Don't be a Lady | Austin Boudoir Studio

With all the feminist "noise" lately (it's.about.TIME.), comes a surge of female voices who are no longer afraid to stand their ground, to be heard, and to flip the bird to societally pressured gender roles that don't really suit them. 

I've become fascinated with the female trailblazers who are shattering the "rules" and doing their damn thing. I'm fascinated by the legends who just.don't.give.a.fuh what anyone thinks. And it's who I want to be.  It's who I'm actively working to be.

Like any aspiring badass, I turn to Stevie Nicks for wisdom. And Stevie says:

"Don't be a lady. Be a legend."

This quote, and the woman who muttered it matter-of-factly in the way she does, reminds me so much of the client featured here. She also adores Stevie Nicks....and had quite a bit of a modern-day-Stevie thing going on! 

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So enjoy these photos of a legendary human who completely SMASHED THE HELL out of her first boudoir experience. 

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"It was such a comfortable environment. I was so nervous but Kara immediately made me feel right at home. Treat yourself, its worth it!" -Miss H

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I couldn't adore these images from 2 years ago more. It was a happy surprise to see the photo use permissions come through my email recently! Now you can enjoy her legendary badassness, too!

Go forth and be legends. 

 

Cool Cate | Destination Boudoir

One of the perks of being in the photography industry is frequent conferences, retreats, and workshops that allow me to see my favorite photographer friends from all over the world far more frequently than I would any other out-of-town friends.  Cate, here,  is one of those friends. We are incredibly similar, only she's way more "likable" than me (she disagrees...but that only further illustrates my point). 

Photographing other photographers is one of those things I used to shy away from...or if I did it, I was always incredibly nervous.  NOW, I adore it and almost seek it out. It's so fun to give photographers, especially boudoir photographers, the experience that they themselves give everyone else on a regular basis. 

I knew EXACTLY how I wanted to photograph Cate. I wanted it to be simple, natural, "undone", and, of course, black and white.  All she wanted was to be made to look "cool", because apparently that's my boudoir style. It wasn't until she pointed it out to me that I recognized....that's EXACTLY what I try to do with all of my clients. I just try to make them look COOL AF (cool to me is confident, badass, strong, and like someone you'd want to be around.).  I'm so happy to hear that Cate felt I delivered. 

"One day out of the clear blue, my darling friend Kara sent me a beautiful note that simply said 'you are stunning and likable and I just wanted to tell you that.' I received it on a particular day when I couldn’t feel less stunning or less likable. I cried actually, and thanked her.

Later, when she told me she’d be available to photograph me during our trip to Miami, I jumped at the chance. Kara is one of the small few I knew could capture me in a way I could not only be proud of — but that could change that fear inside me and make me see myself the way others do. I was 1000% confident Kara had that magic and I was not wrong. "

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"Kara gave me ideas of how she envisioned shooting me and it was if she read my mind. Her sense of style is innate and when I joked 'Make me look cool!' I knew she’d deliver".

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"I was amazed at Kara’s swift and flawless posing instruction. Even as a photographer myself, it was impressive how fluid and easy she made it for me as a subject. My resulting images fully reflect grace and effortless beauty in a way I want to envision myself as a woman."

"As a fellow photographer, I have the opportunity to be photographed more frequently than the average woman. My friends, like Kara are some of the best boudoir photographers in our industry, and I’m very particular about who I feel can photograph me the way I want to see myself. It’s not because I’m a model or a hot young thang — it’s the complete opposite of that. "

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"The fact is, as a photographer I’m often ashamed to say I hate being in front of the camera. I don’t like the attention on me, the focus, my own lack of awareness of what I might look like ....and so much more. 

This was not my first boudoir shoot, but it was a completely eye opening, confidence boosting experience."

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"I’m a 43 year old mom of 3 kids, (about to turn 44 soon) a wife, and a business owner. With each passing year comes an ambivalent feeling of being both proud of my years ... but also fearful. It feels vain and shallow to admit, but I do fear my youth and my beauty slipping away. That’s a very hard thing. I embrace my inner beauty always, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified to lose my youth. It’s just one of those things so many of us struggle with as women."

I see boudoir photography as one of the ways we can celebrate and get an objective view of these fears and squash them whole.
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Check out Cate's reaction to her teaser photo that I texted here while sitting next to her and not-so-secretly recording. 

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"These images are SO me. She knew my style, my nature, and my assets. I saw these images and couldn’t believe I might *Actually* look this way? It is eye opening.

I’m not doctored, or morphed, or over styled, or 'too extra.' It’s just ME. A beautiful version of me I’m typically too busy/too fearful/too blind /too unwilling to see. But she saw it, and I’m eternally grateful.

I do a shoot each year for my birthday and share them. I’m proud that this is what I can show 44 looks like on ME. Love you, Kara."

Birds of a feather flock together ;)   My all time favorite photo of Cate + I that speaks volumes. I thought this should most definitely accompany her boudoir photos. 

Birds of a feather flock together ;)   My all time favorite photo of Cate + I that speaks volumes. I thought this should most definitely accompany her boudoir photos. 

Shooting with this knockout the way that I wanted her to see herself, and then being able to witness her reaction to her first preview in person was SO amazingly fun and fulfilling. I adore this woman and am absolutely delighted that I had the opportunity to show her almost-44-year-old-ass that she IS in fact COOL, sexy, gorgeous, beautiful, and badass. 

