My experience as a boudoir client: part 1

Today is my birthday!! I’m so grateful to have had another year around the sun! Happy 37 to me! 🎉

To celebrate, I wanted to share with you MY Boudoir story. I’ve been in your shoes before as a Boudoir photography client, so I know how it can feel to experience the deep empowerment, and also the emotional rollercoaster that can happen too. 

My Boudoir Session in 2019 was incredibly meaningful for me, and played a huge role in how I’m able to view myself now with confidence and self-love, no matter what I look like. Let’s hop back in the time machine together!

Before the Session:

I found myself wanting to experience a Boudoir Session for many of the same reasons a lot of my clients today do: I wasn’t feeling myself. I needed a pick-me-up. I wasn’t feeling connected to my body. And I wanted to KNOW that I could do this vulnerable, meaningful thing.

As a Boudoir photographer myself, I had lots of options: I could have done self-portraits, or swapped Sessions with a photographer friend. But as I considered this, I knew that I wanted to have the FULL experience of being a Boudoir client. 

I wanted to hire a photographer—Not just for myself to feel pampered, but also so I could better relate to my own client’s experiences. I wanted to feel what it was like to deeply invest in myself. I wanted to make the choice to save the money and set it aside just for ME. I wanted to block off my calendar and save that time just for me too. 

Setting aside the time was actually the hardest part. I’m a hard worker, and I lead a super busy life as a business owner. Scheduling an in-depth personal empowerment experience and prioritizing that just for me felt incredibly selfish at times! But if you keep reading, you’ll see how it all paid off 😉

When it came to finding the right photographer for me, I knew I wanted to work with someone I looked up to. In my case, that was the legendary photographer, educator & body image activist, Teri Hofford.

I had previously taken a body image workshop with her, and I love that she photographs ALL kinds of people. Her message is that all bodies are amazing and deserve to be celebrated as they are, which is exactly what I believe too!

…Booking a Session with Teri also meant traveling from Massachusetts to Winnipeg, Canada. Very extra, and very on brand for me 😜

The Consultation:

The moment I scheduled the Consultation I was FREAKING out!! I was nervous sweating and it felt like my heart dropped into my butt. 

But I looked up to this woman, and I didn’t want to back out. I knew that once I did this Consultation, the Session was REAL. I felt like, “Now I’m really doing it, I’m committed.” 

Honestly, I thought that since I’m a Boudoir photographer too, that this experience wouldn’t feel vulnerable and scary. Not so!! It actually made me wonder, “Is this how people feel when they book their consultation with me?!?!” 

The main thing I want you to know, if you’re considering a Boudoir Session for yourself, is that it’s SO worth doing even though it can feel scary! I know putting this level of trust in someone (and yourself) is hard, AND it’s also an incredibly valuable experience. I’m here FOR you, and to create an experience for you that feels as comfortable and uplifting as possible. I’m so happy to say this is what Teri did for me too!

3 months before the Session:

This is where things got really interesting! Leading up to the Session, I told myself I would use this as motivation to get ripped (Lol, can you hear my former collegiate athlete voice, here?). I decided I would join a gym, work out every day, take fitness classes, you name it. I said this would be my time to get back to the super fit body I had at 19, when I was an athlete, and I would be so strong and badass.

I bet you can guess what happened. That plan fell apart.

First, I got sick for a couple weeks (pre-Covid). Then I broke my arm. Then I fractured my wrist. (I know!!) The Universe basically said, “No dude, you are not getting ripped for this.”

It ended up being the biggest blessing in disguise. 

The week of the Session:

Two days before my Session, I was totally healthy getting on the plane to Canada. Or so I thought. During the flight, I started to have the most horrific pain in my ears. I really thought my eardrums might explode.

Nothing was helping, and I couldn’t go to a doctor, being out of the country. I felt so, so sick for the whole 2 days before I saw Teri. Pretty much everything I told myself I was going to do for my Session, including feeling healthy, went out the window—The Universe had other plans!

As awful as it sounds…this all turned out to be the most incredibly meaningful way it could have unfolded.

Session Day!

Because I was feeling crappy, this meant I couldn’t overthink the Boudoir Session experience even if I wanted to. I simply didn’t have the energy, so my only choice was to surrender. 

So I did—I was just there, with no mental stories running to keep me small. I wanted to do the thing, and I still didn’t want to back out. So I showed up for me. (Disclaimer: I don’t condone doing your Boudoir Session under the weather like I did! Having traveled to another country for my own Session pre-Covid, I sadly wasn’t able to reschedule.)

Also, remember all the crazy injuries, the sickness & well, life, that kept me from working out and getting ripped?

By the time of my Session, I was actually the heaviest I had ever been up to that point. It wasn’t what I thought I would look like.

AND. The most important part: It’s so cool to me now that I was the weight that I was. It PROVED I didn’t have to change myself to look badass, look sexier than I thought, and smash all those expectations I put on myself based on society’s messaging.

These photos are me “out of shape.” And look how awesome I am. One day, you might be saying how awesome you are too when you see your own Boudoir photos.

I tell all my clients they don’t have to change themselves, because I honestly don’t believe that you have to or need to. And…I tried to do it to myself too. I know how hard it can feel to get out of that trap!

The honest truth is: Had I worked out every day for 3 months leading up to my Session and met my desire to get ripped, then all these photos would have been evidence of is a moment of time that I changed everything about my appearance for.

Instead, I showed up as just me. No changes needed. Now I can forever see these photos and remember that YES, I am strong, badass, beautiful, and worthy no matter what I look like. Even when I’m “out of shape”, even when I’m not feeling 100%, even when I don’t feel great about myself. The same can be true for you!

Ready for Part 2 next week?? (Hint hint: you don’t want to miss the major hair transformation I made during my Session!) Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, if you know you want more self-love in your life, I invite you to schedule a call below about booking your own Boudoir experience with me!

Shirley, MA