Celebrate your body with a boudoir photo shoot
Meet four women who celebrated their accomplishments in a unique way: with a photo shoot
Every major accomplishment or milestone reached in our life is worthy of celebration. Whether it be a healthy weight-loss goal we have attained, a significant birthday, a fitness level reached or an addition to the family, we deserve a pat on the back for our determined selves. Meet four women who celebrated their accomplishments in a unique way: with a photo shoot. They are still enjoying the confidence-boosting results.
Remi has always been a big fan of marking birthdays, so she saw her 40th as a good excuse to mark it in a big way, especially since it was on Oct. 10, 2010-10/10/10. Remi, a midwife, spent her birthday in Mexico, bought a new condo, threw a party for 50 people, planned more travel (to Vietnam and Argentina), and reflected on where she had been in life and where she wanted to go. She also booked a boudoir photo shoot to create a lasting record of this period.
“I didn’t do much preparation, to be honest,” says Remi, who is single. “I rooted through my dresser on the day of the shoot and grabbed a random bunch of lingerie, pashminas and jewellery with a vague notion that they might be used to create a number of different looks.”
She had her makeup professionally done, but styled her own hair. “I wanted pictures that were natural and reflected who I am,” says Remi. “Katie [Refling, Remi’s photographer] did a brilliant job of capturing that.” She was nervous, she says, but Refling and the makeup artist “were both incredibly supportive and helped calm my nerves.”
Remi has an active lifestyle, fitting yoga, Pilates and indoor rock climbing into her unpredictable on-call work schedule. She also eats a healthy, well-balanced diet. “While my body may not be what it was when I was 30, I feel I’ve made peace with it. I appreciate and am proud of what it is capable of, and I wanted to celebrate myself by recording it. I did this strictly for me. I am so happy to have a set of pictures of myself at this stage of my life as a memento of where I was as I entered my 40s.”
(Photo by Katie Refling Photography Inc.)
When Lana discovered she was finally pregnant after a difficult stage of trying to conceive, she wanted to capture the miracle of pregnancy on film. At 31 weeks, she travelled to Halifax with her husband, Colin, to the studio of photographer Liam Hennessey, whose images she admired. “I wanted to look back at my pictures and remember how proud and beautiful I felt,” says the 33-year-old registered nurse, who also shot some near-nude images. “I normally have sort of a stick frame, so I loved all my new curves,” she says with a laugh.
She admits it wasn’t easy: She hates being in front of a camera. “I’d never done anything like that before,” she says. “I was very nervous about showing skin, but Liam made me feel very comfortable.” Lana did her own hair and makeup, wanting to look like she does every day.
Days after the images were taken, Lana was put on strict bedrest back home in Antigonish. Their son, Gray, was born prematurely five weeks later.
Lana, who has decided to stay at home to raise her son, now a year and a half, loved the final images. “Liam really captured what I was feeling and what I was thinking.” To her surprise, her husband, a business owner whom Lana describes as a “very traditional guy,” shared the photos with friends and family. “I didn’t mind at all,” says Lana, who displays a couple of her pictures in their home. “It made me feel very proud.”
(Photo by Liam Hennessey/Applehead Studio Photography)
Melanie, 39, has long had a goal to be fit and fabulous by the age of 40. “I’ve wanted to lose weight for many years, but never took the initiative,” says the bookkeeper. “I went through years of infertility treatments, and depression. I ate for comfort and my weight crept up.” After her son was born nine years ago, Melanie devoted her time to being a mom, but her family doctor kept telling her she was on a path to diabetes and other weight-related illnesses. At 248 lb. in January 2011, Melanie decided to lose weight, and as she neared her goal after one year, she chose a boudoir shoot as a reward.
To lose the weight, Melanie says, “I reached out to my best friend, a registered dietitian. She took me grocery shopping, taught me portion control, how to read labels, and to eat five to six small meals a day.” She also challenged Melanie to work with a personal trainer. “The trainer and I had a love-hate relationship at first, but the gym is my happy place now.”
It wasn’t all easy. Melanie suffered a stress fracture in her foot, and hit frustrating plateaus. But she managed to get back on track. “Giving up was never an option,” says Melanie, who works out six days a week. “I’ve met a great group of ladies at the gym; we help motivate and challenge each other.”
Even after meeting her goal and dropping 69 pounds, Melanie was still nervous about having her photos done. “I was still seeing ‘fat me’ when I looked in the mirror,” she says. She bought a few pieces of lingerie and borrowed jewellery from her friends. “My photographer, Jill Hardy, made me laugh so much, I actually forgot a few times what I was there for.”
The photos were Melanie’s surprise Valentine’s Day gift to her husband this year. His response? He thought the sexiest part of the entire thing was her new confidence. Says Melanie, who wants to lose 25 more pounds and has already made plans to do the shoot again next year, “Doing a boudoir shoot truly is the most empowering thing you could do for yourself.”
(Photo by Jill Hardy Photography)
Ellie, a mother of three, has been unhappy with weight she had gained after her pregnancies. Despite being a fitness trainer with GoodLife, she didn’t feel she was in her best shape. “In my career I’ve helped a lot of women but never really pushed myself.” The now 31-year-old calls her 2010 photo shoot of both athletic and boudoir shots a goal-setting lesson for herself: She booked and paid for it four months in advance so she wouldn’t be tempted to back out.
In order to reach her fitness goal in the four months, Ellie followed a dedicated workout routine five days a week, paying close attention to her nutrition. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t slack off! I’m going to be half-naked in front of a guy who photographs models for a living.’?”
Ellie credits her photographer, Kris Josef, with helping her through the shoot. “I was really nervous about doing the boudoir part because of my stretch marks,” she says. “But his feedback and comments were so great. He showed me the shots on the camera, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s not me!’ I can’t believe I did this-I got myself there.” Ellie displays some of her fitness photos at her gym as inspiration to others.
She still works out regularly and watches what she eats, focusing on protein, vegetables and fruit. “My confidence as a person grew a lot,” says Ellie, whose marriage dissolved last year. “The photos reflected who I really am, and I realized I should be proud of that.” More benefits followed: “I started doing better at work, and received a great promotion.” She now oversees 11 fitness clubs and 100 personal trainers.
“Knowing that I could push myself like that was big for me.”
(Photo by Kris Josef)