A Thorough Review

I wanted to share this review of boudoir with you all on my blog.  This woman posted this in my private Facebook group.  This is the most important message I could share with you!

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plus size boudoir photography pittsburgh of client on bed in lingerie

If this review is long, I apologize (only sort of…I’m a wordy person). The short version of what’s to come is, “It’s awesome, just do it.” If you’re interested in the longer version, however, read on 🙂 I also apologize for some possible TMI moments that I feel are applicable to share for anyone on the fence about whether to do this or not.

Let’s start with the important unimportant information. I’m an almost 31 year old mother of an almost 7 year old daughter. I’m a size 18, 40C, reflectively white mom with a jigglier stomach than I would care for, thighs that are thicker than I love when I look in the mirror, cellulite, and a list a mile long of things I could pick apart about my body (both my pre kid, and definitely my post kid, body). And while my marriage was/is healthy, I had definitely lost putting nearly as much effort into the wife side of who I am due to the amount of effort applied to being a homeschooling mom. And all that information above, is EXACTLY why I should have done this shoot years ago. And, exactly what shouldn’t keep you from doing one yourself.

I booked my shoot with Maura as soon as my husband gave me my gift certificate that covered my booking fee. I scheduled for September. In the months leading up to my shoot I had several shopping trips with my best friend. Lots of online purchases that I returned, and lots of lingerie sales I took advantage of. The girl at Torrid began to know me by name (and that I was shopping for a boudoir shoot). As a mom (who maybe added 1 piece of lingerie to my collection in the 7 years since my daughter was born), this experience was amazing. I purchased WAY more than I needed. I have bra and panty sets galore, body suits to wear for date night and some that should only leave my house if they’re heading to Maura’s! The knowledge that the shoot was coming and I needed to find what I was comfortable in for me was motivation enough to shop for not just my shoot, but my bedroom as well (is there a more polite/less taboo way to phrase this? I’m quite sure I’ve rewritten that bit several times). So long before I arrived to my shoot, I had already felt like I had gotten my money’s worth for the booking fee. I fell in love with my new mom bod and curves, even with all the faults I could pick out. I was forced to start paying attention to what I loved over what I didn’t.

boudoir photography pittsburgh

There was a pre-shoot question sheet, along with a pre-shoot consultation. Both of these allowed me to let Maura know my insecurities for my body, bring the things I had purchased thus far and get feedback, and narrow down what I should bring the day of. For people concerned that the lingerie could get really expensive on top of the investment for the shoot, it’s totally possible for it to not. My items included a clearance crop top from Forever 21 with some high waisted swim suit bottoms from Amazon. Total cost was maybe $30 and I’ll use the swim bottoms next summer. A body suit from Amazon that I LOVED that was around $30, a slip style item I’d seen on Torrid’s website that I loved, and found on clearance at the store. It was $60 and probably my most expensive piece…but a must have for me. And an off the shoulder 3/4 length shirt, again from Torrid and from clearance, with a matching thong…maybe another $20? And then I went to an outlet up in Youngstown, along with Marshalls and Ross and such on the hunt for shoes. I think I paid $15 each for 3 pairs of shoes? And truthfully, a pair of black and a pair of nude heals will do ya if you don’t want to do anything crazy. But all in all, it was pretty manageable considering what lingerie prices can be, especially for plus size girls. If you start shopping and watching for clearance once you schedule (since she books so far out) you can make it REALLY affordable. Plus, the pieces from her own collection you can use.

The day of my shoot I arrived excited. Silly excited. I sat and had my make up done, and my hair done. I carried on uninterrupted conversations with other adult women (because that’s hard to do as a mom, for hours on end). And then came the image taking. This was a lesson in letting go of control for me. While I knew of Maura professionally, and had chatted with her a handful of times before my shoot, I didn’t REALLY know her. And for me it wasn’t about the parading around in skimpy outfits that was nerving, it was capturing them. I had taken enough selfies and sent them to my long distance bestie to get opinions on outfits for this shoot that I had seen how I looked in them. And while I loved the outfits…I still saw my pasty white skin, my cellulite, and all the other things. All I could do was have faith that Maura would make me look far better than my cell phone selfies did.

plus size boudoir photos pittsburgh in black lingerie from Torrid

At the end of my shoot I rode home on a “Maura high.” Had I never gotten any photos. Had I never seen a preview. I already felt like I had gotten the value of what I paid. I left with a new feeling of confidence. A new desire for self care. A new desire to do my make up in the mornings (even if I was just running errands and shuttling a kid to gymnastics). For me. For my husband. For our marriage. I wanted to take care of myself…more than I was normally doing. The amount of genuine compliments (and cat calls) that come your way during the shoot from Maura can’t help but make you leave there feeling amazing.

