I’m currently cruising through my mid-life crisis. When I was 14, I was discovering Guns ‘N’ Roses and watching Headbangers Ball.
I do visual effects for film and television, so my days are mostly spent staring at pixels on a computer monitor.
My husband had been asking for sexy picture for years, but I could never find a photographer whose work I liked well enough to spend the money. I finally shed a bunch of weight in the past year, though, and I wanted to capture feeling sexy and beautiful again, so I decided to look into it again.
I love creating all sorts of art, and as part of my mid-life self reclamation, I liked the idea of being able to express myself in a new way, showing facets of myself that usually don’t get seen much but that I very much wanted to reclaim, the pieces that are fierce, edgy, beautiful, sensual, goddess-like.
No fears. I had total trust that Sarah would make me look good (or at least make sure I didn’t look bad) and that we shared a similar vision of what I wanted to create.
But I had been wondering if I was delusional for feeling that I still look desirable and attractive. No one except my husband seemed to see me that way; I didn’t get any feedback that told me otherwise. Everyone I know is concerned with being sensitive and socially aware, which means that they’re very careful not to say anything that could be interpreted as inappropriate. I hoped an outside lens would show me whether I was just vainly deluding myself or not, so I did have a little apprehension about that.
I’ve looked at the work of a lot of boudoir photographers, and most of the time, I don’t love all of their work. It often edges into tawdry or generic, which I didn’t want. In contrast, I loved all the photos that I’d seen on OWN’s gallery. I could see that Sarah was interested in creating artistic photos and had a great eye for lighting and framing.
The studio was smaller than I expected. I was impressed with how many different settings Sarah was able to create just by positioning me in a different place and shifting some furniture around.
As an artist, my favorite part is always the creative process. I didn’t expect how creatively satisfying it’d be to think about what vision I had for my photos and then figure out, with Sarah’s expertise, how to make that happen. I loved that Sarah was so open to my ideas and willing to work with them.
But I was also surprised and delighted by how many of the final photos I loved. I hate 90% of all photos taken of me, so I expected that, in order to fill a photo book, I’d have to just live with a lot of photos that were just okay. Instead, I had the much harder job of picking between shots I loved vs. really liked.
I posted links for my friends to see the photos. The most common response has been, “Holy shit! Those are amazing!”
My husband cried. He was so overwhelmed by how beautiful the photos were and how well they express who I am and how he sees me.
When I told my best friend about the shoot, he jokingly asked if I was going to make a calendar. I told him, sure, if he wanted one, but we both fretted about whether I’d have enough good photos to fill a calendar. When I finally got my digital pics, I sent him a link to two dozen and told him to pick enough for his calendar. He replied, “We’re going to need to make two calendars, one each for the next two years.”
We, as women, are constantly comparing ourselves to each other. Am I prettier than her? Skinnier or fatter than her? Always trying to see if we measure up, if we’re enough. It’s very rare that we consider and appreciate ourselves for who we are, apart from that critical gaze. We’re told that it’s selfish and vain to think about ourselves. But that means we go through life never seeing who we really are, especially the aspects of ourselves that we think aren’t socially acceptable. The session, including the prep beforehand and getting the photos afterward, was a valuable experience of self-reflection and self-expression, of looking at who I am, and then, when I got the photos, of being able to look at myself from an outside perspective, and see my strengths and beauty reflected back clearly.
The experience can trigger a lot of insecurities and shame, because we're confronting a lot of critical cultural messaging about body image and sexuality, sluttiness and attention-seeking. So my advice is to be compassionate with yourself when those critical voices arise, and embrace the opportunity for self-reflection and seeing the beauty of just being you.
I’m much more confident about OWNing who I am and how I look, more appreciative of the things that make me uniquely beautiful. So thank you for that!
1) How old are you... or if you prefer, who were you listening to at age 14 :)?
I just celebrated my ’50-again’ birthday in December
2) What do you do for a living?
I am an Information Technology Manager
3) What/who made you decide to book a boudoir session?
Divorce after 25 years of being married, relocating to Atlanta, starting a new job, new life – [I] wanted to celebrate me and all I have become
4) Did you have any obstacles or fears about boudoir?
LOL, like most people, I’m sure, I was concerned about how this body really looked!
5) Why did you choose OWN?
After seeing the pictures on the website and the tasteful, sensuous, artistic expressions of all types of women, I knew Sarah was a skilled professional
6) How was the actual session different from what you expected (if at all)?
It was much more personalized and casual and relaxing than I expected….it was like spending the afternoon with a good girlfriend! The way Sarah directed me to pose was incredibly easy but produced magnificent results!!
