In Her Words: Sarah | Austin Boudoir Photography
I received an email this morning from our Sunday morning client, Sarah. I sat at my desk, reading each word with tears streaming down my cheeks and a huge, cheesy grin across my face.
I am so incredibly IN LOVE with the work I do. I get to help women love themselves. I get to guide them through one of the most important events in their life. I get to watch them grow and change and blossom right in front of my eyes. Just wow.
I believe in the healing power of boudoir.
Please take a moment to read Sarah’s thoughts below in this special “In Her Words” edition of my blog.
I love you Sarah.
I’m writing this before my reveal.
I feel like that’s important for you to know. The experience of the session is what’s empowering. The photos are just the icing on the cake—a memento I’ll treasure, for sure—but this journey and the accompanying emotions are invaluable. I went into my shoot honest about myself; this is what I look like, this is my body. I knew I wanted to get naked because I needed to see myself. I am learning to embrace my imperfect body because it is mine. I trusted Elizabeth and Lauren and Sarah to cherish and care for it as well. I trusted them, after months of being in their community and witnessing their work, to see what I often forget to see—that it is strong and curvy and soft and good.
It is vulnerable to trust women in this way, especially when in so many spaces we are unkind to ourselves and to one another because we’re so fearful that there isn’t enough room for all of us. At least, I know I can lean that way. But these women have created a space where that cat-fighting insecurity is gone. They celebrate beauty in all of its forms…our bodies are a wonderland, as John Mayer sings, and these women know that. And I think they want to teach us that, too. They want to help each one of us see that about ourselves.
I arrived at the door and texted Elizabeth. I was ushered into a space that is sultry and feminine and lovely. There was no time for small talk or awkward introductions—the women got right to work, curling hair, finalizing the wardrobe and accessories, and applying make-up. I was treated to mimosas and a fruit and cheese spread. We talked and laughed through the whole process and by the end of the preparation I was one of their BFF’s.
Each step was choreographed (they are professionals after all) but not rushed. I was asked a few questions, but the planning had already taken place via the Pinterest board and questionnaire Elizabeth emails out early on. I communicated what I wanted and felt seen and heard. The day of the shoot, I was able to just be in the moment.
I love that they provide everything. I didn’t have to spend money on lingerie and heels I’ll never wear again. It reminded me of going to a friend’s house and playing dress up. I haven’t done that since childhood. Elizabeth gets all the information from her clients that she needs, including specific sizes, so everything fits. There were no awkward moments where I put something on and it was too tight and I felt that shameful feeling that my body is wrong. They are invested in this as well, and picky, which is so amazing. If something didn’t work, it didn’t work but it wasn’t because I was failing. There was one romper we rejected because it didn’t work with my skin tone.
I had never worn a body suit before and, of course, that was the first outfit they put me in…it was interesting for sure, both because it was a new experience and because I was the only one prancing around in lingerie. I felt insecure but I knew this moment mattered. I knew I had paid for this time to get in touch with my feminine sexuality and I already trusted them so I took some breaths, put on the heels they gave me (which helped a ton — note to self, always wear heels in lingerie) and followed their instructions. And the compliments just kept flowing.
Elizabeth, Lauren, and Sarah see. That’s the best way I can describe it. They each have their own stories and through their own experiences they have come to a place where they want each woman they photograph to see herself just as she is. That even with flaws and imperfections she is beautiful and sexy as hell. As an adult, I know I don’t see a woman published that has not been Photoshopped. But internalizing that has been a struggle because they all look so damn perfect. My experience with boudoir has cemented that more firmly—with the right team and the right money, we would all look great on the cover of magazines.
But I don’t even care about that anymore, because it was walking in those heels, being vulnerable with this team that I’ll remember.
It was fun and awkward and freeing.