So, at this point, even if you fear disliking your photos, you have still gotten your money’s worth just to let her take your photos (and believe me, you won’t dislike them).

That night she posted a sneak peek. It was in the outfit I felt the least secure in of all those that I wore. And I friggin loved it. Holy smokes. So, if she can nail what I was most self conscious in, I can only imagine what was to come.

Fast forward to today, my viewing. If anything, I was more nervous about my viewing than I was my shoot. I was excited, don’t get me wrong. But this is the part where I have to try and look at myself through non-biased eyes. I had to try and see the over all photo rather than pick myself apart. And despite how much I try to not pick myself apart on a daily basis and lead by example for my daughter, I’m terrible about it when it comes to photos of me.

plus size boudoir photos pittsburgh in black lingerie from Torrid

She rolled out a video of my photos first, followed by the slide show, and then the one by one images. And let me tell you, it was pretty darn easy to not pick myself apart. This woman works magic. And not because she photoshops you into someone you’re not. Because SHE POSES YOU FOR YOUR BODY TYPE! Let that sink in. For your body type. Not the same pose for every body, size 2 to size 22. But posing, lighting, and angles, coupled with helping guide you to pick out clothing (or not clothing) to accentuate the things you love about yourself, and flatter the things that might deter you from loving yourself. I have had a lot of photos done over the years, and never have I received that kind of posing instruction. I think I eliminated maybe 5 photos out of the over 70 she showed me. When I had to narrow down and eliminate 10 photos from the 70 I had selected…it was actually hard to do. Most of the time I have all I can do to pick 1 or 2 family photos that I love out of sessions. And here were 70 photos of just me, that I couldn’t reject. I could pick my favorites, but I couldn’t easily discard an image of myself. My legs actually appeared long in some photos (and they’re very much not). I didn’t notice any curve or pooch in my post baby over weight stomach. The boobs that disappear into my body when I lay on my back were visible and curvy and made me feel feminine (even though NONE of my outfits actually offered support). My calves which are big enough to need wide calved boots were curvy and leggy and ended in pointed toes and sexy stilettos. My eyes screamed confidence, my butt curved in all the right places and the cellulite didn’t make an appearance. Her posing, right down to my fingers and my hair only served to accentuate the photo rather than deter from it. And I’m quick to pick out strange fingers, funny leg posing, double chins, squinty eyes, etc etc etc. But none of it existed. When people talk about Maura magic, it is no joke. She has invested in herself and her business so that she can invest in her clients and she is worth absolutely every penny I paid her for this session and then some. It’s hard to figure out sometimes if something so unknown, such as photos, will be worth the money you put into them. And in this case, you cannot go wrong.

plus size boudoir photography pittsburgh of client on bed in lingerie

I fell in love with myself again the day of my shoot, and again for my viewing today. I have a confidence that I’ve not carried since high school. A confidence that every woman deserves to feel about herself. And as a mom to a daughter, I should have for myself so that I can set that example for her! In a world where we are pressured to look a certain way, and see our body for all that it’s not, it is so refreshing to take this experience and see my body for all that it is. So, thank you Maura, for giving that to not just me, but [my daughter] as well.

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You’re Going to Rock It

I had a client recently who said she was so timid to book because she felt so bad about herself.  I told her that I want to photograph women when they feel the worst about themselves. It’s my passion & mission in life to help women see their true selves and watch that radiant light beam from them. During the toughest times of your life is when you need it the most. If you feel like shit, I want to show you how amazingly stunning you are. So, if you are waiting until you lose weight, or you don’t have someone to give the photos to, or you just got divorced, or you broke up with someone, or dealing with depression, or not feeling good enough — STEP IN FRONT OF MY CAMERA. I want to help you see your essence! When you feel the worst – that’s when you need someone to jump in and show you how they see you!

