grooms gift

The Best Gift to Give Yourself | Bridal Boudoir Session | New York City Photographer

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There’s one phrase you will hear me say all the time, in life, on social media and in this blog: do it for you. While a boudoir shoot makes a great gift for a loved one, it ultimately is really the best gift you can give yourself. Still, I think it’s tough for many women to come to terms with that idea, and feel they need a reason to have a boudoir shoot. Personally, I think just being a woman and loving yourself is reason enough for a shoot, but I am biased ;) It’s hard for us to justify spending money on ourselves. It’s hard to play hooky from life for a few hours and indulge in some self-care. We’re busy after all, and if you’re like me, you are always putting the needs of your loved ones in front of your own.

So it makes sense that most women look for a reason to come to be for their boudoir session. If you do want a reason for a boudoir shoot, there are several popular ones: a milestone birthday, a physical goal that’s been met, a new pregnancy, and of course, a unique and special grooms gift to gift your finance before you get married.

Ms. J came to me for this reason… at first. She was getting married in a few months and was looking for a special gift for her future groom. She has a sparkling personality and was so game to have fun and try new things. We had an incredible suite in Willimasburg that overlooked the New York City Skyline and just had the most fun afternoon taking advantage of it (hello that TUB!) We even incorporated one her fiancee’s shirts into our shoot which had been a private joke between them over the years. It was all very personal, and made for a modern twist on your traditional bridal boudoir (no veil required!)

He of course, loved the album. But the best part of meeting Ms. J was watching her come out of her shell as she discovered (as most everyone does over the course of their photoshoot) that it’s really all about YOU. Gift giving truly is, the icing on the cake.

In her own words, Ms. J said:

I went into this experience thinking this was a gift for my future husband and it ended up being the best gift I could have given myself. This was so much more than a photography session, but a way of making any woman feel so much sexier in her own skin. I was worried and self conscious about being so exposed, but Stephanie made me feel so comfortable and so empowered and it showed through the photos. Stephanie is extraordinary at what she does and has a true talent for capturing the natural beauty of a woman. I would do this 100 times over to feel as good as I did walking out of our shoot and can't wait to do it again! Thank you for giving me what I deem one of the best experiences of my 20s!

It just makes my heart sing when I hear a woman say these things. Because my relationship, ultimately, is with the woman in front of my lens. Of course, I want her future husband/wife/partner to enjoy the photos, but what I really want is for the woman I’m photographing to LOVE her images and feel absolutely amazing about them. I want her to feel like she can take on the world after her shoot, feel powerful & sexy gifting her images, and look back on her album or wall art every time she needs to be reminded how badass and beautiful she is. There is no gift better than that.

So yes, gift your boudoir images… just don’t forget YOURSELF when you are writing out your gift-list. Because loving yourself is the best gift you give yourself.

xoxo, Stephanie

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The Ease of a Brooklyn Boudoir Experience | Ms. J's Bridal Boudoir Session | NYC Photographer

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Ahhhh the boudoir experience… a source of mad anxiety from the time of considering the session to showing up to the studio. It doesn't matter how much I preach about how EASY it's about to be for a woman, the idea of stripping down in front of a stranger's camera is stressful...and...well...terrifying. 

Ms. J came to me all the way from Australia! She was having whirlwind week in NYC in which she arrived, had an engagement photo shoot, had a boudoir shoot AND got married underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Whew! Her lovely fiancé set up the shoot as a gift to her — best husband to be ever (though admittedly there was *something in it for him as well).

Like so many women who come to me, Ms. J was so nervous at first. Not to mention the overwhelming week she had ahead of her… so my main goal, as always, was to make her feel entirely 100% comfortable and for this to be the easiest thing about her week in NYC.

Good thing making women feel comfortable in front of the camera happens to be my superpower. You can read it in my rave reviews, in other past blog posts and from other client testimonials, but let emphasize the ease of this experience for any of you who may be nervous about this here.

So, what's it like?? What *exactly* goes on during a session? 

First and foremost, by the time you walk through the doors, you've already received so much information from me that there really isn't anything left to wonder about. You know how long we'll be together, how many outfits we'll be photographing you in, how long hair and makeup takes, and that I'll be giving you guidance along the way. 

We go through your outfits together and I'll offer you a beverage while you're slipping into your robe. My makeup artist chats with you about how much fun you're about to have, and calms your nerves. 

When it's shoot time, I give you another run down of the process, how it's actually fun and silly and not at all a "sensual" experience. We'll be chatting along the way. I'll encourage you the whole time. I'll be mindful of your "insecurities" and play up your favorite features. I'll direct EVERY SINGLE POSE. Every limb. Your hair. Your face. All of it. All you need to do is copy me. 

Time will FLY. It ALWAYS done. If I don't make a very conscious effort to check on the time, I would shoot all day. It's fun for me, it's fun for you, and it's over before you know it. You'll already want to do it again (and probably will...they always do ;) )

About 10 minutes into the session, Ms. J, like most of my other clients, was able to relax and find her flow. We had captured some beautiful portraits of her, with NYC as the backdrop.

Ms. J agrees:

I was really nervous about the photo shoot but you made the day really relaxed, assisting with the posing made me feel much more confident!! I never thought I would do a boudoir shoot but it was totally different to what I expected and I love the finished images you created. I didn’t think I would ever be tempted to do another but after working with you I’m tempted (when we return to NYC one day ;))

2 weeks later I was able to meet her again, this time as a married woman, with her husband along for the reveal. They sat together through her photo reveal slideshow in stunned silence...when it was over, she breathed a deep breath of relief, and did a little clap.  The photos, of course, turned out incredible, and became such an amazing memory of her time in NYC.

ALL of my clients are nervous, some more than others...but they all have that self-doubt that all of my clients are models and naturally good in front of the camera and that they will be the very first person that I cannot photograph.  Yes, the women on my website look modelesque...but they are women just like you: nurses, accountants, lawyers… Very few of them are actually comfortable in front of a camera, and not many of them would describe themselves as photogenic and sexy. Yet every single one of them looks that way. 

Ladies, I’ve got you. You will laugh at how nervous you were and will most definitely want to do it again...knowing that if your photos turned out THIS good when you were terrified....they will be even better the second round when you know what to expect. 

Trust me. 

xoxo, Stephanie

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