Thank you, Cate for your sweetheart testimony and for allowing me to share your stunning images with the KMB followers. You. Rock.

 

Another Studio, Another Brand, Another Journey | Kara Marie Portraits

Y'all.  I have stalled and stalled on making this announcement. It's been "official" for nearly 4 months but I was nervous. Like, startling myself awake in the middle of the night, nauseating butterflies in my stomach, second/third/fourth guessing myself kind of nervous. It's a new Year and it's now or never. 

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10 years ago, I was setting up backdrops  (shower curtains) and lighting (spot lights from Home Depot) in my tiny little kitchen in my tiny little apartment in Erie, Pennsylvania and actually getting paid to do it. While my skill-set had not been developed at ALL at this point, I was still offering my clients the same level of customer service that I do now.  The studio portrait thing became tedious, inconvenient, and my kitchen couldn't take it anymore ;) 

Now, having an established and bustling boudoir studio in Austin, I found myself feeling like I was trapped in my tiny little Erie, PA kitchen studio again anytime I wanted to shoot portraits. The backdrops are no joke to set up and tear down, and studio lighting?! I didn't even have enough storage space in my studio closet to tuck it away when I wasn't using it. I sold off all of my studio equipment years ago, after allowing it to collect dust and sit as stagnant as my *insert any piece of workout equipment here* currently is.

I've been incorporating beauty + boudoir portraits into just about every session for as long as I've been shooting. For the last year, I've been studying extra hard, test shooting my heart out, re-stocking my space with studio lighting and portrait set-ups that I used to use but eventually got rid of to save space, and I've been all secretive and shit in the process, just in case I chickened out (again). 

At the beginning of September, I attended a photography conference in Palm Springs called the Portrait Masters. It was there that I had the fire lit under my rump yet again to take another risk. When I bought that ticket about a year ago I knew it was going to be the final shove into fulfilling this goal. You see, it's been a while since I've taken a big business risk. Opening the KMB studio was a huge step for me that proved to be the smartest thing I could have done for my business...and I've just been riding the wave ever since. Comfortably booked months in advance, hitting all my business goals, and consistently getting new clients referred by different sources. Yet I knew that I wasn't fulfilling my potential. 

On the flight home from the conference, I was scribbling out my 6 month action plan and ended my brainstorming session finally recognizing that I just didn't have enough space to do what I had in mind.  I love my pretty little studio SO much...I love the light, I love the location, I love the floors (ohhhhh the floors)...but my portrait set-ups were in the way, there wasn't enough storage (or time) to break it all down and tuck it away when it wasn't being used, and as my team is inevitably going to be growing...there just wasn't enough room for multiple desks and office space without getting in the way of my shoot space.  

On that flight I was determined to get back to Austin and find myself a giant space that I loved just as much that I could do modern editorial portraits in, as well as the boudoir style yet to be categorized (really....I don't ever know how to describe my style), as well as house my team without having to share a tiny desk. I arrived home excited about the growth about to happen, but still pretty concerned about finding exactly what I needed. I'd been keeping my eyes peeled in Austin for over a year...nothing was perfect. And y'all know I'm picky AF. Hence the 3 year delay on making this move. Yeah...it's been in my goal book fo.that.long. 

The next morning I pulled into my lovely little loft parking lot to see that my neighboring unit was loading up a U-HAUL, packing up, and moving out! I didn't even make it out of my car before calling the owners and getting my foot in that pretty little door. 

GETTING TO THE POINT...

|| AS OF 2018, THE KARA MARIE PORTRAIT STUDIO IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS  ||

New studio, new brand, completely different concept from what I'm offering in the boudoir world. Conveniently located one-door-down, it will allow me the flexibility of squeezing in short portrait sessions in between my boudoir clients.  I will be leaving the portrait studio intentionally bare bones to allow for flexibility in sets. It houses my backdrops, my lighting, set ups, a work station, gorgeous light and svelte floors without distraction.

This second studio will also allow me to accommodate some of the requests that I get from other photographers to rent shoot space (that's good news for all of you who email me desperate to rent my space for a last-minute session only to get a firm "no" from me!). 

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SOOOO WHAT ARE THESE PORTRAITS GOING TO BE LIKE?

If you've been following for a while, you're familiar with my boudoir shoot style, and you've probably even seen a boudoir portrait or two within my blog posts and Instagram feeds.  I will be continuing on with this type of modern portraiture with a slightly more polished finish, but also including....GASP....CLOTHING!  And even....GASP....MEN! I know, I know...crazy, right!? 

I'm a long time follower and "student" of Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn, Patrick Demarchelier, and other phenomenal fashion portrait photographers.  Their work, to me, is something that I would want to be remembered for long after I'm gone. I want to create images like these for legendary souls to be remembered by. 

Boudoir isn't going anywhere...so, you're stuck with me on that front ;) But now, I will have the space and flexibility necessary to create individual portraits of amazing people without cramping my boudoir style. 

What started as a portrait project has developed into something so much bigger! I would love to have you follow along on this journey, if you'll have me!  There is now a separate website for all of my portrait work HERE, and you can find Kara Marie Portraits on Instagram at @KaraMariePortraits

THANK YOU to the 40 or so legendary souls who have already stepped in front of my lens since setting up the studio to help me launch this second brand. I'm so very excited to continue sharing loads of boudoir + portrait work, and to become a good resource for those photographers in Austin who don't have the luxury of an indoor shoot space. 

