new york city boudoir photograher

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

Want to gift yourself something fabulous? Contact me and let’s chat!

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When You're Confidant | The Power of a Boudoir Shoot | New York Boudoir Photography

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We all want happiness. Even the most seemingly “put-together” women have their own narratives taking place behind the mask that challenges their livelihood. 

When I first started shooting boudoir, I didn’t quite realize the impact it could have on my clients. I loved the idea of working with women, taking beautiful portraits and creating a photography career that didn’t involve weddings or infants. But as I started photographing more women I started to realize the bigger picture in what I was doing. Upon seeing a sneak peak of their session, either on the back of the camera, from the teaser image they get the day after their shoot or at the photo reveal itself, inevitably the woman in front of the lens would say, “Wow! I didn’t know I could look like that!” And THAT is why I shoot boudoir. Because every woman should be able to look at a photo of herself and go wow, that’s really me? And feel GREAT about the fact that, YES! Yes. it. is. 

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Boudoir, to me, means confidence and inner beauty. As much as it seems boudoir photography is all about outer appearances, the truth is, it really doesn’t matter what you look like. Boudoir isn’t about being the perfect size, the perfect shape – I mean, what even is that?? It’s about having confidence in yourself. When you have confidence, it oozes out of you. It touches everything you do, and it’s something you can’t fake. This is hard for a lot of people, and leads to excuses like “I’m not thin enough,” “I don’t see myself like this,” “This type of session isn’t for me.” And the personal attacks and excuses go on and on and on…

You have it in you. I know you do because I see it come out during my sessions every single time. Need help getting there? That’s ok! It’s my job to bring that confidence out of you! When you are confident, you are beautiful, stunning, fierce, unstoppable. And really, you could have clothes on and still gain the same experience out of this photo session. What you wear (or don’t wear) doesn’t matter – it’s just the icing on top. What matters is finding it in yourself to feel like you are feminine and ENOUGH.

Ms. T., whose images you see here, was one of my favorite sessions from last year. This amazing business woman almost had to reschedule because — and get this — she is a motorcycle racer amongst many other things and had a spill a week before her shoot. She was scraped up but, as she was traveling in from Texas, and that she is a super badass, we went ahead with her session as planned, working around her injuries.

You would think that being such a beautiful woman and #badassfeminist she would have all the confidence in the world. But the cover is not always the book. Like so many of us, she had her own struggles with self-acceptence, and I’m just so so happy I could be a part of her journey towards loving herself just as she is.

Ms. T said:

Just WOW. I can’t express what a gift you’ve given me. As someone that’s struggled with a lifetime of negative self talk, convinced I’m always going to be either too much or not enough, to finally exhale and have the opportunity to see myself with a fresh perspective through your lens and be proud of who and what I see…

And it goes beyond just the gorgeous images — it’s the experience you create from start to finish that’s helped me learn to celebrate myself and simply be comfortable in my own skin. Thank you for the confidence to finally own my value, my worth and to know that I am enough.

^^^^ THIS! This is the reason why I LOVE being a boudoir photographer. Women need more love and self respect in this world. Many of us feel the need to compare and judge ourselves based on other people’s “highlight reels.” We go to the grocery store and don’t share a smile with the people we pass. We don’t compliment the woman with the nice shoes or who looks like they did their hair extra nice today. Why?

Boudoir to me is extending my light and my confidence to others. I have the skills and the means to show women they are beautiful. I have the courage to give them an experience unlike any other. That’s why I became a boudoir photographer – to extend compassion instead of comparison and to show you the truth about yourself: that you are enough.

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So if you’re feeling like a boudoir session ISN’T for you — be assured that each session in our studio is unique and all about you! Show a little, show a lot -- but either way, I believe that every woman deserves to see how beautiful, sexy and unique they truly are. Every body is beautiful and you should be comfortable in your own skin regardless of where you are in your journey in life.

XOXO, Stephanie

Ready to find YOUR confidence? Contact me and let’s chat!

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Elise Joan | Client Spotlight | Destination Boudoir Photography

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If you don't follow Elise Joan on Instagram, you must go and do so immediately. A beautiful and charismatic yogi and lifestyle coach, her feed is flooding with the most breathtaking organic images of her in practice, in stunning location around the world over along with the most thoughtful and insightful captions. Her stories share amazing lifestyle tips, incredible travel photography (most recently she’s been in Croatia), with occasional cameos by her handsome husband and adorable dog. I assure you, you'll see this feed and go researching yoga classes in your city and then make your friends take them with you. So inspiring and goals AF. 

Elise Joan has been a satellite friend of mine for nearly 20 years. I say “satalite” because there were only a few months at a time that she & I were living in the same city, and so our visits over the years have been few and far between. Even so, time and distance have barely affected our friendship — even after years of being out of touch we can chat over Skype for an hour as if no time has gone by at all. Originally from New York, Elise now lives and teaches in Los Angeles, but travels quite often. So I was thrilled when on my last trip to LA we were finally able to connect.

