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Self-Portrait Project | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer | Behind the Scenes

An unretouched self-portrait from 2007

An unretouched self-portrait from 2007

Self-portraits, for me, have little to do with having images to share. Of course, it’s nice to bulk up the instagram arsenal and to have beautiful photos of yourself. But it’s also A LOT of work to capture a proper self-portrait. I’ve collected hundreds of self captures over the years that will likely never be seen. For me, these images are a visual diary. I can look at a self portrait I captured 5 years ago and know exactly what stage for life I was in and how I was feeling the day. Revisiting my self-portraiture allows me to see my own journey. In the beginning, it was clear I was still trying to find my style. Trying to imitate others, trying too hard to be something I wasn’t. And now that I finally know myself better, the images represent me best show my mood, my joy, my authentic self. They let me experiment with who I want to be as a boudoir photographer. And ultimately, while I do consider them “work” personally I’m so happy to have this visual record of myself over the years. So when I get preacher to my clients about existing in photos and embracing their authentic selves by not trying to be someone they aren’t … and when I preach to photographers the same importance of stepping in front of the camera (someone else or their own) I really mean it. My reason for practicing has changed over the years and the value has increased immeasurably.

Enjoy this short film a friend made of me taking and talking about the importance of self-portraiture (especially for photographers).


Motherhood and Womanhood | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer | NYC photographer for Women

Stella, one week old. Photo Credit: Melissa Banigan Photography

Stella, one week old. Photo Credit: Melissa Banigan Photography

Motherhood. It’s such a loaded topic, with so many complicated feelings surrounding it. With mothers day yesterday, and having just gotten back from Paris with my mother & daughter, it’s topic that’s been on my mind a lot recently.

It’s impossible to know what it means to be a mother until you actually become one. We may all be at different stages and phases at different times, but we can find common ground in these (mostly) universal experiences. Learning to love yourself after you've birthed a human is no easy feat.  Some of us hold on to 40lbs for what seems like a lifetime. Some of us bounce right back and have to deal with all the other moms side-eyeing us even though we still have mom insecurities, too.  Some of us develop crazy hormonal mental problems and can't see anything but our flaws. While being a mother can be amazing it’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of it and forget the person that we were, before we gave birth to the person we’re often holding.

There are days when you look in the mirror at yourself, nights when you look at your husband, and moments when you squeeze your child that you wonder if you have anything left to give. As women we are usually MUCH too hard on ourselves. Try not to lose sight of yourself and the things that make YOU happy. Don’t let yourself disappear. Seek balance, not perfection. Your family is happy and healthy, everyone’s hearts and bellies are full each day, and that’s all that will ever matter. Slow down and enjoy the laughter — the way you did before you had any care in the world.

Sometimes we need to look back and reconnect with who we were, our goals, our likes and dislikes, and merge that with the mother we are today.  It’s OK to be tired and it’s OK to slow down, but it’s also OK to have fun. I know that those late nights out partying have transitioned into binge-watching Netflix with your husband after finally getting homework done with your kid. There is nothing wrong with change and loving each moment the way you did before. Embrace the change and let it wash over you.

One of my favorite pictures of my mom, my little brother and myself. Says it all really.

One of my favorite pictures of my mom, my little brother and myself. Says it all really.

About half of my Brooklyn Boudoir clients are mothers, and at this point most of my friends and loved ones are mothers, so I can safely say that wherever you are in your journey: motherhood looks good on you. Motherhood works for you. You may not know it right now, but trust that it’s true. The miracle happens when you have see yourself looking incredible for the first time after having a baby. You NEED to know that you've still got it...and that motherhood hasn't stripped you of your womanhood.

Because it hasn't. 

You're still a woman. You’re still you. You're still gorgeous...sexy even.  Trust me, and when you’re ready, let me show you.

xoxo, Stephanie

Three generations in Paris last week. Photo Credit: @_ parispics _

Three generations in Paris last week. Photo Credit: @_parispics_

Ready to embrace YOUR womanhood? Let’s chat!

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The Big 4-0! | Thoughts on Aging | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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Many of you know that yesterday was my 40th birthday! I had an amazing weekend at the NYBG Evenings (the orchid show was amazing!!) and having a very civilized tea at the Plaza with my hubs and three year old. It was a classic New York weekend, which is fitting as that’s just how I think of myself: Classic NYC.

