...it felt great to hang with other women who are all about empowerment! They totally felt like my girl gang for the time we were together. I absolutely loved that!Read More
Shoot days are a little like Christmas morning for me. I never know what my clients will unpack out of their wardrobe bags when they first arrive. Even though we often meet and go shopping before a shoot, and I create a custom mood board with wardrobe recommendations for every single client, I still don’t know what they’ll end up bringing to their session. So, seeing all those lacy little numbers being unpacked is like heaven for me. My creative boudoir photographer wheels start turning and I begin imagining how I’m going to photograph that specific client, in each outfit.
This girl right here, well, she pretty much nailed it with her wardrobe. Truth be told, she rocked everything about session – but it all started when she laid out all her beautiful wardrobe options. She had such a sweet and bubbly personality, and then when the camera pointed her way…RAWR! We laughed and had so much fun, and girlfriend was fierce AF.
“I wanted to give my fiancé an unforgettable gift on our wedding day.” MISSION freaking ACCOMPLISHED.
A bit of advice from this beauty to women considering their own boudoir session:
"Pick out outfits that are true to you so you really do feel amazing in front of the camera, and just have fun. I know it can be stressful leading up to the day wondering about your bare body for the world to see, but its your body and you are doing this for you." #word
What was your favorite part of the experience? "Seeing the photos was the best for me; all the suspense was lifted. I honestly didn't believe it was me in some of them."
"I have always been very insecure about my body and most importantly my arms in photos. It was very tough to overcome that since most outfits are sleeveless."
FACT: It's fighting these fears head-on and conquering them, that makes boudoir photography so empowering! We ALL have insecurities.
What was it like working with Mandy for your boudoir experience?
"She was amazing! From the chit chat we had before I bought all the outfits, all the way until I got my album she was extremely helpful and easy to work with. I don't think I would be as comfortable as I was, if I ended up working with someone else. It felt like a great friend was taking these photos..."
Big thanks to this beauty for sharing her photos and experience with us! It was my pleasure, and I hope you and your husband enjoy these for many, many years!
To all you sexy Southern California Brides, let's talk about creating the perfect gift for your future spouse. Wanna know the best part about it? It's also a huge gift to yourself! In the midst of all the wedding planning stress, what could be more fun than setting aside a day that's all for you? Part of my job as an Orange County boudoir photographer, is making you feel amazing about yourself! That confidence is going to compliment your wedding dress better than any other accessories. ;)
Admittedly, the morning of this shoot, I nearly “backed out.” I’d been eyeing a friends’ Downtown LA apartment for a while as a shoot location, and when he agreed to let me shoot there, I was SO excited. Those sexy concrete floors, floor to ceiling windows and a stunning view of DTLA is this boudoir photographers’ dream come true. However, when the morning of the shoot rolled around the anxiety set in. All the unknowns of the environment started to overwhelm me, and I was considering just doing the shoot at home – where I was comfortable.
Fortunately, my husband gave me the loving kick-in-the-pants that I needed and told me to get the hell outta my own comfort zone. Thank goodness for him.
“…Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being; go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” -David Bowie
This quote hits home with me so much. Without a doubt, every time I’ve pushed myself to do something that scared the crap out of me, something amazing came of it. Case in point, this stunning collection of images.
Here's what Miss C had to say about her shoot:
“No, I don't have a significant other that I wanted to take these sexy boudoir photos for. This was something that I wanted to do just for ME and be proud of who I am, in the skin that I'm in, no matter what anyone else thinks. This was something Mandy completely understood and was just as excited for me to do this as I was."
"If you took a professional model shoot and added the pampering of a bride, that is what our whole day felt like. Mandy was so professional and personal during the entire process. We met first to discuss what type of style we were going for and gauged my level of confidence. I told her what was important to me (my tattoos) and what I wasn't comfortable with (fluffy midsection). And she paid very close attention to all of those things without me having to remind her or feel uneasy."
"On the day of the shoot it felt more like hanging out with the girls while getting ready for a night out. That type of trust is what allowed me to let go and be vulnerable and sexy."
"These photos are an example of how talented Mandy is to be able to capture my skater punk kid personality while exposing the bad ass sexy lady I never knew I could be."
Thank YOU, Cami, for opening up and letting me capture this side of you!
Hair & Make-up by Kathy Huynh Artistry
Special shout-out and thank you to Bucky and Ces for letting us invade your home. So thankful to have friends who love art and understand the power of inspiration! xo
We often associate our twenties with finding ourselves, right? I know I did! I enjoyed the hell out of my twenties. I started my career, explored, moved around a lot, made new friends, had tons of adventures and eventually met my mate. I also dedicated a lot of time in my twenties to thoroughly “investigating” who I was.
