Boudoir or Not to Boudoir

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When I first fell in love with a camera, the last thing on my mind was using it to take pictures of ladies in their underwear. Half-naked women is what boudoir meant in my mind and I basically felt like it was a form of pornography. Those who know me well know I have been close to people who have fought against the porn industry and have suffered from addiction. To be clear… I hate porn. So why in the world would I do this? 

Many months ago I decided to take an online class through Creative Live that focused specifically on boudoir photography. I have no idea why I even clicked on it, but the moment I did I felt drawn in by the vivacious instructor and wondered how any woman could be so passionate about this. The instructor was Jen Rozenbaum and she is a full-time boudoir photographer in NYC. There are plenty of people in NYC getting paid to take pictures of women in the underwear, but what makes Jen special is WHY she takes the pictures. Hearing her talk about her business opened my eyes to what boudoir photography really can be. Boudoir is not porn. BOUDOIR IS MAKING WOMEN FEEL LIKE ROCKSTARS! 

All of a sudden this light bulb clicked on in my head and I felt a yearning to go find ladies and help them see how beautiful they are. I knew I had to do this and I knew I would enjoy it, but I was not prepared for how in love with the process I would be. I started reading more about boudoir and finding photographers I admired. I posted an ad for my upcoming session and was overwhelmed with the response. The sessions filled up within less than 24 hours with some ladies I knew well and others I had never met. I had the hotel, the make-up/hair artist, and the ladies. THIS WAS REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN NOW! 

I ended up doing two days of shooting at the amazing 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington. It was incredible how much variety can be found in just one little hotel room! We used the bed, the windows, this crazy green couch, the chairs, a dark hallway with an Westcott Icelight, and even the bathroom! One by one ladies came into the room and most were fairly nervous. I watched confidence creep in after they saw themselves in hair and make-up. I saw their eyes light up when I showed them a sneak people of the back of my camera after we shot a few photos. I noticed they were willing to take off the silky robe they had brought or slip on a pair of heels. I watched ladies become rockstars and I got to be a part of empowering women!!! 

I have sent the photo sessions out to the women one by one and each time I have felt like my heart was in my stomach. What if they did not like them? What if they feel like they wasted their money? What if they tell me this was not what they had imaged?! It was time for my own self-doubt to take a backseat and listen to the truth as it came flooding over me as each girl saw her photos. I had a mother of a 4-month old baby say she did not believe it was her in the photos! I do very little editing to the photos so IT WAS ALL HER! Another lady told me she had no idea she liked her face that much. How could I not fall in love with helping women feel like this?! 

Note: The images above are from a model and used with her permission. All client images are kept private! 


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  1. Stephanie says:

    Love, love, love this! I think boudoir photography is so gorgeous/classy. And these photos are amazing- I barely know her but I am inclined to tell her how gorgeous she is next time I run into her! Congrats on your first blog post!

  2. Leah says:

    This legitimately would make me conside doing a shoot like this! Love it Michelle!

  3. Rachel lyons says:

    Michelle these are so good! They are hot and classy and fun all at the same time!

  4. Amber Elmore says:

    Yasssssss! Werkkkkkk! Yassssssss!

  5. Hannah Weigle says:

    Michelle! This is so awesome!

  6. Martha says:

    These are beautiful!!! I thought about doing a boudoir shootonce and did lots of research online; your shots are better than most I found. Congrats and thank you for helping women see how beautiful they are 🙂

  7. Melony Lane says:

    Helping women feel beautiful in their own skin? A most admirable goal! Kudos to you!!! (And gorgeous photos, by the way!)

  8. Just Me says:

    Captures Emotion & Beauty

    Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your portfolio with me. I would describe your photography as "pictures from a magazine or book." I know this site does not display all the artistic work you have done, so I wanted to encourage others to see your work.
    You have an incredible ability to turn the human form into a sculptured art piece. Your work also displays moments in time where you have captured emotions such as happiness, love, tenderness, wonder, power, kindness to name a few. Your portfolio work also has photos that show how you are able to turn the human form into breathtaking artwork using the natural form of the body in a simplistic setting where the entire photo is what I would call "art."
    It is very hard to describe your portfolio because it’s fun, emotional, stunning, artistic, and empowering. I have already told my close friends about your site!!

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