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I did a boudoir photo shoot

*This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this post. I received zero discounts or perks.*

I’ve wanted to do a boudoir photo shoot for a long time now. As an amateur photographer I’m fascinated by sexual photography–naked or nearly so bodies, fetish photography, the whole nine yards. I longed to be a model in one of those photos, but the voices in my head that said I’m not pretty enough or thin enough drowned that desire in a bog of self doubt. I generally hate how I look in photos, with the exception of my wedding photos (which the voices remind me was twenty-five pounds ago). But beneath all of that was a sense of inevitability.

Several months ago I was introduced to Groupon (remember, I just moved back to the US–I’d heard of it but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now when we left in 2010). One day I was idly scrolling through offers in my area and stumbled across a discount for a boudoir photography shoot with two photos for a steep discount.

My partner turned forty last year and I turn forty next year. No matter what the voices in my head said, he has always found me beautiful.  decided to push my boundaries and do this shoot for him. Or at least I told myself it was for him.

I booked my date and because of childcare and travel issues had several months to dread and second/third/hundredth guess my decision. Initially I made up a bogus appointment to explain why he needed to take the kids one day while I went into San Francisco. I’m a terrible liar and my excuse fell apart, so I told him what was up. He was incredibly supportive and together we crafted the four looks I would shoot with.

The price of the shoot was just the beginning. I hadn’t thought about all the details.

In the months before the shoot…

I’ve had back surgery, and was told heels were off limits for me. But I wasn’t about to wear flats in a sexy shoot. I bought three pairs of heels and a pair of dominatrix boots.

I bought a new piece of lingerie.

I bought new lacy panties.

I bought a man’s white shirt as mine didn’t look so fresh, and I wanted a better fit.

Celebrate Your Sexy sent me an email to ask me questions, including how do I feel about photos of myself and what are my concerns. (Top concern–I’d hate the photos and it would wreck my fragile self esteem).

The week of the shoot….

I got my eyebrows, lower arms, under arms, and full legs waxed.

I got a pedicure and acrylic nails.

On the day of the photo shoot…

I couldn’t find one of my outfits and had to rethink an entire look. This totally freaked me out. (It was on top of my bureau so I wouldn’t lose it–which I discovered that night.)

I had my hair and makeup done.

When my stylist asked what I wanted done with my hair I said “make it look like I just had really good sex.” My straight hair was curled and teased. Since I was (mostly) going to keep my glasses on, we added fake lashes and just did some liner on my eyes. I did a blood red lip (fiery liquid lipstick from Stila–it is my go-to and the only red I’ve ever tried that didn’t look pink-y or orange-y).

All of this added up to way more than the photo shoot cost. A more secure/more cost conscious person could probably do without these extras, but this is my journey.

The experience…

I was ready about an hour before my shoot, and I sat in my car so as not to sweat my make-up off in the insane heat wave that gripped the Bay Area a few weeks ago. This gave me plenty of time to contemplate if I wanted to take anxiety medication.

I drove to the location of the photo shoot with a carry-on suitcase full of clothes/shoes/props and texted the photographer that I was downstairs.

The photographer immediately put me at ease. We talked through my outfits and shoes. She let me plug my phone in and put on a playlist (regret–should’ve had a better playlist as it wasn’t something I’d really thought about or planned for). We talked about my props and which outfit they went with, etc.

We set up my four outfits, and I changed into the first one–a sexy red dress with red heels with a matching black lace bra and panty under it. The photographer started me off on the bed, moving the lights and herself around me. She walked me through poses, and told me to tell her when something was just not okay for my back or any other reason. Some poses were indeed uncomfortable, and I gained a small appreciation for what it must take to create ads and layouts in magazines (apart from photoshop).

My second outfit was a turquoise bra and panty under a white men’s shirt and black heels. I posed with a copy of Capturing the Moment. I wished I’d brought my own laptop, but the photographer lent me hers. I’m hoping I like one of these photos so I can use it here on the site.

My third leaned hard into kink. A nightie with a vinyl/pleather breast bra top, black lacy panties, and dominatrix boots that on my five foot two/three inch frame went nearly into my vagina. I posed with a riding crop with a sparkly handle and one with a heart-shaped surface.

