Rachel’s casual interview with Janna Lopez, the editor of Portland Family Magazine. (Not-so-flattering still… but the interview is casual and cute.)
I’m so pleased that local Portland bridal boutique Ania Couture chose to feature an interview about our boudoir sessions on their blog. Here are some of the questions and answers you might find interesting.
What do you love most about what you do?
This is a complicated answer. I take great joy that it is necessary to take time to explain boudoir as a concept when new friends ask what kind of photography I do. When I initially bring up the topic of “sexy photos” most people are scandalized and intrigued. I find it helpful to explain that even though the first association many people have with women/nudity/photos is Hustler, what we do is the OPPOSITE of objectifying/oversexifying the woman’s body. It’s also important to understand that the photos are being made with the intention of an audience of one; they’re not meant to be seen by a crowd.
Aside from humorous explanatory conversations, I love the fact that boudoir photography is part of a bigger process. Every single woman walks in with hesitations about some aspect of her body or anxiety about being in front of the camera. Because our style embraces the natural quirks in each woman’s body, we end up with a consistently celebrated collection of portraits our clients love. Can you imagine a woman liking a book of photos of herself… without clothing? There are many layers to that statement.
What’s the strangest/silliest/happiest/most unexpected boudoir shoot experience you’ve had so far?
I was moved to tears when one of our clients came in to do a portrait session for herself as part of the grieving process after losing her husband. The portraits we made were powerful, inspiring, and revitalizing to both the client and to us. Another client had taken a pole dancing class and was commemorating this with some portraits for her husband of 30 years. Really, the women who are pushing through major challenges (whether that means raising teenagers, losing weight, or conquering disease) are the most inspiring to me. Also, it always makes me giggle when a client makes one of our mini books to send on business trips with her partner.
What is the one thing you’re so glad you had/did at your own wedding?
My husband and I had a raucous, celebratory wedding in true Persian style. If you have seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding – I was living that loud invasive family-style reality for a couple of months before the wedding. The best thing we did on our wedding day was build a gigantic break between the Persian ceremony and the reception. My husband made reservations at a tiny French restaurant in San Francisco and we dined quietly together before going back into the chaos of the wedding. That was stealthy of us – and really refreshing.
What is the best advice you can give to a bride-to-be?
I just received a message from one of my Massachusetts wedding clients whose grandfather passed away. In it, she thanked me for paying attention. “I want to thank you again for the pictures that you took and the moments that you captured. Thank you for the attention you paid to documenting my family and commemorating that time in our collective life.”
A photographer who can capture subtlety of emotion – her images will never go out of style.
Which vendors do YOU love to work with?
A vendor worth checking out for anyone planning a wedding is a good yoga instructor! Yoga practice helps you gain strength, but more importantly helps a girl find calm moments of insight and joy in the midst of the chaotic world wedding planning. Portland yoga studios I like: YogaNW and Yoga Shala. I’m also intrigued by the Aerial Yoga classes offered at the Diva Den Studio.
You can check out the full feature over on the Ania Collection blog.
Also, outside resource: Would YOU pose nude to boost your self-esteem?
I love the concept for this new website! As regular readers know, I have an entire website dedicated to special fine art photo sessions with women in their wedding dresses [fearlessbridals.com] so when Kylah approached me because she wanted to feature photos from a couple of my brides, I was thrilled to be a part of the concept. Real Bride in a Dress connects women to images of real ladies in wedding dresses – to give them a more realistic idea about the fit and detailing. She featured Suzy’s wedding in Palos Verdes, CA and Colleen’s bridal session at Wellesley College over on the new site. Click on the images to see more!
Katie and Victor’s eco-friendly wedding at Quailcrest Farm in Wooster, Ohio was featured on Offbeat Bride:
I’m a longtime reader of Boston Magazine, so I am thrilled beyond words that the April 2009 issue hit shelves and mailboxes around the metro yesterday, and the online articles made an appearance today [link].
Rachel Baker, editor at Boston Magazine, came in for a boudoir studio shoot as she was preparing for her article about Boston boudoir. She writes the “Fashion Masochist” column for the magazine, a regular piece I appreciate for its humor and wit.
To be honest, I’ve not had many positive experiences with publications – they often seem to take quotes and material out of context to suit their own spin – and one even went so far as to use an incorrect business name! Naturally, I was nervous to see what Rachel would have to say in her write-up.
It’s been a very busy couple of weeks here as we prepare for Valentine’s Day… we’ve been doing boudoir sessions with some really wonderful and inspiring women. We spent the weekend in Rhode Island doing a hybrid hotel date where we book a hotel room and provide styling, and then did a few more studio sessions yesterday in our Lowell studio space. I’ve already heard back from one of the women:
“Wow. Rachel…seriously! I can’t believe some of those images!! Is that really me? Just awesome…thank you, thank you, thank you…this is such a wonderful gift for me – forget about [him]! I’ve been told my whole life (usually by strangers, who can be so mean) that I look like “a little kid”. These pictures will serve to remind me that I am, in fact, a woman. I’m definitely recommending you to anyone who will listen – I really think every woman should do boudoir at LEAST once in their life…and not for anyone but themselves. “
The woman who was the most inspiring to me recently is a lovely lady who has been working up a special dance for her husband for a sexy Valentine’s Day surprise – and took exotic dance classes from Gypsy Rose in Boston (whom she recommends). It was amazing to see someone come into the studio who has been married for 15 years keep the sexy alive in such an intentional and wonderful way. He is one lucky husband!
On another note, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the press has to say about boudoir since it’s being picked up on so many channels lately. I remember when the media picked up on “trash the dress” sessions in 2007 and we saw it everywhere from hometown newspapers (note to self: subscribe to the Lowell Sun) to NBC. I think boudoir is going to do the talk show circuit soon. (Wait… is that a good thing?)
One of the things I like to emphasize as boudoir is being opened up to the wider public is that we go for a more natural approach to our Boston-based boudoir work. Some studios are heavy on the retouching and change subtle things about your body to make the photos more universally “pleasing.” Our whole thing is that you are beautiful as you are, without being modified. We do encourage styling for the shoot (professional makeup, cute outfits, etc.) but want the images to be realistically wonderful. Flattering posing, beautiful light, and a dose of confidence can show us how sexy you are… naturally. The quote above emphasizes this fact.
Thank you to all of our Boston and Rhode Island boudoir women who have been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement to us. It takes courage to step out of your normal routine and trust someone with a camera to document your body… we don’t take this responsibility lightly!