H A P P Y   N E W    Y E A R !

The Best Year Ever | 2017 Recap

Every time I write one of these "It's the end of the year, holy shit" blogs, I am blown away by how much I crammed into one year, and stoked about having the "Best Ever Year of Kara Marie Boudoir".  2017 was another record breaking and fulfilling year of business and I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you who follows along regularly, trusts me with their boudoir experiences, and tolerates my annoying Instastories. 

It's this week every year that I spend looking back at the year's body of work, blog posts, and thousands and thousands of photos. I am so grateful for the abundance of business, blessings, and beauties that surrounded me in 2017. 

 

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS


TOP LIKED INSTAGRAM POSTS


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THE NUMBERS

+Photographed 384 Women

+Coached + Mentored 13 Boudoir Photographers

+Attended 3 photo conferences

+ Composed 10,695 emails (whaaaaaaa???)


TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS

2017 Travels to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Miami (Lots of warm and tropical surroundings, apparently!)



ACCOLADES

It was a year of awards and I feel extremely honored and....well...baffled quite honestly! There's been several print magazine features, a few Huff Post articles, individual image awards, and the 2017 Boudoir Photographer of the Year from AIBP to cap it all off.  I have this problem where I downplay a lot of "accomplishments" as I am truly always aspiring to fulfill my potential which is still a long road in the future. But recapping on 2017 I can actually look back at the year and be proud of what I've built, even if there are 1000 things I would change, I know that I busted.my.ass.  I have a long way to go, but am proud of where I am. THANK YOU to all of the publications, mentions, reposts, and cheerleaders giving me encouragement along the way!!! <3  I plan to put myself out there even more in the photography industry in 2018 and really fine tune my craft as much as I possibly can. 


WHAT'S NEXT?!

I'm not much of a "resolutions" girl. I think it's just the word itself that's lost it's meaning because of all of the empty promises attached to it. I AM a goal-setter, and more importantly, a goal-ACHIEVER. So while you're not going to get a whole slew of big dreams that I will likely not fulfill, I'll go ahead and list out all of the plans that are already in motion for 2018, and I will continue to work my ass off towards them. 

In 2018, I will be...

+MAKING A HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT.  Like....in 2 days. I've been chickening out big time on this one that's been in the works for 3 years. I pulled it off in September and have yet to fill y'all in on my little secret. Stay tuned.

+TRAVELING A TON. There has been so much time spent wishing that I would have traveled more before having kids, or before my career became so demanding. About 6 months ago I made a promise with myself and my husband to make 2018 a year of experiencing things I've always wanted to see.  We'll be working out of Europe for the summer of 2018 ([Santorini|Mykonos|Athens]Greece, [Naples, Florence, Venice, Milan, Almalfi Coast, Rome] Italy, [Paris, Nice] France), and I also have several other photography related travels occurring (Los Angeles, New York, and Boulder CO. 

+Slowing down. I have this little problem that involves seeing a blank spot in my calendar jumping at the chance to fill it if someone asks. That resulted in a 2017 full of being FULL. Too full. Client experience is my TOP PRIORITY in my business. It's what this has all been built on. I still delivered on this in 2017, however it became a lot more difficult to do when I was sometimes taking as many as 15 appointments a week. That.is.NUTS. I am continuing to remind myself that this is a SMALL BUSINESS, and to keep it as top-notch as it's always been, I need to learn to stick to my pre-determined number of appointments a week, and politely decline on any additional. It's in the best interest of my clients, and in the best interest of my creativity and mental health (which is also in the best interest of my clients). 

THAT SAID, My 2018 is already over 75% booked (HOLY.CRAP.), and I will be increasing prices a pinch and saying "I'm so very sorry that I can't accommodate you" a little more. As much as those words pain me,it is worth it to keep the ultimate client experience 100% intact and even improving as time goes on! No burn out for me!

+Beefing up my boudoir photographer education offerings. As per the previous bullet point, I *do* need to slow things down a bit. That will mean taking on fewer boudoir mentorships. I believe in giving photographers a REALLY thorough and customized experience when it comes to their business coaching, so I will continue to limit these to a manageable level for me so that I can over-deliver to my "students". HOWEVER-- the great news is, I will be really beefing up on my educational guides for photographers and other small business owners!!! 

By the end of the 1st quarter, there will be a really beefy library of educational offerings on my website for purchase for photographers! I'm in the final stages of fine-tuning now, it's been a TON of really really hard work, and I'm really excited to release all of it soon to continue to help photographers and other small business owners market their companies, grow in their craft, and deliver impeccable customer service. 

+EDUCATING THE $%&@! OUT OF MYSELF. I always say that my biggest insecurity....well...it's not anything having to do with my appearance. The thing I wish I could change the most about myself is my intelligence.  LUCKILY----that's something I can change.

There is endless information out there, endless education, and endless possibilities for expanding my knowledge on just about any topic under the sun. I have ALWAYS been an advocate of continued education and will continue to study photography for as long as I'm shooting. It's so important to recognize that YOU DO NOT KNOW IT ALL. You don't. Even in the things you're an "expert" in. I recognize that (x100000), and am taking a very proactive approach to my education. I am already enrolled in several classes that will enhance my technical craft, and have about 60 books on my "to read" list to work on becoming a more self-aware, enlightened, happy individual. Like the last 3 years, this next year will be a year of learning new things. 

