Celebrating a healthy body image :: Orange County Boudoir Studio

Holy bombshell, Batman!

This gallery you're about to see, gives me so much creative life. When we planned this shoot, it was during our epic rainy season. We were aiming for a moody, rainy-day vibe and I was over-the-moon thrilled with the concept 'cause I loooove the rain. Especially here in Southern California where it's sunny roughly 300 days a year. The sun had a different idea that day, and decided to crash our shoot...in all the best ways. What we ended up with was glowing goddess bathing in golden afternoon light. Anyway, you're clearly not here to talk about the weather. 

Let's move on to more interesting things, like Miss A's session. When she told me she wanted to be my muse, I asked her how comfortable she was being nude. I'd really been dying to shoot a fine art nude boudoir session to add to my portfolio, and she was simply perfect for this. So much of the time I'm working with women who suffer with poor self-confidence and a negative body image. This time, it was so refreshing to work with a woman with self proclaimed "healthy confidence" and I'm here to so, YOU FUCKING GO GIRL! I'm so ready for self deprecation to be "out" and self love to be "in". When someone compliments you, raise your head high and say "THANK YOU" with confidence. Stop responding to compliments with "oh, but I hate my..." It's okay to love yourself. 

I'll get off my soapbox now, and move on to the good stuff. 

"I didn't really go into the shoot with any fears. I was pretty comfortable with the situation, and Mandy made it even easier because of her friendly, easygoing demeanor."

Favorite part of the experience?
Getting dressed up, feeling pretty. More excitement than a typical Tuesday afternoon.

"The shoot was pretty much what I expected, but the pics turned out better than my expectation!"

"Very impressed. The images turned out great, sexy and artistic, beautiful angles and lighting."

"I believe I am a person with a healthy confidence, I didn't have any personal breakthroughs due to the session. But, I think my boyfriend was very surprised and impressed with the fact that I did a shoot like that, and maybe now he views me in a more sensual light."

Get it, girl! I'm so excited for you to have these photos to look back on in 10, 20 even 30 years from now to remember this version of yourself. 

Are you ready to celebrate yourself, and learn to love the skin you're in? I'm here to tell you it's OKAY to have a positive body image. I want you to love every single image you see, and stop picking yourself apart. In fact, that's the one rule in my studio. I will not tolerate any negative talk of yourself. 

Let's talk. 

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She secretly always wanted to do this || Orange County Boudoir Photographer

One of the things that I believe is an absolute MUST for your boudoir experience, is professional make-up & hair. You're beautiful just as you are, but having someone do your make-up is part of what helps you take on that sexy alter-ego that I know is hiding in each and every one of you. I don't consider this optional, which is why it's built in to all of my sessions

When I started my boudoir photography business here in Orange County, CA, I started the search for the perfect make-up artist to compliment the intimate portrait experience that I provide. Someone with a personality kind of like me, and someone I'd like to have a drink with outside work. The "glam" portion of the photoshoot should feel like hanging out with your girlfriends, so if I'm not friends with the make-up artist...then, well, that would just be weird. 

I happened upon Veronica when I was searching for someone with experience working with all skin tones, to accommodate a client at the time. I quickly learned that not only is she an incredible artist, but a down-to-earth, super rad lady. We bonded quickly over our shared love of Game of Thrones. 

Something that I feel passionately about, is that I want all women that work with me to experience a boudoir shoot with me. I want the person who's going to be doing your make-up, to know what she's talking about when she says "you can relax, Mandy will show you exactly what to do." Someone you can relate to you, because she's #beentheredonethat. I also want to do everything I can, to help empower the women around me to be the best damn version of themselves possible.  

If you're looking for an amazing make-up artist in the OC/LA/SD area...I highly recommend Veronica Fensel Make-up Artistry. You can check out Veronica's gallery down below, and hear straight from her what it was like:

"I have watched women get glammed up and pose for boudoir shoots for years, and have secretly have always wondered what it would be like to do one myself!

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"Immediately upon leaving the shoot I felt like a sexier beast than when I walked in. I really did feel like a model during the session, and I think Mandy's encouragement during the shoot was the reason I felt that way! Then when I saw my photos, I felt especially beautiful seeing how amazing I looked during a time when I didn't feel so beautiful to begin with.

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"I had been feeling down and less confident about my appearance for several months before the shoot. My face was breaking out, and I was at my heaviest weight. I was, however, determined not to let my insecurities stop me from doing something I'd always wanted to do!

"My favorite part of the experience, was my improved self image."       

"My favorite part of the experience was my improved self image.

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"I was blown away when I saw my images! I rarely think I look good in pictures, and while I was expecting to like a few, I didn't expect to love every single one!

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"Mandy is one of my absolute favorite photographers to work with as a hair/makeup artist, and as a model! She consistently produces beautiful images and is just a real and positive person who is so fun to hang out with!"

(P.S. I adore working with you too, Veronica.) 

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Are you a make-up junkie wondering how she got her look? Veronica has shared all her make-up details with us. 

