingerie or the starlet hair and makeup treatment.

The truth is, we need passion and excitement in our lives just as much as we need air to breathe. And a little bit can sustain us for a long time. I want everyone to be able to experience boudoir. To be able to remember the heart pounding excitement that comes with preparing for your shoot, having the courage to walk through the front door, to come out of the dressing room in your daringly sexy attire, and to open yourself up to the vulnerable but glorious process of being photographed by another person. To let someone see the beauty you can’t always see in yourself.

Over and over, I have also seen women flabbergasted by how much they absolutely adore their images, not having expected to want the top collection, or even 20 images-but they do-they want them all. All the time! While session fees and collections are going up, I have a new and super exciting program that will let you extend payment plans beyond our current six month plans, so you can have the boudoir album of your dreams. Introducing . . . . the boudie bank!

The Boudie Bank allows you to pay into your account before your shoot!  This means you can pre pay for your collection (in full or in part) ahead of time, and if you decide to upgrade after that, you can STILL take advantage of our current payment plans-this means you can have longer than 6 months to pay for your order!  Okay now for the details on pricing changes:

Collections will now include a credit for wall art in addition to the $100 credit towards the collection of your choice included in your session fee! There has been a huge surge in orders for wall art, and I am making it easier for you to relive that amazing boudoir experience every day when you look at your gorgeous self!  

Session fees will be going up to $349 and collections will begin at $749 instead of $450.  This means a 2019 boudoir shoot starts at $599 and 2020 shoots will start at $998.  Digital files will only be available with our Signature Black Book and Session Collections.

Now the important part-how you can save!!!

Book a shoot by 10/31/2019, and receive 2019 pricing for shoots scheduled through 3/31/2020!

Book with a friend and each of you will receive an additional $100 credit towards your orders! You can schedule shoots on different dates, or make a girls day of it!

Click here to book, or contact me at melissa@studiomboudoir.com, or call/text 4144678338!! I would love to photograph you!

xoxo

Melissa

7 Tips for Taking a Sexy Selfie

I have been photographing boudoir for over ten years now. I know firsthand how much of a confidence boost it can be to take a killer sexy selfie. These are my “sexy selfie 101” tips to get you started-you can take these on your phone-no fancy camera required!

Tip #1: Find a good source of natural light.

There is nothing worse than terrible bathroom light washing you out and making you feel terrible about yourself! Natural light is much better and will really do wonders for your gorgeous features. I took both of these images with NO makeup so you can see the difference in JUST the right lighting alone.  

Here’s an example I took with some nasty bathroom light, and then an example I took in natural light-I think you can see the difference is pretty dramatic and way more flattering!

Tip #2 – Work Your Angles!

Generally, shooting down at something will make it look smaller, and shooting up at something will make it look bigger. So a good tip for slimming your face and body is to hold your phone above eye level.

This is what it looks like when you shoot from below versus above. Not all that flattering to shoot up your nose. Which, let’s be real, no one wants to see that.

I used the second image in tip one to illustrate natural lighting, but it’s perfect for illustrating how flattering shooting from above can be. Plus, depending on what shirt you’re wearing, you might capture some of that amazing cleavage 😉
 
As with every rule, there is always an exception. Sometimes it’s good to shoot from a lower angle…I did say that shooting from a lower angle makes the subject of your image look bigger, right? Why not use that to your advantage!? Which leads us to tip # 3 . . . .

Tip #3 – Use A Timer!

It can be really hard to get the right angle while you’re holding your phone, even when using a selfie stick. Take a pic from below and behind to accentuate that nice and curvy booty!

Here’s an example. The first shot I held my phone behind me, and in the second I placed it on the floor and set my timer. I also stuck my booty out, and placed my hands on my thighs to frame my booty!

See? Super simple, but super effective.

I use TimerCam, or just the timer on my iPhone, but there’s a ton of other options out there depending on what you like and what type of phone you’re using.

Tip #4 – Play with expressions. But most of all, Smile!

I always tell my clients all the time that “happy + half naked = amazing.” If you are having a hard time getting a genuine smile, find a word to say that makes you feel silly.

“Penis” works for me every time 🙂

Other suggestions I use for my clients are boner, balls (or the killer combo balls balls balls cocksucker said really fast), willy, cooter…get creative! And when you find that natural smile spreading all across your face, snap a shot!

Here are some examples:

I look much happier and like I’m having a ton more fun in the image on the right. And chances are, you feel more drawn to the one on the right than the one on the left.

The one on the left seems more bored or standoffish. If you’re trying to be enticing, a smile is much better.  If you really don’t want a smile but can’t get your face to relax, say the vowels out loud!  “a, e, i, o, u!”  