 

+GIVING MORE TO MY CLIENTS. I'm always looking for new ways to make my clients feel extra special. From helping them with their bags into the studio, to customizing a welcome sign for each of them, to following up with them years down the road to congratulate them on new life events....client relationships are really important to me. That's not just something I saySo, in 2018 I'll be fine tuning the client experience even more to give them alllll the warm and fuzzies. 

 

And now that all THAT'S out there, y'all can hold me accountable! 

FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, TRULY...GENUINELY...THANK YOU. Thank you for reading through this long and winding blog post, thank you for reading all/ANY of my blog posts. Thank you for every sweet comment, every word of encouragement, every Instagram "like". Thank you for trusting me with your boudoir experience. Thank you for being friendly and my friends. Thank you for all of your continued support over the last decade of making my passion a career. I love you all and cannot wait for another BEST.YEAR.EVER. 

 

 

 

 

 

Boudoir Photographer Friends::: WORKSHOP NOTICE ::: Boulder, CO Boudoir Retreat

It has been one *BLEEP* of a year in the best way possible. I've really crammed a ton in, but have also learned to turn down a LOT. Speaking/teaching gigs in particular are something that I have about a 1 in 10 ratio of accepting solely because my studio schedule is always so packed, and my clients are my #1 priority. But when AIBP (the Association of International Boudoir Professionals) goes and gives me the Photographer of the YEAR award...how can I say no!?! Jk jk, it wasn't a bribe, promise. The order of events was purely coincidental and I'm honored on both fronts!

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If you're one of those photographers who has asked about workshops or speaking gigs of mine, or if you were one of the several past attendees who said you wanted to have me back, I've got an announcement you might like!  

I'd love for you to join me in Boulder, Colorado November 2nd-5th where I will be speaking on marketing and building a booming boudoir business at the fourth annual AIBP Retreat!

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I always have a great time at the annual AIBP retreat with boudoir-centric content and great company.  I will be joined by Jessica Rae, a brilliant boudoir artist in her own right who will be talking on maximizing small shooting spaces and getting tons of variety with out the benefit of having a big, beautiful studio.

Her shoot style is dreamy and intense and she's the master at making.it.WORK.


The retreat includes instruction from myself, Jessica Rae, a Wealth manager, as well as a few surprise "for funsies" speakers. On top of that, breakfast, lunch, and model shoot outs, AND LODGING are all included in the rate!  Y'ALL....THIS IS LIKE A SLEEPOVER FOR BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHER AND IT'S SO MUCH DAMN FUN.  The camaraderie is effortless and I promise that my class will be jam-packed-full of thorough information that you can apply to your boudoir business regardless of what stage of business you're in. 

I take my speaking gigs VERY seriously and do quite a bit of homework on all the attendees prior to speaking just so I know that I am teaching relevant information to those in the group. We'll cover social media marketing, referral programs, running a booming boudoir studio, how to dominate in your market, as well as a "as long as it takes" Q&A breakout session. This will be very comprehensive, y'all. 

Photo by: Dana Laymon

Photo by: Dana Laymon

2018's AIBP retreat is ALL about building SUCCESS regardless of your current situation, so it's not one to be missed! The early bird pricing ends on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th though you can continue to sign up for several months following.  Still best to reserve sooner than later to save yourself some moo-lah AND give you something to be super excited about!  It's just $200 down to initially reserve your spot for this retreat under the early bird pricing prior to Friday! Woot!

CHECK OUT MORE ON THE RETREAT AND SIGN UP HERE: http://www.aibphotog.com/aibp-annual-retreat/2018-colorado/

BTS from 2017's MIAMI retreat | Shot by Michael Sasser

BTS from 2017's MIAMI retreat | Shot by Michael Sasser

You do not need to be a member of AIBP to sign up but you should most definitely get yourself a membership so you can join tons of boudoir photographers from all over the world to further elevate the industry and have fun interacting with each other while doing it.  Here's a link to your first month of AIBP free 

If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to hit me up with the form below! I'm happy to help and am honored to have been asked back to teach again.

See you in Boulder!

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Travel Notice | Boudoir Shoots in Europe? YES PLEASE.

Working such a crazy schedule at the Austin boudoir studio is most definitely a choice, but also tends to hinder my ability to travel as much as I'd like to. I've been a lot of cool places, but Italy + Greece are top on my list and I.cannot.believe.I.still.haven't.been.there.  I've been holding out until I had the proper amount of time to dedicate to exploration. But a month of time never seemed to fall into my lap on its own.

Five months ago, after salsa lessons and over a charcuterie board and cocktails at our favorite little Mediterranean restaurant (oh man....we sound so cool...or douchey. We aren't either.), I proposed to my husband.  Except it was probably the only kind of proposal he would actually accept.

"I'm so tired of waiting for things to slow down. I'm tired of being frustrated that we don't have infinite child care options for our travels. And I'm tired of waiting for the kids to be 'old enough' to join us. Let's spend next summer traveling Europe...all of us."

He raised his eyebrow in the way only Joey can, and then followed it up by raising his glass. "Let's do it."   We sealed the deal with a "Cheers" and a clink of our glasses, like we always do for important decisions. 

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It was through the planning that I found out that I actually have fans (is that what I call them? That sounds weird. Followers? Whatever. Let's just call them awesome people who follow along with my work) in Europe! REALLLY!?!?! Yay!  I also have lots of clients who have a dream of a grand destination boudoir shoot. Now that can happen in Greece, Italy, or France.