7) What was your favorite part of the entire experience? (priming, the shoot, seeing images, giving the images..etc)
Hard to pick a favorite; the entire experience was uplifting and confidence building. Probably the most surprising and pleasing part was seeing the images and thinking “ damn, is that really me?!”
8) How has the response been to your images?
Very consistent – gasp of air, jaws dropped, then “WOW”
9) What is your advice for women interested in such a session? –
DO NOT WAIT, do it now!
10) Did anything change about the way you see your own beauty as a result of this session?
Absolutely. More confident. I am gorgeous
Read on to experience what she did in her own words,
1) How old are you... or if you prefer, what music were you listening to at age 14?
Im 31 years old. When I was 14 I was all over the place with my music! HA! I loved me some Usher! I would jam out all the time to, You Remind Me, You Got It Bad, pretty much all the songs on that 8701 album! Music was so good during that time, I also jammed out Ja Rule! Jennifer Lopez, the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, Missy Elliot, Nickelback, gosh I could go on!
2) What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I stopped working in my career about 5 years ago to help my husband. I have a degree in Health and Science with concentration in Radiology so I used to work in hospitals and clinics taking x-rays. Currently, I am the marketing director for our businesses and also accounting manager.
3) What prompted you to consider booking a boudoir session?
I guess sometimes you just get a wild hair and feel the need for some sexual pics! HA! Really it had been over 6 years since my first boudoir shoot! My husband encouraged me a lot to do it, not only for him but for myself. Since my last shoot I felt like I had grown and molded into this new person and wanted to tap into what that person had become.
4) Fears and hesitations are super common when it comes to boudoir. What fears or hestiations (if any!!) did you have before your boudoir session?
I guess since this was my second shoot I didn't have any fear or hesitations about doing it. Thank God! My first shoot I was so nervous and had no fucking clue what I was doing, however, now that I have had a session with you I feel like the photographer could have done a way better job making me feel comfortable and guiding me into poses etc. This time around if I was concerned with anything it was making sure I was expressing my sexiality in the manner I envisioned. Picking the clothes, scenes, etc. Once I got all my outfits I cleared my head and went into this shoot with a different mindset which allowed me to just have fun and forget about what I had on and how my body looked and hair etc. Sarah you really are so much fun to work with and you have this way about you that makes it feel like we've known each other forever. Your guidance through the poses were amazing, you knew how to help move me to positions that complimented my body and face. The pictures you took were the prettiest I've ever felt, and I think as women we are our own worst critics and are so damn hard on ourselves, but I can truly say that I liked all the pictures you took and never felt so sexy! My husband is in love with them!
5) Thank you so much for choosing OWN!! What was it about OWN boudoir that made you choose us?
As I was researching photographers, for over a year i'll add, I was most captivated by the way you used the lighting. I was drawn to the dark lighting and thought it was so hot! I also loved that you did different styles of boudoir and could really just make it custom to what you want.
6) How was the actual session different from what you expected?
The session blew my mind! I had no idea it was going to be so badass! I felt so comfortable with you and had the most fun! I honestly can't wait to come back and do another one!
7) What was your favorite part of the entire experience?
Wow, so I feel like the experience takes you through a roller coaster of feelings. I mean who doesn't like getting their hair and makeup done! That was awesome! I also feel like that is a great time to get to know each other and chat(maybe have some champs :) I will say that during the shoot I had this feeling of calmness come over my body which allowed me to just go with flow and allowed my body to just do whatever it felt doing, that was an amazing feeling. It's hard to be stark naked and feel that way, lol. Then once the shoot was over waiting for the images is so hard! But def worth the wait! I was blown away by the images and so was anyone that saw them! I swear I looked at them a thousand time and still look back at them!
8) How has the response been to your images?
Well anyone who saw the images their minds were blown! I have a girlfriend who is a professional photographer and was blown away at the lighting and images.
9) What is your advice (other than JUST DO IT!) that you have for other women interested in a boudoir session?
Oh gosh I wish every woman would do this atleast once in their life. I swear you get this feeling of empowerment that just feels so damn good. Yes, having this done for your significant other is probably what initiates wanting the shoot done, however, that completely changes once you are in the moment and you have your images. Hell, I look back at my images still and think, damn thats me! It's the right thing to do, so just think of all the positivity that can come from it and don't let the negatives over power because I promise once your done it'll be the right decision.
10) What has changed about the way you see your OWN beauty?
CONFIDENCE!!! It's so important to believe in yourself. We are capable of so many amazing things in our life and all of its controlled by our mindset. If we have a negative mindset or surround ourselves with negative people we will start to become negative as well. Once I cleared out all the negative people and things in my life I became so much more confident in myself which allowed me to be a better person on the inside. I feel like you have to love yourself first before loving someone else. I chose to start believing in myself and being confident in my decisions which led me to feel a different kind of pretty.