"For my foundation, I used Mehron Celebre Pro HD creme foundation in order to easily cover my acne scarring and blemishes. It is a full coverage creme, so I used a damp sponge to sheer it out in places that didn't need as much coverage. To cover up under eye darkness, I used MAC Prolongwear Concealer in NW25. The NW range from MAC has pink/peach to orange undertones which is great for correcting and covering blue and purple tones under the eye. Both of these products last a really long time, especially when you use a sponge or powder puff to press in translucent power on top to set it. To add some warmth and definition, I used Nars "Laguna" bronzer using a large flufffy powder brush around the perimeters of the face. On the cheeks I applied Nars "Orgasm" blush to brighten up my complexion. 

On my eyes, I used shadows from the Lorac Pro 2 Palette. From the palette, I used the color 'Nectar' in the crease as a transition color, and then blended inwards with 'Plum' and 'Cool Gray'. For a pop of shimmer on the lid, I used the colors 'Chrome' and 'Silver'. I lined the eyes with black gel liner from Inglot, and applied false lashes from the Coquette Cosmetics in the style, 'Leanna'. These lashes are super fluffy and full! Then, in order to make my lips pop on camera, I first filled in my lips with MAC lip pencil in 'Soar; and went over top with MAC lipstick in "Please Me". 

I set everything with Mario Badescu Rosewater spray to help meld the powders and creams together, and to give the skin a more natural glowing finish."

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"Going outside your comfort zone and seeing positive results is so rewarding! If you've always wanted to try something like this, but are more on the introverted side like me, Mandy is the perfect relate-able and comfortable person to shoot with!!"


It's true...I'm a bit of an introvert myself. I like having one-on-one conversations with people, and get terribly shy in a crowd (unless I have a camera in my hand). This is all part of why I love intimate portraiture, and why I'm so passionate about what I do. Connecting with people and helping them step outside of their comfort zone for an empowering experience adds so much fulfillment to my life. 

Are you one of those who's secretly always wondered what it would be like to have your own boudoir photoshoot? What are you waiting for? I'll help you through the whole thing and show you an incredible side of yourself that you may not knew existed. Let's start with a phone call to break the ice! 

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Her Heart Melted :: Central Kentucky Boudoir Photographer

Like myself and so many other women, this beauty right here called me up wanting to book a shoot because she was struggling with self-confidence.

All that we endure as women can really leave a girl feeling depleted. Most of the time, we're putting the needs of others ahead of our own and rarely taking time out all for ourselves...especially for things like feeling pretty. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but when a girl doesn’t feel beautiful, then she’s living life missing a huge source of confidence. I believe that ALL women are beautiful and carry a unique spirit that makes them special. When we’re able to realize that, and see ourselves as the beautiful badasses that we are – the world better lookout. That woman is unstoppable.

I want to be that woman. I want YOU to be that woman. I love empowering women to be the best damn version of themselves that they can be, with the power of intimate portraiture.

This session started as an anniversary gift to her husband. In the end, she gained a whole new perspective of herself.

"Viewing my photos...my heart melted. I could not believe how amazing I looked."

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Was the session different from what you expected?

"Yes it was. I thought I would be a little more nervous but honestly I was so much more comfortable. I felt like I was with an old friend"

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To those of you considering a shoot for yourself...

"Do it. You will feel so good about yourself through the whole process. It will show you that you are so much more than what you see yourself as." 

Ready to find out more about a shoot all for yourself? Get in touch! 

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This session was shot at the Spring 2016 Boudoir in the Bluegrass event, in Stanford Kentucky. Mandy Merino Photography offers limited Lexington & Central Kentucky boudoir photography sessions once or twice a year. 

Boho Bridal Boudoir :: OC Boudoir Studio

I'll admit it. Leading up to WPPI (one of the biggest photo conferences on the west coast held annually in Vegas, which I attended earlier this year), the thing that I was MOST excited about...was 3 whole days alone in a hotel room, with nobody else to take care of other than myself. Selfish thoughts? Maybe, but I'm a mom, and I think any mom who said she never dreams of glorious time alone is lying! I love that (nearly 3-year-old) kid as much as I possibly could, but every now and again, MAMA NEEDS A BREAK. You know what? I took full advantage of that trip, and did just that! 

I slept in late. I got take-out pizza, wine & cookies and rented a chic-flick while lounging in bed in my PJ's. I went clubbing (WHAT?!) one night all by myself. IT. WAS. EVERYTHING. As busy working moms, sometimes you just have to schedule in a little time to center yourself. To be alone with your thoughts, and not have to worry about everybody else's needs. If you've not done that recently, I highly encourage you to change that! 

Don't get me wrong though. I wasn't a total bum the entire time I was there. I also "worked." I put that in quotes though, because it's hardly work when you're doing something you love so much, and this little genre of photography has captured my heart and taken over my life. For better or for worse. ;)

While there, I was also able to recharge my creative energy with a boho bridal styled boudoir shoot with some fellow photographer friends. I'm DYING to do more of this! I looooove the style from this shoot so much, so if this speaks to you...get in touch with me. Let's plan your boho inspired looks. 

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This luxurious lace robe can be found here

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Are you a busy lady who needs to take some time out for yourself? Let's talk! A luxury boudoir experience is ALL about YOU. Just sit back, and I'll guide you through the whole process. Don't know what to wear? I do! No clue how to pose to look sexy? I do! From where your hands go, to how to breathe...I got you! Seriously, I take care of everything. 

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