Behind the Scenes

Let's Talk Photoshop | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer | Frequently Asked Questions

AFTER >> BEFORE

AFTER >> BEFORE

Oh Photoshop. I love a love/hate relationship with you. Ever since the infamous Britney Spears album cover & Candies Ads (where they dramatically changed the shape of her body), it’s been a hot & touchy subject.

When it comes to photoshop, I stick to my gut (no pun intended). In general my photoshop style is very natural. So while i will make the skin look it's best, I’ll keep the "Photoshop" action minimal.  I rely on my strategic poses, lighting and angles to accentuate the positive and play down "problem" areas . I WILL edit out minor blemishes/skin flaws as well as simple things like under-eye circles and small scars if requested. My main rule of thumb is, if it’s permanent, it stays. This includes tattoos.

Many women ask about the retouching of stretch marks. While I firmly believe that your stretch marks are a part of your story and therefore are beautiful, I also understand many women’s aversion to their own. Our standard skin smoothing process will fade the appearance of stretch marks, but if you want them to be removed completely, or left 100% alone please be sure to tell me at your photo shoot. It’s all about your personal preferences.

So how does this all translate to your photos? Here are 2 examples so you can see my step-by-step Photoshopping process.

Example 1 is a self-portrait I recently took — it’s more of a beauty than a boudoir image. The crop is kind of boring so the first thing I’ll do is crop the image for a more pleasing look.

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Next, I’ll zoom in to the face to remove any blemishes, bumps, stray hairs, etc. I luckily was having a pretty good skin day that day so there’s not that much to remove, but there are some red bumps, and I do have a few beauty marks that read as blemishes in photos, so I removed those too.

Before Blemish Removal

Before Blemish Removal

After blemish removal

After blemish removal

Next I’ll smooth out undereye circles and even out skin texture and tone, as well as add sharpness to the eyes. The image is definitely starting to look more polished, but not plastic-y.

After skin-evening and under-eye circle removal. I may have gone slightly overboard here for the sake of illustration (and maybe some vanity on my part) #keepingitreal.

After skin-evening and under-eye circle removal. I may have gone slightly overboard here for the sake of illustration (and maybe some vanity on my part) #keepingitreal.

Next I’ll check out the body to tweak a few things that are bugging me out. The strange bump on my wrist, for example needed to go! I also lowered the neckline of the jumpsuit a touch to add some more skin, tightened the underside of my chin a touch and plumped up my hair, particularly around the part at the top. Little things like this make the body look better without changing the shape of the body at all!

Finally I’ll add some grain, contrast and darken the background a bit so that the subject stands out even more. And there you have it! The finished product. Not super different than the original, just a bit more polished overall. The side by side at the top of this blog page shows you the 2 images next to each other.

The finished image.

The finished image.

Next, here is a boudoir self portrait so I can illustrate how I might tweak a body. Once again, the goal is to get as much as possible right in camera and not depend on photoshop. The light and then pose are key to this photo working and being flattering to the body.

The image as it came out of the camera.

The image as it came out of the camera.

There are just a few things I would tweak here: the bumps along the back from the bodysuit bunching up are bothering me, so I will smooth those out. Clients are often shocked to hear that when I do smoothing like this, or like a a tight bra strap digging into a shoulder, I actually PLUMP the skin that’s being pinched, as opposed to slim the rest of the body to meet it. I also flattened the tummy a touch, as if I was inhaling at the moment the shutter snapped, and smoothed the texture at the top of my bent leg. The final step is to convert to black and white and adjust the tones until I’m happy with the final image — blowing out the background so that the focus was on the body and not the building was one thing that was important here.

The finished product

The finished product

So there you have it! With just a few touches we keep you looking like you on your most polished, well-rested, “skinny” day. The most important thing when it comes to photoshop is that you are comfortable with the approach. Some women want to look “flawless,” others want to embrace their so-called flaws and celebrate themselves just as they are. Most women fall someplace in the middle, just like I do. I don’t want to create an illusion of perfection (perfection = boring in my eyes) but I don’t want a zit or a bunchy top to distract you from seeing your true beauty. We’ll always talk about your preferences ahead of time, which I’ll address accordingly when editing.