In a city flooded with yogis, Elise truly stands out. She’s obviously beautiful with an infectious smile and some inspiring travels under her belt. But it’s really much more than that. The magic in Elise’s teachings is that she makes yoga & healthy lifestyles choices seem easy and accessible to anyone, even the most intimidated beginner (raises hand). When you speak with her, you really believe that she’s seeing you, your challenges, what makes you tick. No stranger to life’s challenges herself, she’s honest, open and all about creating a life you are happy with — one that lets you be your best, most authentic self, to help you reach our full potential in life, not just in the yoga studio. And so, our goals for our clients (and women everywhere!) are really very similar.

When I visited her this past March, we almost didn’t get around to shooting because we spent so much time talking! I had thought we would capture her in her yoga practice, but then we realized, she’s captured herself like that so often… we wanted to capture something different. Being in her own home, we created images that feel intimate, quiet, and personal.

Elise said:

Stephanie gently guided me and directed me to bring out my own inner confidence and created a beautiful image showing he complex juxtaposition of my feminine curves and my strength. I felt comfortable, confident and feminine!

Her advise to anyone considering their own boudoir shoot?

Be yourself!! Loose your inhibitions and channel your inner goddess!! I recommend a quick grounding meditation before beginning your shoot to really get rooted in what you want to create and share!

You can find Elise’s workouts at Beach Body on Demand, and come January she will be expanding her classes to a Barre Class (which is very much up my ally, I can’t wait for it!!)

Infinite thanks to Elise for sharing her words, her home, her skills and her beauty with me and the rest of the world. I continue to be so so grateful for the amazing things my camera allows me to be a part of. 

Namaste. ;)

xoxo, Stephanie

Ready to be YOUR best self? Contact me and let’s chat!

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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).


A Busy New York Woman's First Anniversary Gift | Client Testimonial | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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I often get asked if the women on the Brooklyn Boudoir instagram and blog are “real” women. Um, we are ALL “real” women, aren’t we?? But I know what they mean: the women LOOK like models, but in fact are lawyers, entrapeneaurs, business women, other photographers, moms, and in the case of Ms. D., surgeons.

Ms. D. was about to celebrate her one-year wedding anniversary and was looking for the perfect gift. The traditional gift for a 1-year anniversary is paper, so a boudoir album is an amazing and personal option. But, given her crazy on-call schedule, it was really difficult for us to find a time that worked for both of us AND would turn around her album in time for her anniversary.

So, as we women do, we made it work and Ms. D. came to me after she was on call overnight. That’s right - she had spent the night at the hospital, performing heart surgery of all things (!!) and came to me in her scrubs on about 2 hours of sleep directly afterwards. Not ideal when you want to feel sexy. Or… is it?

Before you even see a single photo, it's the EXPERIENCE that you need and deserve as a woman. The more women I meet, the more I believe that however we spend our days, we are ALL professional jugglers. Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a work-from home-mom, a work-out-of-the-home-mom, or a busy working woman, we are women and New Yorkers, so I can guarantee that you are juggling TONS.

It's also a safe bet that often times, of all the things you juggle, taking care to make sure that YOU are taken care of isn't one of those priorities. There just simply isn't that much time, I get it. 

As many articles as we read about making ourselves a priority so that the loved ones in our lives reap the benefits, it's downright HARD to find an hour a day to work out, it's hard to schedule a monthly girl's night with a bunch of busy women, it's hard to take 10 minutes out of your morning to stretch, it's hard to not feel guilty booking a 3 hour boudoir photo shoot experience when you know you've got others to take care of. 

But I can promise you, it's worth it. ALL OF THOSE THINGS: worth it.  Do I struggle with doing them, too? HELL.YES. But when I do, my family notices. *I* notice. I'm more productive. I'm happier. I've got a pep in my step. 

So, as we women do, Ms. D. came to me super tired and yet MADE IT WORK. She had an amazing attitude and we captured some incredible images together. Needeless to say, she needed this experience, and LOVED her images. Needless to say, her new husband did too, and I was just happy I could treat Ms. D. to some “Me time” and be a small part of their anniversary celebration.

Ms. D. Said:

Stephanie was phenomenal! She made me feel so comfortable and confident! This is the best investment you can make for yourself! Do not think about it..... just do it! I would recommend her to everyone!!!!! I can’t thank you enough for such and amazing experience.

THANK YOU, Ms. D., for bringing your A-game to our shoot — until the next time!!

xoxo, Stephanie

Have a first anniversary coming up but not sure you have time for a photoshoot? Contact me and let’s make it work!

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The Similarities Between Yoga & Boudoir | Strong and Sexy Photography | New York City

Yoga & Boudoir similar? You'd be surprised!

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When to gift your bridal boudoir photos to you fiancé | New York City Bridal Trends

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Bridal Boudoir has been a growing trend over the past few years.  Nearly all my brides ask the same question: WHEN should I give these photos to my groom?  This isn't always easy for me to answer since it's such a personal decision - there is no right or wrong time!  But here are four perfect times to give your fiancé your bridal boudoir photos!

