shooting your own boudoir...

As many of you know I spent some time in front of the camera professionally;  modeling on and off since I was twelve actually. At about 15 year old I met a real big leader in the Asian market. My peers from my mother agency piled into a  hotel room and stripped down to our swim suits as the casting agent picked us apart one by one, pointing out each and every one of our flaws right out there in the open. My flaw, my hips were far too big and my chest too small. 

The chest thing I knew about, I had been getting teased for being flat chested since 5th and 6th grade, but the hips too big (translation: ass too fat) confused me to no end. Being our group of models were all from the south where the populace is notorious for being more plump, and we were constantly being told to eat, and other ignorant insults. Our agent prepared us to hear these types of things when going to open calls. Rejection for any reason at all was pretty standard. 

As I got older it only got worse, too big, too small (while I was pregnant), too old (at 24), hair too short, on and on. Through it all I remained pretty confident. I loved my body, I took care of it, watching what I put into it and worked it out to keep it strong. Then i gained 30 pounds in one year. I did not work out, I did not watch what I ate. The weight of the world, my marriage, the brothers death, stresses of relocation, and  being a parent became the weight under my flesh. I did not feel confident. 

As I praised other women who wore their curves with pride, I spent time being a whiny baby getting used to being in the category of a medically healthy weight. I tried to stay out of photos, selfies became face only, and shopping became the most depressing because the weight is never where you want it, and every time I would put something on and look in the mirror the little comments that family and friend have made about the gain would linger.

I started staring at the mirror as I would get undressed, I would say mean things about my body, sometimes out loud. Then I would reevaluate that as if I heard it from someone else. Oddly enough when I imagined mean things coming from someone else, I didn't take them to heart.  I remember compliments. If you know me in person, I am always complimenting women. It was time for me to practice what I'd preached. I started noticing things I liked about my new body (I love my new, even bigger butt) and thinking if I wanted to I could change what I didn't. After looking enough times at myself I realized I like it all. 

I have remembered the boudoir and nude photos I have shot of other women throughout the years, knowing what I know now about lighting and most importantly the power of shadows. I let go of the past body and the fear of the new one and stripped down for myself. I am only sharing because I feel good. And as a photographer I think I can do this for other women too.

When shooting boudoir comfort is key. If you want to go full nude, implied, or t-shirt and boy shorts. whatever makes you feel sexy is sexy. For me basic all black, and a silk robe. Then there is lighting, lots of shadows, lots of mystery. Lastly, soft hands, fingers on your own skin shows you are comfortable in your skin, it also leaves a lot to the imagination if this is something you are doing as a gift to your s.o.  

We shot the series with  a canon 6D with a canon nifty fifty (1.8), shot both in monochrome and faithful mode. We used both self timer and human tri-pod (husband). We brought the remote trigger but I swear I can only get it to work half the time.  Manual settings are key, you want to have the ability to change exposure and really bring out the shadows (i'm not a do it in post kind of girl)

The power of monochrome: everyone always wants to change in post but I feel shooting in a high-contrasted mono can help you better understand light. Enough shadow and the right highlights can make something with more coverage that a bikini seem so provocative by providing hints of curve and skin. B/W images also tend to be more timeless than whatever editing style is currently in season.