What are your thoughts on photoshop/facetune and similar retouching programs? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

xoxo, Stephanie

Have another question about Photoshop? I’m happy to answer it! Contact me here or send me an email and I’ll be in touch.

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Let's talk about Money (eek!) | Your Investment | NYC Boudoir Photographer

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Let’s talk about money.  Yikes!  Something important but often awkward to discuss.  But I’m not scuured (ok, I’m a little scuuured, I’m an artist not an accountant after all!) ;) 

After over three years — which is an unheard of amount of time in photograhy world — I will be raising my prices on January 1.  Don’t worry — any session booked before Jan 1 will still receive the 2018 prices, even if the shoot is happening next year, so if you’ve been thinking of having a shoot and need an excuse to go for it, this would be a great time to take the plunge!

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Some women experience a little bit of sticker shock when they see the price tag of a photoshoot.  And it’s true — like any luxury purchase, a boudoir photoshoot experience is a substantial investment.  When looking for a boudoir photographer — or any signifigant purchase for that matter — price will, of course, be one of the deciding factors.  But I hope you don’t let it be the ONLY factor.  There is a big difference between cost and value, and it’s the VALUE of a boudoir session that makes it worth the cost. The most important thing is that you find a photographer that you connect with, who’s style you love, and who you can see going back to again and again.  Because as amazing as a boudoir session can be — a BAD boudoir experience can be HORRIBLE.  (Believe me, I’ve had one, which is one of the reasons why I decided to become a boudoir photographer — so I could give my clients a better experience than I had!! But that’s a whole other story… )  

To me, something is “expensive” if the cost is greater than the value I find in it. This is different for everyone. I would gladly spend money on a travel, for example. Even if my credit card that month might make me want to cry, I know if 5 years time, I won’t remember the credit card bill, but I WILL remember the adventures, the experiences, the food... Others might prefer to spend their money on a designer purse, or a car that they love. Things that are worth the investiment are things that you will LOVE every time you see, use or think about.  Something that takes you back to a fanastic day or time in your life.  Memories.  What most people don't anticipate is that, unlike a designer handbag, gorgeous heels, or even a glamorous getaway, I PROMISE YOU: 

This experience is worth it.  Some women even tell me that it’s life-changing.  The  pampering you’ll get in the hair and makeup chair… the rush you’ll get when you’re in the groove of your shoot feeling like a supermodel, the badassedness you’ll feel after your shoot, like you can conquer anything, AND THEN being able to see the images day after day reminding yourself of all those feelings again and again.

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I’m not a “cheap” photographer.  I don’t hold sales per se.  Raising my prices is not something I take lightly and not something that is randomly assigned.  The price of a boudoir session is the price for a reason and I think you’ll see, as my previous clients can attest to, that the experience is absolutely, 100% worth it. Because at Brooklyn Boudoir, you will receive the utmost customer service — personalized attention so that we get to know each other, so that you feel comfortable enough to let your true self shine though while I’m photographing you. I spend time getting to know you and tailoring your shoot to your style and tastes. You’ll get top quality hair and makeup by some fabulous film and TV artists, who make the day feel like a bunch of girlfriends hanging out. By the time we are shooting, you’ll forget all about the fact that you’re in your skivvies and have the.best.time. I have yet to have a client who hasn’t felt this way, so if you trust me and trust the process, I can promise that you will become a convert. After the experience of feeling like a rock star, you’ll receive your fine art products, which have been skillfully & subtly retouched to look like you on your best, most well-rested day, AND get a few surprises and treats along the way.

So just like any large expense, my advise for those who want to do a boudoir session but can’t afford it right now is to save up for it, just as you would a vacation or a designer bag you’ve had your eye on.  Don’t take the decision lightly.  Follow along on the blog and the newsletter to learn more about me, see more of my work, read about past client experiences… I want to be sure you are 100% comfortable with your expereince and that you walk away ectatic.  THAT is my goal — to give you an amazing experience and make you feel like a million dollars with the images we create together.

Boudoir Photography is about loving yourself, being fearless and embracing who you are. It’s about giving you the confidence you deserve.  It’s about surprising yourself, being bold, and trying something new. And THAT, to me, is priceless.