So, now I leave you this blog post in the words of this beautiful woman (not the one mentioned above).  Enjoy what she had to say and the encouragement she gives you!

lingerie photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio near beaver PA

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  Given others who have experienced the fabulousness that is Maura I just knew this would be the way to Celebrate my 40th & STILL GOT IT BIRTHDAY!

lingerie photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio near beaver PA

lingerie photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio near beaver PA
2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  A women who didn’t even know how to put on lingerie. (Maura saw this 1st hand during my planning session.) Most comfortable in my sports bar & sweats. Rarely glamorous!

intimate photos pittsburgh woman on bed in lingerieintimate photos pittsburgh woman on bed in lingerie

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  FABULOUS, the Maura EXPERIENCE IS REAL! Most IMPORTANTLY I felt impowered, rejuvenated & loved.

boudoir photograph pittsburgh

boudoir photograph pittsburgh

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Empowering Rejuvenating FABULOUSNESS

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Maura’s POSITIVE ENERGY! YES, it’s CONTAGIOUS!

boudoir photograph pittsburgh of woman in black fishnet lingerieboudoir photograph pittsburgh of woman in black fishnet lingerie

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  Yes, before you walk through the door there is nervousness, apprehension & worry BUT when you’re welcomed with a big hug those fears begin to subside & it’s just pure excitement from thereon. YOU DESERVE THIS. YOU NEED THIS! YOU’RE GOING TO ROCK IT!

boudoir photos pittsburgh in pose on victorian sofa in black lingerieboudoir photos pittsburgh in pose on victorian sofa in black lingerieboudoir photos pittsburgh in pose on victorian sofa in black lingerie

 

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Don’t Even Hesitate

We all have a piece of gold inside of us. Often times we don’t see it, but it’s always there. It sneaks out every time you give someone a compliment or offer assistance to others or encourage someone who is struggling or when you reach out to someone who says they are ok but you sense they are not. These are the times that gold inside you sparkles! All you have to do to shine more is do more of these little things that let people know you care, that they feel your love for them, and that in turn makes you feel like you are enough for those around you, but especially yourself. If you can’t see that gold inside of you, I’m here — ready to show it to you.

I now leave this blog post to this gorgeous beauty.  She came as a surprise for her fiancé – she did admit that she never wears makeup and this was a huge step out of her comfort zone.  She rocked it though!! Enjoy some photos from her session….take her advice – DON’T EVEN HESITATE to book your boudoir session!  It’ll be worth it – I promise!

intimate photos pittsburgh of women in lingerie

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?  I invested in the boudoir shoot for a surprise for my fiancé as his wedding present!

intimate photos pittsburgh of women in lingerie

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  I felt ok with myself, your normal everyday insecurities, mom gut, and all!

bridal boudoir photographs in pittsburgh white lingerie photos on bed

bridal boudoir photographs in pittsburgh white lingerie photos on bed

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  Literally amazing. Like a whole new person! I still do, to this day!

bridal boudoir photographs in pittsburgh white lingerie photos on bed

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Fun, exciting and bomb!!!

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  Definitely Connecting with Maura !

bridal boudoir photographs in pittsburgh white lingerie photos on bed

intimate photos pittsburgh in boudoir studio with victorian sofa

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  To DO IT!!!! don’t even hesitate!!!

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intimate photos pittsburgh in boudoir studio with victorian sofa

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Liberating, Empowering, DAMN!

There’s not much I can add to this amazing woman’s story, so here she is in her own words!  Take her advice!

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

1) Why did you decide to invest in a boudoir photo shoot?   I had done one previously with a national company. And while the pictures turned out nice there was definitely something missing. A friend of mine told me about Pics by Chicks and Maura and it peaked my interest. After looking through multiple gorgeous photos I decided that it was time for me to redo my photos the right way. I had also just celebrated my one year Anniversary of a life-changing decision. In May 2017 after years of struggling with my weight and knowing that my health was deteriorating much like that of the family members I decided to have weight-loss surgery. I’ve lost over 130 pounds. Having the photo shoot was my way of validating the work that I’ve put in to myself.

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

intimate photos pittsburgh at boudoir studio in beaver PA

2) How did you feel about yourself before your photo shoot?  Unsure, skeptical, good, healthy, beautiful, ok… I felt a lot of different ways about myself. I feel better and clothes than I ever did, but naked I was very unsure. Weight-loss surgery isn’t a magic fix it doesn’t change the way you look at yourself… I feel great but my head still struggles to understand the change.

