Why I Got Into Boudoir Photography | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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Inevitably, at every boudoir shoot, my client asks me how I got into shooting boudoir photography. It’s usually while they are sitting in the makeup chair and we are making casual conversation. I always tell the story of HOW this career came to be for me, but to be honest, I only really share the cliff notes version in that moment. There’s a deeper answer that is best told over a glass of wine. So grab a glass of wine (hey, it’s 5pm somewhere!) as I share the answer to WHY I got into boudoir photography.

Here’s the short story: I started out in film production, while doing photography on the side. I loved photography, particularly portrait photography, but didn’t know how to build a business out of it, without resorting to wedding photography, family portraits or newborn photography. Major props to all the photographers out there who do those things, because they are all really really hard, and just not my scene. I was working on several personal photography projects, (some of which you can check out on the “other work” page of my site if you are interested) when my sister-in-law told me she had a boudoir shoot. Light bulb moment. This was a THING?! I was intrigued, and had my own shoot with the same photographer. The images were technically proficient, and nice enough, but they weren’t “Me.” I felt like a sheep being ushered through the same poses and the same system as every other women before me, and thought to myself: 1) I TOTALLY get why a woman would seek out a boudoir shoot and 2) I can do this way better — or at least differently — than the experience I had. I wanted to provide a more personalized experience, connect with women in a real way and deliver beautiful photographs that were modern and sensual in a non-cookie cutter kind of way. And so, Brooklyn Boudoir was born!

But there’s a little bit more to this story:

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Before I even knew what boudoir photography was, I embarked on a 365 days self-portrait project which forced me to be creative and focus on my craft every single day. As I got more comfortable taking self portraits, I was realizing that sensuality played a big part in my work, and it was empowering for me to express my sensuality in an artistic way. You see, I grew up in a family that is very conservative and strict. We didn’t talk about sex at all, except to say, “just don’t do it until you are married.” It left me with a lot of questions that I never felt safe to ask and I felt very much left to just figure it out on my own when it came to anything related to sex. Ultimately it turned out ok, but it was really difficult as a young girl to have these feelings and not feel like I had a positive outlet for them. In fact, before film or photography were viable career options for me, I wanted to be a therapist for young girls who needed someone to talk to about sex. And the funny thing is — even though I never went back to school to get my therapist’s license, I do actually feel that I AM doing something along those lines! Clients have even told me that their shoots are a form of therapy for them. Except instead of it being therapy for young girls who don't yet understand their sensuality yet, a boudoir shoot is amazing therapy for a woman who has that sensual creature inside of her, just maybe hasn’t seen her for while.

 A self portrait circa 2007 — before I knew photoshop or any kind of lighting / color correction techniques ;)

A self portrait circa 2007 — before I knew photoshop or any kind of lighting / color correction techniques ;)

Beyond the importance of acknowledging our sensuality, I also believe it’s really important to stay interested in YOURSELF. Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but think about it. You’re interested in where your career is going, what your child ate for lunch, where the local bloggers tell you to eat or shop… but what are you doing to stay engaged with who YOU are? We, as women, so often let ourselves fade into the background of our own lives, and frankly, I’m done with that.

Remember when you were young and you thought you were the most interesting thing on the planet? Yes, it was all very vain, but it was also you taking an interest in yourself, which I will argue is a powerful move. When you’re young being stagnant doesn’t feel like an option you’re willing to take. It’s all about evolution, forward movement, progress, adventure, change. And are those bad things?? Hell no! When you’re young all you want to do is grow. Then you reach “adulthood” and it seems our personal discovery peaks right at the point when we establish our careers and have families. Before long we find that we are taking care of multiple kids, our partners, our bosses, our parents… the more people we become responsible for the less we seem to take interest in ourselves.

Now, of course, this is not the case for every woman. We are all different and everyone responds to life differently. I’m speaking out of personal experience, and from the many conversations on this topic I’ve had with other women over the years.  Every woman is unique, but it seems no matter what our journey looks like, we all end up looking into the metaphorical mirror and asking ourselves “Who am I?”

And so, this is also a big part of why I got into boudoir photography. I have a passion for inspiring women to become interested in themselves again and for helping them remember who they are APART from the many roles they play in the lives of others. When a woman sees herself in a boudoir photo, she’s able to answer in one small way, that “Who am I?” with an enthusiastic “That’s me!” And the photos are just a small part of the experience. The undervalued and rarely discussed truth is that the photo session ITSELF is an opportunity for you to discover yourself in a new way and regain the distinction between who you are, and who you are to other people.

When you have a boudoir shoot with me, you’ll have a safe space to let yourself feel beautiful, relaxed, and to appreciate the unique individual that you are. So many women see their photos at the reveal and exclaim, “I can’t believe that’s me!?” I love seeing my clients see themselves with fresh eyes, with curiosity and interest again. It’s the best part of my job.

Ahh… so that was a long story (see why I recommended a glass of wine?) Bottom line is, I feel I found a career that is exactly right for me. In fact, a friend of mine once told me it’s as if I was BORN to be a boudoir photographer. And I have to say I agree! I love my job and feel so grateful for all my clients who trust me with their boudoir experiences. I like to think I’ve made a difference in their lives and I can say for sure that they have made a difference in mine.

xoxo, Stephanie

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