Ladies, we spend a lot of money in our lives on a lot of things, but let me tell you: investing in yourself is everything. I believe you are worth it, and I think you’ll see once you have a Brooklyn Boudour experience you will believe you are worth it as well.

Ready to get your shoot on? Send me a message and I’ll give you all the details!

xoxo, Stephanie

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How to Shop for Lingerie | Tips for your Boudoir Shoot | New York City Boudoir Photographer

So excited for my purchases!

So excited for my purchases!

I was transitioning my closet from spring to summer recently when I noticed that all of my “lingerie” (and I use that word in quotes) were, well, tired.  No scratch that, they were beyond  tired, they were exausted, old, torn up, stained basically in an unacceptable starte for any grown woman.  How long had I had these pieces?  Honestly I don’t remember but suffice it to say it was before I had a baby and everything about them was wrong. My body is different post-baby and my underwear hadn’t gotten the memo.   But where to start when looking for a total lingerie refresh?? I knew I needed help!

Enter lingerie blogger Melissa AKA The Lace Appeal.  I photographed her this past winter and I knew she was the perfect person to ask about rejuvinating my lingerie wardrobe.  If you haven’t checked out Melissa’s site or insta yet, do yourself a favor and do so.  It’s a blog dedicated to all things lingerie, specifically helping women find products that make them feel beautiful.   She’s got amazing recs on boutiques all around the country (east coast, west coast and everything in between), lingerie & activewear reviews, on top of being completely real and relatable.  Her blog is full of fun reads and no topic is taboo - from period boobs to briefs that won’t give you a wedgie, she’s not afraid to talk about it all.  In her words, The Lingerie Appeal is a place for women to explore topics of their bodies freely, sans judgment.   Basically, she’s got the point of view on lingerie as I do on boudoir photography!  I was thrilled that she agreed to take me shopping. 

We met at Sugar Cookies - an amazing ligeerie boutique in Chelsea, which just celebrated it’s 10th birthday this past weekend!  I must admit I was nervous!  I, like so many other women, had never been properly fitted for a bra, and I am (as I’ve written about before) essentially flat chested.  The store is filled with tons of beautiful lingerie options, but would they have anything that fit me?  

Beautiful Sugar Cookies Lingerie Boutique

Beautiful Sugar Cookies Lingerie Boutique

The amazing Monica took my measurments and brought me pieces to try on.   This was KEY.  She was endlessly patient and had a sixth sense about what would work for me.  We tried on a LOT of different options and through good old fashioned trial and error I ended up getting a completely new lingerie wardrobe.  Here are some tips I picked up between Monica and Melissa:

Get fitted by an expert

Monica helping me select the perfect piece of lingerie

Monica helping me select the perfect piece of lingerie

Melissa told me that a shocking 80% of women were wearing the wrong size lingerie!  This seems insane given that most of us wear bras every single day (side note, I’m noticing more and more young women going sans bra these days… but that’s a blog post for another day…)  Many women are surprised to learn what their actual bra size is.  There’s no need to guess or to awkwardly try to manuever a measuring tape around yourself — take it to an expert.

Don’t get bogged down by the sizing.  

Once you do get messured, give yourself some sway in either direction.  Just like with clothing brands, different lingerie brands fit differently.  I was a a 32A in most brands but a 34B in bras from The Little Bra company.  I never would have treid on a B cup bra in the past, but the thing is, you never know unless you try.  The key is to keep an open mind.  Another trick I learned was to aim for a bra that fastens on the loosest hooks, that way as the bra stretches out over time, you’ll have the tighter hooks to compensate for the stretch. 

And speaking of “ I never would have,” don’t limit yourself based on preconceived notions!  

That’s actually good advise for life in general isn’t?  But when it comes to bras, I never would have tried on an unstructed, unlined piece, becuase, well, I feel as if I need some extra oomph.  but when I tried on the Lise Charmel Splendeur Soie No Wire Bra, a silly smile came over my face.  I just felt fantastic and sexy and THAT is what good lingerie is all about.  So try it all on and choose what makes you feel GREAT - you’ll know it when you find it.  

Bring outfit pieces with you.  