I don’t really feel 40, but then again what does that even mean? When I look around I feel basically the same age as most everyone around me. Age has never been super important or scary to me — I’ve always felt pretty balanced and “in the moment” of the age I was at the time. At 22 I started dating a man 15 years older than me. At 37, he seemed like a “Man” with a capital M. None of my friends could believe I was dating “an old guy” but I just shrugged. Age is mental, and I still believe this to be true.

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While every phase of life has had it’s share of good and bad, there are some things about aging in general that remain consistently true. Here are a few things I actually love about aging:

I no longer “should” myself to death.

I come from a very conservative family with a lot of social and familial obligations. The way we “should” look or act has been a constant theme in our house growing up. And of course, there ARE certain ways you should act…(politely, with respect for others…) but back in my 20s I did things solely to please others to a fault. My mom (who is amazing) is the ultimate “should-er”: I “should” go to church, I “should” wear more makeup, I “should” put a barrette in my daughter’s hair. There were stale friends having parties that I “should” go to, even though I didn’t want to, and ended up overextending myself and exhausting myself just to save face. The thing is, I have reasons that I DON’T do these things, and I’m finally confident enough in myself and my decisions not to buckle to external pressure. And so I don’t wear more makeup, I don’t put barrettes in my kid’s hair, I only go to the parties I really WANT to go to, and I go to church as often as I feel is right for me without guilt. And it feels great.

Feeling good in my skin.

Think back to how you looked when you were 20. My guess is that you were HOT but that you didn’t think you were at the time. At 30 you probably looked back on your 20s thinking, “I WISH I appreciated how cute looked!” I sure do. I’m a solid 10 pounds heavier than I was before I had my first kid just 4 years ago! I had no idea, or at least no appreciation for how svelte I was looking, and what a shame. It’s so hard to take a step back and see yourself as you really are, so difficult to be kind to yourself sometimes, but it’s SO WORTH it. Hating on your looks is a massive waste of time (oh, and negative self-talk also ages you faster!) It would be nice to be back to that pre-mom bod, sure, but I also now know how AMAZING my body really is. I grew and birthed an incredible little girl, fed her from my body for a year, continue to support her with my body, brains, heart… and no amount of cellulite can take away my pride in that. Sometimes my daughter points to my tummy and asks something like, “is there a baby in there?” or says she likes cuddling me “because your tummy is so soft.” It doesn’t get to me, because she only ever looks at me with pure love, and I try to look at myself through those same eyes. My smile lines? There are lots of stories and happy times behind them. My forehead wrinkles? They can instruct my kid (and husband for that matter lol!) to do what I need with a mere glance. My underage circles? Well, those always existed, they are hereditary and there’s not much I can do about it so I’m not going to stress those either.

Rejecting the myth of perfection

You know that voice — the one that tells you you aren’t smart enough/successful enough/attractive enough. By 40, you know it well enough to tell it to shut the f*ck up. I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for self-improvement. But I don’t let what I’m NOT decrease the importance of what I AM, and I certainly no longer compare myself to other people. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. NO ONE is perfect, even those people who seem to be on the surface. Pefection is not only unattainable it’s frankly in my opinion, boring. I’d much rather be my own perfectly imperfect self, not hold myself to an unattainable standard and just be happy being who & what I am right now. Imperfect works.

Perspective and resilience

I’ve been a shy child, an awkward middle schooler, a ballet-loving tween, a punk teenager, a college girl in love, an on the prowl twenty-something, a blissed out newlywed, a dual-career thirty-something, a terrified new mom, a newly forty year old woman writing this post… Life has had enough downs to know there eventually is an up, and that nothing is the end of the world. Sometimes you feel stuck or lost or heartbroken, but things always change. There is always a plan B. Hard times can feel endless, but they always always end.

I also hear sex is best for women in their 40s. Just sayin.

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OK, I’ll quit being a Pollyanna for a second and say of course there are things about aging that bum me out, such as:

Being Called Ma’am

Failing to understand Snapchat

The crackling sound my knees make.

Grey hairs that poke straight up on my head. I’ve been pretty lucky in the grey hair department, and I’ve finally stopped plucking them out but still, 😑

At the end of the day, it’s better to get older than NOT to get older! I’m grateful for all the experiences, (bad boyfriends included) that have led to me being this version of me.