NOW ACCEPTING A LIMITED NUMBER OF EUROPEAN BOUDOIR BOOKINGS FOR JUNE-AUGUST 2018

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Make no mistake, this trip will be 75% vacation, exploration, and EATING. But I can absolutely never ever ever take more than a few days off without itching to work. Alas, I'll be working from Europe for the summer.  I will continue to write and shoot and post. I always get some of my favorite sets of photos is new places, and my brain cannot even contain itself right now with all the ideas.  I'm throwing my dates out there in the Universe and will take a VERY limited number of boudoir bookings while abroad. Current lineup is as follows:


JUNE  | ATHENS, GREECE  *not accepting bookings*

JUNE  |  SANTORINI, GREECE *not accepting bookings*

JULY | NAPLES, ITALY

JULY | ALMALFI COAST, ITALY

JULY  | ROME, ITALY

JULY  |  TUSCANY, ITALY

JULY  | FLORENCE, ITALY

JULY /AUGUST | MILAN, ITALY

AUGUST | PARIS, FRANCE


I'm looking forward to a summer of exploration (and LOTS of documenting it) in these amazing places. Anyone interested in a Europe booking, including photographers interested in mentorships, send a direct email to hello@KaraMarieBoudoir.com or fill out the form below to chat more!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go learn how to be minimalist because somehow we have to pack for an entire summer with 4 people in only carry-ons. Tips welcomed!

 

CIAO!

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Name
Which location are you interested in? *
Select all that apply

First Time's a Charm | Austin Boudoir Studio

The email correspondence leading up to Miss A's boudoir experience told me that we were going to have a fabulous damn time. She was so excited, and attitude is EVERYTHING when it comes to making the absolute most of your shoot. She told me that she's never done anything like this before, she'd never even had her makeup professionally done, and that she was awkward in pictures.  EVERYONE tells me that. As you can see by the myriad of blog posts and client photos, not a single one of them look awkward. That's part of the magic of the KMB experience. ;)

This woman was so awesome, we had an absolute blast, and I'm obsessed with her final images. They show off her personality so well.  Hearing from my clients after-the-fact fulfills me to the utmost. I adore hearing that their experience was everything I strive for it to be. I'm going to shhh up now and let Miss A take the spotlight with her words and images.

"As someone who regularly feels like I ruin group pics, signing up for a Kara Marie Boudoir session was something I admired from afar. I regularly followed on Instagram from the sidelines from the beginning and dreamed of the day I would gain courage to sign up. After some shenanigans happened in my life and I was feeling kinda down overall - I decided to gift myself a session for my 26th birthday almost a year in advance."

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"Everything about my experience was better than I expected and more than I ever could have dreamed. From the prep information, to the outfit selection advice, the day of planning, the shoot and the reveal - I literally never wanted the experience to end. You made me feel SO comfortable in my own skin and the moment I walked in to the studio I was ready to bare all and do artistic nudes!"

"I never enjoyed taking pictures or posing in the past, but every position you put me in I loved. The shoot felt fun, quirky, silly, crazy, AND WAY TOO SHORT. I wanted it to last for hours and the way you make us feel in front of your camera is INSANE."

"Not only was this my first photo shoot, it was also my first time wearing a bodysuit and my first time getting my hair and makeup done. Everything about it was magical and I felt so comfortable the entire time."

"I told my friends after the shoot that even if I never saw a single image, it was hands down the best thing we can do for our body image as women."

"Now on to the reveal - not only was this experience amazing, it was almost surreal. Watching my photos slide by on the slide show and knowing that each and every single one was actually me, with hardly any retouching is insane. It just makes you feel incredible. You helped me through the decision making process the entire way, and next time I will walk out with insane wall art and the fantasy package because I loved EVERY SINGLE PHOTO."

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Miss A's happy face during her photo reveal appointment

Miss A's happy face during her photo reveal appointment

"I am now a Kara Marie Boudoir addict and will 100% be back. I have already been sharing with all my friends and telling them it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. Honestly, without a doubt, you made this experience incredible and one I will never ever forget. I can't thank you enough."

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"Post shoot, I felt on top of the world and like I was the most amazing beautiful woman ever. I mentioned before, that I didn't even need to see a single photo to feel how incredible this was for my mood and my moral and body image."

"Obviously once I had my reveal I realized that I need to buy everything next time and do the full works package! It was amazingggg. Before I went I thought I would buy maybe a few lose images in a box, and came out with 64 and a massive 8x12 luxury album. Would 100% do again."

My heart is bursting. What a sweetheart (eh hem...and a BABE!). She was lovely inside and out and it was an absolute honor to work with her to capture her femininity, her personality, and her badassness. Thank you, Miss A, for joining the KMB club. I adore you. 

 

Photos Copyright Kara Marie Boudoir

Hair and Makeup: Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty

Me, Too. | Standing against sexual assault and harassment

ME, TOO. 

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You've likely witnessed the onslaught of social media posts that read "Me too" in reference to those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. Genuinely, I would be shocked if you haven't been, as well. 

While sexual assault is an actual physical violation that likely will forever scar the victim, harassment is so rampant that it's normalized. Hell, *I* have normalized it. If I were to let myself get all up in a tizzy every time a man relentlessly cat called me, every time a man licked his lips at me, every time I got a honk followed with "where you going, baby?!", I wouldn't have any time left for happiness. I've begun to shrug it off as normal. I roll my eyes, occasionally flip the bird, and don't make eye contact. 

