One of my biggest regrets is not having maternity portraits taken of myself. I think maybe 2 photos exist of me pregnant. Regardless of how I felt about my body at the time, every.single.time I see them I feel an incredibly joyful nostalgia. I miss holding those sweet little babies.
THIS right here is why it is so important to exist in photos. To be able to look back at this incredible time in your life to appreciate what your body has done-the almost unbearable excitement, waiting to meet your sweet little bundle and hold them for the first time. To embrace being sexy AND being a mother – we are allowed to do both!!!
Miss M came in to celebrate her first baby, and she glowed with happiness her entire shoot. She is going to make an incredible mama, and I can’t wait for her to meet her beautiful little girl.
This is a chronological (ish) look at 2019. It is so crazy to look back at the images taken at the Hide House studio. It feels like it was a million years ago that I moved into the new studio in Walker’s point!
Not only did I move into an entirely new studio, but I completed the third installment of the secret project and worked with so many people that helped me grow as a person and an artist. I am so grateful for every one of these beautiful, amazing souls.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this work that I love so very much.
So many boudoir shoots are about reclaiming your power. The inner beauty and mojo that you KNOW is there but have somehow lost. Sometimes it is a monumental life event, like walking away from a terrible marriage. Sometimes it is losing yourself in motherhood. Sometimes you wake up one day and wonder who you are and where your old self went. These are my favorite types of shoots. Reconnecting with yourself, loving yourself, celebrating yourself. We all need it. Here is what miss C said about her shoot:
“Melissa! Thank you!!! You showed me a version of me that I never knew was actually there, and you showed me the beauty of standing in my own power.”
Her images are so stunning and I can’t wait to deliver her album just in time for the holidays! A gift, indeed.
I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I blogged!!!
Black Friday through Cyber Monday is one of the busiest times of year for me-I booked out half the year with the sale! I am SO excited to work with everyone that treated themselves to an incredible experience of self love and empowerment.
Now the focus has switched to the 12 Days of Christmas in my facebook group-we play games every day and someone wins a prize from one of my favorite local businesses!! So far we have given away prizes from Colectivo Coffee and Indulgence Chocolatiers! The first day we had a compliment challenge and it was so amazing to watch all these women lifting each other up and cheering each other on.
Today’s prize is a sassy one-come join our group if you want to play! There is always an amazing grand prize on the last day . . . .
In the meantime, I’ll let these absolutely gorgeous images speak for themselves.
There are so many things I could say about this project. My gratitude goes out to each and every person that participated in the project-all the models that put themselves out there for all to see, to David for being a continued phenomenal (and handsome) guest photographer, to Althea’s Fine Lingerie for fitting the models and to Schumann Studio Creative for the amazing prints. But the impact and importance of this project is really summed up by a message that I received the morning after the project reveal party.
As an artist, you put work out there and hope that it resonates, inspires, makes a difference. You are vulnerable, hoping it sends someone strength. This is the type of message that keeps me going, fills me with humility and inspires me to do more, keep growing, keep seeing beauty in everyone (as if I could stop). Thank you, K. You will thrive indeed. And all of us are rooting for you. ❤️❤️❤️
“I wasn’t able to attend your event last night but I just flipped through the images you shared and I couldn’t help myself from wanting to send a message and thanking you for your honest and thoughtful inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds in your projects. I know this is something you work at and I have seen the progress through the years. In a post-Trump world, I have tried to be more conscious of what business and people I support. I believe you take your mission of inclusion and diversity (in ALL the ways) very seriously and that it means something to you. I am proud to support your business and you! And as if it needs to be said – the images are gorgeous and powerful.
On a personal level, I have come in for two sessions with you in the past. The first time, you were still in your first marriage and the second time you had went through your divorce. I was struck by the transformation and growth I saw in you and inspired by it. I had no that idea that several years later I would spend all of 2019 unexpectedly fighting for my marriage and going through some of the most painful and heartbreaking experiences I can imagine. Being in your FB group and watching you be strong, vulnerable, confident, and sincere has given me so much hope that whenever I find the end of this struggle – whether it result in divorce or a saved marriage – I will be ok and I can and will thrive. So thank you for being open about your story and experiences – in case you weren’t sure, they have impact and have helped me.
One of the most important factors in a successful boudoir shoot is your choice of wardrobe. You don’t want digging straps, gaping cups, or any other uncomfortable thing happening with your underwear. But most importantly, you want to feel irresistibly sexy. A great lingerie set can transform your entire mindset, a huge benefit going into a boudoir shoot.