In the words of the late, great, David Bowie: I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

xoxo, Stephanie

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Dear Big Booty | A Love Letter to My Most Prominent Feature | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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Dear Big Booty:  

In contrast to my breasts, which took their time to arrive (and did so with little fanfare), you showed up front - or should I say, *back* & center - early in the sixth grade, along with your sidekicks, wide hips and cellulite.  You sabotaged my aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer, and filled me with body image dysmorphia and self-doubt.  You had outgrown most clothes and the kids at school would tease that they could see you “hanging out” of my skirts despite my best efforts to cover up. Even my mom affectionately called you "BB" for "big butt" as a teenager.  (Et tu Brute, MOM?! )

While you're fun to shake on the dance floor, we both know life isn't always a Nikki Minaj video.  The low cut jeans of the early 2000s bordered on the obscene for me, offering a bulls-eye view of my undies (and more) when seated. In middle school I quite literally wore my mother's jeans, and my favorite accessory was a flannel shirt tired around my waist to block you from view (note from the current me: It was the 90s, so this look was somewhat acceptable at the time, and while I’d love to take credit for the mom jean trend, truth be told I wasn’t that cool or forward thinking.) By the time I was 15 I was on the receiving end of cat calls nearly every day. It was before the “Me Too” movement and I am ashamed to say I believed the unwanted attention you brought was inevitable because of my shape, and I accepted it as “just one of those things.”

When I got my first job, I realized I had to be careful not to look unintentially sexy at work.  Pencil skirts were a staple for co-workers, but boy did they push the boundaries of decency whenever they graced my rear.  There was even one summer when I was so fed up with the unwanted attention that I cloaked you in peasant dresses. But then... peasant dresses.  

I wish I could say I came to terms with you on my own, but it took 90s heroin chic ending and figure-hugging Versace dresses coming into fashion for me to accept my own apple bottom jeans. Somewhere between J. Lo and Beyonce, I started to realize that -- hold up -- a round butt was perhaps a GOOD thing. Or at the very least not something to regret. My college dance troupe celebrated my curves and we worked my shape into our choreography. Eventually those booty-shaking moves became my trademark and I got the courage to stop hiding you altogether.  It was truly life-changing to FINALLY accept my body as it was. Flat chest + little waist + big booty = ME (and I could work it).

As I grew my boudoir business, I took many self portraits to beef up my portfolio, and to this day, my favorite shots are those of my derrière. Do I still have cellulite?   Yes.  Do I wish I were one of the 10% of women out there who don't have cellulite? Sure I do.  But I've learned how to pose and use light to flatter my curves & make them look beautiful in photographs.

Now that I'm getting older, my bottom - while still strongly resembling a lower case "b" - is slightly less rotund, and frankly, I miss it!   And perhaps the most shocking revelation of all as I near the big 4-0: a bit of cellulite is fine!  We are women, a lot of us have it, and it doesn't take away from our beauty or power one bit, so long as you don’t let it. Your beauty isn’t tied to a few dimples here and there, the same way it isn’t tied to the number on the scale, or the numbers on your birth certificate (says the woman whose birthday is in six weeks!).

And so, Big Booty, while I don't need to accentuate you (you need no help from me there), I no longer want to minimize you either.  I embrace silhouettes that emphasize my waist (hello A-line skits and high waisted pants) and found a tailor who helps show off my assists while still leaving plenty of room to sit down.  You are a part of me, and I dare say that sometimes I even like some of the attention you bring my way.  It took me years, but my dewdrop shape finally has the love it deserves, and my overall self is so much better for that loving acceptance.

xoxo, Stephanie

Need some helping loving YOUR shape? Let me show you how beautiful you really are.

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Best Year YET | 2018 Brooklyn Boudoir Review

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2018 was a year for the books. It’s hard to believe how much I crammed into one year, and can’t believe it’s already new year’s eve! It truly was the Best Ever Year of Brooklyn Boudoir, and I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you who follows along regularly and trusts me with their boudoir experiences.

Here’s a short review of the year!

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS

Some of my favorite images (that clients have given me permission to share) from this past year:

TOP LIKED INSTAGRAM POSTS

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TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

2018 took me traveling to Miami (twice!), New Orleans, Boston (twice!), Los Angeles (twice!), Boulder Colorado, Charleston, SC and an awesome visit to Collective Retreats on Governer’s Island, which felt like a world away even thought it’s right in the middle of NYC. So far for 2019 I’m working on dates for my next LA trip (sometimes mid-winter) and am planning a 40th birthday trip (!) to Paris!

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WHAT'S NEXT?!

I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution girl. I pretty much try to be my best self ALL of the time and don’t care to beat myself up over a lapsed resolution. HOWEVER, I do have lots of ideas and plans for myself both personally and professionally and my goal is to achieve at least some of them this year.

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In 2019 I plan to...

