Stand in Your Power

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.

Back to Blogging

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.

The Woman Behind the Lace

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. 

Althea of Althea’s Fine Lingerie

“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  

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

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

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.  

Woman on the Verge of a Wondrous Breakout (a guest post by Aria Stevens)

When Melissa asked if I would be interested in her secret project to feature women of all ages, sizes, and gender identities, I was excited.

Excited to pose. Excited to let go. Excited to shut my eyes, find my happy place, and be transformed into a sexy, confident, commanding woman. 

But I was also terrified. 

Terrified to say yes. Terrified to see myself. Terrified to let someone else capture me with their lens, to instruct me into positions and request my trust.

I have been living in anxiety for quite some time. Anxiety to be seen as a fraud in a conservative county of a state in which I still don’t quite feel at home. When I moved to Wisconsin from Massachusetts a little over a year ago, I was leaving behind a widely-accepting “come as you are” atmosphere. Since then, I have been hesitant to leave the house. And the few friends I’ve made are scattered, meaning a drive to yet another unfamiliar place. 

I’ve deadlocked myself into my little area of home, the grocery store, and my therapist’s office. Aside from the occasional dinner or appointment, I’ve been a homebody most of the time for the better part of a year. Which brings me back to the Facebook message from a person who  wanted to feature me in such a public way.

I hurriedly responded YES and soon found myself preparing for a fitting at Althea’s Fine Lingerie. Yet the feeling of fraudulence didn’t relent. “Are you sure you’re supposed to be doing this? Are you sure you’re allowed to be celebrate your weird body with women who are more deserving than you?” I literally shook as I entered the boutique.

But something happened in the 2+ hours I spent sifting through endless black bras, swilling wine, and making self-deprecating comments about my body under the truthful lighting.

I started to wake up.

Melissa and Althea were totally normal. I wasn’t a token. I wasn’t given sweet epithets to make me feel good or spend more money. I was genuinely accepted without hesitation. 

I belonged.

It was this sense of belonging that carried me through the next few weeks. The day before my shoot, I was wracked with anxiety. Could I really go through with this? What if I liked nothing the camera had to show me? What if this made my self-image even worse than it already was?

But I had come this far, I needed to see it through. 

I arrived at the studio with a coffee three times the size of my self-esteem. I met the stylists and before long, I was coiffed and painted. All that was needed was me. 

Nervous excitement vibrated through me as I donned the first outfit. I paused, looking over the proverbial cliff, expecting an abyss of fear and shame. I crept out and entered the studio room to find something I hadn’t expected. There, in the reflection of the oversized mirror, my purple lipstick popped, my false lashes opened, my lacy lingerie contoured. 

I saw me. 

Thrusting my right hip out, I cocked my head to the left. Suddenly, the anxiety went out like a light. 

I could tell you about the sex I naturally exuded in front of the camera. I could tell you that some of the best shots were a result of my improvisation. I could say that Melissa gushed on multiple occasions about my being a “natural.”

But instead, I’ll focus on the aspect that has started to change my life. I haven’t yet mentioned that I’m a transgender woman. My gender identity has perpetually hindered me from accepting my womanhood. Handing myself over to Melissa’s lens tore off my blinders.

I can see.

The woman.

I already am.

I have never felt so intrinsically like myself. I’ve been trying to come to terms with who I am, to find legitimacy in my body, and see beauty in my existence. But when I stopped trying and let Melissa guide me, nothing was in my way. I owned that fucking space.

The final step in this journey was the reveal. My initial reaction was not exactly positive. My eyes were drawn to the spots I found ill favor with, nitpicking and fretting over the body I had so willingly let loose. But on the second round, when I began choosing the shots I “didn’t hate,” my eyes began to focus. 

At the end of all this, I still cannot say that I love everything about myself. I will say, however, that the things I still dislike no longer make me feel like less of a woman. I no longer feel like an outsider. 

I should note that there are things about me I fell in love with. Melissa brought out the aspects of my body and my face that thrills me to see. It is a gift to know I can feel this way about me.

We all see things on ourselves that we don’t like. And if I can admit that I have this same issue, I can admit that this issue isn’t one of gender identity. It’s just a simple fact of being human. I no longer need to justify myself as a woman or that I’m supposed to make up for something. I can instead focus on embracing the woman I am, the woman I was always meant to be.

Melissa has helped me to move forward while recognizing how far I’ve already come. And now I get to work in her world, to be a part of making this happen for other women. Women who see themselves as less deserving. Women who have carried shame for a long time. Women who, like me, are starting to wake up after letting Melissa show them who they really are.

Let’s continue waking up. 

Together. 

Secret Project Update: Featured model

Miss L is the first of my 21 models for the secret project!!!  If you haven’t heard what the secret project is, check it out here

I chose L because she working every day to empower women to get in touch with their sexuality by working at the Tool Shed. If you have not been there you should definitely check it out-it is a place where people of all genders and sexual orientations can explore their sexuality in a positive environment and be treated with respect by a friendly and knowledgeable staff!! All of those things are my jam. L also runs classes and discussion groups about Polyamory, including a book discussion about The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures.

L’s amazingness does not stop there, though. She is also a burlesque dancer with the Brew City Bombshells! I absolutely LOVE the body positivity in burlesque and the confidence of the dancers is completely captivating. They have a show coming up in early August so definitely check them out as well!!!

Now for L’s beautiful photos:

Ta-ta

This beautiful babe is an absolute inspiration in every single way.  I got a text from her a few days before Mother’s Day, asking if I did boudoir parties.

OF COURSE!  I love parties!  Women hanging out, empowering each other, cheering each other on, it’s always a blast.  It’s why I started Galentine’s Day.

It turns out that E was about to undergo a double mastectomy and had to do so in pretty short order.  

She wanted to celebrate her pre-surgery body, and she wanted her friends by her side. She called it a “tata to my tatas party.”  

My heart.

She said she specifically needed to document her breasts because they were amazing, and wanted to pour a bottle of champagne over them.  

WHY have I not thought of this before?

On the day of the shoot, the time came to get the champagne out. We cleared the bed away from the wall, did some “practice” shots before popping the bottle, and had the emergency standby bottles ready.  I had to be sure we got these shots right-it was the only thing she specifically requested.  And man.  They. Are. SPECTACULAR.  

THIS is what I mean when I say I want to capture happy, giggly, laughing shots-where you let go completely.  You are alive and free, loving everything in the precise moment the picture is taken.  

For those that have worked with me, pouring a bottle of champagne over your body works WAY better than exclaiming “PENIS!” to get genuine giggles.  

Her hubby was present for her photo reveal and he just beamed. He said it made him so happy to see she had a great time during the shoot.

She might have the most grace of any woman I have ever met.  She went through this whole process with a brave smile on her face, brazenly donning her Dita Von Teese lingerie (whom she is a clone for btw if you didn’t notice), and exhibiting absolute joy during her entire shoot.  

She patiently waited while I worked on her album design through a super busy month, and is already talking about a follow up shoot after reconstructive surgery.  

Hope you are feeling well, E.  I can’t wait to photograph you again.