This is where Althea’s Fine Lingerie comes in. All Studio M shoots include a wardrobe consultation with Althea. She has an absolute GIFT for fitting women with lingerie that flatters their body types and fits their budgets. This is what Althea has to say about working with Studio M!
“I have an admiration for the way Melissa has built her business: on her own terms. Like Melissa, I believe that every woman is beautiful – and that every woman should have beautiful bras, panties and lingerie that fits and helps her look her best. It’s about helping someone feel confident, secure and sexy. That’s why the two of us work together so well.”
It isn’t a secret to anyone who has talked to me that I absolutely love Althea, but here are a few things you might not know:
Althea opened her shop in 2014, after developing a love for luxurious fabrics and fine tailoring details, which began when she was a young woman.
“I have always been a curvy girl. I started sewing my own clothes in about 1972, in 7th grade, because I already had a figure that didn’t quite fit the shape of the clothes sold in the stores.”
Here is what a couple of Studio M Clients have had to say about their fittings with Althea:
“I am starting this by saying I have never been “properly” fit for lingerie. Like most women, I have gone to Victoria’s Secret and gotten measured for their bras, which put me at a 34D (I have lost a considerable amount of weight in my life and breastfed my son for almost 2 years, no way am I a D cup…) I stopped in Althea’s because Melissa (from Studio M Boudoir Photography) was hosting an event and I was in the area. Althea was so warm and welcoming I decided to try on a few pieces. She measured me at a full B cup and for the first time I actually had a bra that fit me correctly. She taught me about the band and adjusted the straps for me. I ended up walking out with the sexiest lingerie set I’ve ever owned! I am so thankful for Althea’s expertise and professionalism, I have recommended her to all my friends and will definitely be shopping there again!”
“When I first visited Althea’s Fine Lingerie I didn’t know what to expect. I must admit, I was slightly intimidated by Althea’s presence. She was sitting at her sewing machine and she had a very no nonsense look on her face. However, as Althea and I began to work together and explore my options, I realized that my initial impression was ALL WRONG! Althea is warm, friendly, direct, and over the top HILARIOUS! She turns what could be considered an uncomfortable situation in to a party! She is very knowledgeable about the lingerie that she sells as well as what will look good on you according to your body type. She and I laughed and laughed and before I knew it, I wanted to buy everything in her store! I spent more money with her than I have ever spent on lingerie, but you know what…IT WAS WORTH IT. After my fitting and purchase she and I chatted a while. I had been feeling a little down a few days prior to visiting her, after I left her store, I felt GREAT! Oh…and my photo shoot was PHENOMENAL! I just want to say “Thank you Althea…I hope I’ve done your fine lingerie justice!”
Take a trip to downtown Milwaukee and visit Althea-you will laugh, possibly have some wine and chocolate, and leave with the sexiest lingerie you have ever owned. <3
At least once every couple of years, I schedule a boudoir shoot for myself to stay in touch with how my clients feel. It is easy to get complacent behind the camera and to tell everyone how easy it is to “just do it.”
As someone who is either in jeans and a tee shirt or gym clothes 99% of the time, I always love the preparation leading up to a boudoir shoot. Trying on glamorous lingerie, getting pampered with a mani/pedi, the anticipation of a bikini wax (especially if you’ve never had one), and the gloriousness of having your hair and makeup done for you – Natalie and Amy are absolute wizards.
Then comes the vulnerability of asking someone to see the beauty in you. It takes real courage to put yourself out there and submit yourself to the process. I appreciate this every single time I am the one being photographed, and I don’t take this responsibility lightly.
Then the butterflies start when it’s time to be photographed. They slowly dissipate and all of a sudden you are feeling insanely sexy and confident, like you could do anything. This time was no different.
Of course, everyone wants to know-who photographs a boudoir photographer? I have had the pleasure of being photographed the last few times by my boyfriend, David. Isn’t he handsome?
He used to teach photography, so he has some serious chops and knows his way around the camera. It was so much fun to approach this as a couple – looking at poses, deciding what I was going to wear, the shoot itself, and of course, sitting down to look at the pictures together after the shoot. I learn something every single time we do this-the benefit of being in the position fo the client, the benefit of another artist’s perspective, the benefit of the male perspective, and the reminder of how sore you are the day after a boudoir shoot. Arching your back for a couple hours is hard work!! This time, I also learned how much I love the burlesque look. I don’t think I’ve ever felt sexier.
Almost a week later, and I am still feeling the post shoot high, and am already looking forward to our next collaboration. Here are some of my faves from the shoot (I smile every time I look at them):
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.
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.
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.