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  1. The night before!
    Often times the day of the wedding is filled with family, photographers, nerves… it can be a lot. The night before on the other hand offers a way to keep things extra private and to make your groom that much more excited for the big day! Also a good option so you don't have to pack it in your Mary Poppin's style wedding bag.

  2. The morning of!
    Hand it off to your MOH to deliver, but don't forget that there may be more eyes on it than you'd like. You can get around this by sending it over early before the festivities of the day begin. On the other hand, it can be SUPER fun to have your wedding photographer snap a few photos of him opening his gift - you can guarantee his reaction will be priceless! As soon as he realizes what it is, he’s sure to keep it discreet, but juuuuust in case this option is best if you’re not shy. On the other hand, you'll be hot AF and off the market so if anyone accidentally sees, who cares… but that’s just my take on it ;) If you don't want to gift them all the morning of, you could include a single 5x7 print in a card to let them know there's more to come at the end of the night. A fun surprise and something they'll look forward to all day!

  3. The wedding night!
    Give them on the wedding night. You could even drop a hint mid-wedding day to keep them guessing. This way, you know your photos are safe and sound and for their eyes only, and you can have fun looking through the album together. The downside of this option is that you’ll both likely be so tired (and probably a little tipsy) that night that it’s easy to loose steam.

  4. The honeymoon!
    If you're really patient, you could gift them during the honey moon. A perfect time for such a gift, since you’ll be relaxed and in a romantic zone. I'd personally be super antsy to share to wait that long… The other downside of course is packing it for your trip and risking it getting damaged or lost.

  5. Your one year anniversary!

    Don’t forget that it normally takes 6-8 weeks to turn an album around. Didn’t plan ahead? No worries — the traditional one year anniversary gift is paper, so an album makes the perfect first anniversary gift. You can even bring back your veil or a special piece of wedding night lingerie for nostalgia’s sake, and to get more use out of your wedding day wardrobe!

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Whenever you decide to gift your boudoir album, you can’t go wrong, just be sure to plan ahead to keep the wedding day as stress free as possible!

xoxo, Stephanie

Getting married later this summer or fall? Now’s the time to get booked!

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Come As You Are | Natural Beauty Bridal Boudoir | Brooklyn Portrait Photographer

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I’ve talked a lot recently about natural beauty, and not necessarily *needing a makeover before your boudoir shoot. This modern and untraditional bridal boudoir session is the perfect example of how beautifully this can work, even in a boudoir photoshoot setting.

Ms. S is a dancer amongst other things. She’s a natural beauty who doesn’t wear much, if any, makeup in her “real” life. So when she contacted me about a shoot for her soon to be husband as a wedding day gift, her one concern was looking too made up and not herself.

Ladies, this is no problem whatsoever! As I’ve said before, the most important thing to me is that you are looking and feeling like your best YOU. Not like “her” (whoever she is) but like YOU. Makeovers are fun, getting primped up is fun, and sometimes playing dress up is fun — I totally get that and am all for it. But sometimes — scratch that, MOST OF THE TIME — being yourself is the most satisfying and most beautiful you there is.

I loved how Ms. S. knew herself and her style and opted out of the hair and makeup chair. She came to her shoot completely au natural and it completely works for her casual, just-woke-up like this, cool girl vibe. I never thought Chuck Taylors could look so sexy and yet, here she is rocking them! In fact some of these images are some of my most commented on and repined from my Pinterest pages, I think because they are unique, honest and really tell a story about the woman wearing them.

And ultimately, isn’t this what we we all want? To be seen as ourselves, and have our stories heard?

In her own words, Ms. S said:

Out of any wedding related thing I've done in the last year (including looking for and buying my wedding dress) this was the absolute my favorite experience. Stephanie is super talented and a pleasure to be around. I felt like she really took the time to get a feel for who I was and catered the shoot to that. It's nice when people recognize your individuality! The final products absolutely embraced my personality and style. Also...it was just totally fun!

I will never put you in heels if you don’t own a pair of heels that make you feel good. I don’t put crazy long eyelashes on you unless you love that look. We can capture your beauty in ANY state of dress or undress as long as it’s how you feel best about yourself. Yes, I’ll direct you and I’ll even push you to the go a little bit out of your comfort zone — but only as far as you are excited to go. I have a sixth sense when it comes to women and their feelings. If you are excited to try some artistic nudes but nervous to go there I am great about capturing a few in the most comfortable and easy way. And if you want to stay in your jeans the whole time, we can absolutely make that work as well (see photos here as proof).

So if you are considering a boudoir session — for yourself or as a gift to a loved one, my advise is: don’t get caught up in what you think it “should” look like. Find a photographer who’s style you love and jives with your own, and just be yourself. So come as you are! Get glammed up or not, wear lingerie or not. Because you are truly never as beautiful as you are when you’re just being yourself.

xoxo, Stephanie

Ready to express YOUR individuality with a boudoir shoot? Let’s chat!

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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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Embracing Your Sexy | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer | Client Spotlight

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One story I often hear from my clients is that they often feel cute or maybe even "pretty", but hardly ever sexy. That's one of the curses of being female - we don't see our potential. We put ourselves in "cute" boxes and when someone suggests that we are sexy, we laugh it off. No way. Me? Nope. 