My ideas about life and love are very bohemian, and often completely hippy-dippy. I think the relationship you have with yourself is one of the most important, if not THE most important. If you don’t know who you are and what you want in life, how can you choose a partner/friend/career/home that you’re going to enjoy. Right at thirty, I married my amazing husband and thought I had a good handle on what I wanted out of life as I entered the next decade of my life.
A couple years later, I found myself at a crossroads. I was married, my son was about to turn one, I had a good paying job that allowed me the freedom to work from home, and we were all healthy. Everything was seemingly perfect, right? Except, I wasn’t happy. I was kind of miserable. Which made me feel angry and silly for being such a whiney-privileged-white-girl with far fewer problems than many struggle with, yet still feeling so unsettled.
I started doing some soul searching to try to pinpoint the source of my unhappiness. I mean, I thought I knew who I was and wanted in life. After a lot of tears, self-reflection and heart-to-hearts with my husband, we decided that my current job was mostly at fault. I didn’t love what I was doing and was certainly not passionate about it. It was a decent paying job with a lot of perks but still just “a job” and was actually stressing me out in a major way and consuming 60-80 hours a week at times.
I was tired of watching the nanny take my son for walks and to the pool. I wanted to be the person doing those things with him. For years, my dream was to be a stay-at-home-mom. I relished the idea of menu planning, organizing playdates and being Little-Miss-Suzy-homemaker. “I could rock the shit out of that,” I thought. We crunched the numbers, and decided the best thing for our family was for me to stop working full-time. It would be a sacrifice (hello, it’s Southern California and cost of living is cray), but one that we thought would be best.
So, I quit my job. Gulp. It wasn’t an overnight thing, though. I ended up freelancing part-time for several months to help them during re-staffing, but my hours cut waaaay back. I gained two full days a week with my son, and we started establishing our new routine of park explorations and playdates.
Awesome, right? Sadly, no! Instead of finding the contentment that I was expecting, I found myself lonelier than ever and completely isolated. Plus, this overwhelming sense of guilt and confusion. Many women (myself included) dream of being able to stay home with their little ones and raise them. “Why wasn’t this making me happy?” “Am I a monster because I don’t enjoy spending 24-7 with my son?” By this point, it was time to call in professional help. I could no longer deal with my own feelings and couldn’t see things clearly. Fortunately, I found a great therapist with whom I shared an instant connection with. It only took a couple sessions before I had a light bulb moment!
I’M AN ARTIST! However, over the past few years I’d stopped doing anything creative. My previous job had no creative outlets and I wasn’t pursuing anything on my own. I thought becoming a mother had turned me into the type-A, controlling person that I had become. WRONG! As I learned in therapy, creativity without an outlet can sometimes foster itself as perfectionism. Ding, ding, ding! That was sooo me.
I have always loved art and music, but I had never realized how much they define me. Those aren’t just hobbies or interests for me. They’re a part of my soul; part of who I am and where I find peace and contentment. Armed with this brilliant information, I decided it was time to make a change.
Photography had always been a passion of mine. A “someday maybe…” full-time profession. My first job out of college gave me the opportunity to learn digital photography and shoot corporate headshots, events and products, so it wasn’t new to me. I knew my way around a camera. It felt like a no-brainer that it was time to take the leap and try once-and-for-all.
I set out to start shooting again; anything and everything I could get my camera on. I wasn’t really sure what my vision or voice was as an artist, so I gave myself permission to explore. In this vein, I started attending various meet-ups with other photographers where they would get together and photograph one another. When I stumbled upon a boudoir meet-up group, I was intrigued…but didn’t really know much about it. As many, I thought, “oh, they’re just sexy photos,” and is exactly what I told my husband when he asked where I was going.
Nervous and scared, I went to meet a group of strangers. In a park. To take “sexy photos”.
I came home that night with a passion that I had never seen in myself. I had never had SO MUCH FUN with a camera in my whole life. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It wasn’t a group of girls being vein and taking sexy photos of each other. Instead, I found a group of women who are passionate about art, who love and embrace themselves as they are and encourage one another. I was hooked and so in love with that collection of images.