Bonus points: did you notice I also used natural lighting for this image? I got some good cleavage in there too from the bra and the angle of the phone. Meow!

Tip #5 – Wear something your Significant Other Loves!

Do they love those soft thigh high socks or a particular pair of cheeky undies? Feature those! 

Here’s one I took wearing a super cute new bodysuit I just got and my glasses (who doesn’t love the sexy librarian thing, right?):

Don’t have a significant other? Who cares!!

Take selfies wearing something that makes YOU feel sexy! Feeling sexy is a state of being, it doesn’t have to be for anyone else but you 🙂

Tip #6 – Get Naked!

Now, I know we just talked about putting something sexy on but now we’re going the opposite direction.

Instead, take it all off! Yes, I said it!

If you don’t want to bear it all or you don’t feel comfortable – that’s ok. Instead, hit the sheets and tease them with the illusion of nudity. 

Here’s one I took that alludes to me being nude:

I’m not showin’ off the goods, but it’s still sexy! And yes, I’m using natural light (tip #1) and a timer (tip #3). If you’re a little more bold, you can try something like this:

Ok, I didn’t use a timer for this one (obviously), but I did use natural light. I also arched my back, which stretches out the tummy and creates more of a curve.

Tip #7 – Use Editing Software to Finish The Image!

You can really make your images pop using some basic editing software. 

I personally love Snapseed, but there are tons of other options out there. Your phone may even have built-in editing software as well.

There’s no right or wrong with editing either – it’s whatever you like and whatever makes you feel sexy-play with the color, contrast, basic blemish removal, and find what makes you feel good about you! 

Keep in mind your partner is turned on by the REAL you-not a super edited plastic version of the you that is already glorious without editing.

Now go forth and (sexy) selfie!!!

xoxo

A Reclamation

When I first met Melissa a couple of years ago, I was so nervous about our photoshoot. I had recently come out as genderfluid, nonbinary, and pansexual. If you don’t know what those words mean, that’s okay! The quick version is that I am neither a man nor a woman, but that my gender tends to change depending on how I’m feeling. This means that I am transgender because I’m not the gender I was assigned at birth. I operate outside of the gender binary of male and female, hence being nonbinary. As far as being pansexual? I’m not lusting after your cast iron – I just think everyone is attractive, regardless of their gender. 

When the day of our shoot came, I wasn’t sure if it was something I still wanted to do. After all, it’s so often a marker of femininity and that wasn’t always how I wanted to feel. I hadn’t been close to naked in front of anyone but my husband at that point in… gosh, a decade. Add in the intricacies of being disabled and at that point unable to work and, well, my self-esteem was pretty shot.

Without knowing about all the complex pieces of my journey, Melissa helped me feel comfortable and at home. 

I went from experiencing a large amount of gender dysphoria to starting to accept and love the feminine sides of my body while still holding space for uncomfortable feelings. Even on my most masculine days, I saw my body in a new light. I started to appreciate what I, as a sex educator, shared with others – how you can be yourself even within certain bodily constraints. Check out my work on chronicsex.org.

Naturally, when she asked me to be a part of her new project, I jumped at the chance. What I didn’t know when I said yes was just how much I was going to need this time with her to explore and enjoy myself.

Within about two months of our scheduled shoot date, my husband and partner of nearly 13 years told me he wanted a divorce.

There are many pieces to why that happened, but my gender identity and sexuality were major factors. After being out for three years with ample space for conversation and learning, he still couldn’t figure out how he felt about the new me.

By the time Melissa and I got to talking more about what we’d like to do with the shoot, she asked if I wanted to play with gender expression to see myself as I am. Knowing that me living my truth helped end my relationship somehow gave me more power to display who I truly am.

Instead of being timid and shy, I walked into our shoot incredibly confident and ready to reclaim my body and my life as my own. I was armed with my best Tyra Banks smize, some sexy outfits, and a hell of a lot of sass.

I’ve received a lot of compliments on the few sneak peaks I’ve shared with partners and friends. Even more, a ton of people noticed the change in my confidence level. Over the past month, I’ve gone from being timid about discussing gender at work or in more public spaces to speaking my truth more.

For the first time in ages, I’m getting looks at the gym and grocery store. Instead of being annoyed by them, I’m embracing them because I finally get it. Being able to see what others see when they look at me has been life changing. 

Regardless of where I fit on the gender spectrum, I know how I look – fucking hot. 