I've experimented with my outfits, I've experimented with my reactions, I've experimented with my body language as I'm walking. None of it makes a difference, the harassment continues, and I'm feeling really embarrassed that I even toyed with the idea that I should be doing something different to avoid the harassment.  

With the rise of feminism, I'm happy to say that the US population, especially women, has become more vocal about harassment and assault. People are coming forward more than ever before saying, "Me, too. And it's NOT fucking ok!" Victims are finally beginning to say "It is NOT my fault." Though, society isn't fully on board with that just yet.

Questions are still being asked following a proclamation of sexual assault. Questions like "But did you see how she was dressed?!", "What did she think was going to happen going up to his hotel room for a business meeting?!", and "She should have been more in control of her body and not drank so much." NO. NOT OK.  

"Why did you wait so long to report it?!" Is a question I hear so often when women wait years...often until another woman speaks up about the same individual, before making it publicly known that she was assaulted. I was one of them. Years. And it was a common story. Young girl, older boy, often in a place or situation I shouldn't have been in. I didn't speak up until years later when the rapist resurfaced and began stalking me and threatening me again and I was so terrified that he would get to me, that I finally reported it. Yet I was still asked by people close to me, by law enforcement..."Why are you just now reporting this?". EMBARRASSMENT. SELF BLAME. FEAR OF JUDGEMENT, AND THE FACT THAT I NEVER EVER EVER WANTED TO VOCALIZE THE DETAILS OF MY ASSAULTS. That's why. 

When I went public with my story several months ago to raise awareness for young women who have been raped, abused, neglected, I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support....and also not at all surprised to hear so, SO many people tell me that it has happened to them as well. It's absolutely sickening. 

Almost 20 years after my assaults, I've made my peace (with a side of "mad as hell") and have found my happiness. My husband has restored my belief that there are still good men out there. 

We have voices and need to be heard. If we stop normalizing this behavior, maybe this behavior will stop. If we start calling out the pigs, maybe he pigs will disappear.  At the very least, making ourselves heard is giving permission to other victims that it's important to speak up. 

My choice in career should come as no surprise to those who are closest to me.  I continue to help women reconnect (or maybe connect for the first time) with their bodies, to claim their body as their own, to claim their sexuality as their own. 

And that is why my narrative at Kara Marie Boudoir is do it for yourself. Do it for you! Own your own body, own your sexuality.

Sure, you can gift a book of images to your partner and they will love them. But the experience...that's for you. The moment that you lose your breath while sitting with me at your photo reveal appointment....that's for YOU. The strong, proud, badass feeling you get when you see your favorite image on your bedroom wall every day...THAT IS FOR YOU. No one can take that from you. And if they try, we can call them out on it.  We WILL call them out. I stand with you.

It is more than OK to love yourself...it's necessary. The more we love and respect ourselves, the more we will call out these unacceptable behaviors that pollute our society. 

 

YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE OF...

...clothes

...personality 

...body language

...company

...lovers 

 

NOBODY deserves to take those choices from you. NOBODY deserves that kind of power over you...but yourself.  

Choose yourself.

Love yourself.

Respect yourself.

And call out all the assholes that don't. 

 

I love you all so much, thank you so much for all of the support. Know that I'm here for you and will continue to be a voice against those who try to take your power from you. 

Boudoir Makeup | Kara Marie Boudoir Studio

Every Kara Marie Boudoir experience includes professional makeup application with lashes...and for good reason. Nothing puts a damper on perfectly posed/lit/composed boudoir images like a bad makeup job. 

Does that mean when you do your own makeup, you're doing a bad job!? Nah. Well...maybe...but let's assume not, just for the sake of keeping it warm and fuzzy today. ;)

So why do we require professional makeup application for your boudoir shoot? 

Simply put, because I want the best possible outcome of your boudoir experience.  Every day makeup often doesn't translate on camera the way it looks in person.  Photo shoot makeup is slightly heavier, with a touch more contouring and highlighting to make your skin look amazing at every angle.  On top of THAT, my makeup artists (Kendall of Mayhem Beauty, and alllll the girls at Lola Beauty) know my natural light shoot style and how I prefer boudoir makeup to be and they.ROCK.IT.OUTTTT.   A professional makeup artist will take lighting, styling, your comfort level, and your face/feature shape into consideration when planning the perfect makeup look for you. 

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How should you prepare to have your makeup done for your boudoir experience?

1. Consider your wardrobe/boudoir aesthetic. 

If the boudoir style you're most drawn to is natural nudes, rolling around in the sheets, cozied up with a sweater.....it would probably be a makeup mismatch to go vampy or super glam.  On the flip side if you are bringing a lot of leather and fishnet, a blacked out smoky eye would be killer.

LIGHT + NATURAL MAKEUP

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"IN THE MIDDLE" MAKEUP

If you're bringing a variety of boudoir wardrobe styles, we generally go with what we call "middle of the road" boudoir makeup. I know, I need to think of a sexier phrase for that. The middle ground is beautifully + lightly contoured and highlighted face with eye makeup that make your eyes really pop and stand out as the main attraction, with a lightly colored gloss. 

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HEAVY + SMOKY MAKEUP

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2. Find photo examples.

