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

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.