From the moment I first spoke to Jennifer, around this time last year, I knew I had to do a shoot with her. Kind, compassionate, strong, and brave, she felt none of those things- but she had finally started to realise she deserved to. Seeing the changes she has made in her life since her shoot has been utterly heart-filling.

This video was shot just after she saw her photos for the first time; below you can read a bit more about her experience in her own words.

What’s your story? Why did you decide to do boudoir right now?

After spending 10 years in an unhealthy marriage, I figured I wasn’t worthy of love or affection and that I must have something wrong with me. I had been sick and battling Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus and had gained weight and my doctor was telling me as well that I was not where I should be. As I was going to enter the dating scene again I decided I needed to finally take my own advice, the advice I always give my girls: that you need to love yourself first before finding a partner to love, or you will always settle for less than you deserve.

Before your session did you have any worries or fears?

I was self conscious and worried. I told myself she is no miracle worker and even though she had gorgeous pictures on her site I shouldn’t expect that for me. That I would settle for ok. I hated my body and felt ugly, undesirable and not sexy at all.

Beautiful moody natural light boudoir photo

What was a highlight of your session?

The way Star and Michelle treated me, like I was important and so worth their time. They made me feel beautiful and sexy. Star made me feel comfortable and talked to me before and throughout the session, asking questions and what I was comfortable with. She played music I liked and kept telling me how beautiful I was and that she loved the pictures. I was flying high after it.

How did you feel when you saw your photos?

I cried. I couldn’t believe how beautiful I was. I was in awe, and it was not like she put a Snapchat filter on them- it really was me. I was so happy. I was amazed by how beautiful and sexy I looked. To see myself through her eyes has touched my life forever.

Beautiful curvy boudoir photos_0001

What would you tell someone else considering coming to Acts of Beauty for a boudoir session?

Love yourself enough to do this. Give it a chance. I know it’s daunting but I wish every woman could love themselves like this and Star is the woman to help you do it. She is so kind and fun and totally puts you at ease. Do it! Do it for yourself and allow yourself to see your body through her eyes. It’s worth it.

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No more excuses- Get in here and take off your clothes

You’ve been considering doing a boudoir shoot. In fact, you’ve been thinking about it for a while. But here you are, reading this blog post instead of flouncing around my studio in your underwear. Why? Here are some of the worries, fears and, let’s face it, excuses, that keep people from doing the awesome thing they want to do.

I need to lose weight

You don’t, actually. For one thing, boudoir is about feeling gorgeous in the body you have- not judging yourself for not having the body you think you SHOULD have. I know, all our lives we’ve been subjected to a barrage of advertising telling us what beauty looks like, and what to buy to make ourselves fit the mold. Well, this is your chance to call bullshit on that.

Why are you still measuring yourself against society’s messed up expectations? What good is that doing you? And why does a dress size get to decide how much happiness you deserve?

Beauty comes in a wonderful variety of shapes and sizes, and I know how to flatter ALL of them with my camera. I can show you beauty you had no idea you possessed. All you have to do is trust me.

One more thing: Research shows that people who love their body are more likely to make positive lifestyle changes. So the confidence you build, having fun in the studio and when you see your amazing photos afterwards, is going to do a lot more to help you become the person you want to be than telling yourself you don’t deserve to feel beautiful until you lose the weight.

Body positive beauty boudoir

Beauty is not a dress size. <3

I’m just not sexy like that

Ooooh, golly. So few of us are! All those women on the website with bedroom eyes and come-hither smiles- most of them didn’t come in here feeling sexy or confident. It is NOT your job to walk in here and get your sexy on. It’s my job to coach you every step of the way, from your expression to your pinkie finger.

And, secret truth: I can take sexy photos of you whether you feel sexy or not. Even if you never once relaxed during your several hours in the studio, getting your makeup and hair done and laughing your butt off at the ridiculous things that come out of my mouth when I’m shooting, I could still take photos of you that rocked your world.

(You will relax and have fun, though. Every single woman finishes her shoot and says “Oh! I had no idea it would be that much fun! I feel amazing!” And then I say I told you so, because I’m a grownup.)