One of my biggest strengths is showing women how strong & sexy they are. I want them to embrace themselves as powerful and, GASP, sexual beings. It's much easier for us to grasp the concept that we are hard workers, decent moms, devoted wives. But the sexy thing is harder for us to recognize. 

But I promise, if you come in for a Brooklyn Boudoir experience, I'll show you. The shoot won't feel like you're trying too hard to be someone else. In fact, you may even think "There's NO WAY this photo is sexy!" or "There's NO WAY I'm doing this right."  The magic of it is that I'm about to show each client her sexy AF self and they don't even expect it.

Ms. C here is one such example. She came in for an anniversary gift for her husband but learned the real gift was to herself. In her own words:

Stephanie made me feel absolutely comfortable and CONFIDENT the entire day. I would recommend Stephanie to anyone! Having my hair and makeup done, being styled and taught how to pose was such a fun experience. I absolutely LOVE how my photos came out too. It's a great boost to your confidence and makes you feel sexy as hell.

I think so many people book boudoir experiences with me thinking "Well, I'm not going to look as amazing as the other women on her website, but if I can walk away with one good picture of myself I'll be happy." And those are the clients that are absolutely awestruck by the images in front of them at their photo reveal.  In fact, my favorite part of our our reveal was when Ms. C turned to me, smiling and said, “this is fuuuuun.”

Yes. Yes it is. ;)

So how do I do it? When I look at my clients — and all women, really - I see so much more than their looks. It’s true that I believe all women are beautiful, but what I also see is the story of a woman who is complicated, brave, strong and interesting, a woman who deserves to have enough confidence to unapologetically love and accept herself as she is. Just like you do. So don’t worry — I won’t force you into someone else’s definition of “sexy.” We will embrace YOUR kind of sexy.

xoxo, Stephanie

Ready to see yourself the same way I see you? Let’s chat!

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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 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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Ready to bite the bullet? 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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The Mental Equivalent of Losing 10 Pounds | Client Raves | The Brooklyn Boudoir Photoshoot Experience

Ahh, this beautiful and special woman. Where do I begin?

I have mentioned to some of you that I was recently interviewed for a documentary exploring motherhood and the workplace, an important topic that is close to my heart in it’s own right. It’s going to be a fantastic film, I’m so proud to be a part of it and I’ll keep everyone posted on it’s release, probably sometime next year. Aside from our interview, the filmmaker wanted to capture a photoshoot with me. I didn’t feel right asking a client to be filmed during our session, because your comfort and privacy is my utmost priority. But, we also wanted to capture the real vibe of a Brooklyn Boudoir shoot — as opposed to a shoot with a model — to accurately show the process and show how transformative it can be for a woman. And so, the filmmaker asked a friend of hers, who had been toying with the idea of boudoir shoot, if she would be willing to have her shoot recorded for the documentary.

So as you can imagine, this wasn’t a completely traditional shoot as there were 2 additional people in the room and TWO cameras on Ms. H. We were under time constraints but I still wanted to give Ms. H as close to the Brooklyn Boudoir experience that I could given the unusual circumstances. She handled it like a champ, and within just a few minutes, BOTH of us forgot there was a camera on us!

Turns out, Ms. H really needed this. She had recently had a few surgeries that left her feel less than her best. She was in that NYC apartment limbo with half her stuff in storage… she really needed a day to just pamper herself.

Despite the limited time frame, we shot 3 looks with some slight variations. The first was a classic Calvin Klein sporty look (with and without cozy sweater), the second a more feminine pink & black set, and hen the real piece de la resistance was her 3rd look - an amazing vintage denim jacket with nothing but her Calvins on underneath. When she walked out of the dressing room in this 3nd look… well, even the filmmaker said she could feel the confidence oozing out of her friend. It was true — she was beaming and I could tell that she was feeling like her best, most authentic self.

Now, i don't normally show clients too many sneak peaks durning the shoot — I like for there to be an element of surprise at the reveal — but I am SO TICKLED that someone was able to capture Ms. H when I showed her a quick back of the camera shot. When I say she freaked out… she actually exclaimed, “THAT’S what guys get to see when the F*CK me???” PAHAHAHAHA I died laughing a that one. It’s not about the boys, but also yes. Yes, that IS what they get to see and LUCKY THEM.

Said Ms. H. about her experience:

From your first email to me detailing what to expect in the shoot, I felt like I was in excellent hands. I felt completely comfortable, free and sexy and that is 100% due to the easy-going, professional, warm and FUN atmosphere you create. I am not usually comfortable in front of the camera but you made it easy. 

I appreciated that the shoot felt tailored to me—you were able to pick up on the particular brand of "sexy" I was going for, that felt authentic to me, and both the shoot and the photos reflect that. I felt like ME—just the best, sexiest version of me. 

I especially loved the direction you provided. It really helps take any pressure off. Then, once I was really in the moment, the spontaneity as we both came up with ideas was great too. Just all around an incredible experience. As I told my sister after the fact, "I felt so fantastic afterward, it was like the mental equivalent of losing 10 pounds." This was the best damn way to kick off 2019 and I can't wait to do it again!