If you’re looking for lingerie to go with a specific outfit, it’s a good idea to bring those pieces with you when you go shopping. This way you can match colors and textures together, and see how certain combinations look. Show your outfit or accessories to a store clerk to give them inspiration. They will know the store’s product lines and may be able to help you find the perfect piece to pair with your outfit.  If you’re looking for an every day bra like I was, bring a smooth tight tee shirt or whatever type of top you normally wear to be sure the bra works with it. 


When you find a brand you like stick with it.

I have a hunch that I am the ideal client of “The Little Bra Company,” so I know I can probably count on them for bras and other pieces alike.

Ladies, lingerie is all about confidence.  Try to go when you’re feeling good about yourself, eat a little something to keep your blood sugar up, and give yourself time to sift through the options. If you’re having a hard time, try to remind yourself that we are always our toughest critic. Your partner will think you look amazing no matter what you choose so be sure to be true to yourself and get pieces that give you swagger.   You’ll be really happy you did.

Look at the big goofy smile on my face — I am one happy customer!

Look at the big goofy smile on my face — I am one happy customer!

Here are all the pieces I picked up at Sugar cookies (from top to bottom):

The Little Bra Company Lucia Push Up Bra in black and nude, with matching thongs

Cosabella thong

Lise Charmel Splendeur Soie No Wire Bra

The Little Bra Company Sascha Smooth bra in nude

BlueBella Carmen Basque - just for fun, and because the lace couldn’t be more beautiful.


And a bonus My Bra Kitty, which Melissa turned me on to — the perfect way to pack your bras without them getting squished & misshaped.  

How sexy is that Faux Croc?

How sexy is that Faux Croc?

Have any other questions i can help answer? What tips do you have for lingerie Shopping? Share them below!

xoxo, Stephanie

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How to Prepare for Your Boudoir Shoot | New York City Boudoir photographer

Should you get your bikini waxed?  Is tanning a "yay" or a "nay"?  Not sure what to bring? 

These are just a few questions my clients wonder about in the weeks or days leading up to their boudoir photo shoot. As your boudoir photographer, it's my job to be sure I've answered as many questions as possible before you even ask them!  In the efforts to help you better understand what preparing for a boudoir photo shoot entails, here is a small excerpt of tips I offer my clients in my “Boudoir Prep Guide” that I send prior to their boudoir session.

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One Week Before

If you wax, do so a good five days before your session to avoid red bumps and irritation.

Get a mani and pedi if that's your style.  Polish-free nails are absolutely ok too, but chipped polish will bug us both, and is tough to fix in photoshop.  Clean, neat nails, whether manicured or not, are key. 

Drink plenty of water so that you are hydrated. This will ensure your skin is luminous. Contrary to popular belief, drinking lots of water also helps to minimizing bloating.

Another way to minimize bloating is to cut back on salty and fried foods, alcohol (sorry to say!) and anything that might make you gassy.

Pin some of your favorite boudoir shots and poses on Pinterest & send them my way. The idea isn't to duplicate the exact photos but it will give me a good feel for what you like (and we can always try to get close to the inspiration). Follow me on Pinterest @brooklynboudoir and we can even create a "secret" mood board together.

Please don’t go tanning ESPECIALLY if you don't normally tan!  Tan lines and burns do not translate well on camera, nor does burned skin. To that end, please do NOT spray tan either! It can come out blotchy  or orange in photos, and might rub off on your clothes, or the bedding.  Not a good look.  You don't need a tan to look great!

Plan to bring a neutral colored panty, a black one and at least one thong with you to your boudoir session. Depending on the shot (and your comfort level) your panties may be showing in your photos… so leave the panties that you’ve had for the past 20 years with the overstretched elastic waist at home 😉

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One Day Before

Moisturize and shave - Unless you’re going for that au naturel look, which is totally fine by me! However, if that’s not the style you’re looking for, please do remember to shave and moisturize prior to the session.  A few stray hairs can be removed here and there but we don't want to rely on that.

Get plenty of sleep!  Easier said than done, I know!  But do your best to get some rest so you look and feel your best.

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The Day Of Your Session

Please don’t wash your hair the day of the session.  Even refrain from using dry shampoo. Freshly washed hair isn’t as easy to work with for our stylist, and we want to assist them in creating your fabulous look!  That said, greasy hair isn't good either!  "One day" hair is ideal for hair styling. 

