Tag Archives: Maternity Boudoir

Sexuality and Boudoir Photography

Ashleigh Lundt Brand Ambassador 168 900x601 Sexuality and Boudoir Photography

Last night I happened across a conversation asking about how being a boudoir photographer affects your own sexuality, or how your sexuality affects your boudoir work, and it really inspired me to take a deep look at myself and really try to understand how the two connect for me.

Shooting boudoir is like being a Doctor to me, when I see clients nude (or nearly nude) regardless of gender, it does not affect me in a sexual way. I don’t look at them while they are changing (if they opt to not use the bathroom), and I don’t look at their body unless I’m looking THROUGH the camera, in which case I am only looking at angles, light, shape, etc. None of it is sexual. 

I naturally compartmentalize my work from my regular life in that way. I fully admit that I enjoy watching adult videos, or looking at adult photos. I think they are a great way to help get into the mood or to change things up a bit. However I have never once looked at a client or their photos in that way. When I am in the studio it’s very clinical to me, same when I’m editing.. I look for under eye circles, stray hairs, dust/lint on clothing, body lines that seem uneven, skin tones I may want to fix, exposed nipples the client may want covered, etc.

I can direct a client into a sexy pose, create an image and know that it is a sexy image, however, it doesn’t affect me the way it will it’s intended recipient.

I don’t know how much of this comes naturally to me, or how much of it is a result of my history.

I struggled for a long time with my own sexuality/sexual being… My first marriage… that relationship started when I was 16, it was dysfunctional and abusive and lasted until I was 22+, In recent years I’ve begun to recognize that while he and I “experimented” and had an active sex life (Nothing was off limits… including bringing in other girls… including strangers, my best friend, etc.) NONE of it was about me… It was all about him manipulating me into believing that I WANTED those things. 

Alyssa Pease 079 900x600 Sexuality and Boudoir Photography

When I got pregnant for the third time, that’s when things changed.

Before I got pregnant, I wasn’t able to consent to things we were doing because I was using alcohol excessively to escape from how miserable I was. The minute I got pregnant with my first child at 16, my ex took over every aspect of my life. I never had a chance to have any sort of control… he cut me off from my parents and siblings, everything was about him and what he wanted. By the time this happened 4 years later I was so miserable with him I was a drunk… I was drinking constantly just to escape how terrible things were… so when he started trying to put ideas into my head about what HE wanted, it was easy for him to manipulate me into thinking that what HE wanted was actually what I wanted. 

When I got pregnant… I had to stop drinking… He lost control and became unstable… I had to leave to protect myself and my children (This was my third pregnancy… we had 2 toddler boys and it was a Twin pregnancy where one of my twins died… and my husband didn’t care… he left me off to the side by myself to grieve our lost child and hope that our remaining twin would survive)

The fact that I stopped drinking changed everything. I started to recognize that the life I was living was NOT healthy, for me OR my children, and that my husband was mentally unstable. 

Kalaa Wilson Brand Ambassador 099bw 900x601 Sexuality and Boudoir Photography

I ended up leaving after having to have him involuntarily hospitalized for threatening suicide and then once he was released he manipulated his therapist into believing he was perfectly fine and didn’t need medication or therapy. The day I left he threatened to kill me if I slept with another man while still pregnant with his child. 

I did sleep with another guy, before I gave birth. It was an act of rebellion. It was my “last chance” to go against him, and I knew there was nothing he could do about it… It was a terrible sexual experience but the fact that I did it was enough for me. After that, I was finally able to see myself as someone who existed WITHOUT him… and worked on trying to figure out who that person was. One of the things I did was try to start to lose weight. I bought a Carmen Electra aerobic striptease workout video and decided to give that a shot… (I’ve written some about this before)

It was a no-go. I was SO uncomfortable with MYSELF that I couldn’t even WATCH the video, let alone TRY it! In all the years I was with him… all the sex we had, all the crazy things we may have done… I didn’t know how to BE sexual… I didn’t even know what I wanted out of a sexual relationship! 

Nancy Snodgrass 050 900x600 Sexuality and Boudoir Photography

It took me MONTHS before I was able to do the workout moves… and over those months I started dating…. After awhile, I finally got to the point where I was using those moves any time music played… I started dating an amazing guy and I let myself explore and learn about what I like and what I don’t like. 

The guy I started dating that summer is now my husband… we have an AMAZING sex life that is mutually beneficial, we are able to communicate when we have an interest in something or want to look more into something new, etc. 

I do this work because I have BEEN that woman… The one who is insecure, uncomfortable, doing things JUST because HE might like it… not because SHE might like it… And my GOAL is 100% of the time to have her experience what I experienced when I was finally able to try out those Carmen Electra aerobic striptease videos…. HERSELF!

The session I had Yesterday was one of those rare days where I get to experience the FULL effect of that transformation… my client cried just looking at the back of my camera… after struggling for months over scheduling conflicts and almost chickening out last minute, but yesterday was one of those days where everything that has gone wrong was all worth it for the final outcome… She finally saw herself as beautiful… saw her greying hair as gorgeous highlights in her dark hair, perfectly framing her face…. all of her insecurities became BEAUTIFUL when she saw her images, and I cannot wait for her to see the rest. 