Her advise for other women?

“Just trust Stephanie! She knows what she's doing and she has thought. Of. EVERYTHING. It is everything you could want out of the experience: fun, relaxing, gratifying, rejuvenating, self-connecting, and yes, so sexy. Don’t get too hung up on bringing clothing that is "traditionally" sexy, unless that's what you find sexy as well. Bring outfits that you feel good in and that fit your personality. It will show in your photos, like it did in mine.

Thank you, Ms. H . for trusting me with your photoshoot experience, for stepping outside your comfort zone with me and for bringing such amazing energy to our shoot that we could both let loose, be ourselves and capture some amazing photos of you. I also can’t wait til next time!!

xoxo, Stephanie

Need an end of winter pick me up? Send me a note and let’s chat!

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What to Wear for Your Portrait Session - Maternity Edition! | Brooklyn Maternity Photographer

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I recently blogged about no-stress boudoir wardrobe that you likely already have in your closet. But what if you’re pregnant and, well, not much in your closet actually FITS you right now?? There are still plenty of classic and classy options for your maternity portrait session, and you STILL won’t have to spend an arm and a leg.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

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This is my number one rule in ALL kinds of shoots. These photographs are of YOU not your wardrobe really and I don’t want to distract from your natural beauty, or create something trendy that you are embarrassed by 10 years from now. So in my mind, classic & simple is best. Overall, opt for solids over patterns and neutrals over bright colors - think black, white, grey, creme, navy and dark red. This helps keep the focus on you, your belly and your connection to the camera. I have a few simple stapes in my kit including a beautiful white lace gown (which looks beautiful on every body type)

MAKE IT PERSONAL

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All that said, many women opt to bring a beautiful silk robe form their wedding day or honeymoon, or her husband’s button down shirt as one of their wardrobe options. A snetimanetal item can add meaning and variety to your photoshoot. Often times this type of wardrobe will “breaks the rules” with brighter colors and patterns but in this case, it’s the meaning behind the piece that matters most. So if you love it, bring it!

SHOW OFF YOUR BUMP

There was a time when women wanted to hide their bumps under tent-like clothes and baby doll lingerie, but that’s not why you’re having your maternity portrait taken, is it? If you don’t feel comfortable showing off your bare tummy, consider form fitting pieces that hug your curves. I love a simple, stretchy tube dress for this and have a black one in my studio that amazingly fits so many women. It’s sleek, form fitting and timeless. Bodysuits are also a favorite of mine, or (if your regular bodysuits no longer fit) a black bathing suit or even a tight black turtlenects worn with a simple undie give the same idea. This look can be completely covered up and fashiony while still featuring your bump beautifully.

SWATHS OF FABRIC

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If you’ve been looking through instagram for inspiration you’ve no doubt seen images ot women with long flowy fabric flying up in the background. It makes an epic and artistic photos and was something I was setting out to learn when I mentored with the master of the fabric toss, Lola Melani this past summer. i have collected and a few large swaths of silk and chiffon for this dramatic and iconic look, which is particularly magical with a growing bump.

GO BARE

The “Demi Moore” was scandalous at the time but now is a classic for good reason! It’s intimate choice, natural and my personal favorite. There are so many different ways to be nude but also covered up in your photos. Your body never goes out of style. (Bonus that it requires the least amount of prep work or planning!) We can take this even further by applying some body paint to your bump - it’s edgy and artistic and when else in your life might you do something like that!?

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Whatever you decide to wear, a maternity shoot is a beautiful way to memorialize this time in your life and something you will always be happy you did. The ideal time to have your maternity portrait taken is between 28 - 34 weeks so be sure to plan in advance and book during that “sweet spot.”

xoxo, Stephanie

Expecting? Let’s capture your pregnancy in a classic and classy way — contact me to learn more!

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A Changed Woman | Ms. W's NYC Shoot Experience | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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Ahhh this photoshoot has a soft spot in my heart. At Brooklyn Boudoir, your photoshoot is customized to my client’s style, and THIS was one of my proudest moments as far as that customization is concerned. Ms. W flew in from across the country and we had been planning our shoot for quite some time. She had mentioned in our pre-shoot consultations that her dream shoot would resemble the Brittney Spears “Toxic” video… which I just happen to LOVE. We had a lot of ideas on how to make this happen together — we even looked into having one specially designed for her! It seemed like a long shot UNTIL I met the AMAZING Beth Claire, a fellow boudoir photographer / magician who specializes in fantasy shoots and has a closet full of incredibly beautiful custom pieces she’s made herself. I told Beth about the “Toxic” idea and it just so happened she had something that would work perfectly for our needs! Ms. W and I were elated — I couldn’t wait to photograph her in the amazing piece (and I may or may not have also taken some self-portraits in it because SEQUINS JUMPSUIT)!

Besides the amazing wardrobe, we shot in the most beautiful hotel suite with a 180 degree view of Manhattan — it was truly breathtaking!