Sensual Boudoir Pose

It costs too much

Yes, a good boudoir shoot is expensive. But it’s more than just pretty photos; this is an experience that has the potential to change your relationship with your body and boost your confidence in a way that sends ripples of positive change through your entire life. Can you imagine how it would feel to step out the door with confidence every morning? To truly believe your partner or family when they said you were beautiful? To be able to take a compliment without squirming? A boudoir experience with us can be a powerful and important step on your road to self-love.

If this is what you want to do, we’ll make it work. We have flexible payment plans, take credit cards, and even book months in advance so you can do one of our pre-payment plans (with cool bonuses, too!).

But for most people, it’s not really that they don’t have the money- it’s that they’re not sure it’s worth it. I get that. So, don’t take my word for it! Read our Google reviews, ask for opinions in our VIP Facebook group, talk to one of the amazing women whose photos are on our website. Come have tea with me and see what you think.

Body positive beauty boudoir

When I saw my photos I cried. I was in awe, amazed by how beautiful and sexy I looked. To see myself through Star’s eyes has touched my life forever. 

 Love yourself enough to do this. Give it a chance. I know it’s daunting but I wish every woman could love themselves like this and Star is the woman to help you do it. She is so kind and fun and totally puts you at ease. Do it! It’s worth it. Do it for yourself and allow yourself to see your body through her eyes. It’s worth it.

~Jennifer

 

It’s time to start writing a new story for yourself. It’s time to put yourself first, just for a little while. Come laugh away your fears and insecurities, have an amazing day of fun and art, and let me show you how beautiful you are. No more excuses.

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I have a complicated relationship with Christmas. I love it- I love warm fires on cold nights, twinkling lights and the smell of pine, family and cookies and socially irresponsible carols about bullied reindeer. I love giving (and getting!) presents, and the way friends make time to catch up and people make an effort to make strangers smile and take care of people less fortunate than them.

But. You knew there would be a “but,” right? I always, sooner or later, start to crumble under the pressure. Making memories with my kids sounds so wholesome and easy, but they fight over which ornament they’re going to hang and whether it’s eggnog time and whether air is for breathing and- well, seriously, they fight over everything. I plan a special day but tempers fray when we get a late start, or they would rather watch some crappy TV show than read Christmas classics by the fire. My idyllic visions shatter upon first contact with the enemy family.

And then there’s the gift giving. I LOVE giving presents. I love finding just the right present for someone I love and seeing them light up when they open it. When I was a kid I’d save for months in order to be able to buy my mom and brother things I was sure would wow them (success rate: likely hit and miss, in retrospect). But (there it is again, the “but”). As an educated adult, consumerism makes me ill. What sort of labour practices produced the toy my kids want? Is the store paying a fair wage and treating their workers well? And am I setting my kids up for success if I teach them that “stuff” brings happiness? How can I justify spending hundreds of dollars on gifts when there are people dying out there, people my money could help? I muddle through, trying to find a middle ground.

I expect this Christmas will be pretty much like the others; heart-filling moments when I think “Yes, this, this is it” rapidly followed by ones where I wonder if selling my kids on Kijiji is a viable new Christmas tradition. This year, though, I’ve got a new plan. I’m going to do my best to revel in the bits that are beautiful, and let the chaos roll on past while I watch it with amusement. Rather than rush about looking for perfection or trying to create Family Christmas Togetherness, I’m going to slow down and connect in little real moments with my kids and add in some things that really make me happy, even if my kids couldn’t care less- like pulling out the recipe for my Nanna’s crescent buns and fudging my way through a Christmas carol on my dusty harp.

Maybe Christmas isn’t some kind of complex parental performance art designed to make children happy. Maybe it’s just another perfectly imperfect day with family, but with better food and presents thrown in. Maybe we can chill out. Maybe.

Baby goat contemplating the Christmas tree, 2015. Some years were crazier than others.

 

 

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Flashback to 7 years ago. I was in Pennsylvania at a retreat for photographers put on by my friend Jess Lark, and we were goofing off. We were on day three of choosing art over sleep and photographers get a little weird after a while, so…

It started with Jess showing some people who were new to it how to use the liquify tool in Photoshop. Now, the liquify tool is what you think of when you think Photoshop fail or (“those photos on the fronts of magazines are lies.”) It’s a great tool when used ethically- if your bra strap cuts in we can smooth that, if your dress bunches weird, no problem. But you can also do some pretty questionable things with it.

