In front of the camera

*****SHHHHHHH – the following post contains photos that will be use for a Christmas gift for my husband – so if you see him, don’t say anything. He has no idea!*****

I like to say there is a reason I am behind the camera, rather that a model in front of the camera. I am terrified that I will look weird in photos. I am self conscious, constantly worrying what I look like when I am the subject of the photo. Suck the tummy in. Stand up straight. Don’t look awkward. There is a lot to remember, so I tend to shy away from getting pictures taken of me.  Even pictures on my phone that my husband takes – I am always critiquing how I look and usually ask him to take a second picture, this time without the double chin or the weird eyes.

Maybe its not always that bad, but yes I definitely prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it.

A few months ago I realized something – whenever I talked to women about doing a boudoir shoot, a lot of the same excuses came up as to why they didn’t want to do one. The most common one – “I will as soon as I lose the last 10 pounds.” Always 10 pounds, even if they don’t need to lose an ounce. And I tell them they are beautiful, and that they should consider doing photos now because I will pose them in ways that flatter them, plus I can always use Photoshop for a little nip and tuck (though I tend to stay away from too much editing, as I want them to see how gorgeous they are WITHOUT Photoshop). And we never know what the future holds, so why put off doing something for YOU just because of a few pounds?

In October, I saw an Instagram post from a photographer in Las Vegas that I follow and admire, Michael Jones, advertising pin-up Christmas sessions and they just happened to be held on a weekend I would be visiting Vegas! My immediate thought was, “How fun! I totally want to do that!” and the very next thought was “if only I could lose 10 more pounds.”  And that is when it hit me like a freight train – it wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to, or  needed to lose 10 pounds. As a photographer who does this regularly, I knew that Michael would pose me in ways that flatter my body. And I knew that he would Photoshop areas that I was self conscious about.  It was that I was genuinely scared of being in front of the camera, having someone else watch me and judge me, and then edit out all the insecurities that I live with daily. {Damn you belly, won’t you just go away already!?!?} And it was at that moment that I knew that I HAD to do this shoot with Michael – not just for me because I thought it would be fun, but for every woman out there who is too scared to do a boudoir shoot with me.

Before I could change my mind, I contacted Michael and signed up for my session. I started preparing for my session, and I learned a few things about getting ready to be in front of the camera. I want to share a few tips that I learned (and reminders that were reinforced as I went through the process).

  • I initially planned on doing this Pin-up session Boudoir style, since he specializes in both.  So off I went searching for the perfect lingerie. Something that I learned was that it is imperative that you go to the lingerie store with a friend you trust. I went alone, because I tried to keep the details a secret from everyone, and that was a huge mistake. It was just me and the sales woman, who clearly was trying to make her commission. She brought me, what felt like, a million outfits to try on. None of which were what I described to her that I wanted. I told her where my insecurities were and she brought pieces that accentuated my flaws. And with everything I put on, she would say I looked “amazing!” Not saying I didn’t look good in anything I tried on – but I know where were pieces that I looked huge in and she would say I looked great, so I just couldn’t trust anything she said. I left there feeling overwhelmed and depressed about my body.  A few days later I went to a different store, by myself, and gave up early because I just wasn’t feeling it. If I had a friend there to support me, and to be brutally honest with me, maybe I would have had a different experience. So I decided to stick with just pin-up, and ditch the lingerie. 
  • It was incredibly important for me to communicate with Michael about what I was envisioning and what flaws I didn’t want to see in the photos, and I recommend this when you book me for your boudoir session too. Talk to me, tell me what you love about yourself and what you hate. I will use that information during the session as well as during editing. I do try to keep editing to a minimum, however if there is one part of your body that you just hate – I am not going to give you photos that you hate because that body part doesn’t look the way you want. {But I am also not going to edit you to the point you don’t look like yourself}
  • You are going to arrive to the session nervous (well, you will if you are like me and afraid of the camera) and that is OKAY. It is my job to calm you down, ease your anxiety, and make the session fun. 
  • After the session, you might even be nervous about how the final product will turn out. If you are able to, trust that I will make you look amazing and that you are going to love the photos. My goal is to make you so happy with the photos that you cry tears of joy (ok not really – I don’t actually want you to cry, but I do want you to love them!). 

And without further ado……here are some of the photos from my pin-up session with Sin City Boudoir.