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

3) How did you feel about yourself after your photo shoot?  It was definitely enlightening. What I can say is if you have your photos taken no matter how you are feeling when you walk in that house if you do not walk out standing a little taller with your chin propped up a little bit more then there is something wrong and no amount of make up or posing for pictures is going to change that. Because behind those doors is a woman that empowers you in a way I cannot put into words. I walked out of my photo shoot standing taller and maybe even a little cocky but in such a good way. Feeling that way about yourself is something that I can only say I felt maybe one or two times in my entire life and it feels so so good.

intimate photos in pittsburgh PA with lingerie photos on bed

4) Describe your session in 3 words?  Liberating Empowering DAMN!!!!

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

5) What was your favorite part of the boudoir photo shoot?  That’s not fair! I loved it all. The conversation, contortioning, laughter… it was all amazing. To trot around a house in almost nothing ( and at some points nothing ) and be completely comfortable says something about the environment. Maura never makes you feel out of your element! You feel accepted, beautiful and completely comfortable…that’s the favorite part.

boudoir photography pittsburgh in studio near beaver, PA

6) What would you say to other women who are considering a boudoir photo shoot?  Why haven’t you booked! While the finished product will be presented to my husband, this entire experience was completely for me and I loved every single second.

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photosPittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photos

Pittsburgh Boudoir Photographer sexy lingerie photos

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Souls On Fire Feature: Terra

Terra is one amazing woman that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years now.  Like most of the women in this self love photo shoot, I met Terra when she came to me for a boudoir session almost 5 years ago.  I never forget my clients – EVER!  So, when she applied for the group shoot, I knew she’d make a great fit.  Terra came to me all those years ago for a boudoir as a wedding gift, but many years later that marriage broke apart as she found the courage to move on from something that wasn’t healthy.  I applaud women who can do that – it takes strength and gusto to stand up and walk away from something that you’ve been conditioned to accept as love.  As I’ve shared my own story of emotional abuse on the blog, I know that the scars and pain from that situation is silent.  You don’t have a physical representation of the hurt that is being done to you – it’s all internal, which makes it hard to deal with.  I’m glad that she stands up for herself now, believes in who she is, and knows that there is no limit to her potential!  I love this woman to pieces.

Here is her Souls On Fire Story:

The theme “Souls on Fire” could not fit my life more perfectly. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind of emotion, pain, change, and growth. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, but every single piece has sculpted who I am today.

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

I spent two and a half years in an emotionally abusive marriage. It took me a long time to feel comfortable calling it abusive, probably because so many people close to me didn’t believe me. Everything was subtle and gradual. Every demand, every accusation. Everytime I spoke up about it to family and friends, it was blown off. I started to think that I deserved it. I started to genuinely hate myself and who I was becoming. If you have a jar of marbles and someone steals one at a time, who would ever notice? But eventually, if this continues, the jar will be empty. I think that’s the best way to describe what happened to me. By the time I decided to leave, the jar was empty. I was completely lost. There was nothing left of who I was.

Nonetheless, I dusted myself off and started over. Less than a month later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had almost lost her to mental health problems a few years before, so it completely rocked my world. (After a partial mastectomy and multiple radiation treatments, I am fortunate enough to say that she is now cancer free.)

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

I also met an amazing man, and not long after, we decided to start a family. Pregnancy was another rough part of my journey. I suffered through terrible depression both during pregnancy and postpartum. Childbirth also didn’t go as planned. After 26 hours of labor and refusing an epidural, I ended up needing an emergency C-Section. I planned to breastfeed my son through his first year, but the combination of having mastitis twice, severe lack of sleep, and suffering from debilitating depression proved to be too much for me. I struggled so much the first few months because I felt like I was failing at everything a mother should be able to do.

Fast forward to now. Life has finally afforded me the time to process all of the things that I’ve gone through over the past five years. I’m able to look back and see strength and resilience instead of pain and weakness. I’ve learned that you cannot let your failures define your self worth. Today, I am genuinely happy. Today, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I can finally say that I am confident in who I am and the decisions I make. A phoenix rises from the ashes, but you can’t be afraid to light the match.

self love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other womenself love photo shoot in pittsburgh PA with other women

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