A Little Dose of Nostalgia

I picked up a 35mm film camera ( a pentax k1000) when I was sixteen, hoping it was the one thing that was going to finally give me the identity I was searching for so desperately. Something needed to define ME. I wasn’t really one of those artsy girls. I wasn’t a popular girl. I never had any patience with mean girls. I was too soft to really be a grunge girl, even though I hung on to Courtney Love’s every word (lyric) and even had to be dragged out of a mosh pit at a Hole concert once . . . who knew I would end up here, doing what I love.

I have carried the negatives from the following images among my most prized possessions. I was so proud of this work, a whole year of photography experience under my belt. It encapsulates everything I was passionate about as a hopelessly romantic, idealistic, lovestruck teenager. I was fortunate enough to grow up in England as a military brat and because of that had incredible opportunities to travel when I was younger. Here is a little peak into my beginnings as a photographer.

This is the inside and outside of the Musee D’Orsay, which I would love to visit with my girls! The architecture is just mind blowing. It used to be a train station!

This is just outside the Louvre-this guy was sitting just like the two behind him and I was drawn to the symmetry. He saw that I was pointing a camera at him and couldn’t help but giggle.

These were taken in Edinburgh, while I was tagging along on a trip with my high school sweetheart’s family (hence the lovestruck teenager bit). I was obsessed with the picture of his sister (they totally have the same nose) and of that cow! SO fuzzy!

These are from a trip to Scotland – I tagged along with my high school sweetheart’s family. The picture of his sister was a happy accident but a super important lesson in the power of well placed light. I processed it just like this too-super contrasty, not exposed exactly right, but I loved it nonetheless.

And ah yes, the 15 minutes of fame type moment. A teacher at our high school was Nate’s aunt (front right), and she got us backstage access to meet, photograph and interview the Foo Fighters. I was convinced I was going to be a Rolling Stone photographer, and made Annie Leibovitz my personal hero.

I’m sure I would have loved the life of a Rolling Stone photographer, but I am so happy I ended up where I am today-empowering women to love their bodies through boudoir photography.

xoxo

Melissa

Secret Project Update: Featured Model

I love when I can make people feel comfortable with themselves when they walk into my studio.  I am so passionate about body positivity, and when I see that in someone, it makes me feel alive, like my purpose is being fulfilled.  

Ruth is a powerhouse of a woman with whom it was a privilege to work. She was already on fire when she arrived, despite the feelings of anxiety she wrestled with the day before. After having lost over 100 pounds, she was ready not only to accept, but to show off the body she had worked hard to reclaim.

Before we got started, Ruth showed me a pair of lacy red panties that her husband had bought for her years before they were married. She really wanted to feature these, especially since her photos would be a surprise to share with him. How awesome is that?

What followed was a 2-hour show of fierce strength and beauty. She hardly needed any direction and at one point I was sure my camera was going to light on fire. The pride and confidence in her eyes was truly stunning.  

Here is what she said about why she wanted to be a part of the 2019 Secret Project:

“My name is Ruth and I’m a 35year old Puerto Rican living here in Milwaukee for 7 years now. A mom of 3, I use to be a nurse in PR but here I’m mom, exterior painter, tutor for my homeschooling kids and whatever it takes to be the person they need me to be and that makes me happy.

I’ve been struggling with my weight for many years and a year and a half ago I ended up with a surgery on my knee that left me with a mark half of the size of my leg due to a fracture, and after that I gained even more. At 301lbs my doctor said that if I can’t get down to the 180 pound goal they set for me, I can’t have the second surgery needed.  So, I decided to have a gastric sleeve surgery last November for me, for my kids for my health.

This month I reached my first goal of weighing below 200 pounds, which means loosing a little bit over 100 pounds!!! My body is changing a lot and is very hard to love it the way it looks now, to hide that excess skin, but I know this is the right way and one day everything will be in the right place.

I want to model for StudioM because I want to celebrate that no matter how your body change you still have to celebrate and see the beauty in the most perfect imperfections created. I feel I still can be pretty and sexy and sweet no matter how much skin I can see.”

As with all of my clients, the photo reveal came shortly after we finished the shoot.

Before we began the slideshow, however, I had my assistant prepare to take a video of her reaction to seeing herself on screen. The results were priceless.

Take a peek at the video and just try not to get excited with her 😍

A Beautiful Mama

I have had the honor of photographing this beautiful mama five times.  Three boudoir shoots (one of them bridal), one couples shoot with her new hubs, and now this maternity boudoir shoot.  This shoot was also part of my 2019 secret project.  I wanted to include a maternity shoot this time, because I feel like it is so important to celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes, including the glowing figure of the expectant mama. 

I think EVERYONE that has a baby needs to capture this amazing time-when your body is literally growing another human being.  She also bravely ventured into the bathtub and it.was.glorious.