Because this experience is so customized to each client's personal style and personality, we make sure to educate and communicate along the way to ensure we're all on the same page.  If a client comes in and says "I usually wear a lot of makeup"...that can be translated in about 20 different ways depending on who you ask.  See, technically *I* wear a lot of makeup....but I am almost always in the no-makeup-makeup look. So what looks minimal could be considered "heavy" to some. And what looks really heavy to some, may be way less than you're used to. 

For all these reasons, photo examples are key! Each KMB client is asked to create a boudoir mood board so we can get a very quick visual on exactly the style each client is drawn to. I encourage my clients to visit my Boudoir Makeup board and pin a couple of makeup looks that speak to their style and desired heaviness. Then, when reviewing their board, I make sure that their makeup look compliments the wardrobe style they select. 

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3. Prep yo face. 

Not only do we ask clients to come in with a clean, makeup-free, moisturized face on the day of their boudoir experience, but we actually lay the foundation for amazing skin in the months/weeks leading up to the session. I encourage clients to drink TONS of water to ensure their face and skin on their entire body is hydrated.  We also have an amazing partnership with the Piazza Center for Advanced Skincare who offers my clients a complimentary face treatment a week before your session (you'll get details on this when you book your session!). 

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So what's my favorite makeup look of the moment? 

I never want the timelessness of your boudoir photos to be compromised by any sort of fad makeup. For this reason, we don't go crazy on shaping/ombre brows, bold jewel tones on the eyes, or heavy contouring.  I keep the editing/processing of my images very classic and not overdone for the same reason. I don't want you to look at your photos from 2017 in 2050 and say "Wow. What was I thinking?!".  Keeping neutral colors and classic style makeup for your boudoir session will ensure you never think back to how dated your images are. 

All that said, my absolute FAVORITE boudoir makeup of the moment (but it's, like, a REALLY long moment, y'all.) is the no-makeup makeup look. Don't get me wrong, it takes Kendall or any of the other girls just as long to complete this look. It's still a full face of makeup. There's loads of steps that go into perfecting the skin from covering blemishes and under eye circles to subtle highlights in all the right places, and still applying a natural false lash to most clients, as lashes tend to get lost in photos. It looks amazing on EVERYONE and adds a REAL element to the finished product.  All of my personal favorite photos of me are the ones that I look like I wasn't trying too hard (or at all, really. Yet I totally was.).  The no-makeup-makeup look really translates well on just about everyone. 

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Another favorite is a bold lip with simple eyes, which works well for those who are used to wearing lipstick (for those that aren't, this probably isn't the best time to try it out) and whose boudoir style/wardrobe warrants it. 

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What about blemishes?

I don't believe, even for one second, that your blemishes define you as a person. For that reason, I do retouch out mild acne, acne scars, redness, and bruising. Telling you that probably won't stop the barrage of pre-shoot text messages from clients "Of COURSE I have a monster zit the day before my shoot!"...but it should give you some peace of mind ;) I got you, boo. No pimples will make it to your photo reveal appointment. 

So, what if I don't like my makeup?

Regardless of how talented our makeup artists are, or how much we communicate about makeup prior to your session, you very well may look in the mirror and see something so different than what you're used to.....and you may not like it!  We have a VERY, VERY, VERRRRY open communication policy about this!! Though it's never ever happened, I would absolutely prefer to start a face over than to have you not like your finished product because of your makeup. But generally if a client isn't instantly over-the-moon with her makeup, only a tiny tweak is needed to get her there. And we're happy to oblige!

We tend to always err on the side of caution with makeup application because we know just how much personal preference plays into your satisfaction with your makeup job. We tell our clients that we can always add more, or change anything they'd like, but that it's important that they are honest with us when they look in the mirror.

99% of our clients gasp with disbelief and start tearing up because they cannot believe how amazing they look!  We are often fanning away tears because we don't want it all to be ruined before we pick up the camera. A few others will request that our makeup artist makes a minor adjustment like adding a little more liner, or changing the lip color. EASY PEASY!  We are oh-so-happy to make tweaks to ensure our clients are completely satisfied! The bottom line is, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! Don't worry about hurting our feelings, we want you to love the look!

THE BOTTOM LIP...ERR...*LINE*. THE BOTTOM LINE.

We want you to look like YOU...just on your best day ever ;) I always tell my clients how picky I am, and if I'm letting a makeup artist work on your face, knowing how particular I am about my work, you KNOW she's damn good and I trust her. Your makeup isn't everything, but it plays a large role in your finished product, which is why I only want the best! 

So while you're pouring over Pinterest for wardrobe ideas and boudoir styles, don't forget to give makeup a moment in your planning process!

 

Special shout out to Kendall Koehler of Mayhem Beauty + the whole team at LoLa Beauty for keeping my clients looking fabulous and fabulously THEMSELVES for their boudoir experience!

 

The L word (lingerie) | Boudoir Wardrobe Ideas

Recently, I demonstrated to you that there are a TON of easy wardrobe options for the woman who isn't interested in lingerie, or who just doesn't have time to shop for her boudoir experience. If you missed that blog on zero fuss boudoir wardrobe, you can check it out HERE.

I promised that I would be releasing a blog and a little extra help for those who love the idea of lingerie-ing-it-up for their boudoir experience but quickly realized that I would NOT be the best person to write that blog!