So, we did all of them. And then posted it on a popular but very self-important photography forum and tried to convince people my boobs just grew that way.

Narrator: They did not.

 

The responses were so much fun I think we actually made popcorn while we watched the internet have conniptions. Eventually, though, we gave in and posted the before and after; Jess’s military husband Mike was called in to provide logistical support. Definitely one of the more attractive men I’ve had up my skirt, I must say. We spent a good amount of time “finessing his posing.” 😉

 

So, what’s the point of this post, other than to give you a look at the kind of geeky ridiculousness photographers get up to when overtired, and perhaps a look at a hot man in lingerie? Photoshop is kind of the elephant in the room, where boudoir photography is concerned. When you come for a shoot you want to look spectacular, but you also want to look like YOU. Not a Photoshopped, Barbie’d up version of you. Well, that’s what I want too. I can’t help you fall in love with the body you have if I don’t show you that body. Consequently my editing style is much lighter than a lot of photographers, because at the end of the day I want you to look in the mirror, turn just so, and see a glimpse of what I see through my camera.

Here’s a typical Photoshop before and after from one of my boudoir shoots. If you look closely you’ll see that the light stand in the top left is gone, as is a shadow on her knee, and skin has been softened slightly to compensate for the way that good cameras and lenses tend to emphasize skin texture.

Boudoir Photoshop before and after retouching

Here’s another set from the same shoot. Most good photographers shoot in the “RAW” file format, which means that the photos can come out of the camera a bit dull (I’m not going to bore you with the details, if you’re a geek you probably already know them and if you’re not I promise you don’t care). I’m picky about my colours so I spend far too long getting them just the way I like:

Boudoir Photoshop before and after retouching

Now, some people have scars or stretchmarks they don’t love, or want a bit of a tummy tuck- that’s cool, we can work with that too. But my default is always going to be to show you well-posed, well-lit photos that flatter you without my needing to get crazy with the liquify tool. When you look at your photos, I want you to see yourself- the prettiest, sexiest, most gorgeous version of yourself. I think she’ll amaze you. <3

 

 

Have more questions about how photoshop is used in boudoir shoots? Drop them in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s like a pub crawl, but with Edmonton lingerie stores! We’re out to have fun, shop till we drop, and support local businesses. Want to join us?

The Why

Because it’s fun, of course! But more seriously, I always encourage my clients to shop locally for their shoots wherever possible. If we want to continue to have diverse, interesting local businesses, we have to support them!

Yes, it’s easy to buy cheap stuff from China online, but the experience that the best Edmonton lingerie stores offer – professional fittings, knowledgeable staff, and truly delicious, high-quality underthings – aren’t something you can replace with a mail-order experience that ends in lingerie that may or may not fit properly.

Of course, it can be a little intimidating to brave a fancy boutique lingerie store for the first time. And shopping is always more fun with supportive friends! So, as always, we have your back. Also, both my makeup artist Michelle and I have lingerie habits – it’s an occupational hazard – to indulge.

Edmonton lingerie stores event pretty bra

The Plan

We’ll meet up at one of Edmonton’s boutique lingerie stores first thing Sunday morning (you have to contact me to get on the guest list if you want all the details) and form into groups. If you have a minivan and want to be a driver, let me know! Then we’ll head on in and find beautiful, frivolous things to try on. I imagine most of us will come home with lots of lovely things! If you have a boudoir shoot coming up this is a great way to get your shopping done and get a professional opinion on what will look great on camera. We’ll hit as many of Edmonton’s lingerie stores (maybe surrounding areas too if we have time) as we can before we run out of time or collapse into an extremely sexy heap.

Potential stops on our route:

Princess Lingerie (Edmonton lingerie store)   –  Night Owl Lingerie (Edmonton lingerie store)

Midnight Magic (Edmonton lingerie store)    –    Dawn’s Bra-tique (Edmonton lingerie store)

Ella Coco (Sherwood Park lingerie store)      –    Nightshade Corsets (Edmonton alternative lingerie and corset store)

The Aftermath

Be prepared for a lingerie hangover the next day, the danger is real.

Edmonton lingerie stores event_0002

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