Said Ms. W:

My session was tailored perfectly to me, from setting, to hair and makeup, to music--it was incredible. Stephanie is friendly, enthusiastic, encouraging and so fun to shoot with! I felt like I was hanging out with one of my BFF's the entire time! I can't imagine shooting with anyone else. I was pampered from the moment I arrived to the location. My makeup artist was incredible and so sweet. I feel like I gained two new friends after this shoot.

Of course, our shoot was a whole lot more than a Brittney Spears fantasy. Ms. W and I… well we are kindred spirits. Even though we live in different cities, even though she is an avid hiker, and that I barely own a pair of proper sneakers, we had an instant connection — it was like 2 long lost friends spending the afternoon together, and I was just so so happy she was able to come to NYC and have this incredible Brooklyn Boudoir Experience.

More of Ms. W’s words:

I have never been super body-positive, or really enjoyed much of my body -- apparently all I needed was a photo shoot with Brooklyn Boudoir. I have never felt so beautiful in my life. I have never felt so empowered in my life. My newfound confidence kicked in the second Steph started shooting and it's still going strong. This experience was absolutely life changing for me! One photo by Brooklyn Boudoir, and I am a changed woman. One. That's all it took. One photo by Brooklyn Boudoir, and I see myself with a completely new set of eyes...unlike I've ever seen myself before. Thank you so much; I will always hold this experience close to my heart. <3

^^^^ THIS!! This is what it is all about. Ms. W is a strong, intelligent, creative, spirited and BEAUTIFUL woman who completely deserves to see herself the way the world sees her. I felt so grateful that she found me and that she was able to make the trip to NYC and for the friendship we made. Love you, girl!

XOXO, Stephanie

READY TO SEE YOURSELF WITH A NEW SET OF EYES? LET’S CHAT!

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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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Everyone is Nervous at First | Brooklyn Boudoir Photography | Client Spotlight

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This gem....THIS gem of a woman! We had been in "talks" about a boudoir experience for some time. Eventually, Ms. S pulled the trigger before her wedding as a gift to her new husband and herself. She had such a cool demeanor about her and a great attitude despite her nerves. in fact, even though she told me several times that she was nervous, you never would have known it once she walked through the doors of the shoot.

Said Ms. S:

I had a very smooth, positive, fun experience and I'm very glad I decided to book this. While I was super nervous to do it I felt very mentally prepared the day of.

This comment made me chuckle because 100% of my clients are nervous about their boudoir experience in the days leading up to it. Of course you are! You are about to have your photo taken, which many people already feel uncomfortable doing, much less in your underwear! But trust me when I say, we’ve got you covered! My hair and makeup artists are great about putting you at ease — you get to sit, relax and get pampered by a professional for an hour which will definitely start to settle your nerves. And then I take over. And I REALLY take over. There isn't much of a chance for you to feel unsure about what you're doing because I tell you EXACTLY what I want you to do. And I show you. All you really have to do is be there with me, and follow along! 

Also, I help you prepare, in all the ways you will need, mentally and otherwise! We can chat on the phone or Skype before your session to get to know each other better. I send you prep guide with tips on skin care, wardrobe, dos & don’t, how to cultivate sensuality in phones (and in life!) … whatever you want to talk about before hand, I am there for you and will guide you before, during and after your shoot in getting the best images for YOU.

And about those nerves: within the first 10 clicks of my shutter, I witness my clients transition from deer in headlights to a state of relief, and soon after, to a woman who is having SO much fun and is SO at ease that she forgets that she's not wearing much. Truly - no exaggeration!  We talk, we laugh, you might wonder how I am getting anything that looks sexy because the experience really isn’t a “sexy” one. It’s much more like 2 girlfriends handing out/a therapy session than anything else.

I don’t mean to be flip about this. I know that you probably have a hard time standing in front of the mirror naked and REALLY taking a good look at yourself. I know that you cringe every time you lean forward and see what gravity does to your boobs and belly. I know that, because I experience it myself. And I know that most of my clients do as well. We're women, and unfortunately that's pretty typical for us. 

Know that I take all of this into consideration. Even if I don't see the flaws on your body that you do, I know that insecurities exist. I don't write them off as my client just being "blinded by insecurities." 

But here’s the thing: I am REALLY good at making people feel comfortable. Really comfortable. Like "oh, I forgot I was in my birthday suit" comfortable.  Second to that, I understand women's bodies and their insecurities. I know how to pose women of all shapes and sizes. I know how to use light strategically to make you look your absolute best. 

Also know that I'm not a stranger. From the second you send me that first e-mail that starts with "I can't believe I'm finally emailing you about this....", we are friends. I care about you, I take my job as your photographer very seriously and I will want to stay in touch with you long after I’ve delivered your album. I can’t help it. I love my clients, take interest in them, and that doesn’t just disappear after your shoot.

So, thank you to Miss S for being a firecracker during her photo session, for overcoming her nerves, for delighting me with stories of her wedding & wedding gift and for allowing me to share her photos. And also for telling me there was a “Hamilton” app which lets you enter the lottery by cell phone - genius!! (What can I say, the musical theatre geek in me will never die).

xoxo, Stephanie

Nervous to reach out? Let’s chat and let me put your mind at ease.