Moisturize!  You should arrive with your face washed, makeup free and well moisturized.  Your should moisturize your body as well.  You don't need anything fancy -- classic Jergins or even coconut oil works great!

Aim to show up 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.  There's nothing like showing up late, being frazzled and feeling stressed to ruin your day.  Subways run late, ubers bail, life happens!  Planning to show up earlier than planned with help you feel relaxed and start the session off right.  

Wear loose-fitting clothing like yoga pants, leggings, or a jumpsuit to your shoot. Don’t wear anything tight-fitting that will leave red marks on your body (such as skinny jeans or fishnets). Wear a loose-fitting shirt and either a sports bra, tank with a built-in bra or no bra at all! The goal is to avoid red marks or indentations on the skin. 

Wear clear deodorant (or no deodorant… I won’t judge). You don’t want white getting on your clothes or having those white deodorant bits in your underarms.

Eat something light. I know it’s hard when you want to feel your slimmest but being hungry during your session will not be fun.  Without a small meal, you'll feel low energy which will make you look & feel tired. You will also tire out faster and crash by the end of your session. A boudoir session can feel like hard work if you’ve never done one before! You need to eat something, even if it’s just an energy bar.

Stretch!  Sounds crazy but some of the poses can be challenging.  It's almost akin to a workout!  Many of my clients tell me they are sore the next day!  So your shoot is a good excuse for skipping the gym that day

Put yourself outside of your comfort zone. Many people plan to be entirely covered up during their session, and that’s totally okay if you want to go that route!  But once the session gets going, many ladies start to have fun and get a little more daring! It’s all up to you how much you want to show.  I highly recommend pushing your comfort level because there is no one to judge you and this could be a once in a lifetime experience for you.  Remember, this session is for you and about you. So regardless of how much you decide to show or not show, it’s all about creating fun, sexy, and classy photos.  Many times the magic happens when you let your guard down and let all those pesky insecurities go.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – Relax and take a deep breath! It’s okay to feel a little nervous before your session but please don’t worry – you are in good hands!

A boudoir session is unlike any photo shoot you have ever done before and it does require a little bit of preparation!  My goal is to ensure that you feel great, look great and that you fall in love with yourself in the process.  Hopefully this post helps you feel more confident about preparing for your shoot and ease any doubts you may have, and this is just a small portion of it.  Don't worry -- I got you! 

Prior Clients -- what advise do you have for those about to have a boudoir shoot?  I'd love to hear in the comments below!  

Never had a session, and feeling more confident about one?  Contact me below and I can answer any other questions you may have!

xoxo, Stephanie

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Meet Stephanie | Your Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer | NYC Boudoir Photography

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Hello!  I'm Stephanie, the photographer behind Brooklyn Boudoir.  I realized that while I have shared some intimate details about myself with you, I haven't really officially introduced myself on this blog!  Since a boudoir shoot is such a personal experience, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of who I am behind the camera.  

My first career was in the film business, where I got to work alongside many high profile photographers, filmmakers, and actors, such as Albert Watson, Al Maysles, Fred Elmes, Alec Baldwin, oh and this guy here:

This is my all time favorite photo from the filmmaking days.  I'm 2nd from the right, popping my booty for DeNiro.

This is my all time favorite photo from the filmmaking days.  I'm 2nd from the right, popping my booty for DeNiro.

I met my husband on a film set and at first, didn't like him at all!  I found him COMPLETELY annoying...until I heard him speaking Spanish (he grew up in the Dominican Republic).  That is when I realized he was *actually* very cute (I've always been a sucker for a guy with an accent).

Arle & I at a wedding in the south of france

Arle & I at a wedding in the south of france

Our daughter was born in 2016.  The morning she was born, despite feeling *off* I sent my husband to work, because, AND I QUOTE: "it's not like I'm having the baby today."  She was born 6 hours later. My husband had to borrow a car from a co-worker (sitcom-style!) to make it to the hospital in time, and if my mom wasn't around that day to take me to the hospital, I'm 99% sure I'd be the woman who had her baby in the back of a taxi.  

