I have a master’s degree from Columbia University in Psychology. And while I’m not a psychologist, the training I received has made me very attuned to the emotional needs of others. I can spot self-doubt in a fraction of a second. I can tell when a woman has negative self-talk buzzing around in her head. And because I can be quite the goofball at times, I often incorporate humor to lighten the mood and redirect toward more positive thinking during these times.
This redirection is critical if we’re going to get images that are any good. i.e. Images that speak to who the woman before my lens truly is. It’s ok to pause. I could see where a new photographer might just keep shooting, unsure of how to proceed. But that would be a mistake. Pausing is a must. Giving the client space to breathe is a must. To own her emotions, stare it down, and challenge the thoughts popping into her head if need be. Because let’s face it, to be a woman is to have moments of insecurity and self-doubt, worries about our beauty, or attractiveness, about our shapes, figures, features, about whether we are too thin, or too curvy….because there will always be that ever-unattainable IDEAL hanging over our heads.
So, as a boudoir photographer it becomes my job to show the woman before my lens how much more beautiful her REAL beauty is over some unattainable and ridiculous ideal! I want her to relax and enjoy the experience enough that she can comfortably reveal herself–literally and figuratively–in her images.
I recognize that the journey from first phone call to album in hand, can sometimes be an emotional one. Recently one client was kind enough to put her thoughts down on paper. She did this so that I might share it with you, and so that you too might be inspired to stare down and challenge your own thoughts about your beauty–and by this I’m referring to the outer as well as that which shines just as bright but stems from the inner beauty we each possess.
Before booking my boudoir shoot I spent time researching photographers and images online. I was so excited to do a boudoir shoot for my upcoming 45th birthday!
I came across Susan Eckert’s LIBoudoirPhotography.com site and I immediately knew she was the right photographer for me. The first emotion I felt was excitement. I was inspired by her beautiful photo gallery.
Then, after we spoke on the phone I could not wait to do the shoot! I created a board on Pinterest, again thinking how happy I was to be photographed like the women in the beautiful inspiration images I had collected.
My anticipation grew daily! I really could not wait to do this! I had worked on my fitness for a year and felt great about my physique. This was a change for me as I had dealt with body image issues in the past. But upon booking the shoot, I felt strong, confident and empowered!
Then came the day to go shopping for my outfits…
…as I tried on some of the outfits, I stopped and looked at myself in the mirror and thought…wait…am I really going to do this? How am I going to do this….? I became nervous. This was the day I realized that the boudoir shoot was a reality…this was going to happen…I was going to be photographed in lingerie?
Doubt set in. I wondered, Oh boy! Can I do this?.
Finally the shoot day arrived…I was excited but scared of the unknown. Nervous energy churned within me as I got made up. Then I put on the first outfit. My mind was spinning…What am I doing? Is this real? Is this really happening?
As we shot the first sequence of pictures, my mind started racing…the confident, strong me quickly became self-conscious. I started having flashbacks to events that I had not thought about in over 30 years..memories from my childhood when I felt insecure about myself. As my mind was flooding with these negative images of myself I was learning how to pose, scantly clad, in stilettos, all while being photographed!
In my head I kept on telling myself, “You can do this! You want to do this!” Have fun with this…
Susan noticed the emotional turmoil going on within and we paused a few times. She made me feel very comfortable, and was extremely patient with me. It helped me to overcome the self-doubt and the anxiety so much!
Then, so that I could see that my fears were unfounded, she showed me images in camera, and I thought…Is this really me? Wow!” I hardly recognized the woman in the pictures! I was again excited and my confidence came back. I left the shoot feeling happy, I’d triumphed over my fears!
After the shoot, we reviewed the images together. And when I saw the pictures I was in shock!. Every image captured exactly what I’d imagined a boudoir shoot could be! The mood, the inspiration, the confidence, the beauty — it was all captured and even straight out of camera and in raw form, I still can’t believe that it is me in those images!
I cannot wait until my album is ready! Coming out on the other end of this amazing experience I once again feel strong, powerful and confident! I feel every woman should have this experience at least once in her lifetime!
Thank you so much Susan, for everything!!!