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Stress-Free Boudoir Wardrobe | Brooklyn Photo Studio | What to Wear to Your Boudoir Shoot

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One of the most common questions i get from clients is, “what should I wear to my boudoir shoot?” It makes perfect sense - you most likely have never been photographed professionally before, must less in a state of semi-undress and you want to look your best. Ladies, I got you. Once you have booked your Brooklyn Boudoir Experience, I will send you a very informative guide that goes over what works well for different body types and what looks best on camera - this covers different styles of lingerie, what colors look best, and what textures to avoid, and I am always available to consult with you on wardrobe ideas. Many women feel they need to go out and shop for new sexy lingerie. If this is something you WANT to do, something that will make your photoshoot feel extra special (or simply give you an excuse to hit up Agent Provocateur), get it girl! But if it’s something you are stressing about - PLEASE DON’T! I am sure that there are pieces in your closet right now that you may not even be considering that work beautifully for any boudoir shoot. Check out these ideas for stress-free boudoir wardrobe options:

1 - BODYSUITS

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It’s no secret that bodysuits are one of my favorite wardrobe pieces to shoot. They look good on EVERYONE, regardless of body type and there are so many different options out there at many different price points. Yes, there are lingerie-style bodysuits (Journelle has some of my favorites) but there are also bodysuit tops out there that are totally covered up (very on trend right now, check out Cuyana). You can even wear a one piece bathing suit! Andies makes some really beautiful ones in classic styles.

2 - TEE SHIRT or TANK TOP

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I find a classic white tank so sexy. It can be worn with or without a bra underneath for 2 totally different looks and can be wet down to kick the sex appeal up a notch. I love this look bra-less or with a black bra underneath if you want the extra coverage. Black tanks and cropped tee shirts give a similar effect. You can show as much or as little tummy as you want to with these looks - great for variety. And if you have a tee with a message you love — bring it! This ^^ “Badass Feminist” shirt ^^ is one of my favorites (currently out of stock but I am stalking the website to see when more are coming in).

3 - KIMONO, SCARF or ROBE

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This is another look that lets you choose how much or how little you want to show. A robe gives a cool, “I just woke up like this” vibe and you can be 100% covered up in it. Or, slip it down over your shoulder to show just a little bit of skin. I find shoulders, clavicles, collarbones and backs really beautiful. Scarves can serve the same purpose or we can play around with them to get some more energy & movement in your images — it can make a fun “peek-a-boo” moment.

4 - JACKETS

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Fur, leather or even a blazer - I LOVE shooting women in jackets. It’s unexpected and modern — a real fashion moment. If you have a statement jacket you love, BRING IT!

5 - ACTIVE WEAR

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So many women feel their sexiest and most powerful when they are working out. If this is the case for you, why not capture that feeling in your workout gear? With the rise of “athleisure,” active wear has become really sexy with fun cut outs, straps, and illusion panels, plus they tighten up the look of the body for a smooth line.

6 - COZY SWEATER

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January felt about 75 days long to me this year, and all I wanted to do was cuddle up in a big cozy cardigan. Worn with a simple bra and panty or nothing at all underneath, it gives the vibe of an intimate evening at home. Extra bonus that you can show as much or as little as you want with this look, and use it to highlight some of your favorite, perhaps under-appreciated parts, similar to the robe look listed above (hello, collarbones).

7 - JEANS

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OK, I KNOW you have a favorite pair of jeans in your closet that make you feel like you can take on the world. Skinny jeans with a bra and heels gives a powerful, New York Woman feel, and a looser boyfriend style is easy to slip on and off for a suggestive, “leave something to the imagination” vibe. High waisted jeans when worn alone give a very modern, “fashionista that isn’t trying too hard” feeling.

8 - BUTTON DOWN SHIRT

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Many women like to bring one of their partner’s shirts in to the shoot — it’s a classic for a reason! Another great look is a sheer-isn button down of yours. When photographed backlit it shows just enough of your outline in silhouette and looks really artistic & graceful.

9 - TIGHTS

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One of my earliest clients brought in a pair of opaque tights and I realized how genius it was! It’s totally unexpected, pretty much covered up, and also so fashion-y & sexy! Statement tights also work great to show off the legs.

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10 - BLACK BRA & PANTY

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Simplicity is often times the best! Whatever the texture - lace, cotton, sheer - a black bra and panty photograph and are sexy in an every day, not trying too hard kind of way.

11 - NOTHING AT ALL!

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Of course, no wardrobe at all is required for your boudoir shoot! “Nude” doesn’t have to be over-exposed or sexual. In fact, often times the nude looks we photograph are the most covered up of all! You can be ENTIRELY covered in a white sheet and look incredibly sexy. It’s all about what’s left to the imagination! Or, we can shoot fine art nudes that could be hung up on your wall without anyone knowing that it’s you. Or, hell, tell EVERYONE it’s you! There is no shame loving yourself and being proud of your body.