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I was a dancer as a young girl.  At a certain point I decided that I didn't want to pursue dance professionally because the pressure of that world had begun taking the joy out of it for me.  I also knew in my heart that I didn't quite have the drive or skill to really make it.  But it is still one of my most beloved hobbies and had a big impact on my childhood.  Ballet and jazz were mostly my thing, but I can also still tap dance (insert *jazz hands here*)

And speaking of jazz hands... I'm kind of a cheeseball.  I have always loved performing on stage, and will never hide from a camera.  During your Brooklyn Boudoir photoshoot, I will make cheesy jokes to inspire true laughter.  (I'd like to think you're laughing with me but I'm sure there's a little bit of laughing AT me behind the scenes as well).  I’ll demonstrate each pose and we will laugh together when it feels awkward AF because let’s be real, we don't often point our toes or dramatically arch our backs in real life. 

my signature shooting pose

my signature shooting pose

I have an awesomely strong group of girlfriends whom I love dearly.  Seven of them I met in college (Shout out College of William & Mary!) and 2 of them I have known since preschool!  We are quite literally spread all around the country - NYC, New Jersey, LA, Chicago, Florida, Boston & Virginia!  I have photographed all of the college girls but the preschool friends are waiting until next year so they can do a "40 and fabulous" shoot. (Yep, I just outed my age, no shame here, age is just a number!)

photo credit Maggie Harkov

photo credit Maggie Harkov

I love to travel and would chose a city over a beach any day.  Not to say I don't like beaches or mountains, but me & nature... not really the best of friends.  Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, New York... these are the places I feel most at home. That said, I love a good adventure.  My most memorable trip was an South American odyssey through Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. 

At the Atacama Desert in Chile

At the Atacama Desert in Chile

I come from a big Greek Family.  If you are greek, you already know what this means. If you aren't greek but have seen *that* movie, you can pretty much get the idea.  My family is not far off from that.  For real.  We went to see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" as an entire clan - 25 deep! - and the best part was how my Papou (grandfather) walked out saying, "why is this funny?"  

My big greek family traveling in a pack in Crete.  That's me in all white in the front row.

My big greek family traveling in a pack in Crete.  That's me in all white in the front row.

I love food!  I am cooking more in my daily life now that I have a kid (and am actually starting to enjoy it) but I REALLY love dining out.  My favorite is a tasting menu - with wine pairing of course! - so I can try a little of everything and get something I may not have ordered on my own. I also firmly believe "when in Rome..."  You'll never catch me ordering pizza in Paris or chicken at a seafood restaurant!

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I am obsessed with good eyebrows, black jumpsuits, collecting old cameras, have seen every Madonna concert that has come through New York since 1997, and am on an ongoing search for the perfect jean. 

I’m not just some faceless brand.  Brooklyn Boudoir is my first baby, conceived shortly before my daughter was. ;)  If you check out my instagram, you'll see I walk the walk and post personal boudoir photos in addition to photos of my gorgeous clients. I want you to know me as much as I want to know you, because a portrait is as much about the relationship between photographer and subject as it is about the subject herself.  So when you book a Brooklyn Boudoir shoot, I will take the time to get to know you. You'll start off as a client but after our pre-shoot consultations, our shoot, the reveal and the product drop off, you'll see that we'll become friends. 

I pretty much always have a camera in my hands.

I pretty much always have a camera in my hands.

I LOVE shooting portraits of women, especially boudoir portraits.  I love meeting women from all walks of life and helping them feel great about themselves though their photoshoot.  I love helping women remember who they are as a woman - not just a mom/boss/girlfriend/doer of all things - by helping them reconnect with their sensuality. I love delveoping relationships with my clients so their portraits go beyond pretty pictures -- I want to capture your true self, so that you can look at your prints years from now and feel that same rush of pleasure, pride and badassness you felt after your shoot, over how incredible you look AND MORE IMPORTANTLY how incredible you ARE.  

What are some things you want me to know about you?  Comment below and let's chat! 

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The Brooklyn Boudoir Philosophy | New York City Beauty + Boudoir Photographer

The Brooklyn Boudoir Philosophy | New York City Beauty + Boudoir Photographer

If you are thinking about booking a session, it’s important that you find a photographer who’s style you love and whose ethos you can relate to.  My boudoir philosophy can really be summed up with one quote by Dita Von Teese: "It's not about seducing men. It's about embracing womanhood."   Read on for a more in-depth discussion about Brooklyn Boudoir’s Philosophy…

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