* HOST MY FIRST PAST CLIENT EVENT, SHOOTING FINE ART NUDES IN MY FANTASY STUDIO. Sorry, ladies, this is for past clients only. First timers really need the whole experience before diving into mini sessions. I plan to hold one or two of these each year and I’m really looking forward to this first one!! (it’s happening in just 6 days, and it’s going to be A M A Z I N G !)

*Be interviewed for a documentary about working mothers — we are such an important part of the population and the subject of motherhood in America needs much more attention! I’m not sure when the film will be released but I will keep you all posted via instagram and my newsletter (which you can sign up for on the sidebar to the right if you haven’t already —->)

*TRAVEL as much as I can. Traveling has always been such a big part of my life and something that always brings me great joy. I am so grateful to have traveled as much as I did before I had kids, but I still feel that itch to do more — there are still so many places I’d love to see! Luckily my little one is great on planes so I want to get more adventurous with our travels both for business and pleasure.

*Put myself out there a little bit more. Guys, I’m all about straight up instagram but the other social media platforms are just not my thing (I’m still waiting for someone to explain snapchat to me, sorry if that makes me sound like a grandma). I love making connections with my clients and realize I can start that process even earlier by getting on Instastories and showing my face a little more. I’m going to need some help with this one so feel free to keep me accountable!

*Offer mentorships. This is something I have wanted to do for some time now, and have had several requests for in the past. I just always prioritized my clients and my customer experience before everything else and didn’t feel I had the resources to take on a mentor. HOWEVER, when I was in Boulder, CO this last November for a boudoir photographer’s retreat, I met so many incredible artists all of whom were helping each other out. It was inspiring, and made me want to share the love as well. I plan on giving photographers a very thorough and customized experience when it comes to their business coaching, just as I do with my client shoots, so I will only offer a handful of mentorships a year. So if you are a fellow photographer looking to step up your game, give me a holla and let’s chat!

*EDUCATE THE $%&@! OUT OF MYSELF. I have always loved being a student — and a good one at that. I really love to learn and have studied with some of the best boudoir photographers out there, including Kara Marie, Christa Meola and Lola Melani. I plan to continue to study photography for as long as I'm shooting. I want to enhance my technical craft, and continue to push my creativity to keep my work fresh and improving it every year.  

*GIVE EVEN MORE TO MY CLIENTS. I'm always looking for new ways to make my clients feel extra special. From customizing a location just for them, to following up with them years down the road to congratulate them on new life events....client relationships are really important to me. That's not just something I saySo, in 2019 I'll be fine tuning the client experience even more to give them alllll the warm and fuzzies.  

*HAVE MORE DATE NIGHTS WITH THE HUBS. Being a working mom is hard, and in an effort to take better care of myself, my clients, my kid and my business, my husband tends to get the boot. Something’s got to give of course, but I miss the days when we would go on weekly dates. However busy life got, we always used to go out on Fridays and often did something unusual around the city. Weekly dates aren’t really feasible right now (the cost of a babysitter doubles the cost of the night!) BUT I have to believe that a monthly date will be good for both our relationship and my psyche.

FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, TRULY, GENUINELY, THANK YOU. Thank you for reading through this long and winding blog post, thank you for reading all/ANY of my blog posts. Thank you for every sweet comment, every word of encouragement, every Instagram "like". Thank you for trusting me with your boudoir experience. Thank you for being friendly and my friends. Thank you for all of your continued support of making my passion a career. I love you all and cannot wait for ANOTHER Best Year Ever in 2019.  I am so grateful for the abundance of business, blessings, and beauties that surrounded me in 2018. 

xoxo, Stephanie

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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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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Five More Minutes | Thoughts on Motherhood | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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I have a new alarm clock.  It’s a 2 year who wakes up at 6:35am on the dot every day without fail saying, “Mama come in… come in Mama…please Mama, come IN” at regular intervals, gaining volume for 30 minutes straight until I come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as a snooze button anymore. (my husband is somehow blissfully and annoyingly unaware of this new alarm clock). 

And so the day begins, hoping I remembered to set the coffee machine to start the night before, getting the babe changed, fed, dressed, and out the door in time, trying to put my own self together without her getting at my makeup, answering my husbands 10 million questions about the day (including what the weather will be, as if he has no other way of finding out...) and suddenly it’s 9a and I am (already!) worn out.  There’s nothing like running around town with a top knot (and not the fashion-week kind) and a purse filled with raisins to help us forget that we are intelligent, indepndant and desirable women with layers, personality, and a life outside of school drop off.