From there, I was ravenous. Hungry for more! I set out to learn all that I could and practice as much as possible. I started spending my “laundry days” folding clothes and watching countless online classes on posing, lingerie, lighting and the business of boudoir. All other types of photography basically flew out the window for me. “Am I crazy?” “What will my family and friends think?” These are the questions that swirled around in my head as I debated taking the leap to dedicate my business solely on boudoir photography. Fortunately, my ever-supportive-husband re-confirmed things for me. “You should go for this! I see a hunger and passion in you that I’ve never seen before.”
When I decided to follow my heart and stop worrying about what everybody else thinks, it was like the clouds parted and things clicked. It filled so many voids in my life (more on this subject in a future blog post). I had always loved hair, make-up, fashion, and playing dress-up. This was an opportunity to combine my talents and interests in an exciting new career path. Little did I know how much it was going to change my life and revitalize my own self-confidence.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been a rocky road filled with fear, doubt and difficulty. Some days I still ask myself what the hell I’m doing and wonder if I’m cut out for it, but then I’ll receive a glowing testimonial from one of my clients and they re-confirm things for me. I’m doing so much more than making art with my photography; I’m HELPING women reclaim their femininity (sometimes discovering for the first time) and realize what badasses they truly are.
A boudoir photoshoot with me is so much more than taking a few sexy photos. It's an experience, from beginning to end. For some, it's therapeutic and maybe one of the scariest things they've ever done. For others, it's a celebration of who they are and acceptance of their unique beauty. As Dita Von Teese once said, "It's not about seducing men. It's about embracing womanhood."
I'd love to hear YOUR story. Get in touch and let's chat.
If I could have a second dream job (in addition to being a boudoir photographer), it would be working with the person who creates the soundtrack for a movie. I'm not sure what that exact title is, but, I think that would be so much fun. Nothing makes me happier than listening to awesome music while creating beautiful art. And that's exactly what I felt while creating this collection of images. We listened to an entire Radiohead album during the shoot, so it seemed only fitting to use their new song in the video for this session. Turns out, it perfectly represents the mood and vision for this shoot.
Listen to it loudly and enjoy!
I wanna hear what songs/bands/artists inspire you! Comment below with your inspiration. I love the idea of developing a concept for a shoot based on the inspiration of one album or musician.
This woman right here, is the poster child for my boudoir philosophy and mission. I RELATE to her on so many levels. Helping women like her reclaim their sensuality in a totally fun, relaxed and artist experience and walk away with a new-found confidence is why I do what I do.
So many women think or say, “Oh, I wanna wait until I lose the baby weight to have my shoot.” I absolutely, totally get that. However, what if instead of waiting, you accept the person you are TODAY (stretch marks and extra pounds) and capture this beautiful time in your life. I don’t know about you, but my breast-feeding boobs were pretty amazing! ;) How cool would it be to have photos to remember that unique version of you?
"I wanted to do something for myself that would make me feel a little like my old self, since having the twins. It was time to get out of the yoga pants, take the mom bun down, and put some makeup on."
"I am not as comfortable in my skin since having my babies. It took some guts to strip down into so little, but I knew I could do it. As much as I would like to be skinner and more fit, I know that my body created two little humans, at the same time! And that, is pretty amazing."
What was your favorite part of the experience?
"I think I would have to go just the interaction with Mandy. She really made it feel like I was just hanging around with a girlfriend and taking photos."
"I was able to see that I still got it! Under all the spit up, sweat and whatever else there is, I am still that sexy woman that my husband says I always was."
Mrs K, thank you so much for sharing your photos and experience with us! You absolutely, without a doubt, definitely still GOT IT. You're a goddess, and your husband...he's one lucky man.
And to those of you reading, wondering if you still have "it"...you do! I promise. If you need me to show you, get in touch and I can answer all your questions.
I'm so excited to feature this beauty in my very first blog post. It's fitting, as she was one of the first few women to walk through my doors and entrust me with her boudoir experience. The moto and motivation for her shoot was YOLO! "...you only live once, and one day I would like to look back at myself and see my full sexy potential."
I agree, girl! You're a badass sexy woman. We all need a little reminder from time to time.
"My favorite part was the effect before and after the shoot. Before the shoot I started exercising more, taking care of my skin and hair, thinking about what I wanted to look like as a sexy model. After the shoot I felt sexier than ever, kept talking care of myself and I knew for a fact I was sexy because I had seen the pictures and it was proof! "
Any advice for other women considering a boudoir session of their own?
"Do it ASAP. It brought me out of a funk I had been in for a couple years and motivated me to be who I really want, it was the exact kick in the pants I needed. You can either spend the money on a shrink, or sexy photos. "
Let me help you see your full sexy potential! Get in touch and let's chat about what a session planned just for you would look like.