"So, what do you do?"
"I'm a WOMEN's EMPOWERMENT PHOTOGRAPHER"
"WHATS THAT? " and then I proceed to explain that I am a boudoir photographer.
My answer usually gets two responses. "OH! Really...that's...interesting..." or "What is that?" As I explain that I take beautiful, timeless , and sexy images of women, whomever was asking usually raises an eyebrow and even sometimes will say, "Wow! I bet you have some stories!" ... if if its a guy .."Do you need someone to help?"
it gets old, but ... I wouldn't trade what I do for anything.
The fact is, I do. I have a ton of stories. Hilarious stories. How can I not? I use the same phrases used by doctors, dancers and therapists all in one session. I joke that my retirement plan is to write a book about my experiences as a boudoir photographer. Random situations I've experienced that make me a super interesting dinner guest. My clients and I have a blast together. I say ridiculous things, ask them to do things that seem totally silly and we laugh A. Lot. But my clients aren't weird and none of those stories are weird. Interesting, hilarious, and entertaining, absolutely! But not weird.
Maybe the "weirdest" part about my chosen career ... is that there is a true personal connection that you cannot get elsewhere and we might even become friends
The fact that I spend more time with my clients in lingerie than in clothing isn't weird. The fact that I've seen so many pairs of breasts isn't weird. The fact that I sometimes have to edit out tampon strings isn't weird. Nope. None of those things even register as strange to me. I am a professional and I am here to create a safe space for these women, free of judgement.
My relationship with my clients is so different than any other relationship I could have with clients in any other profession. First off, my ladies are showing up to usually wear less than they are ever used to wearing... let alone infront of me (a total stranger at that point) and trust me to take flattering, beautiful images for them. That takes guts! It's vulnerable and at times downright terrifying. And I'm not sure if it's the combination of bravery and vulnerability, if they just trust and feel comfortable with me, or if the stars align a certain way, but they often also end up sharing pretty intimate details with me about their lives.
When you think about it, it makes sense. I mean when you plan to get naked in front of someone, discussing family .. work .. hobbies and of course mutual friends and heck even the weather we've been having seems a little odd-yes? They're already stripping down in front of my physically-why not bare a little soul too? Plus, often they don't plan on seeing me again after their session and reveal is over. Kinda like how many people find it easier to share intimate details about their lives with a bartender/hair dresser/etc.
. They detail for me their experience beating cancer. They share about the rough spots in their marriage. They tell me they're very newly pregnant and no one knows yet. They share about how difficult it was to adopt their son/daughter. They're open about their physical and emotional fears and insecurities. And, y'all, not for nothing, but I literally have the bravest, most beautiful clients on the face of the planet. And yes, I know what the definition of the word "literally" means.
let me repeat that :
I literally have the bravest, most beautiful clients on the face of the planet.
By the end of their session, I always feel overwhelmingly proud of my client for doing something that was so far outside their comfort zone. And I absolutely love seeing how empowered they feel by the end. Y'all, it's so beautiful. And then when they see their images and while they are nervous again, I love seeing their jaw drop at how stunning they are. I just sit bouncing in my little chair, grinning widely and saying "I KNOW!" whenever they make an exclamation about how beautiful they are.
Then, they make their order, usually text/email me when their significant other freaks over their pictures and eventually they return to their lives. That's when I find myself thinking about them-wondering how their pregnancy is going, if they ever got that big promotion, how splendidly their wedding day went, etc. Now don't get me wrong, I have lots of repeat clients and its rare, but even meet up with some for the occasional coffee. I could (and sometimes do) reach out to ask, but that isn't really practical when you photograph well over 100 clients per year. So, sometimes, it ends up feeling a bit weird for me. Weird, but also really beautiful.
When all is said and done, I truly am honored that I get to meet such amazing women and I get to occupy such an incredible, unique space in their lives.