For years I’ve been an avid reader of Brooklyn Blogger Joanna Goddard, who recently joked about motherhood on her blog: “Everyone here wants to touch my boobs for different reasons, but kind of the same reason.”  This rang SO TRUE for me.  I think about it all the time and share it with all of my other mom friends, to which everyone busts out laughing, then turns inwards and nods quietly to themselves. 

Being the center of everyone’s universe is a double-edged sword: on one hand it's so sweet & flattering, truly the greatest blessing, AND ALSO it's the most taxing, stressful, and exhausting experience. If you hope to survive it, not to mention find joy in it, then you need to care for yourself.
 

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After drop off, a full day of work, deadlines that never end, pick up, dinner, baths, story times, and then back to the computer for more work that I could not finish in my work day, I am often too tired to do anything for me, other than put on my pj’s and go to sleep, knowing that tomorrow will be a similar grind. I found myself taking absurdly long showers just to get “5 more minutes” (my daughter’s current favorite negotiating phrase) to myself.  And then I realzied — this is crazy!  I shouldn’t have to hide in the bathroom to allow myself some ME time!  And I resolved to start making more time on the regular to look after MYSELF with the same care I look after my daughter & husband.

We moms share so much in common. Yes, you are a caregiver but you are also fierce, you are proud, you are resilient.  You’ve brought life into this world and most likely struggled to do so (even with the stongest epidural) and there is NOTHING more amazing than that. We love and care for our children, sacrifice our time, energy and money for our families, and too often put ourselves last — especially when prioritizing personal wants, needs, and desires.  There’s only so much we have to give and we shouldn’t forget to give to ourselves.

It’s not like I’m disappearing for hours on end, or partying into the night. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a walk around the block by myself to listen to a podcast, an afternoon having a glass of wine with a friend I never get to see anymore (because she is probably also a mom in the same boat) or shutting myself in the bedroom to reading a book (read: trashy magazine) for an hour.  

It doesn’t always come easy.  I still worry if my daughter will feel abandoned, or end up at school with 2 different shoes on her feet because I tasked my husband to get her dressed in the morning.  But the truth is, EVERYONE in our house is better off when I feel like myself, as opposed to a strung-out, harried juggler.  Even a small amount of time helps revitalize and enrgize me.   I find myself appreciating my daughter and husband more, smiling more, being more productive at work, feeling more satisfied with life in general and even wanting to have sex to more!

Well ladies, I encourage you — hell, I CHALLENGE you — to resolve to honor yourself: that beautiful, seductive, alluring, phenomenal woman you know you are.  There are big ways and small ways to do this.  I’ll tell you, one fantastic way to do this is by treating yourself to a boudoir session. Boudoir is a classy, elegant way to show off your sexier side and celebrate the beauty of YOU!

At Brooklyn Boudoir I love taking beautiful portraits of women.  But that’s only part of it.  The other, equally important thing that I give my clients is a few hours that’s just for them.  You get to feel beuatiful, have a glass of wine and enjoy the feelings of freedom and womanhood.  You get pampered.  You'll walk away with a pep in your step that maybe you haven’t felt for awhile.  Fast forward 2 weeks to your reveal when you get to see your photos for the first time… I have had women cry seeing them because they can’t beleive the woman in the photos is them.  Because the photos show them that they ARE still beautiful, and yes, also sexy.  That they ARE a sensual person, a feminine powerhouse, AND ALSO a boss/wife/mom.  YOU CAN BE ALL THOSE THINGS!  For the first time in maybe a long time they see themseves the way they used to and begin to feel that *spark* again.  They are energized and proud, and after we hug goodbye, I see my clients walk away with a new twinkle in their eye.  

And THEN, on top of it all, you get to hold on to those images in an album or a piece of wall art to remind you of who you are when you need it. Trust me: there isn’t anything like seeing a portrait of yourself looking and feeling your very best to inspire even the most tired women. 

Ladies — it’s still in there.  When you take care of yoruself, you start to remember who you really are at your core, and you can be a better caretaker for others.  You’ll be more present with your kids, feel warmer towards your partner, smile more to the other parents and pickup.  And when you FEEL good, you really do look your best.  

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard working, strong, badass mothers out there.  You are doing great.  And you deserve to be pampered, not just on mother’s day, but every day.  

xoxo, Stephanie

Ready to pamper yourself a bit?  Contact me and let's schedule your boudoir session!

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Stop Hiding from Photos | New York Boudoir Photography

Stop Hiding from Photos | New York Boudoir Photography

This past Saturday was my TWENTIETH (20th!!) high school reunion.  Spoiler alert: everyone looked the same or better than they did in high school...

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