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SO I brought in lingerie expert Ashley Kelsch to guest blog about what she does best. Ashley is the owner of one of my favorite local lingerie boutiques, Teddies for Bettys.

When my local clients visit one of her shops (downtown on 2nd street, or north Austin at the Domain), I know that they are going to show up to their session with well-fitting and beautiful pieces that flatter their bodies majestically. 

TAKE IT AWAY, ASHLEY!

 


Recently my girl and favorite boudoir photographer Kara Marie wrote a blog called “ZERO FUSS boudoir wardrobe. Literally.” It’s for the girl who maybe doesn’t have time to pull together a lingerie look for her boudoir session or the girl who just doesn’t feel her power in lingerie. You might be wondering what I have to say to that?! Here comes the truth train- I identify 100% with that woman. I know! Let me lift your jaws ;) I’m more of a minimalist as well as a last minute planner. Personally, I don’t necessarily identify my sexy side with a garter belt, but instead she is wrapped up in white crisp sheets with messy hair and a smokey eye.

Needless to say, Kara’s article and 15 Zero Fuss suggestions spoke to me. HOWEVER, I’m one of few AND ironically have a knack for helping women bring out their powerhouse self through lingerie styling. God works in mysterious ways… 

Kara and I share a similar clientele and I’ve have had the pleasure of spending time with many of her clients before they go for their own boudoir shoot. The task of lingerie shopping can seem daunting for some women, but in the end, despite any reservations they had before their boudoir shoot, they return with a photo album that would have Dita Von Teese handing out high fives. Actually, I feel like maybe Dita would hand out ass smacks with a paddle. Gentle ones, right? Yes. Dita Von Teese ass-smacking good photos. 

So how does it all go down? Where do we start and what do we suggest when you’re shopping for your boudoir session? I’m going to break it down for you in 5 easy steps. Who knows? Maybe by the end of this write up I will have convinced myself to explore the lingerie boudoir session and find my power through a garter belt!

 

FITTING

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The very first thing that you should do is have a professional bra fitting. There is nothing worse than unnecessary pinching, unflattering overhang, or a band riding up causing the girls to get low. Nine times out of ten this is caused by simply wearing the incorrect size. The last thing we want to do is get this common error caught on camera. So set yourself up for success from the get go by getting measured. Of course, I’m going to recommend one of our experts at both Teddies for Bettys' locations, but most any speciality store can happily help you determine your current bra size to guarantee you are ready to strike a put-together pose. 

 

FIND YOUR STYLE

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This step is SOOO important. What is YOUR style?  Exploring this question is key to finding out what makes you feel the most comfortable, aka your sexy-self. If you are not comfortable in an unlined lace demi you certainly do not want to try and strike a pose in front of the camera wearing one. Do you love lace? Push Ups? More or less coverage? Thongs vs bikini’s? Trying on different styles AND silhouettes will give you time to take yourself in and see your body dressed in something besides your normal everyday bra and panty.

Chances are you don’t wear bodysuits or a teddy very often. Being able to take the time to dress your body and see what works/doesn’t work will give you all the more confidence in front of the camera. If you’re anything like most women, you will be shocked at how sexy you feel in styles that you would have never considered before. This is where the fun starts happening- you start seeing yourself in a different light- which is the point of all of this, right? to reveal the inner you…

 

YOUR THEME

Now that we know what brings out your inner sexy self we can discuss your theme. Theme is, but not limited to the following questions; Are these pictures for you or someone special? Is their a special occasion involved? Are you looking to capture Sweet and girly? Classic? Vampy? Pin up? Conversely, if you tend to be more conservative in your everyday but there is a fierce and fiery seductress aching to come out, now would be the perfect time to play with embodying this role. Maybe you are looking to capture a few different sides of yourself. Something sweet, something sexy. Having a theme will help mainstream the process, give you some direction and a little peace of mind. There are so many ‘looks’ in boudoir photography and it’s easy to get caught up in wanting a little bit of everything, but that would make for a chaotic day. Once you know what your end goal is you can relax into the experience a little bit more.

 

PLAYING DRESS UP

We’ve made it to the fun part! After we’ve pulled lingerie based on your size, style and theme you get to start trying it on and bringing your look to life. Seeing yourself in the full ensemble is oh-so-important, ladies. This is where you stand on your toes (or we bring you some heels) and you start turning, twisting and looking. Whenever I watch this, I can’t help but notice how empowered a woman becomes. The layers start coming off and you start to take in your body, femininity, self and ADMIRE it. There is no question at this point who the boudoir session is for- it’s for you… (let the special someone think it’s for them, but we know girl. all yours.)

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ACCESSORIZE

What’s a garter belt without thigh-highs? Or a bare shoulder without a silk robe draping off? Though accessories are not imperative, you will want to take an inventory of your lingerie looks and decide if you’d like any extras; masks, jewelry, shoes, furs, etc. Maybe you have a sentimental piece from your someone special. You want to think this last step through even as small as it seems. I’m telling you, you will be mid pose and think, ‘noooo, I forgot my louboutin pumps! They would have matched back to this black lace bra and red lip like an olive in my martini!’ Let’s not have a shoulda-coulda-woulda.

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There you have it, babes! For customized boudoir shopping, be sure to hit up Ashley + her experts at Teddies for Bettys on 2nd Street in downtown Austin, or their new location at the Domain!  

As luck would have it, they're currently having a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE! Woot! 

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Now get your sassy booty in front of my camera!

Ciao.