***EDITED – I removed the photos from this blog post at my client’s request***
When I began my photography journey, I tried a little bit of everything – children, newborns, families, seniors, even a wedding. When I was hired for my first birth, I fell in love. I felt like I was pulled towards birth photography, like it was something I was destined to do. I got that exact same feeling when I did my first breastfeeding session, and again when I did my first boudoir session. I didn’t connect the dots at the time, but these three types of sessions all showcased strong, powerful, beautiful women. It wasn’t until late 2014 when I realized I needed to specialize my photography – and I NEEDED to specialize in women’s photography. I had a calling to empower women through my lens.
But what is empowering women, exactly? In my heart, it means making a woman realize her true strength, her true beauty. To give her the confidence she needs to conquer the world. And with each birth, breastfeeding & boudoir session, I can do exactly that.
I received an inquiry in December for a session, and I while I didn’t realize it at the time, this session would be the epitome of a women’s empowerment session.
I was contacted by R wanting more information about a boudoir shoot. We talked on the phone so I could get a better idea of what she was looking for and to answer any questions she had about the shoot. This wasn’t going to be a boudoir shoot like any other – you see R is a transwoman who is making the transition in her life to living as a woman. She wanted a photo shoot to commemorate the beginning of her physical journey to womanhood. I could tell she was nervous about asking for such a session, perhaps unsure how I would respond. I wanted to scream, “YES!!!! I would LOVE to empower you!” but I kept my voice from squealing with excitement and scheduled a time to meet in person.
Our session was scheduled for 3 weeks later and with each email talking about details, I could tell that R’s excitement began to build (as did mine!). I had never photographed a transwoman before, so I did some research on how to pose her and what angles would be the most flattering. I found very little though – it does not seem transwoman boudoir photography is very common. I knew I had to use all the tools I had acquired from all my other sessions and just go for it!
Let me be honest here for a second – going into the shoot I was nervous. Not because of R or the fact she is a transwoman, but because I knew that this was a very important shoot for her in her transition and I wanted to make it absolutely perfect (and that’s a lot of pressure!).
On the day of the shoot, R arrived to the studio dressed in a suit and tie. She still lives part of her life as a man, and wanted some photos to remind her where she came from. After doing a couple of head shots, R put on a dress and Coby did her hair & make up. We took more head shots, to compare her physical transition from man to woman. Then we got right to the boudoir photos. And everything seemed to fall into place. We both warmed up quickly and before you knew it, it was as if R was a natural boudoir model, and I was a trans-photography pro. At one point R remarked, “It’s like you do this all the time!” At the end of the session, I could tell that R felt beautiful and sexy and like the woman she knew she was. I drove home that day with a full heart, feeling content with a new sense of purpose. Doing R’s boudoir session was exactly what I was supposed to do that day and it felt good.
Just yesterday, I brought R into my office to look at all the edited photos. After showing her the slideshow set to music, she was speechless. I teared up. We smiled. These photos were what she had hoped for, maybe even what she needed in her life.
When I set out on a mission to Empower Women through my photography, I never would have guessed it would lead me to R. But I am so thankful it did. THIS is the reason I do what I do.
A big thank you to Coby Gonzales for doing gorgeous hair & makeup!