THIS is why I do what I do. Because I have been that girl. I see myself in EVERY woman that I photograph, in ONE way or another. And I never want to STOP seeing myself in them, because if I ever do, then I will stop appreciating how far my life has come.



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Exist In Photos

Weeks002 Exist In Photos

 

The last two days have been heartbreaking and overwhelming for our family. Yesterday my family lost this gorgeous woman, wife, mother. My cousin Desiree Strout was just 28 and on her way to give birth to her third baby (and first son) when they hit a patch of black ice and their truck rolled. She was killed in the crash and her baby boy is still in critical condition. Her husband, Harry Weeks, is in stable condition but has a long road ahead of him in terms of his emotional and physical recovery. Their oldest daughter, (8) who was with them, suffered minor injuries and was released later in the day, and their other daughter (2 1/2)  was with family and safe.

Losing Desiree has been a complete shock to our entire family, a family that, regardless of distance and time spent without seeing each other, has always been very close. My brother said it best when he said “Our family is nothing if not strong and united. When something happens to one of us, it happens to us all.” – We have all rallied together to try and build as much support as we can for Desiree’s husband Harry, so that he can recover and adjust to life without his wife. 

You never know when a loved one will leave you. Never EVER miss the opportunity to record your or their time on this Earth. Desiree’s babies are going to grow up without her, but she understood how important it was to document their family and her love for them, so they’ll always at least have these photos.

The photos below are a combination of a family session that we did in 2013 and then her maternity photos with her second child in 2015. Unfortunately, we were not able to update their family photos before we lost her. 

There are multiple benefit events being coordinated to help support the family, and we have also set up a GoFundMe for those who are unable to participate or wish to donate more. You can find the GoFundMe event here: https://www.gofundme.com/loving-wifemother-lost-too-soon

Maine maternity boudoir photography 007 Exist In PhotosMaine maternity boudoir photography 012 Exist In PhotosMaine maternity boudoir photography 014 Exist In PhotosWeeks008 Exist In PhotosWeeks003 Exist In PhotosWeeks007 Exist In PhotosWeeks011 Exist In PhotosWeeks027 Exist In PhotosWeeks014 Exist In Photos

News Outlets looking to use photos to report on this tragedy, please email me at info@jessicamichaelphotography.com 



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Kayla’s Glamorous Maternity Session

 

Kayla13 900x600 Kaylas Glamorous Maternity Session

 

I have had the pleasure of photographing Kayla three times now and each time gets better than the one before it. Kayla is a gorgeous Mama to a beautiful little girl and is expecting another little girl in October! Continue reading »



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“One husbands response” and why I feel it’s bull.

 

Hannah Boudoir019 900x596 One husbands response and why I feel its bull.

If you’ve been on Facebook in the past couple of weeks, you’ve undoubtedly read the letter going around that is supposedly from the husband who received an album of boudoir photos from his wife for their 20th anniversary. In this letter he criticized the amount of editing the photographer had done. You can read it here: http://petapixel.com/2015/10/15/one-husbands-response-to-retouched-photos-of-his-wife/

I had a bunch of people send me links to this and at first I thought to myself “How sweet, he really loves his wife and everything about her”… but then the more I thought about it, the  more I decided the guy sounds like kind of a pretentious asshole. Even more, I started to think that the whole thing was probably fake. Continue reading »



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My first boudoir shoot

Boudior J 0671 900x600 My first boudoir shoot

(FYI: The following post is NSFW…. if you are related to me, you may want to not read further… or at least make sure you don’t scroll past the 2nd set of images below)

I wish I could remember where I first learned about boudoir photography… I’d like to thank whoever introduced me to it because becoming a boudoir photographer has changed my life and has allowed me to help other women to change their own lives.

The first boudoir shoot that I ever photographed was my own. It was a very amateur setup… I had only just decided two months prior that I wanted to make photography my career so I was still learning and only had very basic equipment and knowledge in how to use it. Continue reading »



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Finding Yourself

jess1 900x643 Finding Yourself

 

I met my first husband when I was 16 years old. He started out sweet and caring, and it wasn’t long before I was pregnant. By our first anniversary I was miserable. All we did was fight and he had begun the process of isolating me from everyone I knew and who cared about me. That was the beginning of nearly 7 years of Hell.

By the age of 21 I was completely brainwashed, nearly suicidal and feeling hopeless.  I was lost and it was all I could do to get through each day without letting his words and actions destroy me completely. I started drinking heavily to escape my misery.

I finally got scared enough to leave in August of 2006 with 2 kids and one on the way and moved in with my estranged father…. We hadn’t spoken in nearly a year, because of my husband, yet he opened his home to me and my children. I managed to go back to school and got my GED, I got my own place for me and the kids, and I started to be able to see that I had value.

One day while I was out shopping, I decided to look at the workout videos and on a whim purchased Volume 1 of the Carmen Electra Aerobic Striptease collection. Continue reading »



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