My fourth? Mesh with nothing under it and black heels. I should have felt self conscious or uncomfortable, but by that point I felt comfortable with the photographer, with my body, and most shockingly–with the camera.

The photos…

I’m seeing them on Friday. I wanted to write about the experience before I saw them, and then I’ll write another entry about that experience.

Final thoughts…

I had such a positive experience that I volunteered to model in a plus sized lingerie show next month. It was a safe space.

After the shoot they give you a pamphlet with next steps and it’s not until you reach that point that you learn the ridiculous per photo costs. However, this seems to be a standard thing in the world of boudoir photography. So the selection process will be brutal, or at least I hope I like enough of the photos for it to be a difficult decision.

I’d definitely recommend Celebrate Your Sexy if you go into it knowing the photos are really expensive. They shoot all over the US.

Here’s hoping that I’ll have an excellent Friday morning.

Even More Cambodia Photos (and a giveaway)

On Saturday, I shared photos of monks in honor of Vesak Day, and yesterday I posted photos of places that were featured in Capturing the Moment. Today I’m going to share a few last photos from my 2014 trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. These are photos of things and places and people that/who do not appear in the book. All photos that feature a person were taken with their consent. If you wish to use a photo, please ask.

 

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As I shared yesterday, while schools are free in Cambodia, many children do not attend because they can’t afford the uniforms or textbooks. Children whose parents make a living at the temples, such as Angkor Wat, are often to put to work at a young age, selling postcards and other trinkets. Some are able to go to school (as school is a half-day program) and work, while others never get the chance. If you’re interested in helping out these children, you can

  • donate to the Cambodian School Project
  • shop the online store of Artisans of Angkor--a non-governmental agency that trains and employs over 1300 Cambodians to learn the art forms that were nearly wiped out by decades of warfare. I can attest that these are beautifully made products–I have a number of them in my house. (And yes, if you read the book and are wondering–I own both a linga & yuni, and mango massage oil)

If you haven’t entered it, don’t forget my Amazon giveaway for Capturing the Moment.

More Cambodia Photos (and a giveaway)

On Saturday, Vesak Day, I posted my photos of monks taken around Siem Reap, Cambodia. Today I’m going to share a selection of other photos from that trip. I limited today’s photos to a few places that appear in the book. I have done my best to put them in the correct order. If you’re interested in getting or using a specific photo, just reach out and ask.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While schools are free in Cambodia, many children do not attend because they can’t afford the uniforms or textbooks. Children whose parents make a living at the temples, such as Angkor Wat, are often to put to work at a young age, selling postcards and other trinkets. Some are able to go to school (as school is a half-day program) and work, while others never get the chance. If you’re interested in helping out these children, you can

  • donate to the Cambodian School Project
  • shop the online store of Artisans of Angkor--a non-governmental agency that trains and employs over 1300 Cambodians to learn the art forms that were nearly wiped out by decades of warfare. I can attest that these are beautifully made products–I have a number of them in my house. (And yes, if you read the book and are wondering–I own both a linga & yuni, and mango massage oil)

If you haven’t entered it, don’t forget my Amazon giveaway for Capturing the Moment.

Happy Vesak Day (and a giveaway)

Two years ago today I was in Cambodia, exploring the sites that would eventually form the setting for my book Capturing the Moment.

In honor of that anniversary, which happens/happened to coincide with Vesak Day (Buddha’s birthday), I’m sharing some of my photos of Buddhist monks, taken in Siem Reap, Cambodia. (If you want a copy of a photo or want to use a photo, just ask.)

In honor of Vesak Day, there was a grand gathering and procession of monks around Siem Reap. It happened to start at my hotel, which was a great opportunity to take some photos. In honor of the gathering, though, I ran into monks everywhere–at the temples, on the street, teachers taking their students around, and so forth. You’ll notice a lot of children–Cambodia is still a very poor country. If your son becomes a monk, he’ll be fed, clothed, and educated. Many families choose this path for their sons.

This is just a small sampling of my photos.

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I’m also giving away ten copies of Capturing the Moment on kindle (US residents 18+ only, sorry). Enter the Amazon Giveaway here.

updated so I could add captions!