The first image that comes to my mind when I hear the word "boudoir" is actually Dita von Teese. I have seen images of her after moving to the United States and am always amazed at how beautiful and confident she looks. But before I go on about boudoir and my experiences, it might help to know a little bit more about me. I am actually not from the United States. I grew up in Asia and if you have purchased anything from Shein or other Asian brands, you might have come across the differences in sizing. Well, that was my standard for beauty for the longest time. Growing up, body image has been a constant struggle as I was more chubby and curvy than average. I was told by my parents that I needed to watch my weight or I will end up single. In addition, I was made to feel that my curves are not something to be proud of (and in fact, should be covered up) because it draws the wrong kind of attention from men. Even as an adult, my parents will comment if I wear anything too low-cut and revealing.
Now with some background, you might understand that a boudoir session for me can be nerve wrecking. I have since been in the United States for more than a decade. During this time, I have learned to embrace my body and looks, but deep down, I was never happy about how I look. There is always this voice in my head that will remind me that I can always lose some more weight, I can eat less, and I can be skinnier. This voice was persistent regardless of what size I am at. So, when I came across the concept of "boudoir", I saw it as an opportunity to see myself in a different light. To a certain degree, the posts and stories on Elevation Boudoir's Instagram account really helped with my decision-making process. I've always enjoyed looking at sensual black-and-white photographs, so I was immediately drawn to Elevation Boudoir. On top of that, I saw how well the photographer captured the many sides of beauty. In the pictures, I saw strength, sensuality, intimacy, vulnerability, and confidence.
To be honest, my decision to schedule a session was prompted by impulsivity. One day, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across the post for last-minute sessions. At that time, I really needed a boost in my life and thought that a boudoir session would be perfect. I get to unleash a different side of me and have these moments captured forever. So I reached out via direct messages. Rachel and Justin responded right away and answered all of my questions. And ... I backed down for a second, mainly because of the price. However, after learning about the possibility of a payment plan, I threw my concerns out the window and took the spot!
So between booking and the actual session, there were only about four days. I went into freak-out mode. I started frantically looking through my collection of sexy lingerie and realized I don't fit in most of them; I went up close to two dress sizes during the lockdown (and I also started a brand new job during that time, so I was stress-eating). I wasn't sure what to do because I was unaware of lingerie shops in town, so I reached out for recommendations. Again, they got back very quickly and pointed out some stores where I can get outfits but also mentioned the client closet. The first thing I did after that exchange was looking through all of the posts I can find and see what the client closets include. And boy was I impressed! There were so many options and also in various sizes. Also, Elevation Boudoir was awesome in making sure my voices were heard with a form where I can state my concerns, music preferences, and my goals for the session.
During these four days leading up the session, I pretty much spent a lot of time looking through Instagram posts and stories over and over again. I also spent about 10-15 minutes each day doing some yoga poses and stretches because I am normally quite a stiff and inflexible person. I was worried I wouldn't be able to arch my back or raise my arms in certain angles (my left shoulder is kind of wonky). And finally, the day has arrived! It was a short trip for me to the studio, but I was definitely nervous. However, once Rachel started working on the makeup and chatting with Justin, I felt so much more relaxed. They are so chilled and laid back and I felt like I have known both of them for a while. Rachel even remembered the color preference I put down and incorporated that into my look.
I ended up borrowing from the client closet for this session. I was blown away by the variety of choices. Rachel was super helpful in pulling out pieces for me that fit and accentuate my features. We decided on two outfits. My first outfit was a gorgeous blue set that complimented my skin tone. After changing, I walked upstairs to the studio and we started on the first set. I was nervous at first, but Rachel was super attentive and patient with posing. She first demonstrated what the pose would be like, and then ease me into them. In some instances, we had to adjust the post because of my wonky left shoulder and they were awesome with accommodating that. During the whole session, Rachel and Justin were both so positive and encouraging. My nerves and anxieties were gone after the first three poses; all I felt for the rest of the session was how amazing I was. I got into poses that I didn't think I could (especially some that involved the swing).
And one feature that sets Elevation Boudoir apart from other studios/photographers is the same-day reveal. I was able to see the gorgeous images on a big TV screen very quickly after the session. And I was blown away! I couldn't help but stare at pictures of myself It was challenging for me to pick 20 pictures out of the 80+ we took during the session. Rachel was super patient with how indecisive I was. She would pull out two or three pictures of similar poses and put them side-by-side. That trick saved me so much time in narrowing down my favorite.
All in all, I will highly recommend anyone to book a session with Elevation Boudoir. There does not need to be a special reason or occasion, other than celebrating who you are!