The truth is, “sexy” is much more about how you feel that what you are wearing. Whatever you decide to wear, trust me when I say, when you feel good you will look good. So feel free to think outside the box with your boudoir wardrobe and most of all, don’t stress it!

xoxo, Stephanie

Have more questions about what to wear to your shoot? Hit me up and let’s chat!

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What If...? | Artistic Bridal Boudoir | Brooklyn Boudoir Photographer

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I have been waiting a few months to share these amazing images with you! Ms. H is a POWER.HOUSE. She is an actress, dancer and currently works in the fitness industry, so needless to say she is very body aware and knows how to move. It isn’t even fair for me to take full credit for these photos because she brought SO MUCH to the table — she SERVED it with the looks, was willing to take some risks and most of all trusted me to do my thing. The results were nothing short of magical.

This is a woman you can’t help but want to be around. She’s real. She’ll tell it like it is. She’s sexy without trying. She has freckles and she loves them. She’s charismatic and she’ll kick your ass in a workout (I speak from experience here, holy hell we worked out together and for a week afterwards every step I took was pain). She’s got a passion for life, for love, she’s got a tough “New York woman” energy with a soft side… which is how I like to think of myself.

Ms. H just got married this past month. The STYLE of this couple. NYC meets Nashville: edgy yet somehow still traditional, stars everywhere, the most gorgeous flowers, and a couple who are so clearly into each other you can’t help but want to fall in love. I’m SURE their wedding will end up in the pages of a glossy magazine — and I am so pleased I got to be a small part of their incredible day. We captured a few more traditionally bridal looks with a veil, and then went more artistic & raw with some portraits on black, a shower set and some of my favorite “in the sheets” shots ever. I love how much variety we captured and how we illustrated the different sides of her personality.

Said Ms. H about her Brooklyn Boudoir Experience:

I am so blown away. I've had my picture taken a good bit, so while I've never done a boudoir shoot, I'm comfortable in front of a camera and had a pretty good idea of what results I could expect. I have NEVER seen myself like this on film. Sometimes, I'll get dressed up to go somewhere and look in the mirror and be like "damn girl you look good!" but then I see a picture of the same night and it makes my heart sink. Do I have an elevated opinion of myself? Is my mirror broken? Which one is really me? Which version are other people seeing? Working with you made me realize that it comes down to the person behind the camera caring as much about me as I do, or probably even more. Working in the fitness industry I take a lot of care to make it less about physical results and more about empowering women. But, at the end of the day, it's a physical result driven business. It's always about progress and the next step. What can we improve, what can get even better? This was the first time I've been able to stop and, in your words "be where I am now". 

These are easily my favorite pictures of myself I've ever seen and I'm so happy I have these images to capture and celebrate this phase of my life. I felt so cared for and celebrated.

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These words meant to much to me, because (and this is somethingI hope this comes through in my blogs, my newsletter, and my instagram — and is worth repeating here): I care about you. We may be strangers at first, but we will get to know each other, we will likely become fast friends, I will want to know your story, your “why,” hear all about the crazy things happening in your world, and will be following along your wedding photos just like I did with Ms. H here. I care! Everyone comes to a boudoir session for a different reason. Sometimes you just want pretty images of yourself, often times it’s something deeper than that. Whatever your reason, I want to honor it, and celebrate YOU and through the process, my clients and I often make real connections with each other!

Her advise for other women who are thinking of having a shoot of their own? “Do it and go for it. Push yourself as far as you can. If you don't like the result, nobody ever has to see those shots! But if you don't do it, you'll always wonder "what if."

^^^^^^ THIS! Personally, one of my biggest fears is looking back on life and wondering “what if…” Back in my dating days, I used to go out with pretty much everybody who asked (insert joke here). I always felt like there was nothing to lose - if I didn’t like the guy, at worst it would be a funny story to tell my friends (and let me tell you there are some REALLY funny stories). Saying YES can lead to some great adventures - and also some bad ones, sure. However, I really do believe that people rarely regret the things they go for, the things they say YES to. So much more common seems to be regret over saying no. Did I go on some really bad dates by saying yes? Ummm, you have no idea (i.e.: strong YES!) But was it really so bad?? Nah…and I have to believe if I hadn’t gone out with Barbara Streisand’s nephew (true story) I would have wondered “what if” I had.

Anyhow, I digress, as I sit here thinking of all the bad dates of my past, lol. My point is, there are a lot of excuses you can think of NOT to have a boudoir shoot. But who wants to look back and think, “if only I had done it before I had kids” or “i wish I had been able to appreciate myself earlier in life.” I wish I had learned to appreciate myself and my body earlier in life, but it’s never too late to start saying YES. It’snever too late to start appreciating yourself and loving yourself. You don’t have to be perfect - you just have to be YOU. (And by the way, you ARE perfect, and I am happy to be the one to remind you of that).

OK, this blog post is much more rambling and tangental that I intended it to be, what can I say, Ms. H and her wedding brought out a lot of feelings in me.

Love you guys - my readers, my clients, my women, my muses, my friends.

xoxo, Stephanie

Wondering “what if” YOU had a boudoir shoot? Shoot me an email and let’s chat!!

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